Super Exotic Pickup – the 2019 Ford F-150 Raptor
By Christopher A. Randazzo
Just like a supercar is basically an ordinary car taken to extreme level, the same can be said about the subject of this review – the 2019 Ford F-150 Raptor. With the Raptor, Ford takes a normal pickup truck, one that just happens to be the best selling vehicle around, and brings it to a level unheard of in the truck world. Or even still, you can think of the Raptor as an off-road supercar as it possesses horsepower and torque figures that exotic cars not to long ago could only dream of. However you look at it, one thing is for certain – the Raptor is extreme.
Some may say that the second generation version of the Raptor is toned down a bit from the original. Gone are the fake mud stains and splashy graphics. Heck, to the causal observer, the Raptor might just blend in. But wait – there is still that giant Ford grille, beefy BFGoodrich tires and those trophy-truck-like box-flared fenders that give the Raptor a stance that makes it look like a Peterbilt when parked next to anything else.
Following in the path of mortal F-150s, the Raptor makes use of high-strength, military grade aluminum, rather than steel, making it lighter than it looks (and nearly 500 pounds lighter than the first generation Raptor). What also maybe surprising to some is a lack of a V8 under the hood of this beast. At one point a huge 6.2 liter V8 did occupy the engine bay, but to Ford, a V8 is so passe, so it opted for something more powerful – Ford’s second generation 3.5 liter twin turbo EcoBoost V6 engine. Making an impressive 450 horsepower and 510 lb-feet of torque, it outperforms the 411 horsepower V8 in every way. Those 450 ponies are sent to all four wheels by way of a 10-speed automatic transmission.
And on the topic of four wheels, the Raptor is equipped with a sophisticated Terrain Management System. This allows the driver to dial-in from six preset modes to optimize driving dynamics to the conditions present. The system can change how the gas pedal responds, when the transmission changes gears, steering resistance and even which drive wheels are active when the differential locks both rear wheels together. The different settings are Normal, Sport, Weather, Mud and Sand, Baja, and Rock Crawl.
Off-roaders will appreciate the impressive list of hardware built into the Raptor. There is a Torque-on-Demand transfer case, FOX Racing Shox, Torsen front differential, skid plates and a suspension that allows for 13 inches of front and 13.9 inches of rear wheel travel.
While the Raptor is easily capable of traveling at triple digits through the desert, what’s equally amazing about this truck is how well it performs on pavement. The Raptor’s on-road behavior is simply amazing. Sure the huge All-Terrain tires hinder the truck’s pavement adhesion limits, but up to that point, it’s startling. In fact, its performance reminds me of my favorite F-150 the 1999 – 2004 Lightning. With the Terrain Management System set to Sport mode, mashing down the gas pedal allows the motor to roar – and it does with the two turbos whistling up to 18psi of boost. It feels crazy to be going this fast in a truck that’s this big.
During my time with this Raptor, I was able to meet up with an old friend in Houston who has a first generation 2011 Raptor. Equipped with the 411 horsepower V8, along with larger tires and enough auxiliary lights to brighten a city block, his Raptor was put to use during Hurricane Harvey to help reach stranded people and pull out disabled vehicles. While there was no shortage of love he had for his Raptor, he was a little reluctant about the new one. But that changed once he drove it. He experienced the extra power and he liked how the truck felt sportier and lighter than his first generation version. Still, after owning his for 8 years and putting over 140 thousand trouble-free miles on it, he doesn’t see it being replaced any time soon.
For sure the Raptor is in a class all by itself. I mean, what other vehicle encourages you to go over 100 mph where there are no roads? And then you factor in Ford’s $55,840 starting price and it’s easy to see that no other auto maker offers as many thrills or fulfills their mission as perfectly as the Raptor. Whether you drive this truck off-road or on pavement, it’s an exhilarating automotive experience.
By The Numbers:
2019 Ford F-150 Raptor 4×4 SuperCrew
Base Price: $55,840.00
Price as Tested: $74,955.00
Layout: front-engine / four-wheel drive
Engine: 3.5 liter twinturbo EcoBoost V6
Transmission: 10 – speed automatic
Horsepower: 450 hp
Torque: 510 lb-ft
EPA Fuel Economy: 15 city / 18 highway mpg
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