After a 3 year absence, Ford’s monstrous F-150 Raptor returns bigger and stronger than ever.
The Raptor is the truck equivalent of a performance car, for those unfamiliar with this beast.
For 2017, it’s now 6 inches wider for stronger stability, 226 kg lighter for a better power to weight ratio thanks to an increased amount of high strength steel and aluminum, it’s got more ground clearance and well, it’s damn huge and fun, fun, fun to drive.
With massive tires, Raptor decals spread throughout, there’s really no mistaking the Raptor for anything else on the road.
Oh, and that front grille. That massive front grille with the word “FORD” being about two feet in length is pretty aggressive and is oh-so beautiful to look at. Plus, all the Raptor decals on the truck (costly but worth it) give it that extra cosmetic oomph.
Whereas the previous iteration was moved by a 6.2 L V8 engine, 2017 sees Ford doing more with less.
This Raptor is powered by a 3.5L twin-turbocharged V6 Ecoboost engine that roars out 450 horsepower and a whopping 510 lb-ft. of torque, all spun through an impressive 10-speed automatic gearbox.
You’ll be disappointed if you’re looking for the growl of the V8, seeing and hearing as the new engine is more of a purr than a roar.
You’ll offset that by enjoying the benefits of a 23% improvement in fuel economy. And that 23% makes a huge difference on the gargantuan 136 litre gas tank that only takes premium fuel.
The 10-speed transmission is a welcome change and while I expected some gear-searching moments in the Raptor, it fared quite impressively in city, highway and rural conditions.
The new (and much improved) all-wheel drive system runs via a Torque-On-Demand transfer case that distributes power to the front and rear wheels and allows you to alternate between two-, four-, or all-wheel drive. More specifically, the four available modes are 2H, 4A, 4H, and 4L.
Worried about bottoming out? Thanks to 44% larger gas-pressured FOX Racing Shox dampers that increase suspension, you’ll have to find absolutely horrid conditions to scrape the belly of this beast.
The Raptor fared as well as could be expected on city roads…it gets you to and from with minimal discomfort both straight away and around curves at a respectable speed. Remember, the Raptor was made for off-roading and desert racing (The Baja 1000) so it’s incredibly rare to see one in everyday urban environments.
The sight lines are pretty much a full 180 degrees and the higher than normal stance lets you see everything. There are blind spot monitors, an around view camera available for extra visual assistance.
With the added size of the 2017 Raptor, backing in to a parking spot, despite having tech aids, still requires a bit of skill. If you’re off your angles by a bit, you’ll end up doing a multiple point turn given the length.
Sure, the Raptor can be a daily driver but I just can’t see many folks using for that. The majority will pick it up for its off-road prowess and power…perhaps even on a job site is where you’ll find a few of these.
The rear seats fold upwards for a massive amount of cargo space but yet comfortably seats three full size adults with ease (I did it and there’s video to prove it!) There are options for heated rear seats as well if you’ll often be bringing company with you.
Up front, there’s plenty of storage space and a traditional hefty lever gear shift, easy to operate controls and all the data is given to the driver in easy to read font sizes.
There are auxiliary switches on the roof as well, which makes the centre console much less cluttered.
There’s a centre red-stripe on the steering wheel and a plethora of buttons on said steering wheel that control audio, cruise control, Bluetooth, etc.
The availabe heated/cooled leather seats are indeed comfortable and will keep you in place if (when, really) you take the Raptor off-roading.
Over my close to 700km test week (and a TON of PetroPoints) I was sure to take it off roading north of Mansfield, ON and after a couple of hours of mud, ruts and slight obstacles, the Raptor performed extremely well, complete with jostling and soft jolting but always being in full control.
With the majority of my Raptor time being in Mississauga (about 70%) I quite did enjoy the 30% of my time in Mansfield letting this majestic truck do what it does best, which is be off tarmac.
While there’s a very niche market for this vehicle, those who do opt for it shall certainly not be disappointed.
Pricing starts a touch below $70K and with the way my truck was spec’d out (360 camera, blind spot system, heated rear seats, heated steering wheel, integrated trailer brake control, trailer backup assist, voice activated navigation, dual moonroof, exterior graphics package, hood fraphics package, auto start/stop, carbon fiber interior package, tailgate step, 17” aluminum wheels, adaptive cruise control and a few others, the register rings in at a bit over $90K.
Is it worth it? Absolutely…only if you’re going to use it the way it was designed to be used; off roading and full of fun.
If you’re more of an urban-esque driver with city-lifestyles, there’s dozens of other F-150 options sans Raptor that are probably right for you.
For a guy who’s not particularly big on pickups, Ford has made me like them just a bit more through the mammoth Raptor and all the fun that can be had in one.
Enjoy the full gallery below: