• 2017 Ford Raptor Test Drive: Off-Road Rock Star – Then and Now [Review]


    Nearly every vehicle manufacturer of both autos and trucks engage in the common practice of touting their latest wares by making bold and sometimes even outrageous claims about the vehicle’s performance capabilities. As far as trucks are concerned, each manufacturer portrays their vehicle as the toughest and most capable. In the final analysis, a truck’s worth exists in the eyes of the beholder – in this case, the motoring journalist that is about to evaluate it.

    Then: 2010 Ford SVT Raptor

    So… when attending that first press launch for Ford’s original 2010 F-150 SVT Raptor, many of us in attendance tended to take the initial presentation and marketing pitch as the usual traditional hype. The stated potential of that first 2010 F-150 Raptor seemed pretty unrealistic – particularly regarding its off-road prowess.

    Ford’s Special Vehicle Team (SVT), loosely translated as Ford’s Hot Rod and performance division took a giant step beyond simply telling the attending press how great the Raptor was – they set up scenarios to actually prove their claims.
    The launch drive that followed the presentations, took off from San Diego, CA. traversing metro streets and freeways, heading out to the Anza Borrego Desert State Park (also in California) for challenging, not to mention mind-boggling tests. There were steep hill climbs, very steep hill descents, and rapid romps through the desert, including washes, gullies, sand, gravel and washboard surfaces. The latter exercises often reached speeds of up to and often exceeding 65 mph, which would not be recommended for any other production off-road vehicle, and for that matter would not even be possible without severe damage to the vehicle along with possible injury to vehicle occupants.

    The 2010 SVT Raptor offered two engines for propulsion – a 308 horsepower 5.4-liter V8 was the base engine, with a 6.2-liter SOHC V8 optionally available that produced 411 horsepower along with 434 pound feet of torque. Both engines mated to an electronically controlled 6-speed automatic with a Tow Haul Mode. The Raptor rode on specially tuned suspension componentry that included shocks that were inspired by off-road racers and developed by Fox Racing Shox, featuring a triple internal bypass and overrider reservoirs. The truck’s track width was increased by 7-inches and suspension travel was a more than generous 1.2-inches up front and 12.1-inches in the rear. There was an electronic locking rear differential that could be engaged by the pull of a switch, and Hill Descent Control which operated between 2 and 20 miles per hour (and disengaged above 40 mph) making coming down steep hills a safe and easy process. An Off-Road Mode engaged a third throttle map and shift schedule for improved off-road performance, while a massive front skid plate aided in protecting the front underbody and engine.

    Now: 2017 Ford Raptor

    That was then and now, the latest 2017 version of the Ford Raptor has been improved in every way. First off, the new truck features Ford’s new military grade aluminum alloy body. Power now comes from a 3.5-liter, DOHC, 24-valve High Output Gasoline turbocharged Direct Injection (GTDI) EcoBoost V-6 engine with auto stop/start that produces 450 horsepower at 5,000 rpm while developing 510 pound feet of torque in a range from 3,500-4,000 rpm. These figures supercede those of the old 6.2-liter V8 (411 hp and 434 lb-ft). Motive energy reaches the driving wheels via an electronically controlled 10-speed automatic transmission with a tow mode and steering wheel mounted paddle shifters. The 4WD system is shift-on-the-fly.
    The Ford F-150 Raptor is available in two body configurations: a SuperCab or a SuperCrew, both of which come exclusively with a short cargo bed. The new Raptors roll on B.F. Goodrich All Terrain T/A KO2 Baja Champion LT 315/70 R17 113/106 tires with a special compound and tread design, suited to enhanced off-road performance. The tires are mounted on cast aluminum 5-“Y”-spoke wheels.
    The Raptor now weighs around 500 pounds less than its predecessor and stands 2-inches taller and enjoys a better ride quality thanks to the latest custom-engineered Fox dampers that have been upsized to a 3-inch diameter. Further technology improvements include an innovative Terrain Management System ™ that changes between two-, four-wheel and AWD modes with a six-mode terrain-specific powertrain calibration including a Baja mode, based on the terrain mode selected for optimized performance in any driving condition. Other advancements in technology include three steering modes and large multifunction LED screens on the center stack and IP capable of providing vehicle status monitoring and exterior surround visibility.

