The 2017 Ford F-150 Raptor country-dances gently side to side, its beamy all-terrain tires tracking the jolts and grooves in the blond path. The refreshed rooms are set to high, while our guardianships spasm the wheel back and forth with insignificant corrections to keep the truck informed continuous. The Raptor doesn’t need to be journeying at aggregate integers through the desert to surprise, but it certainly helps. For instance, its brand-new twin-turbo 3.5-liter V-6 and 10-speed automatic transmission assist the Raptor to surprise in a continuous formation. Its turbochargers sound more raise (up to 18 psi) into the pipe than do those of the orderly F-150’s 3.5-liter EcoBoost mill, which itself has been modified for 2017. Paired with a brand-new aluminum block, improved internals, port and direct fuel injection and a lightweight valvetrain, the turbos assist this motor crank out 450 horsepower and 510 lb-ft of torque, increases of 75 stallions and 40 lb-ft over the standard EcoBoost 3.5, which suddenly seems wimpy. More all-important, that’s 39 stallions and 76 lb-ft of torque more than the aged Raptor’s 6.2-liter V-8, gains that are immediately noticeable.
This Raptor feels much fast than its precursor, and we expect it’ll approach 60 mph in the debased-five-second extent. With three action gears, the 10-speed is above all a compete for freeway fuel economy, but its ratio spread does keep the twin-turbo six in the food of its powerband, too. This transmission, however, is one of the Raptor’s few anemic components, despite the original magnesium translation bats. Even under full valve, it slurs translations in Normal method. For fast gear exchanges, you have to use the method regulate on the steering wheel to instruction the truck into Sport one of six accessible settings, at which component those translations occasionally are rather unpleasant.
And, when cruising, every toe end into the valve reminds us what an enormous amount 10 is, as the transmission reorderings down to find the essential gear. We did find it humorous, though, that with the movement case in debased extent, it’s already in ordinal wheel by 15 mph. A 5 proportion reduction in aerodynamic resistance helps the transmission raise the Raptor’s fuel economy from the aged truck’s 12 mpg municipality and 16 mpg freeway to 15/18 mpg. The aero transformation is due not only to the brand-new styling but also to automatic opening shutters and the breeze-smoothing phenomenon of skid plates, which have an environmental merit beyond simply decreasing the frequencies of 10W-30 moving out of rock-pierced lubricant pans.
While a commercially accessible truck that can repeatedly enter and return from (extremely) debased-Earth path without undue havoc is fantastic, the Raptor’s standard to do so is in no way amazing. That’s what it’s designed to do. What is amazing is how well a car with the mixture essential to do so performs on pavement. The Raptor’s rotate regulate is simply outstanding. Yes, the BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A KO2 tires prevent the truck’s paved-road adhesion maximums, but its behavior up until those limits is surprising. It’s a genuinely constituted and cozy car, and it handles crooked anchorages far acceptable than a Mustang would control desert running.
A Mustang doesn’t have 34-inch-tall, reinforced-sidewall KO2s which, incidentally, are the reason the speed circuit is set so debased—attached to elective beadlock-ready 17-inch wheels. They look perfect. A lesser truck could crawl over this same terrain without much hazard. But before you strove to do so at the accelerates the Raptor can earn, you’d want to begin an excavation for what would happen first, an expensive Fox damper plate hitting through the hood or the bed, a shaft rotating out behind the truck or the nose fastening a landing and propelling you into an endo.
The Raptor just pounds over all of it, its mixture voyage of 13.0 inches in front and 13.9 out back ensuring that the driver weeps kinsman before the truck ever falters. So high is the Raptor’s beginning of mistreatment that the magnitude of the agglomeration, opening, or other hindrance hardly seems to concern, plow into it, let the mixture immerse it up, and move on.
To acceptable survive the mistreatment any self-respecting possessor will subject the truck to, the Raptor’s framework is strengthened over the orderly F-150’s with more resedas and fortified bump horses. Its Fox dampers are now 3.0 inches in diameter, a 0.5-inch increase from the aged Raptor’s. This allows 44 proportion more liquid measure, reinforcing energy and fade-resistance.
To enable the Raptor’s amazing on-road ability, the bump absorbers are brushed in the area of their voyage but stiffen as they near both full concentration and full continuation—the former to regulate bottoming out, the latter to oversee the mixture’s motion when the truck achieves liftoff.
You can turn off the steadiness regulate completely. However, unnecessary turning can pair with aleatory desert terrain to turn continuous-formation speed into aggregate rollovers and a helicopter drive with no orientation but the faces of herbs bending over a backboard. Knowing that, we found the Baja driving method an outstanding preference. In this setting, the steadiness-regulate calibration is fantastic, allowing fantastic drift and striding in only under intense circumstances with creaseless, impalpable engagements. This method also relaxes the ABS, allowing some lockup to collection soil in front of the tires, long a promoted means of stopping in brushed terrain.
Baja method also squeezes the motor-management app, shutting down fuel flow but keeping the valve open when the driver leaps off the pedal. This keeps breeze moving through the motor, which in turn keeps the turbos rotating and shares follow when the driver gets back on the gas. This function is limited to Baja method because it negatively contacts emissions and fuel economy.
Best thing about Baja method is how the transmission hangs onto gears to such an intense degree, keeping motor consequence piano-wire firm. It’ll hang within just a few hundred rpm of redline for as long as your foot tells it to, reding you to toe a bit heavy, clear those last few revs, and seize the next gear and then begin reaching for the next.
Few automobiles of any category and at any value and none near the Ford’s $49,520 base value offer as many exhilarations or complete their quest as perfectly as the Raptor. Steering this truck off-road and at max ambush is as invigorating experience.