What Is It?
The new Ford F-150 Raptor bows at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show as the second-generation version of Ford’s instantly iconic factory off-roader. If you’ve checked the AutoTrader classifieds for used first-generation Raptors lately, you know that resale values are generally higher than the original MSRP, with top specimens selling for tens of thousands of dollars over their sticker price. That’s how revered this truck is among both hardcore off-roaders and folks who just want the baddest truck on the block. The second-generation Raptor reaches for new heights with improved Fox Racing Shox, a sophisticated terrain-management system, a souped-up EcoBoost 3.5-liter V6 and a 10-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters.
Did we say 10 speeds? Yes, we did. In case you haven’t heard, Ford is co-developing a new 10-speed automatic with GM, and the Raptor will be among the first vehicles to reap the benefits. While that many engines might seem like serious overkill for a torque-rich twin-turbo V6, the latest federal fuel-economy requirements are no joke. In terms of performance, the EcoBoost could probably get by with a 3-speed from the ’60s. With 10 ratios on tap, the engine will theoretically be closer to maximum efficiency at all times, and that should translate into notable gains at the pump.
As for specifics on the EcoBoost’s output in Raptor tune, we don’t know anything yet. Ford has only said that it has “more horsepower and torque” than the previous Raptor’s 6.2-liter V8, which clocked in at 411 hp and 434 lb-ft. Considering that the new Raptor is supposed to be 500 pounds lighter, thanks largely to its use of aluminum-alloy body panels, it’s safe to say that acceleration should be significantly quicker.
Also upgraded is the Raptor’s standard 4-wheel-drive system, which has a new transfer case that pairs all-wheel-drive-style active front-rear torque distribution with mechanical-locking 4×4 performance. Additionally, the Raptor now features an electronic terrain management system that allows the driver to select from six modes: Normal, Street (sportier on-road driving), Weather (slick paved roads), Mud and Sand (low-speed trails), Baja (high-speed trails) and Rock (low-speed rock-crawling). For maximum off-road performance, a Torsen front differential is provided as an option.
In terms of the suspension setup, the original Raptor didn’t leave much room for improvement, but Ford’s trying anyway, outfitting the new truck with revised Fox Racing Shox that feature custom internal bypass technology to help cushion the landing when you catch air. The shock canisters have gained half an inch in the front and rear, now measuring a full 3 inches in diameter. Ford also says the suspension travel has increased as well, though numbers have not been not provided.
Additional perks include all-new exterior and interior styling that are largely shared with the redesigned 2015 F-150, though the Raptor also has a slew of cosmetic upgrades that make it instantly identifiable.
When Can You Get It?
Add It to Your Shopping List Because…
The Ford F-150 Raptor is the ultimate off-road truck with a warranty, and it’s more capable than ever. Plus, given how much you have to pay for a used Raptor, you might as well get a new one and save yourself the lost sleep over how many times the previous owner bottomed out the suspension.
Other Cars to Consider
Chevrolet Silverado Reaper — With up to 550 supercharged horses under the hood and a tough off-road suspension of its own, the Lingenfelter-modified Silverado Reaper is a serious competitor.
Used Ford SVT Raptor — The first-generation Raptor obviously lacks the new model’s performance enhancements and up-to-date features. For some enthusiasts, there’s no substitute for that big 6.2-liter V8, which simply isn’t offered on the EcoBoost-only second-gen Raptor.