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Long-Term Report 1: 2017 Ford F-150 Raptor SuperCab

Posted in Vehicle Reviews on September 26, 2017
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For 2017 Ford redesigned the F-150 Raptor with a new frame, larger Fox internal bypass shocks, a lighter aluminum body, and more power. In fact, in a daring move, Ford replaced the raucous 6.2L V-8 with a massaged 3.5L EcoBoost V-6 and 10-speed automatic transmission. With these changes, it wasn’t much of a surprise when the redesigned Ford F-150 Raptor won our 2017 Four Wheeler Pickup Truck of the Year.

Since then, Raptors have proven exceedingly popular, with the 2017 and 2018 allocations sold out at most dealerships. We’ve seen Raptors marked up for more than $100,000 on the lot, and even the Raptor that won our contest had an as-tested price of $65,825. So if you’ve ever thought the price of a Raptor was out of reach and wondered what you get with a base Raptor, you are in luck, because we got our hands on the unicorn of Raptors for our long-term fleet.

A functional hood vent helps to expel heat from the high-output twin-turbo EcoBoost.

Wanting to jump right in to the cloth seats, we decided to fly to Michigan to pick up our truck from Ford and drive across the country back to our Southern California headquarters. With the first 2,000 miles rolled across the odometer in just a couple of days, we were immediately able to make some observations about the truck.

Our Raptor tester added to a base price of $48,325, Pro Trailer Backup Assist ($395), the Torsen front differential ($500), a spray-in bedliner ($495), and destination & delivery ($1,195), bringing the total to a palatable $50,910. Noting the 5,000-pound tow rating of the SuperCab model, we’d even ditch the relatively useless (in this application) Pro Trailer Backup Assist and save $395, or trade it out for the much more useful $275 trailer brake controller.

Our truck skips the luxuries of touch screens and leather for the basics of what makes a Raptor tick. If you want a truck with seat memory, push-button start, or keyless entry, this not the truck you are looking for. Our test Raptor even lacks fairly commonplace features, such as a damped tailgate or HomeLink. However, it does have satellite radio (a necessity for cross-country travel), tinted windows, and an as sinister-looking maw as we’ve ever seen on a pickup. In Border Patrol, er, Oxford White, this thing just looks mean. Countless people have commented on our “stormtrooper” Raptor, and despite being the same color as your plumber’s truck, it turns heads as much as anything else this side of a Crown Vic on Hell’s Revenge. No, really, look it up.

Thanks to a dearth of options, this has to be one of the lightest Raptor configurations you can get, and with 450 hp, this truck just plain rips. The 10-speed transmission has so far proven to be unflappable, with quick shifts and accurate gear selection. The Raptor is also pretty comfortable on the highway with a smooth and relatively quiet ride. As you might imagine, off-highway and in the right terrain, the Raptor is an absolute beast.

So far our biggest complaints are the inability to hear the music from the twin-turbo and direct-injected 3.5L DOHC V-6 under load, thanks to fake engine noises pumping loud and proud through the stereo and a less-than-inspiring exhaust note that leaves one wondering why Ford replaced the V-8, on visceral grounds alone. However, our logical side sees the advantages of the V-6, such as lighter weight and a better-balanced chassis.

The Fox internal bypass shocks now have a 3-inch body, nine zones, and integrated bumpstops. Travel is 13 inches front and 13.6 inches rear.

Our Raptor is also equipped with the fuel-saving Auto Start-Stop feature that shuts the engine down at stoplights. Or in stop-and-go traffic, or in the drive-thru, or whenever someone you want to impress pulls up next to you. In fact, nothing is more embarrassing than having your high-profile super truck shut off on its own, leaving you to explain how you didn’t just stall your Raptor and you actually are cool enough to be driving a Raptor because you are really saving the Earth. Maybe if the new and socially acceptable Raptor was around when you had that tree-hugging ex, you might still be together today thanks to this technology.

Fortunately, Auto Start-Stop can be disabled by pushing a button on the dash or by cycling one of the many available modes to “Sport.” Because we find the Raptor can be caught off guard and feel sluggish, even boring at times in “Normal” mode, Sport is our preferred setting for everyday driving. In Sport mode, the Raptor is much more lively and playful, awakening the EcoBoost and delaying shifts from the 10-speed automatic. It makes us wish that Sport mode was the default mode, and Normal mode was labeled “Eco.” It just makes so much more sense when you think of it that way.

Stoplight stories aside, our Raptor has been a fun companion both on and off the trail and we are looking forward to getting some more miles under our tires over the next year. Just know that if you catch us out in the world, you can safely bet which mode we’ll be driving in.

A thicker front aluminum skidplate protects the vitals and does a better job at resisting deforming from impacts.

Options as Tested:
Pro Trailer Backup Assist ($395), Torsen front differential ($500), spray-in bedliner ($495), and destination & delivery ($1,195)

Report: 1 Of 4
Previous reports: First report
Base price: $48,325
Price as tested: $50, 910
Four-wheel-drive system: Part-time/full-time, electronically controlled, two-speed

Long-Term Numbers
Miles to date: 4,550
Miles since last report: First report
Average mpg (this report): 14.3
Test best tank (mpg): 17.1
Test worst tank (mpg): 13.2

Maintenance
This period: None
Problem areas: None

What’s Hot, What’s Not
Hot: Awesome power, sinister good looks, killer suspension
Not: Fake engine sounds, Auto Start-Stop

Logbook Quotes
“While we miss the V-8 sound and loathe the fake engine sounds being pumped into the Raptor’s cabin, a lot can be forgiven when there is 450 hp and 510 lb-ft under foot.”
“There is now a refinement to the Raptor that we almost take offense to.”
“Cloth seats grip you and hold you in place.”
“You know Auto Start-Stop isn’t going to be a crowd pleaser when your wife prioritizes turning it off from the passenger seat before she even buckles up.”

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