Our winner of the 2011 Four Wheeler Pickup Truck of the Year competition was the Ford F-150 Raptor SVT, which handily defeated two other trucks to earn the distinction of our PTOTY champion for 2011.
With factory-supplied Fox Racing bypass shocks and long-travel suspension, the Raptor excelled at everything we threw at it. We found the new 411hp and 434 lb-ft of torque 6.2L to be a power churner, easily able to roast the 35-inch BFGoodrich All-Terrains in to nothing more than long black smudges on the blacktop. The Upfitter switches, Off-Road Mode electronic nanny reducer (which can completely shut them off), any-speed rear locker, and the bold styling won over our judges.
As with all OTY winners, we get a chance to live with the winning vehicle for an entire year. Ford didn’t have any 2011s at the time, so the company provided us with a 6.2L-equipped 2010.5 model, which was closely representative of the ’11 model, missing a couple of features new-to-2011, such as the Driver Information Center—otherwise it was mostly identical.
The interior of the Raptor is based on the F-150, but has many of its own unique features.
Our Raptor arrived with a base price of $38,020. To that we added Molten Orange paint ($495), the 6.2L SOHC V-8 ($3,000), the Luxury Package ($1,950), Graphics Package ($1,075), Sony Navigation Radio ($2,430), Trailer Brake Controller ($230), Rear View Camera ($450) and Raptor Orange Accent Seats ($395). Together with the $975 destination fee, our Raptor’s MSPR ended up at $49,020.
During our first quarter, we put 3,618 miles on our Raptor. While the majority of those were commuting, we soon discovered that the Raptor could be just as fun in the city as it can be on the dirt. This is one of those vehicles that can turn any driver into an instant celebrity, garnering looks from truck fans off all ages, as well as those who aren’t car folks but just plain think it looks cool. Although, Molten Orange may be a bit loud for those not looking for such elevated celebrity status.
Around town the 6.2L dares you to mash the throttle at every stoplight. The rumbling tone of the exhausts rewards the ear with aftermarket sound quality, yet is quiet enough to take a backseat on the highway. The way the 6.2L makes power is deceptive. Because there is so much torque at such a low RPM, the engine never labors and the sense of building speed is much slower than in reality. More than once we’ve found ourselves approaching the century mark on the speedo while passing on a two-lane highway. It was accomplished with such ease that we never realized just how fast we were going.
We’ve found that the Raptor is a great ride on the highway, not what you would expect from a truck with a foot of suspension travel. With firm, controlled suspension motions, the ride can best be described as sporty. Highly bolstered bucket seats squeeze you in place, and a tall center console puts everything at your fingertips for that cockpit-like experience.
At the heart of the Raptor is a wider stance, thanks to these longer aluminum control arms
In the dirt, the Raptor is most fun when driven sideways with the suspension and drivetrain under full duress and the nannies in the backseat. Throw in a few foot-high moguls mid-turn and don’t even think about it. The Raptor soaks up undulations like a ShamWow soaks up liquids at a country fair demonstration.
With a payload capacity of 930 pounds and a towing capacity of 6,000 pounds, we plan on hooking the Raptor up to a few loads over the course of the year to see just how the supple suspension handles some weight.
Our only negative to report at this time is the 6.2L’s insatiable thirst for liquefied Velociraptors and other prehistoric Earth inhabitants. With gas prices still high, the cost of fun can certainly come at a price. During the first quarter we averaged 12.34 mpg, with our best highway tank approaching 15 mpg. Maybe our staff enjoyed the throttle a little too much this quarter.
With three more quarters to go, we are sure the staff will continue to have fun in the Raptor. This is one rig the staff can’t wait to put some serious good-time miles on over the course of its stay. FW
Report: 1 Of 4
Previous reports: None
Base price: $38,020
Price as tested: $49,020
Four-wheel drive system: Part-time, two-speed, electronic shift-on-the-fly
Miles to date: 3,618
Miles since last report: First report
Average mpg (this report): 12.34
Test best tank (mpg): 14.16
Test worst tank (mpg): 10.58
What’s Hot, What’s Not
Hot: 6.2L powerhouse, great ride, stand-apart styling
Not: Fuel economy
Our Take: Our choice for beating a two-track into submission
“Fuel economy in the city is pretty lackluster, but what do you expect from 411/434 power output?”
“This thing just begs you to stomp on it and light up those 35-inch BFGs.”
“Hit the dirt and this thing is just unbelievable on the trail.”
“Molten Orange is great for photos, not so much for my quiet neighborhood.”
“Love the Raptor. Everything about it exudes cool.”