    Suspension Travel and Ride Height has been Increased– with 0.8-inches front and1.9-inch rear wheel of increased wheel travel compared to its predecessor, the 2017 F-150 Raptor benefits from 13-inch front and 13.9-inch rear suspension travel. (Note: F-150 Raptor provides an increase of 5.7-inches and 4.4-inches rear suspension travel vs. F-150 with FX4 package which has 7.3-inches and 9.5-inches of front/rear suspension travel respectively. The approach angle is 30-degrees, breakover angle 22-degrees, and departure angle 23-degrees.

    The new luxuriously appointed Raptor shares its cab with the newly upgraded F-150 and Super Duty, but is all new from the A-pillar forward. Enhancements include a new hood and fender vents, special running boards, exposed mechanicals, and large dual exhaust pipes, restyled front and rear bumpers, signature LED grille lights, blacked out headlamps and exterior lighting, FORD lettering on the mesh grille and tailgate, a dropped beltline, and a new stamped aluminum skid plate up front. Active upper and lower grille shutters enhance aerodynamics; the running boards, tow hook covers, skid plates, vents, and under-body shielding have been upgraded as well.

    Inside, the cockpit features bolstered seating for five accented by the Raptor logo, and the seats may be ordered in color-accented leather with carbon fiber trim accents. The contoured steering wheel is fitted with magnesium paddle shifters; auxiliary switches are mounted overhead within easy reach for aftermarket accessories. Technology features include Ford’s Sync 3 connectivity system, large LED screens in the center stack and instrument cluster, and a 360-degree camera system with a split-view display, and there are electronically height adjustable pedals.

    My 2017 Ford F-150 4×4 Raptor SuperCrew was powered by the 3.5-liter V6 in 4×4 configuration. The exterior was sprayed in Avalanche – an off-white, grayish tone, while the interior was executed in Orange and Black with carbon fiber trim accents. The base price of my test truck was $51,310 while the final sticker price came to $67,911 after factoring in: the Rapid Spec Equipment Group; Twin Panel Moonroof; Interior Accent Package; Carbon Fiber Package; Tailgate Step, heated steering wheel; Raptor Technology Package; Second-row heated seats; Spray-in Bed liner and Destination and Delivery charges.

    SUMMARY: The new Ford F-150 Raptor is a special truck – unique in its appearance, with a bolder and more rugged persona, and unique in its capabilities There are cast aluminum, slotted running boards, functional hood louvers, special cab and hood LED marker lights, a specific “Brick Wall” grille that is integrated as part of the hood, side extractor vents and unique alloy wheels.
    Simply put, the Ford Raptor is a high performance off-road truck that performs equally well on road. It is visually an attention getter, especially when blasting off-road. The specially modified suspension componentry was well thought out, rigorously tested under fire and not surprisingly does what it was designed to do without hesitation.

    The Raptor’s Pre-Runner DNA allows it to soak up bumps, dips and potholes with ease. It delivers superior off-road prowess without giving up any of the amenities found in any other well-equipped F-150 SuperCrew hauler. The all-new advanced four-wheel-drive torque-on-demand transfer case with Terrain Management System™ automatically manages power and torque distribution to the wheels that provide the best traction and that optimize driving performance.

    The Raptor looks great and performs outstandingly with absolutely no peers in its class. It is definitely without a production equal in an off-road scenario. It is also exceptionally comfortable, even when flying along at 65 mph through the Anza Borrego Desert’s rough terrain. The Raptor also provides an incredibly satisfying ride quality on road for an unladen pickup. Often a truck will perform well on road, or perform well off-road, but almost never does it perform well in both applications. The Raptor is the exception to the rule without question – the Blue Oval team spoke the absolute truth and didn’t overstate a thing when making their claims regarding the unique truck’s potential. EPA Fuel Economy estimates are now 15 mpg city and 18 mpg highway.

    • Styling – 5 Stars
    • Performance – 5 Stars
    • Ride and Handling – 5 Stars
    • Utility – 5 Stars
    • Comfort and Convenience – 5 Stars
    • Economy – 4 – Stars
    • Value and Competition – 4.5 Stars

    Summary: The 2017 Ford F-150 Raptor is unrivaled in its off-road prowess for a pickup truck.

    SPECIFICATIONS: 2017 Ford Raptor Supercrew

    Base Price: $51,310.
    Price as Tested: $67,911.

    Engine Type and Size: 3.5-liter, DOHC, 24-valve High Output Gasoline turbocharged Direct Injection (GTDI)Ecoboost V-6 with auto stop/start.

    Horsepower (bhp): 450 @ 5,000 rpm
    Torque (ft./ lbs.): 510 @ 3,500-4,000 rpm

    Transmission: Electronically controlled 10-speed automatic with tow

    Drive Train: Longitudinally mounted front engine / Part-time 4 wheel drive with shift-on-the-fly.

    Suspension: Front – Coil-on-shock, long-spindle double wishbone independent, aluminum lower control arm, forged steel upper arm.
    Rear – Hotchkiss-type non-independent live, leaf springs and outboard shock absorbers.

    Brakes: Vacuum RSC power-assisted four-wheel vented discs, ABS, curve control, Hill Descent Control, Hill Start Assist

    Tires: B.F. Goodrich All Terrain T/A KO2 Baja Champion LT
    315/70 R17 113/106 tires with a special compound
    and tread design, suited to enhanced off-road
    performance. The tires are mounted on cast aluminum
    5-“Y”-spoke wheels that are bead lockable.

    Wheelbase: 145.0 inches
    Length Overall: 231.5 inches
    Width: 86.3 inches
    Height: 78.5 inches
    Curb Weight: 5,800 lbs.
    Turning Circle: Not listed
    Fuel Capacity: 36 gallons
    EPA Mileage Estimates: 15 mpg city / 18 mpg highway
    Drag Coefficient: Not listed.
    0 – 60 mph: 6.3 seconds

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    34 thoughts on “2017 Ford Raptor Test Drive: Off-Road Rock Star – Then and Now [Review]

    1. My Take on this is the following

      • Styling – 4.5 Stars (Could be more aggressive)

      • Performance – 3.5 Stars (Power to weight ratio is poor with poor acoustics, needs a V8EB)

      • Ride and Handling – 5 Stars (from what I have read, I agree)

      • Utility – 3.5 Stars (With passengers and a 10% tongue weight you cannot get max towing and the payload and towing is too low)

      • Comfort and Convenience – 5 Stars (From what I see and read, I agree)

      • Economy – 4 – Stars (Good fuel mileage for this type of truck)

      • Value and Competition – 3 Stars( Way too expensive with no incentives but if they are selling to a niche market than they can ask what they want but does not make it a value in my opinion, especially in Ontario where they further want 13% tax and then 7% financing on the final price that starts at 70 thousand all the way to 95,000 with options, now add tax and financing, so I may be a bit bias here)

      1. The payload vs towing thing is true of a lot of half tons. My 2014 F150 is rated for 11,100 lbs i think and only has 1539 lbs of payload because of the configuration: Lariat, Supercrew, Long bed. And thats with the extra 350 lbs of payload provided by the max-tow package too. It could have been a few hundred pounds higher if I had gotten a 5.5′ bed instead of a 6.5′ and skipped the 36 gallon fuel tank but I can also just not fill my tank all the way. I’ve seen a thread on the ED Ram forum where a guy was pissed because he bought one and it only had a 900 lb payload rating LOL.

