The federally required clearance lighting gives the Raptor an unmistakable look at night.
Dirt experience aside (one will most likely spend most of their time on an asphalt highway than on the Sand Highway), you'd be hard-pressed to think the Raptor is such a radical departure from the standard F-150. From the only slightly elevated interior noise level to the way it goes down the road, it feels very much like a standard F-150, a key element to the Raptor program's goals. SVT engineers were quick to point out that they wanted a vehicle that was not compromised on the road. In that goal they have mostly succeeded, though there are a few areas that snitch on the Raptor's off-highway bias. We think that the steering, which is nothing short of perfect in the rough, suffers from being a bit too heavy and slow on the road. On twisty mountain roads, we found the Raptor to handle reasonably well, but with gobs of moderately increasing understeer, requiring far too much steering angle on the tightest turns.
We also feel the shocks could be more supple in initial travel. This isn't your buddy's prerunner with a marshmallowy desert ride; this is a firm-riding OEM truck that had to pass all of Ford's internal requirements for handling and stability. Because of this, there is some compromise to the shock valving, which we feel is too aggressive for the first inch or two of travel, allowing broken pavement, hard-pack fire roads, or square-edged bumps to transmit impact through the structure. Once larger imperfections are encountered, the position-sensitive Fox shocks are all business and tuned right where you'd expect them to be.
Other things we'd like to see are a front mechanical differential to really round off the Raptors trail credentials. Not that the truck needs it per se, but because the driving experience would be even sweeter and all off-pavement halo vehicles should have mechanical traction aids in both axles. We'd also like to see the addition of a driver's and rear passenger grab handles, which are sorely missed when bouncing around in the back of the cab, or when simply climbing in to the driver's chair.
Overall, the Raptor makes for an incredible machine. Take away the fancy marketing, strip away the "Born in Baja" tagline, and you are left with a widely appealing pickup truck. A real pickup truck that can be had with trailer mirrors, a trailer brake controller, which can tow 6,000 pounds and carry a payload of 1,000 pounds. We can imagine customers out there who might not need the Baja capability, but still want a capable truck to get to far reaches of their property, up a snowy road, or through muddy trails.
Ford made the right move by bringing the Raptor to production and if brisk initial sales are any indication, there is a market for a high-performance pickup truck that has a foot of wheel travel, gets 14 mpg city and 18 mpg highway, and costs less than $40,000. Unless you need a different cab configuration, we wonder why anyone wouldn't spend the $2,930 premium over the equivalent FX4. You could easily spend the difference in fiberglass and paint alone on a project truck, really revealing what a value the Raptor is.
Ford has a game-changing, state-of-the-art vehicle in the Raptor, and it is unlike any factory-built 1/2-ton truck before it. Sure, there are many stock vehicles that could have driven where we did, just not in the way we did it, or with the smile we had when we were done. Look for our 2010 Four Wheeler Pickup Truck of the Year competition to see how the Raptor holds its own in a head-to-head battle of new pickups.
Styling, chassis, interior, highway manners, trail manners, locker, Off-Road Mode
Stiff ride on the street or in mild terrain, lacking interior grab handles, no mechanical front diff
After years of watching and waiting, Ford has delivered the goods
Level It Out
Like all factory pickups, the Raptor comes from the factory with a nose-down or "stink bug" stance. For those who don't plan on loading up the bed, we think that a leveled Raptor would be more appealing from a styling standpoint, as well as a functional one as it would increase the approach angle. As we were examining the cut-away of the front Fox shocks, we noticed a curious "manufacturing artifact." Hidden behind the spring perch appears to be a little present left by the team at Fox Racing Shox. Shown here by the arrows, the factory Raptor shocks have three detents with a wire clip. We surmise that you could level out the Raptor without ever taking the shocks off the truck. All you would need is a coil spring compressor and some common hand tools. The middle detent appears to be enough to level the Raptor, while the second one is there for those who want a nose-high stance. Now, you are on your own if you make the mod and we can't vouch for any warranty claims, but the option appears to be there. Thanks Fox!
Still confused about all of the different Raptor modes? Here is a easy-to-understand matrix showing you exactly what the different settings do for the driver.
Vehicle model: 2010 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor
Base price: $38,995
Engine type: 5.4L EFI V-8 FFV
Valvetrain: SOHC, 3-valves per cylinder, variable camshaft timing
Mfg.'s hp @ rpm: 320 @ 5,200/310 @ 5,000 (Gas)
Mfg.'s torque (lb-ft) @ rpm: 390 @ 3,500/365 @ 3,500 (Gas)
Transmission: Six-speed automatic Overdrive
Axle ratio: 4.10:1
Transfer case crawl ratio: 44.5:1
Suspension (f/r): Coil-on-shock, long-spindle double-wishbone independent, aluminum lower control arm, forged steel upper arm/Live axle, Hotchkiss-type, leaf springs and outboard shock absorbers
Steering: Power rack-and-pinion
Brakes (f/r): 13.8-inch vented discs / 13.7-inch vented discs
Wheels/Tires: 17x8.5 cast aluminum / LT315/70R17 BF Goodrich All-Terrain T/A
Wheelbase (in): 133
Length (in): 220.9
Width (in): 86.3
Height (in): 78.4
Track (in): 73.6
Curb weight (lb): 5,863
Min ground clearance (in): 9.8
Approach (deg): 29.8
Departure (deg): 26.1
Breakover (deg): 20.8
Max payload capacity (l.): 1,020
Max towing capacity (lb): 6,000
Fuel capacity (gal): 26
EPA mileage estimates (mpg): 14 city/18 highway
Seating capacity: 5