About 2 years ago, Ford updated the F-150, which I reviewed and they seemed to have created the perfect truck. Clearly, Ford has been busy, and this weekend I was driving the meanest F-150s, the Ford Raptor!
While the F-150 is in its 13th generation, this is the 2nd generation Raptor with the best that Ford can throw at it. A new engine, gearbox, shocks, wheels, technology and more! It lost the SVT badge, but who cares!!
OHHHH Forgot to mention, this review is unique because I haven’t driven just one Raptor, but two. A supercab (A door and half) and a supercrew (2 doors).
Special shout out to Ford MiddleEast for these beasts.
Purchasing an F-150 isn’t straightforward with over 17 variants available, each with multiple options as well. I am here to simplify the purchase decision for you if you can afford it, get the 2017 Raptor; it comes in two models, a supercab, and a supercrew.
Throughout this review, I will make references to each of the two variants, but there isn’t much difference besides the extended wheelbase, extra rear legroom and doors that open the correct way.
What makes a Raptor, a Raptor?
This is possibly the most crucial section of the review, and since I covered what makes an F-150 an F-150 is already, d here, we can go right into what matters.
Let’s start with what lives under the hood!
A monstrous vehicle with a massive body must be powered by a supercharged beef-fueled lava-oiled V8, right? Well.. no.
Power is actually delivered via a high-output 2nd-generation 3.5-liter EcoBoost engine that produces 450-horsepower and 510 lb.-ft. of torque. Wait, did you say EcoBoost? Yep.
The 2nd generation Raptor is nearly 500Lbs lighter than its predecessor, and the power-to-weight ratio has improved by 16%.
Not that all this power was given to the Raptor for straight line speed, it is very competent in a straight line! I couldn’t find the official 0-100kph time, but people state it is between 5.0 and 5.5 seconds. Personally, I had managed to get about 5.5 seconds, which is very impressive.
Power on the Raptor is delivered through to the wheels the all-new, the first production 10-speed automatic transmission. Ford describes it as follows: “The 10-speed architecture, featuring a Ford-patented power flow and Ford patented direct-acting hydraulic controls, is designed for optimum ratio progression and efficiency and provides more accurate – and quicker – upshift and downshift capability.”
All this results in lowered fuel consumption and a towing capability of up to 12,000Lbs.
I struggled to find the top speed just as much, but from my tests, I would estimate that to be 170-180kph.
The new 4-wheel drive system with its torque-on-demand transfer case makes the Raptor even more of a beast off-road, and torque is sent to any or all wheels that can put it down to the ground.
Once things get less smooth, you’ll need a suspension that can handle the rough stuff, and Ford has included 44% larger FOX Racing Shox with 9-stage bypass damping on the 2017 Raptor, and it now has nearly 2″ more suspension travel front and rear. That should do it!
The Raptor also comes with exclusive wheels from BFGoodrich with race-proven CoreGuard Technology built to take on the toughest off-road hazards with confidence.
The new Terrain Management System has 6 selectable drive modes keep the Raptor going anywhere.
That is not all, the steering rack also can be customized to give 3 kinds of feedback, and if you need more utilities, you can control them directly from the driver’s seat with 6 overhead auxiliary switches.
All this makes the Raptor rougher than ever and improved in almost every way.
It might be all muscle but isn’t as old-school as you’d think. The Raptor packs a lot of tech-punch!
The first is all about one thing I am clueless about; Towing.
The Raptor, or actually, the F-150 combines the best computer technologies, off-roading and towing experiences to provide the most efficient driver assistance features when it comes to towing, with guidance to hitch, backing up, park and maneuver with a trailer attached.
While we are talking about technology, the new Raptor comes with SYNC 3, which has an improved interface on an 8-inch, capacitative screen and with enhanced voice commands.
The system is easier to use than ever, has a ton of features and customization options, but if you prefer to use another platform, SYNC 3 supports Android Auto or Apple Car Play. The interface is well laid out and is as simple as can be, but does lack some of the visual jewelry you get from European brands.
One thing I did not get the chance to test out was SYNC connect, remote access to the vehicle, ability to find it, lock/unlock it and even check it’s fuel level.
Ford hasn’t just been a trailer and off-road focused brand, and the F-150 comes with an array of advanced sensors and safety features:
- A 360-degree view of the vehicle which is handy for off-roading, taking a better and closer look at obstacles and of course parking
- A blindspot warning system, ensuring you do not move into a blind spot when a vehicle is there. This also extends into the blind spot of the trailer when attached
- Adaptive cruise control which scans the road ahead for cars and maintains their speed until they’re safely out of your path. This system also allows adjustable distance between the Raptor and the vehicle in front
- Trailer sway control where the system continually monitors the movement of the trailer to slow down when necessary to ensure it doesn’t get out of control
- Lane-keep assist is another feature where the vehicle tracks the road to identify the lanes, and once it does, it can keep the truck within lanes
The Raptor has also received a 5-Star overall vehicle score from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and a 2016 IIHS Top Safety Pick for the 2017 Ford F-150 when equipped with optional forward collision warning. These are used by Ford to claim the title of safest F-150 produced to date.
