Fans of Ford's ultra-capable F-150 SVT Raptor off-roading pickup might want to wait a few months before laying down a deposit. That's because some big changes are coming to the 2011 model, due out by the end of this year.
In response to customer requests for a truck larger than the current offering (an extended-cab version based on the F-150 SuperCab), Ford is adding a SuperCrew four-door style to the lineup. This new Raptor, which measures about a foot longer than the existing model, won't replace the extended-cab truck, but serve as a new option.
The other big change is under the hood. Gone is last year's standard 320-horsepower, 5.4-liter V8, replaced by a 6.2-liter V8 that develops 411 hp. This powerplant is an upgraded version of the Super Duty V8 as well as the optional engine in the 2010 Raptor.
This 91-hp bump will do wonders for the Raptor's acceleration, which – with a zero-to-60 mph time of around 8.2 seconds – has been considered lackluster, not in line with the truck's brawny image. Thanks now to a monstrous 434 lb-ft of torque, towing capacity increases from 6,000 to 8,000 pounds.
The Raptor has been a surprising sales success. Despite limited appeal to a niche market (it was designed for high-speed off-road racing), many buyers have embraced the truck for its bulky body and athletic styling. Demand for a four-door version proves that its appeal stretches beyond off-roaders wanting a fun truck just to take racing.
Pricing has not yet been announced for the Raptor SuperCrew, but Ford should have no trouble unloading them. According to F-150 marketing manager Mark Grueber, the average Raptor spends only six days on a dealer lot before being snapped up.