Choosing a vehicle is often about compromise, such as giving up some performance for economy, or room and practicality for sportiness. While the 2017 Ford F-150 Raptor certainly isn’t going to compete with a Prius for an economy prize, in most other areas the Raptor is a surprisingly well-rounded performer, combining performance, capability, and comfort like few other trucks. One of the key enablers of its jack-of-all-trades performance is its sophisticated terrain management system and electronic two-speed transfer case.
Terrain management systems are more typically found on full-time all-wheel-drive systems in crossovers and passenger cars, distributing torque front to rear as needed. Traditional truck and SUV four-wheel-drive systems usually employ a two-speed transfer case with a fixed front-rear power distribution, occasionally with an “Auto 4WD” setting, engaging the front axle on-demand. The Raptor’s transfer case gives owners on-demand terrain management, low range four-wheel drive, and variable front-to-rear power distribution.
Making this all possible is a clutch-based system within the drivetrain that’s able to vary front-to-rear torque distribution, as well as six preset modes, including: “Street, Weather, Mud and Sand, Baja, and Rock.” Drivers can also override the presets and fine-tune settings to their desire. The Raptor’s system was tested in the grueling conditions of the Baja 1000 race, ensuring it would stand up to the rigors presented to it by potential buyers.