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In the world of off-the-shelf, off-road 4X4s the Raptor may rule supreme. Ford believes so and I can’t dispute it – I am not an off-roader and never even left the pavement in the week I had the Raptor so I’m no expert.
When originally introduced as a 2010 model the Raptor came with two different displacement V8s; a 5.4-liter and 6.2-liter. In 2015 the 6.2-liter, was dropped in favor of the 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6. Now the EcoBoost, in all its 450 hp and 510 lb ft of torque glory (considerably more than the 6.2 V8) is the only engine.
My first impression of the Raptor was “dang that’s big!” And it is. The test Raptor stood 78.5” tall, 86.3” wide, and 220” long. It weighs around 5,600 lbs. You can get a longer and heavier Raptor if you opt for the 145” wheelbase instead of the “small” 133-incher I drove.
I think it’s the width that was the most intimidating. The Raptor is 6.4” wider than a base F-150. Now that may not seem like much on paper but believe me the Raptor feels about twice as wide until you get used to it. I took the Raptor on a road trip on two lane roads and it felt like it filled a whole lane. The width is partly to cover the massive LT315/70SR17 tires and partly to allow the increased suspension travel.
Weight is relative. Ford put the Raptor, all of its F-series trucks in fact, on an intensive diet through the use of military grade aluminum. They say they’ve pared the weight by around 500 lbs. That is a substantial amount; in fact I’d like to lose 10% +/- of my body weight.
Like so many vehicles now the Raptor is not available with a manual transmission. It does have a 10-speed automatic. The combination of multi-gears and the V6 enable such a large vehicle to 18 mpg on the highway. In fact I averaged almost 19 mpg on my little trip. With the “small” 26-gallon fuel tank at moderate speeds the Raptor has a range of about 450 miles – much further than my bladder.
Despite the size and weight the Raptor is no slouch. Magazines say it can cover the quarter-mile in just over 14 seconds.
But blazing acceleration is not what the Raptor is all about. It really is an off-the-shelf, off-road racer with attributes that translate to the real world. The suspension, although similar in design to more basic F-150 4X4s, has specific components better suited to off-roading. Aluminum front control arms, specially tuned springs, Fox Racing shocks, and huge suspension travel (11.2” front and 12.1” rear) allow the Raptor to absorb whoop-de-dos in the boonies. It also provides a compliant ride on even the worst roads.
The test Raptor was “Shadow Black” with black interior. And I had it during our recent heat wave – it was a giant heat sink. It got really toasty inside very quickly. Thankfully the A/C worked perfectly. The SuperCab will seat five adults.
One little gizmo I didn’t get to try out is Ford’s newish Pro Trailer Backup Assist. I haven’t had to back up a trailer in many a year but I was fairly good at it. This gizmo is supposed to make everyone a pro.
There were more little switches all over the interior than I’ve ever seen – on the dash, above the windshield – most seemed to be auxiliary switches that were in place in case you needed them.
The test Raptor was heavily optioned. In fact I’m pretty sure the kitchen sink was included somewhere. It’s not like the base Raptor is a stripped model; most people would find it very well equipped. There was one option group and a few individual options on the Raptor. They totaled $13,330. This brought the base price from $48,325 to $61,655, add in destination and delivery and the price goes to $62,850. That’s a lot of money.
I have no use for a 4X4; I’m just not into hard-core off-roading. But if you are the Raptor is probably the closest to a custom built off-road vehicle you’re going to find.
Outside of the price about the only fault I could find was the lack of that V8 rumble but I can’t complain about the power.
I kind of wish that for people like me, people who aren’t off-roaders but maybe want a pickup with a bit more pizzazz than the rest of the lineup Ford would resurrect the Lightening. Give it a special look and the 450 hp engine.