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2017 Ford F-150 Raptor Wins Four Wheeler Pickup Truck of the Year

Posted in Vehicle Reviews on January 31, 2017 Comment (0)
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Photographers: Ken BrubakerFour Wheeler Staff

It’s been said absence makes the heart grow fonder, and certainly, the two-year hiatus of the Ford F-150 Raptor kept the suspense and anticipation among off-road enthusiasts for the next-generation Raptor high. The original Raptor set a high bar for expectations, and one which many believed the new truck would have a hard time meeting. However, in the finally tally of Four Wheeler’s 2017 Pickup Truck of the Year testing, the Raptor lived up to its lofty reputation, and easily clinched the trophy.

This year’s field included updated versions of some past PTOTY winners, including the Ram Power Wagon. The Raptor itself is a repeat winner, having won the 2011 Pickup Truck of the Year.

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The week of exhaustive testing covered nearly 1,000 miles, and included a variety of terrain including trails, sand dunes, freeway and instrumented track testing. In nearly every objective and subjective performance category, the new Raptor excelled, thanks in large part to its supremely powerful 450 hp 3.5L EcoBoost twin-turbocharged V-6 with an equally impressive 510 lb-ft of torque, mated to a new 10-speed automatic transmission. This formidable powertrain, combined with the Raptor’s BF Goodrich All-Terrain KO2 tires, locking rear axle, Fox Racing front and rear shocks, and multiple terrain settings, got the Raptor over and through everything the judges threw at it. For its technological, engineering and performance excellence, Four Wheeler is proud to award the 2017 Pickup Truck of the Year trophy to the 2017 Ford F-150 Raptor.

PhotosView Slideshow

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Ford F-150 Raptor Wins FOUR WHEELER’s 2017 Pickup Truck of the Year Award

An All-New Design, Abundant Power, and Long-Travel Suspension Combine to Help Ford Earn Top Honors

LOS ANGELES January 26, 2017—FOUR WHEELER, the world’s leading 4x4 authority since 1962, has selected the Ford F-150 Raptor as the winner of its 28th annual Pickup Truck of the Year award.

FOUR WHEELER’s Pickup Truck of the Year award event is an invitation-only competition that is only open to all-new or significantly revised pickup trucks for the upcoming model year. For 2017, the field of vehicles included seven trucks:

Ford F-150 Raptor, 3.5L V-6 turbocharged
Ford F-250 Super Duty FX4, 6.7L V-8 turbodiesel
Nissan Titan PRO-4X, 5.6L V-8
Nissan Titan XD PRO-4X, 5.6L V-8
Ram Power Wagon, 6.4L V-8
Ram 2500 Off Road Package, 6.7L I-6 turbodiesel
Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro, 3.5L V-6

“The all-new 2017 Ford Raptor is the truck equivalent of an amusement park thrill ride. Even before you climb into the cab, the excitement starts to build as you feast your eyes on the truck’s stance,” says FOUR WHEELER Editor Ken Brubaker. “Compared to its predecessor, which also had a very commanding stance, the new Raptor has more ground clearance and a significantly wider track that makes it look incredibly aggressive. The excitement continues when you fire up the high-output twin-turbo 3.5L EcoBoost engine and stab the throttle. With horsepower and torque numbers far exceeding the previous generation Raptor, the engine is a willing participant in the Raptor experience. Combine all of this in a truck that is lighter than its predecessor, with increased wheel travel, and you’re rewarded with exactly that: an experience.”

The road to winning FOUR WHEELER’s prestigious 2017 SUV of the Year award was actually more of a rutted, rocky, snow-clogged two-track. Since FOUR WHEELER is the leading 4x4 authority, the majority of testing was done off-road in a variety of challenging terrains. FOUR WHEELER combined this extreme testing with on-road and track testing. The weeklong test covered approximately 1,000 miles, and scoring factored in a number of areas, including price, fuel efficiency, tire size, ramp travel index (RTI) results, and more.

The competition began in the Los Angeles area with ramp travel index (RTI) testing to gauge each vehicle’s suspension articulation. Following RTI testing, the pickups were driven to the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California, for track testing. Sophisticated electronic equipment was used to record each vehicle’s 0-60-mph and quarter-mile acceleration, as well as 60-0-mph braking distance. Following track testing, the vehicles were driven to the Southern California desert on paved roads. As was standard throughout the test, experienced judges rotated between vehicles on a regular basis, which provided equal testing time. Judges included staff from various brands within TEN: The Enthusiast Network, including FOUR WHEELER, 4-WHEEL & OFF-ROAD, JP, and DIRT SPORTS + OFF-ROAD. The multi-hour drive to the desert allowed judges to gather important information on each vehicle’s on-road manners in stop-and-go and open-highway driving. It also provided fuel efficiency data for this type of driving.

The next three days were spent primarily off-road. Each judge drove each vehicle in a variety of off-road conditions, including sand, rocky trails, loose-surface trails, and snow. The test also included a loose-dirt hillclimb and water crossings. This testing provided the judges with a wealth of information, including each vehicle’s off-road visibility from the driver seat, four-wheel-drive system selection and performance, tire performance and durability, engine power and cooling, transmission function and cooling, suspension tuning and performance, traction control system function, and much more. Night driving was also integrated into the competition to gauge each vehicle’s lighting equipment.

