Expensive News – 2017 Ford F-150 Raptor first drive: An off-road supercar
2017 Ford F-150 Raptor first drive: An off-road supercar
FORD’S DESERT-BEATING RAPTOR PICKUP HAS SHADES OF THE GT
The second-generation EcoBoost V6 has both port and direct fuel injection, piston-cooling oil jets, updates to the crankshaft and bearings, a new lightweight cam, new turbo design and a variable displacement oil pump, all to get the extra 85 hp and 50 lb-ft of torque over the EcoBoost in the basic F-150. The Raptor also loses about 500 pounds with Ford’s new aluminum construction, though this one still weighs in at 5,518 pounds. Between that and two fewer cylinders, it’s more efficient at 16 mpg combined. The last truck was rated at 13 mpg.
The Raptor comes in SuperCab and SuperCrew configurations.
The new 10-speed automatic is only 1 inch longer than the average six-speed. The transfer case is an all-wheel-drive/four-wheel-drive hybrid with a clutch-based torque-on-demand system that can automatically apply torque front or rear, and it also has a true mechanical lock for 4×4 High and 4×4 Low. The Raptor has drive modes for just about any situation or surface including normal, sport, snow/weather, mud and sand (4 High, rear diff locked), rock crawling (4 Low, rear diff locked and gear reduction), and finally Baja (4 High, locked transfer case, special transmission programming).
A new Fox/Ford Performance suspension keeps those different terrains in check with 3-inch diameter shocks (previously 2.5 inches ), nine-stage bypass damping and hydraulic bump stops that minimize bottoming out. It also has almost an inch more suspension travel in front and just shy of 2 extra inches in back versus the old Raptor. Front 30-degree approach and rear 22-degree breakover angles allow for tromping over those aforementioned shuttered-mall parking-lot islands without worrying about bending any metal, and we’re guessing it would help in other off-road situations, too.
As far as tech, customers expect everything now, so look for Ford’s updated Sync 3 infotainment system, LED screens, 360-degree cameras including ones that show what’s in front of the wheels, overhead auxiliary switches for add-ons, and an available booming Sony stereo setup.
Approaching the truck, the first thing we notice is the suspicious lack of splashy graphics. It still sticks out as a Raptor — the massive suspension, giant Ford grille and beefy BFGoodrich tires give it away. But there are no fake mud stains or crazy logos. To the untrained observer, it just might blend in. Of course, if you’re bounding through the woods at 50 mph, parallel to the expressway, you’re really not going to be low-key, no matter what you’re driving.
Inside it’s general Ford F-150 stuff with a little twist. The hefty steering wheel is contoured for the thumbs and gets an accent color stripe at 12 o’clock. We love that, not just because it recalls race cars of the past, but because when you’re whipping around in Baja mode, it’s nice to know exactly how to pull it back straight when exiting whatever damp grass field, slick parking lot or mud pit you happen to be in. You also get matching accents in the stitching and on the dash. The radio, climate controls and four-wheel drive are all controlled by golfball-size knobs — hard to beat a classic — and while the Sync 3 evolution of MyFord Touch still isn’t our favorite, in its third generation, it’s relatively intuitive.
The latest version of Ford’s popular dune-jumping off-roader, the 2017 F-150 Raptor, is about ready to hit the street. Ahead of its actual release, Ford threw a configurator on its …
Pickup truck, Ford Raptor and V8 engine fans were all a little nervous with Ford’s decision to put a twin-turbo V6 in the ’17 Raptor, but this high-tech powerplant makes the old V8 feel like a big, dumb brontosaurus. It fires up with a gravelly roar and at no time in the rev range does it sound like some puny, tweaked-up F1 engine. At low speeds, you can hear the turbos whistling, but once things get hairy, it’s all exhaust noise and grunt.
And grunt is the keyword here. When we flatten the pedal, the rear squats and the nose lifts before it quickly planes out. With the traction control on, you can feel it cut a little power in two-wheel-drive sport mode. In 4 Auto or High, there’s no slip, unless you’re in the aforementioned snow-packed shuttered-mall parking lot or on sand dunes.
Ford took one of these, mildly upgraded, to the sand dunes at the 49th Score Baja 1000 in Mexico, finished just under the 36-hour cutoff, and then drove home to Phoenix, about 400 miles away. The extra equipment included a roll cage, light bar, fuel cell and gentle suspension changes to handle the extra weight — that’s it.
It’s wintertime in Michigan, and we’ve already had our fair share of the white stuff — which, as Ken Block shows you, is an opportunity for fun.Ford dropped this disappointingly short clip …
Back on solid ground, shifts from the 10-speed are quick. At wide-open throttle, the tach just bounces back and forth between four and five grand while we bat at the right paddle. By fifth gear, we’re already well past the speed limit, but the continuous shoves from the trans make it feel like this truck could go on forever. Sixty mph takes about five seconds.
With so much power and capability, the brakes need to be rock solid, and that’s the Raptor’s biggest flaw. We never actually needed more than they could give — we were driving on public roads, after all — but the pedal travels farther than we like and has a vaguely spongy feel. It’s the only aspect of this truck that doesn’t feel nimble. There’s also a lot of nose-diving before any speed is actually scrubbed off.
Don’t get us wrong: The suspension is killer, and we wouldn’t have it any other way. Blasting over speed bumps, desert brush or snow mounds, the Raptor just articulates over the obstacles and keeps full speed ahead. It’s a little bouncy unloaded, but probably less so than its less off-roady competition. It climbs wet, snowy, 45-degree hills like one of those remote-control Animal Monster Trucks with claws that protrude from the tires.
The transfer case switches the driven wheels automatically as drive modes change, but it won’t jam it into 4 Low if you accidently hit the rock-crawl button on the expressway; it will, however, kick into four-wheel drive if it senses a bunch of wheelspin in normal mode. Snow donuts (snownuts?) need to be made in sport mode.
The 2017 Raptor does steer like a pickup truck, so there’s a lot of weight in the wheel. There’s also a little dead spot on center, but we wouldn’t really call it unwieldy. It’s a dirt-crushing pickup anyway, more of a blunt object than a precision instrument, ‘cept for that engine.
Customers waiting for the 2017 Ford F-150 pickup or Raptor performance truck with a new 10-speed transmission and second-generation 3.5-liter EcoBoost engine could get an early Christmas present.Ford …
After holdup, Ford ships 10-speed F-150sCAR NEWS 10-speed-equipped Ford F-150s are finally on their wayCustomers waiting for the 2017 Ford F-150 pickup or Raptor performance truck with a new 10-speed transmission and second-generation 3.5-liter EcoBoost engine could get an early Christmas present.Ford …
The 2017 Ford Raptor SuperCab is on sale now for just under $50,000. The bigger full-four-door SuperCrew is about $2,000 more. If you like outdoor sports, pickup trucks, mud bogs, sand dunes, snow hills and/or fast cars, you want this truck. Neither Ram nor Chevy have anything like it. Ford’s newest does everything, it tows 6,000 pounds and you can throw a frickin’ Jet Ski in the back. Not even the GT can do that.