        Most F150’s can only really tow 8000-9000 lbs anyways without exceeding one capacity or another(tongue weight, payload, GAWR’s, etc) so if the Raptor can tow that much its not doing too bad.

      2. How is performance only 3.5 if it undisputedly dominates it’s class and has the best power to weight ratio?

        That’s like grading with a weighted average but starting with a C and dropping from there…

        1. Good point Daniel but personally I think the entire truck market is underpowered and neglected. We had better power to weight ratios 25 years ago and throughout those years as well

          Also SUV frames are basically full and midsize truck frames and there are several SUV’s out there that will put this Raptor in their rear view mirrors in a heart beat.

          1. Pickup trucks surely did not have better power to weight ratios 25 years ago…which would be 1992. A 1992 F-150 had 200 HP from its fuel-injected 351 (5.8L) V8. Seriously, Thomas. You think trucks are underpowered in general? They have more power now then they ever have, and more than most vehicles in general. 0-60 and 1/4 mile times of pickups are basically only being beaten by sports cars. I think you’re way off base here. Trucks have gotten bloated, but that’s because they are 1.) safer; 2.) more luxurious; and 3.) far more capable.

            1. It is very simple to build a 4-4500-Lb truck with 600HP with a V8 for that much money. The Raptor is wide and heavy just making it cost that much more. The truck is too big for the motor. Personally they should have a V8EB 5.0 Coyote which they make all day long right now, but supercharged and put that in a Ranger. Then I would give a 5/5 for power, and the smaller truck would cost the same as the Raptor with a far greater power to weight ratio that would truly be a blast.

              Even KBB stated in his video the truck was starting to lack power in the mud and was scared of getting stuck.

              But sure ya currently there are no better. So if we get rid of everything except the last frontier does it get a 5/5 for power???

      3. Are you really going to rate “Performance” at only 3.5 stars? Lol. There is no other truck that performs like this one. Not even close. And you say the power to weight ratio is poor? This is the most powerful engine available in any half ton truck, and it weighs right in line with any other steel-bodied half-ton. Can you explain how that works out to a poor power to weight ratio?

    2. Its a give and take guys.

      You cant have max payload capacity with quality long travel smooth suspension. Everything that makes the Raptor suspension work so well is the same stuff that limits its payload and towing capacity!

      This truck could easily do more capacity, but the suspension is not designed for it.

      You cant have both – it’s either a Super Duty or a Raptor!!!

    3. I would switch it around a bit Rambro. Utility has to be a 3.5 if you are comparing it to the other 1/2 tons but it’s hard to argue with the performance being a 5. I understand the power to weight ratio argument but let’s face it everything coming out of the factories nowadays is bloated and overweight because of all the safety stuff (which I appreciate) and sound deadening materials. Things are just heavy now but a Car and Driver 5.0 0-60 is special for a monster this big. I do agree that maybe this truck could have an even more extreme version with an EB V8. I think people would buy them even at an extra $10k premium.

      1. Moondog I am not saying it is not doing well for its size, I am just saying it does not deserve a 5/5 for off road enthusiast’s, of the many that definitely want more.

        We had the supercharged Tundra Pro in crew cab that did 0-60 in 4.8 seconds, we have SUV’s from Dodge, 475HP in 4.8, Mercedes 557HP, BMW 550HP, Range Rover SVR 4.5seconds, Porsche Cayenne 0-60 in 3.8seconds and on and on and on. TFL reviews trucks and puts SUV’s in that category, where I will agree that the frame and tranny and motor can all fit into a pick-up class vehicle. And no they wont run the dirt as well but all a manufacturer needs to do is add a suspension kit and warranty it, into a truck in the midsize segment and all have advanced AWD systems.

        Luxury cars have better amenities than luxury trucks and they got faster, despite safety upgrades, SUV’s are better and got faster. Trucks are neglected and they have gotten slower. I don’t and won’t give a 5/5 otherwise it would have raped my wallet by now, so it just is not enough power for me for that much weight.

