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UK's largest zoo gets workhorses to help with feeding time, new Ford Ranger Raptors

ZSL Whipsnade Zoo, in Bedforshire, U.K., has gotten two new Ford Ranger Raptors to help with feeding time.

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

Christmas is already here for the animals at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo in Bedfordshire, which has taken delivery of two new Ford Ranger Raptors. The Ranger Raptor, which is not available in the U.S., boasts the most capability of any midsize truck model Ford sells, similar to its big brother, the F-150 Raptor.

The two Ranger Raptors, wrapped in tiger livery, are tasked with feeding many of the zoo's 3,500 animals, including the critically endangered Bactrian Camel. Other animals benefiting from the zoo's hospitality include the vulnerable Barasingha (swamp deer), and Southern white rhinoceros, which is near threatened in the wild.

Ford Ranger Raptor arrives at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

"The Ranger Raptor is a workhorse, but on this occasion it's working alongside the horses," said Mike Laird, Ranger Product Manager, Ford of Europe. "These visually striking pick-up trucks will become as much of a visitor attraction as the animals themselves, not least because Ranger Raptors stay still for photos!"

The animals at the zoo live on a variety of terrain in the 600-acre park, which can be easily traveled by the Ranger Raptor's capabilities, thanks in large part to its Terrain Management System (TMS). The TMS is comprised of six drive modes: Normal, Sport, Grass/Gravel/Snow, Mud/Sand, Rock, and Baja. These modes are similar to what is found in the 2021 Ford Bronco Sport, which just went on sale in the U.S.

In addition to the Ranger Raptors, Ford is loaning ZSL London Zoo a congestion charge and low emission zone-exempt Transit Custom plug-in Hybrid in the new year to assist with inner-city logistics and transporting goods to and from each site.

""As an international conservation charity this year has been challenging for us. We have keenly felt the pressures caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, we and our sister site ZSL London Zoo, were forced to close for a total of 16 weeks each, putting us under huge financial strain and impacting our global conservation efforts. We are grateful to Ford for this loan, which is helping our keepers to care for some of the worlds most endangered animals," said Owen Craft, ZSL Whipsnade Zoo Chief Operating Officer.

More than one million people visit Whipsnade and London Zoo combined during a traditional year.

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The final versions of the McLaren 620R have been delivered to the U.S.

Photo courtesy of McLaren Automotive
McLaren recently shipped its last Sports Series cars to the U.S., marking the end of production of the popular models that have been staples of the luxury carmaker's lineup for the last half-decade. Over 8,500 cars were sold globally.

The Sports Series debuted in 2015 with the 570S, and also included the 540C, 570S Spider, 570GT, 600LT coupe, 600LT Spider, and 620R. The final examples of the series were built at the company's Woking, U.K. headquarters at the end of 2020. The 620R was the last off the line.

The McLaren 620R is a road legal version of a race car. It's based on the McLaren 570S GT4 and uses motorsport technology without the restriction of racing regulations. It is the most powerful Sports Series model ever, with a twin-turbocharged 3.8-liter V8 producing 611 brake horsepower and 457 pound-feet of torque.

Final examples of the McLaren 620R

Photo courtesy of McLaren Automotive

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The 620R shares aerodynamic hardware with the 570S GT4, creating 408-pounds of downforce at 155 mph. It can handle the road (and you can hear it coming) thanks to its wider track, carbon ceramic brakes and center locking wheels, and low-exit stainless steel sports exhaust.

"As the McLaren range has matured, we've tailored our North American model line-up to closely match customers' requirements, with a car suitable for every personality," explained Tony Joseph, President, McLaren, the Americas. "Limited-numbers models with the highest levels of performance – cars like the 620R, which feels like a race car on the street or at a track day - are in demand not only because of the driving experience they offer but because they have even greater exclusivity. You can see how this has played out with the 765LT as well, with all of the available volume sold."

Of the 225 examples of the 620R produced, only 70 were slated for the North American market. All North American 620R models come with a special MSO upgrade package that features a gloss finish Visual Carbon Fibre roof with a roof scoop to maximize engine intake and exhaust sound, MSO Defined gloss finish carbon fibre roof cantrails and the McLaren Track Telemetry system with lap time function and three cameras to record on-track performance.

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The 2021 Ford Explorer Enthusiast ST gives buyers more performance at a lower price.

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

The Explorer lineup is getting a three-model enhancement for the 2021 model year. The Explorer Enthusiast ST, Platinum, and Platinum Hybrid will be making their way to dealership lots later this year in a targeted attempt to identify customer desires.

The new models join the just-announced 2021 Ford Explorer King Ranch, also a new addition.

2021 Ford Explorer Enthusiast ST

The Enthusiast ST grade takes a lot of what customers like about the existing Explorer ST and delivers it at a far cheaper price. The Enthusiast ST has a starting MSRP of $48,750 as opposed to the ST, which starts at $52,830.

Setting it apart from there Explorers is the Enthusiast ST's quad chrome exhaust tips, 20-inch machined aluminum wheels with painted pockets, and sideview mirrors with ST projection lamps.

The new model comes equipped with the same 3.0-liter EcoBoost engine that's in the Explorer ST that churns out 400 horsepower and 415 pound-feet of torque. A 10-speed automatic transmission completes the powertrain.

Ford has given the model a sport-tuned suspension and a top track speed of 143 mph. A standard Class III Trailer Tow Package provides towing capability of up to 5,600 pounds.

The cabin of the Enthusiast ST is complete with leather seating surfaces, unique Miko micro-perforated inserts, and City Silver accent stitching with the ST logo. There's a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, heated sport-style steering wheel with the ST logo, and paddle shifters.

The Explorer Enthusiast ST also features standard Ford Co-Pilot360 technology.

2021 Ford Explorer Platinum

2021 Ford Explorer Plat Ford has two new Platinum models coming to a dealership near you.Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

2021 Ford Explorer Plat

The new Explorer Platinum is powered by a 3.0-liter engine and comes standard with rear-wheel drive. Four-when drive is available.

To make the Platinum version worthy of its upscale price tag, its packaging includes door handles with satin aluminum insert, liftgate appliqué, lower bodyside cladding insert, roof-rack side rails, a twin-panel moonroof, and a unique grille with satin aluminum finish. Its cabin is fitted with leather seats, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel, dashboard, door rollovers, and door and front console armrests.

The 2021 Ford Explorer Platinum has a starting MSRP of $52,480. The hybrid version of that model starts at $53,085.

All the models are currently available for order via Ford dealerships. Deliveries are expected to begin this summer.

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