You know it’s a Raptor because of its massive suspension, giant Ford grille and those beefy tires. They all give the identity of this great vehicle right away.
The old all-conquering, V8-powered sled, made its last appearance in 2014 leaving people wondering what happened and if Ford needs to do anything else to make it better.
Now, the all-new 2017 Ford F-150 Raptor is still capable of driving in a straight line while pounding through rough terrain and climbing 45-degree hills. Bolstering the Raptor’s 34-inch high, wide all-terrain tires is the new twin-turbo 3.5-liter V-6 which gives it a seriously quick 450 hp at 5,000 rpm and 510 lb-ft of torque at 3,500 rpm. For an automatic torque in its front or rear, the transfer case has a clutch-based torque-on-demand system. It mechanically locks at 4×4 High and 4×4 Low. The 10-speed automatic transmission routes power to all its BFGoodrich tires. Turbo chargers give it more boost, up to 18 psi. Elegantly, it fires up, ready for any action, with barely a roar.
Engineered like a sports car and built with specific parts that help the Raptor keep its reputation, it is surely not just a shock absorber and wheel package. Obviously built to plow through any lump or hole in a hard terrain, the Raptor’s ability to roll on pavement is amazingly surprising. Its EcoBoost engine, this precise instrument, takes care of twisting roads in a composed manner making this cruiser very comfortable to drive.
Amazingly at 15 mph it’s already in fifth gear. This definitely helps the Raptor’s fuel economy feature. This fuel saving ability is also brought about by the automatic grille shutters and air-smoothing effect of its skid plates.
Strengthening the Raptor’s body are more welds and fortified shock mounts over the regular F-150. Its shock absorbers are softer but stiffen once in full compression and full extension. Its Fox dampers allow 44 percent more fluid volume, with high heat and fade resistance.
Not only is it agile but amazingly, the switching of the wheels is automatic as your drive mode changes. It won’t put it into 4 Low if you hit the rock-crawl button on the expressway, but would shift to a four-wheel drive because of the wheels spinning in normal mode. They geniusly put the mode switch on the steering wheel so you can easily choose from one of the six settings for any situation or surface: Normal, Sport, Weather, Mud and Sand, Rock Crawl and Baja.
Normal mode is for driving on the street. It is exactly what its name says. Its stop-start-fuel save feature kicks into action and the truck remains in this polite mode. Choose Sport and the response of the throttle sharpens, electric-assist steering firms up and the shift points rise. Its Ford Performance bead-lock kit, that airs down tires for increased contact, patch without the risk of it separating from the wheel.
Important in rock crawling and even low-speed off-road driving are gear ratios. The Raptor’s aggressive 1st gear at 4.70 and 4.10 axle ratio, together with the low range of the transfer case revs the engine for rock crawling and wheel control.
Because of its engine and driving capabilities, this latest from Ford does everything including the ability to tow 6,000 pounds.
Definitely driving this truck to the extreme on and off-road, in the desert with desert brush or conquering mountainous snowbanks and snow mounds is very exhilarating. It just keeps on with its full speed ahead, gracefully and nimbly cruising through whatever bone crunching challenge you throw at it. If you dig outdoor sports, mud bogs, snow hills, pickup trucks, sand dunes or just basically love fast cars, you will love this truck. So much so with the available options of an interior color accent package, tailgate step, Equipment Group 802A, spray-in bedliner and heated steering wheel.
Home Sweet Home and a Lot More with the Raptor’s Interior
Old fans will certainly stay diehards because it’s still the old Raptor’s interiors but only better. Ford’s F-150’s hefty steering wheel is now shaped for the thumbs and has gotten an accent color stripe at its 12 o’clock. Accents in the stitching and on the dash match.
The massive heated and cooled seats are still ever-present. It is now teamed with a twin-pane sunroof lending this truck a convertible feel.
For more enjoyment in your driving, Ford updated the Sync 3 infotainment system with a Sony stereo setup, put in a LED screen, equipped it with overhead auxilary switches for add-ons and squeezed in a 360-degree camera to show even what’s in front of the wheels. These are all controlled by golf ball size knobs.
Out with the Old, In with the New
Compared with the last truck, expect not only different tire treads that are now wider by six inches for excellent grip, but a new aluminum construction body for a lighter Raptor which gives you 500 pounds less, port and direct fuel injection, upgraded internals and a lighter valve train. Efficiency is at 16 mpg unlike the last truck’s rating of 13 mpg.
The new Fox/Ford Performance suspension helps the truck handle terrains with 3-inch diameter shocks, which was formerly 2.5 inches. Compared to the old Raptor, it has an inch more suspension travel in front and just a little shy of 2 extra inches in the back. Its front 30-degree approach and rear 22-degree breakover angles mean ability to tromp over any material that might bend any metal.
In switching driving modes, gone are the knobs and switches, with the new Raptor, just hit the mode switch on the steering wheel and the truck not only does the switching of driving modes, it would second-guess what you need to do. Though the steering wheel seems lighter in the new model, it is now easier to handle.
Low Points of the Raptor
Although it has a high abuse threshold, the Raptor has very few weaknesses. It’s magnesium shift paddles are somewhat dimmed by the shifting speed. There’s a lot of nose-diving before any speed cuts off, the rear squats and the nose lifts before it planes out.
The brakes’ pedals has a somewhat spongy feel.
Endearingly, expert off-roading becomes somewhat extinct with the new Raptor. Posers were indifferent to this great skill before the Raptor came. Now, we have a new generation of road enthusiasts. Now, even that loss and gain situation didn’t sound bad.
Coming in at SuperCab extended-cab and SuperCrew crew-cab body styles its price range starts at $50,155 and $53,140, respectively.
Should you buy a Raptor? The answer is, “Would you forgo a truck that defines a new genre of trucks?” Of course not. Go get one, now.