Did we ever think we’d be in a time where our full-sized trucks would offer more creature comforts than our homes? Quite frankly did we ever expect to see a time when they would demand more money than our first homes? Well here comes Raptor answering the questions of American excess we never knew had been asked.
There’s no getting around the fact that I’m not a petite guy at 6’2″, and this behemoth of a Ford Raptor absolutely dwarfs me. There’s no chance of seeing over it, nor around it. Hell, I had a hard time seeing things I tossed in the bed. Coming in at over two and three quarter tons, and a half foot wider than an F150 it’s terribly hard to miss. Absolutely none of the width transfers into the passenger compartment, as it’s all in the fenders to accommodate the really trick suspension and wheel setup. It took me every bit of fifteen minutes to get out of the airport parking garage because I was terrified of bashing the roof on the concrete supports, and sorry Ford for removing paint from the end of a very traditional whip antenna.
All new Fox Live Valve shocks are standard issue for 2019 offering an adaptive setup for the very first time on Raptor. The addition of this technology allows for a more driver controlled experience to balance comfort, handling and bottom-out resistance. Switching between the drive modes from the steering wheel control makes quick of throttle and transmission settings, as well as adjusting the suspension and calling upon the four wheel drive system preemptively. I’ll just go ahead and say that Baja mode on loose gravel and dirt roads is an absolute blast, something every adrenaline junkie should experience at least once.
SuperCab is the smallest of Raptors cab offerings, and is only available with a 5 1/2′ bed. The larger SuperCrew cab is our preferred configuration in the interest of rear passenger comfort, interior cargo capacity and availability of the panoramic sunroof despite adding nearly a foot to the overall length.
A bargain base price of $52,855 positions an entry Raptor lower than its Platinum or Limited trimmed F150 siblings, but don’t expect it to be equipped quite like this. An as-tested price of $70,445 with things like the 802A option package for nearly $10k, bead lock capable wheels, $1,075 for the “Raptor Graphics” package that gives you bedside stickers, and $995 worth of Carbon Fiber interior bits we would happily do without.
Velocity Blue is new for 2019 and shows well, especially with the matte black accents but a bit bold for my taste. The interior is more than reminiscent of every other F150 we’ve ever been in but truly a nice place to spend time with comfortable appointments, and a well integrated Sync 3 infotainment system paired with B&O Play audio. A 360 degree camera is included with the packaging our truck came with, but the blatant lack of front parking sensors was noticed.
I feel as if some of my colleagues have given Raptor some unjust grief about the decision Ford Motor Company and Ford Performance made about removing a great big V8 and replacing with a 3.5L High Output EcoBoost. No longer does the Raptor make boisterous V8 noises, but that’s to be expected. The benefit here is that Raptor with a 3.5L V6 paired with a wonderful 10 speed automatic produces more power (450hp and 510lb/ft) and more efficiency than we’d ever come to expect. Feathering the long skinny pedal on the right I managed to see an indicated fuel economy number just above 22MPG on a 70 mile trip!
Having a suspension configured for battling dunes in the desert there has to be some compromise. In turn we see a reduction on towing figures, but only down to 8,000lbs. We chose to tow a 1976 Ford F250 to a charity truck pull benefiting a local Volunteer Fire Department and it did so gracefully. The soft suspension became quite evident with considerable squat as we’d previously been advised, but it felt stable towing near its limits. Taking the time to properly configure Ford’s Pro Trailer Backup Assist, an automated feature allowing you to direct your trailer while in reverse with a knob on the dash rather than having to counter steer using the steering wheel itself made maneuvering through tight situations an absolute breeze.
Despite the Ford Raptor being a relatively limited production product I can walk into any of my friendly neighborhood Ford stores and buy one this week. There still seems to be a sense of exclusivity around them, even though I see them daily. Will the novelty wear off? I doubt it.
With a portfolio of full-sized pickups ranging from work truck variety XL to range-topping F150 Limited and Raptor it has become very evident as to why Ford F-Series has been America’s best selling truck for 42 consecutive years. Yes, a Raptor will cost you a pretty penny, no you won’t regret it.
As always a huge thanks to Ford Motor Company for facilitating a week with their vehicle for evaluation.