Could This Be the Ford Raptor We’ll See in 2026?

Ford seems determined to ‘Raptorize’ everything; could the Mustang be next? With Porsche and Lamborghini paving the way, Ford might follow suit.

This obsession with transforming every vehicle into an off-road beast has truly veered off course. Porsche took the iconic 911 to Dakar rally levels of dirt-spewing madness. Lamborghini isn’t just sticking to SUVs; their 602-hp Huracán Sterrato is ready to get rugged. Even Toyota’s Sienna Woodland Edition, a lifted minivan, has found a way to surprise.

Now Ford is jumping into the fray. Deep within their Dearborn headquarters, there’s a relentless drive to ‘Raptorize’ everything. Starting with the F-150, which pioneered the concept as a full desert racer. The Bronco Raptor was a logical step, followed by the upcoming Ranger Raptor. It seems inevitable that even the Explorer and Expedition will get the treatment. But transforming the Mustang into a trail-ready coupe feels like a stretch. Or does it?

Hints of this direction were apparent years ago, with the sixth-generation Mustang sporting splined front hubs. We anticipated all-wheel drive for blistering acceleration, not for turning forests into rally stages.

Photos via Car and Driver

While Ford offers a variety of engines for the Mustang, Bronco enthusiasts eagerly await the Raptor’s powerhouse: a nearly 500-hp 5.0-liter V-8. Unfortunately, there’s no manual transmission option, nor a two-speed transfer case due to space limitations in the drive tunnel. Instead, torque will be managed by a 10-speed automatic with an electronically controlled center differential, routing power to all four wheels.

Looking ahead, a Mustang Raptor R featuring a 700-plus-hp supercharged 5.2-liter V-8 is slated for release later on.

In keeping with Raptor tradition, Fox Live Valve dampers will soften landings during adventurous driving. Custom suspension components and extended springs will provide a 2.0-inch lift, while robust underbody bash plates will shield vital components. The vehicle’s all-terrain tires will be safely housed within protective fender cladding.

The seventh-generation Mustang will hit dealerships this fall, with performance-oriented models to follow. The Raptor variant is expected in 2026, promising robust off-road capabilities at a price point lower than a lifted Lamborghini. Anticipate a starting price around $90,000 for this limited-edition off-road Mustang, with additional costs likely for mudflaps.

Back in February 1992, well before Ford ever considered an off-road Mustang, C/D organized a unique test comparing a horse named Tang against a Fox-body Mustang GT convertible on a dirt track. Tang completed the quarter-mile in 34.3 seconds at 25 mph, while the Mustang GT achieved it in 17.0 seconds at 89 mph. Considering the cost involved, the horse emerged victorious in the comparison.


  • Ian Sawyer

    Growing up with a father who was a mechanic I had an appreciation for cars and motorcycles from an early age. I shared my first bike with my brother that had little more than a 40cc engine but it opened up a world of excitement for me, I was hooked. As I grew older I progressed onto bigger bikes and...

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