Can It Do The Work?
You might think that the Ford F-150 SVT Raptor 6.2L is a high-strung, finicky, supermodel truck built specifically for looking good and speedy off-road forays. So did we. It’s a ½-ton, high-speed, desert-truck with 35-inch tires, how well could it possibly perform as a work truck? During this quarter we aimed to find out if this prissy prerunner can do the work, too.
We hitched up several different trailers to the F-150 Raptor not expecting much from the off-road-tuned suspension. We were pleasantly surprised when the rear leafs hardly sagged under the load of our car hauler and towed 4x4. Our empty toy hauler caused the suspension to settle a little more but the weight-distributing hitch of the trailer helped keep the Raptor’s axle off the bumpstops.
Once on the highway with trailer in tow the F-150 Raptor absolutely amazed us with its unbelievable power and impressive braking. The factory-installed trailer brake controller worked flawlessly and was easy to adjust for different loads. In Tow/Haul mode the transmission aggressively downshifts to each sequential gear, significantly improving overall braking performance. The engine and tranny combo make for a remarkable tow rig.
The stability of the truck was uncanny. It never felt squirrelly or out of control, even while towing through twisty mountain roads. This may in part come from the additional width of the Raptor SVT package and the huge amount of rubber the BFG All-Terrains put on the road. Of course the instant fuel economy dipped just below the teens and likely would have been worse had we attempted to maintain highway speeds outside of California (max speed limit for trucks with trailers in California is 55 mph).
The only real setback for the Raptor as a tow rig is its capacity. Some F-150 models have up to an amazing 11,300-pound tow capacity, however our SuperCab Raptor 6.2L maxes out at 6,000 pounds. The SuperCrew Raptor allows slightly more weight at 8,000 pounds. Based on its towing performance we feel the Raptor is conservatively rated. This may have been done to control transmission temperatures in extreme situations, but only Ford knows for sure.
We loaded the bed down with everything from motorcycles to railroad ties. The four bed tie-down hooks were well placed and plenty sturdy for motorcycles and lighter loads. However, when using larger ratchet straps for the heavy stuff we noticed the bed tie-downs looked as though they might pull free from the body if we really ratcheted down on them. We’d like to see some stouter tie-down hooks. Our tester didn’t come with any type of bedliner which was a mistake. As expected, the paint and sheetmetal paid the price. If you plan to haul stuff, option in a factory bedliner or hit up the aftermarket for one. FW
Report: 3 OF 4
Previous reports: Feb. ’12
Base price: $38,020
Price as tested: $49,020
Four-wheel-drive system: Two-speed, part-time, shift-on-the-fly
Miles to date: 11,173
Miles since last report: 3,229
Average mpg (this report): 13.34
Test best tank (mpg): 15.83
Test worst tank (mpg): 10.58
This period: Oil service and tire rotation: $79.95
Problem areas: Some clunking from suspension, dealer found no problems
What’s Hot, What’s Not
Hot: Unbelievably stable tow rig
Not: Bed hooks not good for heavy hauling
Our take: It’s not rated to haul as much as other ½-ton trucks, but it does what it’s rated for very well.
“The grille is ugly; too bad it’s not more authentic Ford.”
"It’s pretty quiet for a big truck with 35-inch tires”
"Needs a bedliner for hauling duty, it is really starting to show the wear.”
“The stereo system is awesome but the iPod/iPhone interface is a little clunky.”