Worth Waiting For: 2026 Ford Mustang Raptor

This obsession with off-roading everything has gone awry. Porsche transformed the 911 into the dirt-spewing Dakar. Lamborghini's 602-hp Huracán Sterrato is meant to get dirty, not the Urus SUV. 

The elevated Toyota Sienna Woodland Edition minivan has found a new method to make youngsters spew chicken nuggets. Ford is now joining the trend.

Ford's Dearborn HQ wants to Raptorize everything. Taking the F-150 desert racing was the idea's father. The next Bronco Raptor was obvious. Bringing the philosophy to the Ranger Raptor makes sense. 

Even treating the Explorer and Expedition seems likely. Turning the Mustang into a trail-ready coupe seems unlikely. But is it?

Splined front hubs on the sixth-generation Mustang should have pointed us in this direction years ago. All-wheel drive was expected to improve acceleration, not turn the forests into rally courses.

The Mustang will use any of Ford's various engines, but Bronco fans will want the Raptor's roughly 500-hp 5.0-liter V-8. Unfortunately, manual transmission is unavailable. Expect no two-speed transfer case.

A 10-speed automatic sends torque to all four wheels through an electronically controlled center differential to maximize drive tunnel space. Why not a Mustang Raptor R with a 700-plus-hp supercharged 5.2-liter V-8 later?C

Fox Live Valve dampers will cushion landings when players go full Bo and Luke Duke, honoring the Raptor. Custom suspension components and longer springs will lift the Mustang 2.0 inches, and many underbody bash plates will protect its vitals. All-terrain tires fit into cladding-protected fenders.

The Raptor should appear in 2026 after the seventh-generation Mustang hits dealerships this fall and street-oriented performance vehicles follow. It'll be expensive like other Raptors, but less than a lifted Lamborghini. Mudflaps will cost extra on the limited-edition off-road Mustangs, which start at $90,000.

C/D ran a mustang-versus-Mustang test on a dirt track in February 1992, years before Ford considered an off-road Mustang. The Mustang GT ran the quarter in 17.0 seconds at 89 mph, while Tang the horse took 34.3 seconds at 25 mph. Horse won based on as-tested price.

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