The final day of testing included a long highway test section returning to the Los Angeles area, during which additional important highway data was gathered, including fuel economy, interior comfort, and on-road handling.

The off-road credentials of the F-150 Raptor are impressive. It’s up to 500 pounds lighter than its predecessor, so it’s more nimble. It has up to 2 inches more ground clearance, a track width increase of 6 inches, and redesigned bumper overhangs that give it an impressive 30-degree approach angle and a 23-degree departure angle. It also includes Raptor-specific 35-inch BFGoodrich All-Terrain KO2 tires, a rear-axle electric locker, and Fox 3-inch-diameter, nine-stage, bypass-damping shocks. The suspension boasts 13 inches of front suspension travel and 13.9 inches of rear suspension travel, which translated to a remarkable 627-point score on our 20-degree RTI ramp. Additionally, the Raptor has a very good crawl ratio of 50:1 and impressive 11.5-inch ground clearance. All of these things combine to create a truck that is extraordinarily capable off-road, whether at speed or crawling obstacles. Judges’ comments included, “Very competent crawling rocks” and “Smooth city!”

The all-new, second-generation, high-output, twin-turbocharged 3.5L EcoBoost engine produces 450 hp and 510 lb-ft of torque and features a true dual exhaust. The powerplant is mated to an all-new, segment-first, 10-speed automatic transmission. This pairing helped to propel the Raptor to a best-in-field 0-60-mph time of 6.3 seconds and a quarter-mile time of 15 seconds.

The cab of the Raptor is the place we wanted to be, and judges were impressed by the striking visual appearance of the Raptor’s interior, comfort, and intuitive functionality of its switchgear. The list of standard interior features included steering wheel paddle shifters, upfitter switches, power sliding rear window, electronic auto climate control, voice-activated navigation, and SYNC Connect.

Prior to Pickup Truck of the Year testing, each judge was issued an official judging book, which included areas for the judges to grade vehicle criteria and log comments. With testing completed, the vehicle criteria data provided by the judges was combined with performance and other data to create a score for each vehicle. The scoring was weighted, prioritizing off-road performance. The five weighted categories include 30 percent Trail Performance, 20 percent Empirical (RTI, acceleration, braking, price, and so on), 20 percent On Pavement (handling, ride quality, steering feel, and so on), 15 percent Interior (instrumentation, ingress and egress, seat comfort, storage, and so on), and 10 percent Exterior (appearance, stance, body protection, and so on). Prior to SUV of the Year testing, each judge was issued an official judging book, which included areas for the judges to grade vehicle criteria and log comments. With testing completed, the vehicle criteria data provided by the judges was combined with performance and other data to create a score for each vehicle. When the calculations were complete, the Ford F-150 Raptor emerged the winner due to consistently high scores in all five categories to give the win and the title 2017 Pickup Truck of the Year.

“FOUR WHEELER’s SUV and Pickup Truck of the Year awards are the most prestigious and longest-running four-wheel-drive awards in the industry,” says Sean P. Holman, content director for TEN: The Enthusiast Network’s Truck and Off-Road Group. “Our experts use an emphasis on the enthusiast perspective to find the world’s most capable out-of-the box vehicles. These vehicles are not only competent in their own right, but lend themselves to being great foundations for the enthusiast to build off of. Based on a comprehensive evaluation, our readers can be sure they are getting the most capability and fun for their money when choosing one of our winners.”

Public Relations Contacts:

Sean P. Holman
Content Director
Truck Trend Network
(310) 531-9063
SHolman@enthusiastnetwork.com


Rob Quigley
PR & Social Media Manager, Marketing
TEN: The Enthusiast Network
(323) 999-1411
RQuigley@enthusiastnetwork.com

About FOUR WHEELER
Launched in 1962, FOUR WHEELER is the world’s first and longest-tenured off-road enthusiast brand and has since become the halo brand for the Four Wheeler Network, which includes other storied off-road–centric titles, such as JP, PETERSEN’S 4-WHEEL & OFF-ROAD, and DIRT SPORTS + OFF ROAD. Whether you are looking for tips and how-tos on making your off-road vehicle more capable or want to stay up to date on emerging off-road trends and the most capable vehicles from the factory, the world’s leading 4x4 authority will bring it to you. With a total audience of 24 million, the Four Wheeler Network keeps off-roading enthusiasts informed and entertained. Please visit fourwheeler.com.

About Ford Motor Company
Ford Motor Company is a global automotive and mobility company based in Dearborn, Michigan. With about 203,000 employees and 62 plants worldwide, the company’s core business includes designing, manufacturing, marketing, and servicing a full line of Ford cars, trucks, and SUVs, as well as Lincoln luxury vehicles. To expand its business model, Ford is aggressively pursuing emerging opportunities with investments in electrification, autonomy, and mobility. Ford provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company. For more information regarding Ford and its products and services, please visit corporate.ford.com.

About TEN: The Enthusiast Network
TEN: The Enthusiast Network is the world’s premier transmedia network of enthusiast brands, such as MOTOR TREND, AUTOMOBILE, HOT ROD, SURFER, TRANSWORLD SKATEBOARDING, and GRINDTV. With more than 60 websites, 50 publications, 50 annual events, the Motor Trend OnDemand subscription video-on-demand service, as well as the world’s largest automotive and action/adventure sports media platforms, TEN inspires enthusiasts to pursue their passions. For more information, visit enthusiastnetwork.com.

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