THE PROS & CONS
- What’s Best: Aggressive looking, angry sounding, but way more civilized on-road than I was expecting.
- What’s Worst: This Truck knows how to suck the juice!
- What’s Interesting: For a specifically built off-roader it handles everyday driving with as much ease as it does plowing through the mud.
The Ford F-150 Raptor is often described as a pickup truck on steroids, but this couldn’t be further from the truth.
The Raptor doesn’t need any artificial enhancements to make it what it is.
This is the real deal – this truck has been built with the toughest on and off-road driving conditions in mind, with all of the components being engineered with durability, toughness and off-road agility in mind.
It truly is – built tough.
I recently spent a brief time in the Raptor and got to drive in deep snow; some extreme off road tracks as well as rough icy road conditions and it certainly handled everything that was thrown at it with ease.
The heavy duty off-road FOX Racing Shox made mincemeat of the rough surfaces making what would normally be a “thrown about the cabin” journey into as smooth and as comfortable a ride as you could get in such conditions.
This test was more to check the Raptors ability to handle every day driving.
Trucks specifically designed for bondu-bashing usually have awful on-road handling characteristics making everyday driving a chore rather than a pleasure.
The Raptor proved it was as capable of handling twisty turns on paved roads as it is to the jumping and bouncing about in the backcountry.
The minute you climb into the Raptor you feel it means business, the high driving position gives great all around visibility and the interior is spacious and pleasing to the eye.
You certainly feel like King of the Castle when seated and even more so when you hit the start button.
The 3.5-litre V6 EcoBoost high-output engine roars to life and so it should, it produces a whopping 450 hp and 510 lb/ft of torque, and the dual exhaust note sent shivers down my spine as well as most other people within hearing range.
This truck certainly knows how to turn heads.
The high-powered engine is matched up to Ford’s new 10-speed automatic transmission with smarter shift logic. It has the ability to select the best gear to be in automatically, at the right time, without having to go up or down through the previous gearshifts.
It also comes with the convenience of SelectShift Manual Mode, this allows the driver to manually select an up or downshift by means of the steering wheel mounted paddle shifters.
The Raptor also comes with the all-new Terrain Management System that features selectable pre-set driving modes with each specifically set up to enhance the power and handling in any terrain that the Raptor should encounter – Normal, Sport, Weather, Mud/Sand, Baja.
The Raptor comes standard with 35-inch all-terrain tires and Fox Racing Shox, this lifts the body up over the regular F-150 and certainly gives you the impression that you are driving a monster truck when seated in the cab.
When pulling away you can certainly feel and hear the power the engine is putting down. I had to be careful a couple of times as, even though this is a big truck, I was up to road speeds in the blink of an eye.
Driving around town was a lot more civilized than I had imagined. It handled the tight corners with ease and parking in tight spaces was a breeze especially with the 360 degree camera.
On the highway the Raptor comes into its own, the acceleration is phenomenal with tight crisp gear changes aiding in the process.
Once at highway speed the Raptor is surprisingly civil, the suspension feels tight and there was no feeling of floating at speed. It stays remarkably flat going into corners with steering precise and tight.
Once the revs settle the cab is unexpectedly quiet with little wind noise for such a big truck.
This Raptor was fitted with the technology package that included adaptive cruise control and also came with blind spot monitoring as well as a plethora of on board conveniences with the twin panel moon roof being my particular favorite.
I didn’t even try the Sony entertainment system – why would I want to with such a great sounding engine?
The Raptors road presence is incredible with the aggressive front end and the growling engine it almost demands that other road users pull out of your way to let you pass, even if it is just so they can take a better look at it!
My on-road driving time spent in the Raptor proved to be as eye opening as my off-road experience earlier in the year. This just goes to prove that the Raptor – although a monster – can be tamed enough to be as practical for everyday use as it is for roaring through the dunes of the Baja.
2017 Ford F-150 Raptor
BODY STYLE: Full size, high performance pickup truck.
DRIVE METHOD: Ten-speed automatic transmission, combination AWD/4X4 transfer case, locking rear differential with tow/haul and sport mode.
ENGINE: 3.5L V6 EcoBoost, high output (450hp, 510 lb/ft of torque)
FUEL ECONOMY: 15.6 city – 13.2 hwy L/100km
PAYLOAD: 2,000 lb
TOW RATING: 3,629 kg (8,000 lb)
PAYLOAD: 907 kg (2,000 lb)
PRICE: $89,939 (as tested including destination and delivery)