Video | A Used Ford F-150 Raptor Is a Great Financial Decision

I recently had the chance to drive a 2013 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor, which is a high-performance, off-road-oriented full-size pickup. You would think this would be a ridiculous, gas-guzzling, oversized vehicle. This is true. You would also think this would be an irresponsible purchase. This, shockingly, is not true. In fact, it couldn’t be further from the truth.

Allow me to explain. I rented this F-150 Raptor on Turo in the Sacramento area, and I spoke to the owner about the truck — or, more specifically, the "trucks," as he has a few Raptor models that he rents out on Turo. He confirmed basically what I suspected: his costs are low and he does good business, for one simple reason. The Raptor just doesn’t lose value.

Here’s the basic overview. The original Raptor came out for the 2010 model year, and Ford offered two engines: a 5.4-liter V8 with 310 horsepower, or a 6.2-liter V8 with 410 hp. I drove the 6.2-liter model, as basically everyone should, since the rumble of its engine is practically unparalleled in the pickup world. The torque, the power, the rumble. What’s better?

To the used market, the answer is: practically nothing. I say this because a used 2013 Raptor like the one I drove, with about 70,000 miles, is currently worth somewhere between $42,000 and $45,000. The original sticker price of this Raptor was about $52,000. This means the Raptor has retained something like 80 percent of its value after five years and 70,000 miles, which is unbelievable. This vehicle has lost 12,000 in value in five years. What other $50,000-plus vehicle can say that?

The answer, of course, is none, as anyone who has ever owned a Mercedes-Benz knows. A 2013 S-Class, for instance, routinely sells somewhere in the mid-$30,000 range these days, which means it’s retained something like 35 percent of its value compared to its original sticker price of close to $100,000. The Raptor, meanwhile, has kept almost all of its value.

This, of course, makes it a fantastic purchase. You see, while most people buy trucks that lose value fairly rapidly, the Raptor is in such high demand that it doesn’t seem like used examples are dropping in value basically at all. So while the Raptor’s price of entry may seem high, its ownership costs are tremendously low — especially considering it’s notoriously reliable. It’s like a savings account — albeit one that loses some value, and of course has other costs, like insurance, fuel and maintenance. But it’s nowhere near the expense than many other trucks are — and for that reason, it’s a great purchase.

Now, to be clear, I’m not suggesting that it’s a great purchase over a sedan, a compact car or some other small vehicle, because the fuel costs alone will negate any financial advantage you’d get by purchasing one of these. But my advice is basically this: if you want a truck, and you’re already going to get bad fuel economy and a massive vehicle … why not just get the one that doesn’t depreciate?

And the one that doesn’t depreciate also happens to be the cool one. I tested this out in the day I spent with this 2013 Raptor, and I’m happy to confirm that the Raptor is just as cool as you always thought: it sounds great on the road, it’s surprisingly quick, it’s got a great driving position and it just looks so cool when you park it somewhere and get out and walk away. Of course, it’s also tremendously capable off the pavement, too. It’s a fun truck that also happens to be the best financial decision for a truck. Where do you go wrong?

Where you go wrong, of course, is if you don’t really need the Raptor’s capabilities, as it’s a massive vehicle that’s hard to drive — or park — in a big city. And, of course, the Raptor’s fuel economy stinks. The EPA says 12 miles per gallon in the city and 16 mpg on the highway, which I think is generous. Again, the Raptor only really makes sense if you were already thinking of getting a truck — otherwise, it’s not a great replacement for most vehicles on the road.

But it’s a special truck, and it’s a great value, and I love it — and if you’re shopping for a new truck, or even an off-roading SUV like the Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro, you should give the Raptor, used or new, some serious thought.

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