Another day another location as Ford's Ranger Raptor Arabian in Mui Ne media drive took us to the sand dunes. The second day of the drive had us test out what the 2020 Ranger Raptor could do against the loose surfaces, inclined slopes, and varying traction levels in the desert dunes of Mui Ne. Each of us had the chance to drive the pickups through a pre-determined course we an instructor in the vehicle to help guide us and free us from the sand in case we get stuck.
The first part of the trip took us through a scenic route where we saw the lush forests turn into sand dunes in a matter of kilometers. The road took us through a beautiful route where we were flanked by sand dunes on the right and the sea on the left with open highway down the middle. Even with all-terrain tires, the beefed-up pickup was both comfortable on the road and off it.
Driving on sand
Driving on sand can be a particularly tricky experience. Momentum is key when driving on a surface like sand. Major movements like sudden braking and big steering inputs can spell disaster for you as these can easily get you stuck. More often than not you will be stepping on the gas to steer and to keep the momentum up.
The course that was set up challenged each one of us present for the drive. We all had to learn a new driving technique with the fear of getting stuck always present in the back of your head. Thankfully there were trained professionals as well as translators to help give directions to those who didn't speak Vietnamese. This was a bit of a handicap to the foreign drivers as the translations were limited but it was still useful as it helped us avoid getting stuck and from hitting tourists who wandered on to the course.
Ranger Raptor on sand
The Ranger Raptor was equipped with multiple terrain modes, thankfully two of its modes applied to this situation. Baja and Mud/Sand modes were our best friend in this environment, along with 4-wheel-drive High mode. This gave us all the grip we needed to power through the dunes as well as helped us keep our momentum up so we wouldn't get stuck.
Going up the dunes was the easy part as all we had to do was keep our foot pinned on the throttle and let the Ranger Raptor do the rest. Where things got difficult was on the steep descent down. Here we had to completely lift our foot off the brake and just let the car roll down the dune. It can be a scary experience as every inch of you will want to hit the brakes or turn on hill descent control. It's important to note, however, that sand acts as a natural brake for the vehicle slowing the pickup truck without you having to lift a finger. All we had to do was trust in the car and pin the throttle as we got to the bottom in order to keep up our momentum.
On the flatter portions of the course, is where we got to experience Baja mode. There we got to experience how the truck was able to handle loose surfaces at high speeds. A fun exercise as steering inputs was dulled thanks to the sandy surface. It was another test of driving skill as one could still get easily struck, and trust in the Ranger Raptor. The vehicle handled it all easily giving us grip when needed and letting us have a little fun while still being safe. Driving on sand was an awesome but tricky experience but the 2020 Ranger Raptor was able to make look and feel easy.
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