• 2017 Ford Raptor Owner Review: It is Quite the Piece of Machinery!

    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 ask@tfltruck.com and we’ll be happy to take a look.


    Roman Mica
    Roman Mica is a columnist, journalist, and author, who spent his early years driving fast on the German autobahn. When he’s not reviewing cars or producing videos, you can find him training for triathlons and writing about endurance sports for EverymanTri.com as our sister blog’s publisher. Mica is a former broadcast reporter with his Master’s Degree in journalism from Northwestern University.
    http://www.TFLtruck.com

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    31 thoughts on “2017 Ford Raptor Owner Review: It is Quite the Piece of Machinery!

    1. Almost 20 mpg for an off road vehicle is pretty good. The 6.2 I don’t think ever got that close. I don’t seem to remember what the rear gear was. Still good tho.

      Thanks for the info Jake.

    2. I would call that an excellent real world review, and particularly applicable because most raptors are 99% street use with the occasional off-road romp.

        1. Ted s
          Can you explain how to do the switch modification. I’m sure it will come in handy for many of us in years to come. Thanks!

      1. Longboat, I asked this question before and TFL asked Ford but the response was no good as the question was not asked in detail. I hope TFL asks this question again.

        Which is, “Are manufacturers allowed to let the user of the vehicle set their preferred driving setting and lock it in place even after shutting the engine off and on” If not then this would explain why Ford is forced into this situation from this great real world review. Very nice post TFL, this is actually a great post because this is what buyers need to know to make informed decisions that they would have otherwise not known about or thought of.

        If the EPA does not regulate the drive mode then which mode would they pick for the EPA rating for the mpg? We still do not know if it is regulated. If it wasn’t than this would sure fix a lot of problems with throttle lag and the diversity of each driver and which mode they prefer. Having to set it all the time is a pain in the ass and really bad if the start stop turns it off as well. If not regulated then I have to give Ford a big thumbs down here.

        1. It’s likey regulated by the lawyers working for Ford. My Tundra does the same thing as far as resetting to factory default.

          1. At least the Tundra is set to what I like which is instant throttle step in with no throttle lag in first gear. Some other trucks but not all make you sink your foot too deep into the gas to make it kick and it gets annoying for me but that is happening a lot now to conserve mpg for the EPA tests.

      1. I think I can relate to what he’s saying. As someone who’s frequently around semis, I think parking/clearance lights look particularly cool and imposing in low light situations like dawn, dusk, or a dreadfully cloudy day. The parking light scheme on the Raptors and super or heavy duty pickups strikes me the same way.

    3. I noticed that in trying to build one on the Ford website that it doesn’t allow you to do the 3.5L V6 EcoBoost® High Output Engine like the video shows. “Combination not available”

    4. I am sick and tire of people saying Raptors are mostly for street/mall use. The same bogus claim can be said of any vehicle. Maybe you only see them at the mall is because you are the street/mall queen yourself.

      1. “The same bogus claim can be said of any vehicle.”

        Correct, that’s exactly why it’s brought up so frequenty.Virtually every car in this country is used on pavement for daily driving, the raptor included…thats why people bring it up…because its much more relevant to hear how it drives on the road than it is on any other surface…duh

        1. The Tacoma is no street queen like the Raptor, the Tacoma owners off-road and that is what makes the Tacoma so appealing is it can off-road for a lot less than a Raptor. The Raptor owners I see are driving to the grocery store!

    5. There are like 5 of these running around Park City, UT already. I see 1 or 2 a day now, it’s kinda ridiculous. I will say it looks awesome, far better than in pictures and I saw one side by side with a 1st gen raptor and thought the 2017 looked more aggressive.

    6. I’ve owned a 2015 GMC Denali with the 6.2L V8 and the 8 spd in a 4×4 with 3.23 posi rear and average overall is 19.6 mpg. I always get over 20 on highway with cruise set at 78 mpg. I live in Colorado and believe me there’s no real substitute for cubic inches. I tow a trailer and love the tow functions and braking controls. I’ve also never been stuck off road or in deep snow. I enjoy the luxury and although the Raptor is primarily an off road vehicle, I’m sure that after shelling out the big bucks on one, many aren’t competent enough to navigate them off road right away without fear of damaging the bodywork. Keep up the review guys as we enjoy your hard work.

    7. Interesting to hear some of the same complaints people have about the 3rd gen Tacoma. Optimized for fuel savings means the transmission software is trying to get into that top gear as quick as possible and then downshifting constantly when you need power. This is helped by turning on the ECT button but it defaults back to ECO mode every time you start the truck up again. A few guys have figured out how to wire it so that it starts in ECT mode as default and Raptor owners will figure this out too. Regardless, that is impressive mileage for a truck with so much power.

    8. The Craptor is weak, can’t even out do a 30 year old open dif Chevy. If you want a real off road truck, Ram Power Wagon and Chevy Colorado ZR2 are your only choices. Narrow and lockers all the way around. No one but skinny jean, flat hat brim hipsters buy Ford Craptors, with their dad or gf’s parents money. The Torsen front dif is for soccer moms at best on the Craptor.

      Ford, you’re better off making a 70s highboy, cause your Craptor is just for, that high little California boys spending daddy’s money on a soccer mom truck for the mall parking lot!

      1. I don’t agree the diff locks are better than Torsen diffs. Although the lockers have a mild advantage in a rare situation they are speed limited and bind the vehicle. The Torsen diff has way more advantages than a diff lock.

        1. Rambo, which diff is better totally depends on how your going to use it!

          With slow type rock crawling, heavy deep mud, and uneven traction situations like one side ice and the other side traction, a true locked diff has many more advantages!

          At high speed terrain accelerating out of corners, or blasting through loose soft terrain, a Torsen diff has more advantages!

          It truly depends, but based on the intended use of a Raptor and the way it is marketed, I would say a Torsen diff is the better front diff.

          1. The TCS on the raptor should make the torsen damn close to to a locker in uneven traction situations. all they have to do is apply a little brake to the wheel with no traction and the torsen will send a multiple of the torque to the other wheel.

      2. So, lol, if you buy a Chevy, it’s your own money, but if you buy a Raptor, is daddy’s money? LOL! You sir, just informed us all that you simply don’t have the funds to allow you to purchase a Raptor, and are simply mad at the world for your financial situation.

      1. or in nearly every situation where you dont lift a tire off the ground. I would much rather have a torsen in the back of my F150 than the factory locker.

    9. My EcoBoost go terrible mileage the first few thousand miles. I bought mine and put about 1200 miles on it before moving from MA to UT. That 2300 mile, all highway trip netted me like 13.5 mpg. It didnt really loosen up until about 8000 miles but now that same trip would run around 17-18 mpg.

      80 mph in a raptor getting 14 mpg doesnt sound too bad though. Those are some big tires and a wide body to push through the air that fast.

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