The 2017 Ford Raptor is quite the piece of machinery! I’m surprised by just how big the vehicle is. The last pickup I owned was a 2007 Dodge 3500 dually with a quad cab, which I got rid of in ’09. The presence of the Raptor feels like so much more than I remember in the Dodge. I’m sure a lot of that comes from the cab, which on the Raptor, is absolutely cavernous. Spacious indeed, but my preferred driving position has me reaching for some dash controls that I haven’t previously had to. The location of the headlight switch is a little strange to me too as it’s right in line with my left knee. Probably not a big deal if I would just leave it on Auto, but I often like to have only the parking lights on when driving around.
I picked it up on Saturday at a small town dealership in southern Illinois where my family and I have done business for nearly 20 years. This allowed me to avoid the exorbitant markups that most other dealers are charging, and at an as ordered price of just over $61,000 (SuperCrew 801A, plus some minor options), I didn’t have room for unjustified overhead. In fact they didn’t mark up the price at all, so let that be a lesson to anyone thinking they have to really shell out a bunch of extra cash just to have a new Raptor. I drove the Raptor back to Denver Monday, and the ride quality across the country was impressively plush, comfortable, and quiet, and I would say that it’s on par with, if not better than my luxed out Touareg.
I’ve noticed that Ford really loves to push the Raptor’s default settings, which is a little annoying. By that, I mean that every time you start the engine, the Raptor defaults to Normal driving mode with the Auto On/Off function being active. There seems to be a consensus throughout different Raptor forums and owner’s groups that it would be nice to have the Raptor start with the last used driver settings being active instead. For example, the Raptor defaults to the Normal driving mode every time you start the engine, and as such the Auto On/Off is active at every start. The Auto Start/Stop function doesn’t really seem to be practical for a vehicle like this unless you may only be driving around in city traffic all the time, yet it can be turned off. Putting the vehicle to Sport mode does deactivate the Auto On/Off, but it’s currently an adjustment that you have to make every time you start up.
Regardless of the driving mode, I think most owners would prefer it if you could make the truck default to having the Auto On/Off in an inactive state unless otherwise desired. I’ve found that the “Normal” driving mode either has some poor transmission calibration, or it’s only ideal place for use without driver intervention is on the highway. Driving around town in that mode only seems to be practical if you lock out the top 3-4 gears on the transmission. On my first test drive, I quickly found myself in 8th gear at about 30 mph, and it seemed to do a fair amount of hunting around as I tried to maintain that speed in town. Also of note, the nuisance of the default settings applies to the transmission too, even if the key has never been turned off. For example, if you are in Normal mode with the Auto On/Off activated and the top few gears locked out as you’re driving around town, and you pull up to a stop light, the engine will shut off while your foot is on the brake. When you release the brake the engine starts up again as expected, but the Raptor also defaults to giving you those top few gears back that you had previously locked out.
The engine is crisp, powerful, and it reaches freeway speeds, and then some, effortlessly. The exhaust note is certainly not an American V8, but from the cab I am pleased with the sound. The fuel economy looks like it will live up to the advertised numbers and maybe then some, but only if you try. Cruising across Kansas and Colorado on the interstate at 75-80 mph had the RPMs just over 2000, which made the Raptor a little thirsty. The first 1000 miles on my truck may have managed 14 mpg at the best. I’m currently experimenting to see just how much mileage I can get out of it, and the display is telling me right now that the truck is averaging 19.5 mpg. This is with regular 87 octane fuel with cruise control set to about 62 mph, which has the RPMs at around 1500. I should have final numbers on this late next week after burning through this tank of fuel, so stay tuned!
I haven’t had time to really play with the SYNC 3 infotainment system, but so far I think I like the one in my 6 year old Touareg a little better. Just as an example, the Raptor requires that I change media sources before changing radio stations. On my Touareg, my presets are mixed between sources and all on one screen. i.e. I can go to a Sirius station directly from FM without having to change to Sirius first. The opposite is the case on the SYNC 3. Not a big deal, but it is an extra step, and the technology exists to where that extra step could be eliminated.
Overall I love the truck, and I can’t wait to get it off road! Just a few interior quirks for me and a little too much love from Ford on the default settings, but there is nothing about it right now that is so off-putting that I regret buying it.
Editor’s Note: Thanks to Jake Carruthers for submitting this owner review of his new Raptor. All opinions expressed are that of the author and do not represent TFLtruck’s editorial opinion. If you would like to submit your new truck review to share with our readers please send us email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll be happy to take a look.