        They build 650HP 5.0 F150’s right now because of the big hole in truck performance right now and you can google that. It is why they are building these 650HP, F150’s, however without manufacturers warranty but they do warranty it through the builder for 6 months at the affiliated Ford performance shops, used to be SVT.

        1. No arguments here, Rambro but for what we have available to purchase as a fully stock vehicle, this is awfully impressive. I agree that Ford should at least have the option available to get a boosted V8. What about a boosted flat plane 5.2 L V8 ? That would be awesome. Oh, by the way Truck Trend is reporting that Ram is killing off the 5.7L Hemi so foes this mean a boosted Pentastar is on the way?

          1. That will be awful for Ram if they go to a V6. Half or more of their current buyers are Hemi driven. We still have a big hole in the truck market performance wise in my opinion. If the 650HP FX4 had a warranty it would be in my driveway right now and they run 90 grand Canadian. What would be even better is a midsize with that power for way cheaper.

            Currently it is the fastest truck but I believe if an FX4 with the extended cab in 4×4 with the 3:73 gears will beat it, and by the math it has a better power to weight ratio with the same 10 speed and same torque curve with smaller tires to match the 4:10 diff in the Raptor

            1. And Ford does offer the 650HP F150 through their affiliates under their financing and that is a completely different machine than a 450HP Raptor at 5800lbs vs a 650HP f150 at 4500lbs. At that point all 4 tires break loose and I give performance a 5/5. If I give the Raptor a 5/5 that cant even break loose 4 tires on pavement then what? There is no where to go.

            2. Raptor has 75 more HP and 40 more lbs of torque than 2nd generation 3.5 Eco. Raptors engine has exclusive tweaks to it. You keep throwing around power to weight ratio, but there is so much more at play in these vehicles. And the weight difference between the two you described is only 600lbs. Raptor will easily smoke any any F-150 configuration. We have tested plenty 🙂

            3. Ford offers financing on Mercedes too, doesn’t mean they factory warranty it. And the Roush F-150 is an aftermarket conversion kit, and Roush then warranties their components. Only part that is Ford on the truck is the original base model,….

            4. We shall see Jay, but when someone puts that F150 with the 3:73 gear set against the Raptor my bet is it will lose. Even TFL with the 3:55 crew cab F150 got 6.23s and the extended cab Raptor only beat that with a 6.17. Surely the lighter extended cab F150 with the bigger gear set will best that time.

            5. I really should have said stock built F-150, but yes aftermarket customized truck could stomp a Raptor with the right set up.

            6. Rambro,
              Here you go again off on one of your tangents about how the Raptor isn’t good enough, but it is.

              There is nothing even remotely close to what a complete pkg and strength that a 2017 Raptor equals!

              Your beloved Tundra may have been faster, and i say may because most tested slower, but they DON’T exist anymore and they had nowhere near the safety equipment and level of suspension quality and strength of a Raptor. It also sure as hell didn’t come with 35″ real off-road KO2’s tires either!

              Do yourself a favor and just look underneath the new Raptor – you will be utterly amazed at how beefed up everything is over a standard F150 and how heavy duty and complete the skid plates are on this truck!

              Everything is different from axles, ball joints, a-arms, 3″ diameter shocks, front halfshafts that look like something out of a Trophy truck, to a separate fan just for the Intercooler.

              After seeing and appreciating all that is properly there and how it’s built it then becomes truly astonishing that it’s clicking off low 5 sec 0-60’s times!!!

              Lets see the competition is offering graphics, light bars in the bed, tires, cheap Ranco shocks, blacked out wheels and changing nothing else underneath and calling it there best off road pkg – wtf???

            7. @Jay the F150 with the 3:73 is not aftermarket and I have yet to see any auto journalist run one of these trucks yet but we do know the F150 with the 3:55 gears in a crew cab vs an extended cab Raptor was at 6.23 vs 6.17. Again surely an F150 extended cab with a 3:73 will better the Raptor.

              I talk of the Roush package that Ford will finance because it is available through Ford but without a Ford power train warranty because that is the kind of power that buyers are looking for. This is the the reason Roush sells so many of these packages because of the performance hole in the truck market. People are fed up and give up their warranty to have a performance truck that excels way beyond the Raptor’s capability

              @Drifter64, I already gave it a 5/5 for handling and 5/5 for comfort. Performance however, is lacking. There is nothing about this truck that sits you back in your seat. You can’t even break the tires loose on pavement.

              Concepts like the Sema Ridgeline would have been decent along with the 575HP Ram. Those are closer to 5/5 but still a bit shy. I am on a different level with many others who want more from a truck. And smaller would be better for this type of truck enthusiast.

            8. The Raptor smokes the F-150 in 3.73 gears. The 3.73 is only available in the heavy-duty payload package and max trailer tow package and adds 400lbs of weight, (36 gal fuel tank, heavier suspension components, heavy duty transmission cooler). There are give and takes, but the Raptor smokes it, hands down.

    4. It is a road ready baja rig with all around all terrain functions and people complain about payload and towing? Most baja rigs dont have a functional bed nor even a hitch receiver. Opinions will be opinions but as soon as we get one off the transport truck it is sold same day.

    5. I agree with Jay B. The Raptor can be driven fast off-road where any other pickup truck would shake itself or its occupants to pieces. The Raptor is one of the best looking, attention-grabbing trucks on the market. It is the fastest truck on the market. It is luxurious and packed with features. It has an AWD and 4×4 lock system. It still has a 5.5′ bed with reasonable payload and towing. I call it one of the most versatile and multi-faceted vehicles on the market. Until the competition comes along with something better to prove otherwise, it needs to be 5/5 overall.

      1. You can still put a good suspension on those old small trucks had they developed them into a off road theme that would beat the Raptor today.

        The power to weight ratio is nothing special.

        1. Rambro,
          Statements like these two you just made are proof that either:

          A) you just say stuff off the tip of your tung to stir the shit?
          B) you truly have no clue what you’re talking about?

          Most $400k Trophy Trucks can’t hit 60mph in 5sec – are you going say they don’t have decent suspension or power to weight ratio?

          Everything you make with more power that’s truly going off road has got get stronger and ends up being heavier!

          Now a high performance sports car like you argue with a nice power to weight ratio doesn’t matter- its not going off road!

    6. It is really hard to say anything bad about this truck. If we view this as a truck in basically its own class then to me it is 5 star all the way. I’m not sure what they could have done better and we know TFL knows their Raptors. If we compare it to the other half tons then yes it would lose some points on utility but this is a different beast and should be judged differently. It is hard to find fault with anything and considering its purpose it may be perfect. I still wish they would put a boosted V8 in it but that would likely require other mods that could prove too costly.
      I am also excited about the ZR2 not boosting the engine will keep it from truly being special.

    7. I still think that the Ram Rebel TRX with it’s 6.2L Hemi supercharged engine,37 inch tires,paddle shifter,would do it for me.If I was going to pay for a prerunner truck and it be in the price range of a Ford Raptor I would buy the Ram TRX production version.With that racing axle included as well too.

    8. Nah, I enjoy the healthy debates we have. For the most part we keep it civil. :). I have always been a car and truck guy but must admit I learn a lot on this website. Most agree the Raptor is a special animal and to me at least they are braver enough to give us such an extreme vehicle. Now the Rebel TRX would indeed be a sweet ride.

    9. Yea when came down to siging the paper work I would not be able to not buy the Ram TRX,I mean all the video’s just show this truck as a really badass off-road truck.575 hp is gonna get you rolling pretty fast.I hope in April they bring it to Moab,would love to see this truck run.I saw it at the Texas State Fair and the press just went crazy over it.When you see it up close and the parts underneath you tend to think oh around 70,000 out the door.Using a DynaTrac Pro 60 rear axle,is worth it as well.The 392 Hemi could be a standard powertrain as well,replacing the 6.2L Hemi supercharged motor.

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