2019 Ford F-150 Raptor: Lord of the Pickups

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Experienced by Kimatni D. Rawlins

When a fully-loaded $75,000 Velocity Blue 2019 Ford F-150 Raptor rolls into the Automotive Rhythms driveway for testing, best believe we’re going to use it for what pickups are intended for. The 3.5-liter V6 and paddle-shifting 10-speed combo is fun and impressive when it’s time for the indomitable truck to fly, but we like our trucks for hauling rocks, mulch, appliances, etc. Of course a few trips to RELS Landscaping Supply was a must to scoop up a few yards of wood chips for my daughter’s playground and two pallets of stone for the garden retainer wall I built for my wife.

From Lord of the Pickups to King of the Hill, there were more than a few nicknames I could have given the F-150 super truck based on both its performance and utility capabilities. The beastly Raptor is certainly the baddest truck on the market in my opinion. Yes, the RAM Rebel is hardcore, especially hauling, but it doesn’t compare to the warrior styling and aggression of Ford’s top draft pick. The Raptor is Zion Williamson and LeBron James embedded together on the hardwood or Khalil Mack and Saquon Barkley synthesized on the turf.

Visually, the high-strength, military-grade, aluminum-alloy body of the F-150 Raptor looks as if it just finished a few sessions of cross-training. The horizontally-aligned octagon grille is ultra-aggressive and sits strong within the chiseled frame and robotic lower fascia which features a skid plate and tow hooks. Flaring wheel wells outline chunky BF Goodrich 315/70 R17 All-Terrain T/A KO2 tires that receive 20% tougher bruise resistant sidewall innovation dubbed CoreGard Technology from the rubber company’s Baja T/A KR2 tire. Sporty Raptor running boards, 17” forged aluminum rims, Raptor artwork, and darkened grey trim further highlight the performance Ford pickup. The light tailgate showcases ‘Ford’ in bold letters, opens automatically, and features the optional tailgate step which isn’t required on my end since I can still jump adequately. The twin exhaust pipes and tips look great and roaringly sound off during startup and takeoff as well.

Overall, the 2019 model loses 500 pounds from the prior generation but still handles heavy duties admirably. The 2019 Raptor’s payload rating is 1,200 lbs. and can tow 8,000 lbs. The RAM Rebel is better suited in this scenario as its payload is 1,500 lbs and can tow 11,190 lbs. Keep in mind, the Raptor’s numbers have been reduced due to its sophisticated off-road suspension. Depending on the type of road you are traversing the new FOX Live Valve Shocks actively adjust the suspension. With Trail Control (the vehicle maintains off-road speed and braking) and Terrain Management System owners can enjoy the great outdoors with a peace of mind that they will come out on top, literally. One of these such modes is Deep Snow / Sand which is perfect for harsh East Coast winters.

I always felt it interesting when paddle shifters are aligned with a large SUV or pickup truck because it feels counterintuitive. But, the Raptor offers them on its 10-speed automatic transmission for steady power bands. You can also shift manually from the traditional gearshift lever. Along with the 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 twin-turbo, the package produces a mystical 450-horsepower and 510 lb.-ft. of torque. Pretty crazy right? Often I felt bad flying by sedans that should have been moving just as fast but couldn’t! A boost gauge is at your disposal to show the 20 psi when accelerating. However, with this amount of power the Raptor still rides pretty smooth and docile when you are looking for comfort to run simple errands. The 36-gallon tank will escort you past 400 miles but expect a hefty fee when it’s time to refuel. The Raptor achieves15 city and 18 highway mpg.

Inside, the Raptor is comfortable, smart and pretty savvy. My college football playing mentees were loving the space and legroom in the back and each is over 6’4”.  The thick, sporty steering wheel and carbon-fiber graphics bring flavor to the cabin along with the $2,395 Blue Accent Package which adds Blue Rhapsody Blue Alcantara inserts to the RECARO performance seats along with cross-stitching. SYNC3 multi-media takes a backstage to all of the Raptors other capabilities. It’s smaller screen and apps are ok but nothing like some of the more robust systems in the industry such as iDrive and Uconnect. Detailed gauges and screens provide intelligence to showcase Drive Modes, Off-Road Status, settings, speedometer, and tachometer all in digital form. The cooling seats were right on time since we were experiencing a heatwave in Maryland.

Starting at $52,855, the Raptor is just as safety worthy as its non-performance brethren and features technologies such as Lane Keeping Assist, Driver Alert, Cross Traffic Alert, Rear Park Aid, Trailer Blind Spot, Pre-Collision Assist, Rear View Camera, and much more. Though, you will have to pay-to-play if you want everything Ford has to offer. My model added $17,520 to its base price. But hey, the Raptor is still bad to the bone!

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