Fancy talk? Well yeah. But, what this means is that the Ford Raptor has all the safety features and credentials to go with its rugged looks and abilities.
I have spoken a lot about what the truck has, does and a bit about how it feels, but I need to highlight one of the most critical elements of buying and owning a Raptor, the menacing looks!
I start with how the Raptor looks at night because that is probably when it is the meanest. There is bright amber LED lights around the front headlamps, side markers and the infamous 3 dots on the front grille. The main headlight is also LED providing exceptional illumination of the road ahead.
I don’t know about you but anyone seeing this in their rear view mirror must be thinking “What a beast!”
But who am I kidding, even during the day, the Raptor is a thing of massive proportions and beauty. The flared wheel arches, large front grill with the FORD wording, bumpers, underbody protection and high ride-height ensures this beastly vehicle is aggressive, but with subtle hints of handsomeness.
Experiencing both the super cab and super crew models, I would say that the super crew, although longer, is the most balanced variant of the Raptor. You’re going for a massive car, go all the way.
Not saying the super cab isn’t good looking, but the length of cabin gives you more interior space and a more sizeable profile, which is even more beastly.
The Raptor isn’t shy about its name or what it can do, Ford ensured there were decals around the car to show off the name, and that it means business.
The interior does not differ much from the standard F-150, except in the Raptor, you have orange contrast interior, and stitching across the cabin (seems to be orange regardless of the exterior color) and a few Raptor specific features like paddle shifters and what not.
What I will always remember?
This is where it gets interesting, and there are a few things I will always remember about the F-150 Raptor:
The Raptor is massive. Whether you are looking at it, driving it, parking it or just thinking about it, it is occupying a lot of space. And if you understand and accept this as a part of the Raptor’s personality, you learn to love the fact that it is massive.
It stands out on the road, you drive in it like a badass, and everyone looks surprised at the sheer size of this thing. And, that’s the point.
This size is not just on the outside, the interior is massive! Plenty of space, while sitting snug in the very supportive front seats.
The rear is even more spacious with ridiculous legroom. This is luxury-limousine kind of legroom. Unfortunately, the rear seats are not as supportive when it gets rough.
The 450-horsepower and 510 lb.-ft. of torque is almost supercar worthy, and although this is a weighty car, this power is near “too much” for this car.
When accelerating hard, the Raptor surprisingly flies, and the 0-100kph time of mid-5-seconds proves just that. It’s crazy how a truck this big, can move this fast and can be this intimidating on the street.
The confidence in its off-road capabilities
The Raptor surely capable from the moment you read the spec sheet and see it, but its completely different when you’re behind the wheel.
Ford built the F-150 Raptor so well that while driving it feels as though anything is achievable and any ground is a road. That in itself is a priceless experience and such an enjoyable feeling.
How it made me feel powerful
Driving a vehicle of this size, power and capability left me feeling powerful.
I felt powerful driving down a highway in a massive truck, with 450-horsepower and in a driving position overlooking all the vehicles around me.
I felt powerful driving around rough terrain, sandy bits, pavements and speedbumps as the suspension and massive tires ate anything I threw at it, with minimal effect from where I was sitting.
I felt powerful loading the truck up with friends, or even knowing that I had a massive truck bed to carry tons of load.
I felt powerful parking it and walking away from such a beast, and even more powerful getting back to it and getting in.
It empowers you, and that is work a heck of a lot.
Anything I would happily like to forget?
Fortunately, this list isn’t long, but there is one thing in the F-150 Raptor that is not perfect, and I would gladly want to forget.
The new 10-speed gearbox is brilliant for delivering power, cruising 9 times out of ten and is fantastic at keeping this truck as economical as possible; rated at 11L/100KM, but the reality was more around 14.
This is not the issue, though, having so many gears puts you in situations where the gearbox’s brain gets confused about what the ideal gear is for what you’re trying to achieve.
Trying to fly off the line? The gearbox will hold the gears, the car would leap and then it would bog down, and feel like the car upshifts too fast and then has to downshift because the car bogged down. This leaves you in that .5 to 1 second where the car isn’t accelerating, in the middle of your hard acceleration
On a highway? You’ll be cruising on the 10th gear, and if you need to quickly accelerate, the car will take a few seconds to understand what you’re trying to do and adjust the gears accordingly.
Manually shifting? You have 10 gears, get ready to get clicky.
How do you wrap up a Raptor?
I thought the wrap-up might be the hardest part of this review, but the fact is, it is the easiest.
It is the best truck that you can buy right now. Surely, you can compare feature vs. feature, price vs price and overall vs. overall, but whatever your calculations result in, the Ford F-150 Raptor is the better truck.
Reaction to someone saying they own a 2017 Ford F-150 Raptor? “Oh wow! It’s one hell of a truck. I am jealous.”