Lasted more than four years to reach this moment. Walking around the dirt-dispersing tree, the winter sun beaming through the leaves, dust waking up from the rear-view mirror, gorgeous v6 engine roar reverberating through the 2 + two-door car cabin-we have come a long way.
We have at our disposal the shortest F-150 SuperCab you can presently buy and/or pine for, showing off a length difference of nearly a foot (11.9 inches) over the next most compact extended-cab F-150. This pickup cab and bed combo—2+2 doors with the 5.5-foot-long shorty box—is only part of what makes the new Ford F-150 Raptor so exceptional.
The following steel frame reinforces its targeted and high-profile work cycle: To be quick, you are free to choose your own lanes, lines, and speeds. Raptor also received a specific aluminum column body forward. In order to look more combative, helping to achieve weight savings in steel sheet metal. At 5661 pounds to wear neatly, this is our lightest weight raptor, a substantial £ 319.
The second-generation 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6, specially fortified for the Raptor’s life purpose and christened the “high-output” one, joins a quick-shifting 10-speed automatic transmission. Oil jets squirting at the pistons’ undersides permit a higher peak turbo boost pressure (from 16 to 18 psi), and make a concerted effort on keeping the powertrain cool (we’re told it chills out significantly better than the previous Raptor’s 6.2-liter naturally aspirated V-8) and pushes the output envelope further.
The F-150’s cooking-grade 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6 puts down 375 hp and 470 lb-ft of torque, and the departed 6.2-liter V-8 pushed out 411 hp and 434 lb-ft. But at 450 hp and 510 lb-ft, the Raptor boasts a healthy margin over both. It’s a big contrast from when the original SVT Raptor came to market in 2009—when buyers received a 310-hp Triton 5.4-liter V-8 with three valves per cylinder. That experiment lasted only a year. We expect this generation will have no such stage fright.
The new Raptor certainly causes a commotion. With a distinctive, deep bellow (credit the unique dual exhaust setup), the truck sounds fast—and it is. With the new combination all-/four-wheel-drive system dialed to 4A (automatic 4×4), the Terrain Management System set to Sport (the other modes are Normal, Weather, Mud/Sand, Baja, and Rock/Crawl), the stability control turned off, and the transmission left in drive, the Raptor efficiently put its power down without a lick of wheelspin on its way to 60 mph in a thundering 5.2 seconds. As you pin your right foot to the firewall, you feel the engagement of each gear shift on the way to clipping the quarter mile in 13.9 seconds at 97.3 mph. By breaking into the 13s, this truck stands head and shoulders above any bygone SVT Raptor—the fleetest of which nailed 60 in 6.5 seconds and completed the quarter mile in 15.1 seconds at 91.3 mph.
It’s a lot of power for a lot of truck, but the Raptor manages itself well in varied circumstances. In the Ocotillo Wells area in the Southern California desert, Ford drew out a 50-odd-mile course through narrow trails, deep ruts, sandy tracks, and wide-open washes. To settle the truck in this environment, and to calm down the rear end in particular, the tire pressures were knocked down from the on-road recommended 38 psi all around to 28 psi up front and 23 psi in the rear. The route served to highlight the suspension’s control and the grip of the 315/70R17 BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A KO2 tires. It also highlighted the Raptor’s thirstiness: The 26-gallon fuel tank’s gauge needle dropped from three-quarters full to just above one-quarter after one pass. The EPA fuel economy numbers may have upgraded to 15/18/16 mpg city/highway/combined from the 2014 SVT Raptor’s 12/16/13 but the new truck will still go down into the single digits if you’re on the gas enough.
The result is that you can chase your friend’s trophy truck at Bach 1000 faster than ever before. Raptors can be up to 100 mph more if the terrain packs securely and sends the right signal but not in the off-road environment where you spend your time evaluating the truck’s feedback. Different drivers respond to an array of the Earth’s surface. One moment you will keep the throttle to keep the momentum buried in the soft sand. Next you look for a truck with a fly and a good level, at a mile per hour will only cause a greater restless steering wheel.
The Raptor makes for easy reading of the topography. The most violent high-frequency washboards feel like they’ll shake your kidneys loose, but the coil springs in the front corners and leaf springs in back, paired with Fox’s nine-stage bypass shock absorbers and BFG rubber, keep the suspension feeling limber. The nine stages refer to internal damping regions that respond according to how brutal the tires are being hit – five within the compression zone and four for rebound. Bonus: It’s a much more comfortable truck on-road than the one other 2017 F-150 (a Platinum 4×4) we’ve tested to date.
Four years ago, we praised the last SVT Raptor we tested for its steering precision. (For a trip down memory lane, change the YouTube channel to Head 2 Head episode 14, “Ford Raptor vs. Ram Runner!”) A trait that’s often the first to vanish when the words “truck,” “lift,” and “big tires” appear in the same sentence, the Raptor’s front-end accuracy was surprisingly apparent from the moment the steering wheel was turned. The excellent initial response on road imbues a sense of playfulness in the 86.3-inch-wide monster, but road holding is ultimately stunted by the KO2s, which only generate 0.71g lateral grip (matching the old Raptor). But it’s hard to fault the lack of stickiness in tires that are also tasked with slinging hectares of mud and snow. At least our figure-eight time improved, lowering the Raptor’s all-time best lap from 29.3 to 28.2 seconds.
Yes, the truck can still be launched into the air with wheels completely sagging (cause), it will land without drama and then continue to its business. We have been waiting four years to experience the birds of prey again. The vertical has a brave feel to be thrown at the trucker’s position as an easy to eat landscape. It makes you want the long road no matter where you are.
|2017 Ford F-150 Raptor
|PRICE AS TESTED
|Front-engine, 4WD, 5-pass, 2+2-door truck
|3.5L/450-hp/510-lb-ft twin-turbo DOHC 24-valve V-6
|CURB WEIGHT (F/R DIST)
|5,661 lb (55/45%)
|LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT
|220.0 x 86.3 x 78.5 in
|13.9 sec @ 97.3 mph
|BRAKING, 60-0 MPH
|0.71 g (avg)
|MT FIGURE EIGHT
|28.2 sec @ 0.60 g (avg)
|EPA CITY/HWY/COMB FUEL ECON
|ENERGY CONS, CITY/HWY
|225/187 kW-hrs/100 miles
|CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB