Experienced by Kimatni D. Rawlins
The American beast arrived at Automotive Rhythms’ driveway in a daring Code Orange Metallic exterior hue and an all-black leather interior. The color pops on all excursions, whether in the city or out in the country. Everyone will take notice and follow your movements since the Ford F-150 Raptor high-performance off-road pickup is an anomaly in the truck world. It’s quick, it’s aggressive, and it’s powerful!
Assembled at Ford’s Dearborn Truck Plant in Michigan, the Raptor is rooted in Baja 1000 racing, so its engineering blueprint highlighted the specifications required for the task at hand. The vehicle needed a unique five-link rear suspension explicitly developed for Raptor, knobby and grippy 35″ or 37” BF Goodrich All-Terrain T/A KO2 tires on 17” forged aluminum Beadlock rims, the Ford-built 10-speed automatic transmission, and of course the third-generation twin-turbo 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 engine.
“Raptor is the original desert truck. We just took it to another level,” said Ali Jammoul, Ford Performance vehicle program director. “The all-new Raptor splices high-speed off-road performance muscle with advanced technology and connectivity that comes together in a unique Built Ford Tough way.”
Despite its performance acumen, the Raptor drives pretty civilly around town, and the cabin looks civil compared to the RAM TRX’s aggressively designed cockpit and robust mannerisms. The Ford’s supercrew layout is spacious, with the nucleus represented by SYNC4 Navigation and the standard 12″ touchscreen display. Apple CarPlay and the 18-speaker B&O Unleashed sound system by Bang & Olufsen kept me highly entertained on long drives, and Terrain Management System allowed me to customize the truck’s behaviors as I saw fit. Drive mode settings can be switched to Normal, Deep Snow / Sand, Baja, Rock Crawl (need to shift to 4Low), Sport, Tow/Haul, and Slippery. Ford says the system adjusts steering feel, transfer case behavior, stability control, active valve exhaust, active damping system, throttle mapping, transmission shift points, and the display on the digital gauge cluster. Utilizing the long steering wheel paddle shifters and Sport mode was always an exciting combination.
On the outer banks, the Raptor has been enhanced by Ford Performance with Raptor running boards, a power dome hood with a new heat extractor, and functional side vents inspired by the intakes of the F-22 Raptor fighter jet. Additional enhancements stem from front and rear tow hooks, body-colored mirrors and door handles, and black contrast comprising the ultra-flared wheel wells, tailgate and grille, bumpers, and the rose pedaled rims. Lastly, the Raptor received a more comprehensive front skid plate, machine-tough steel bumpers, and dual oval exhaust outlets that sit high and can be configured in four sound level modes – Quiet, Normal, Sport, and Baja.
Overall nifty features include surround cameras, a power tailgate, ambient lighting, door keypad code, remote start (although it didn’t work on my vehicle), Rear Occupant Alert, and Quiet Start, which minimizes exhaust noise when you ignite the truck. Safety features are highlighted by Lane Keeping Assist, Adaptive Cruise Control, Pre-Collision Assist, a RearView Camera, and Pro Power Onboard, which is akin to a mobile generator. In addition, the maximum payload increased by 200 pounds to 1,400 pounds and towing increased by 200 pounds to 8,200 pounds.
Pricing for my Raptor loaner started at $64,145 and totaled $77,470 after options and the $1,695 destination fee. Packages featured the Raptor Carbon Fiber kit, spray-in bedliner, Power Tech Package, and the $6,150 Equipment Group 801A. Its large 36-gallon standard tank allowed me to cruise around town for ten days without refueling, but with today’s pricing, expect to drop a whopping $216 to fill her up. But, hey, with anything extraordinary such as a showboating super truck, you have to pay to play!