Long-Term Test: Second Report, 2017 Ford F-150 Raptor SuperCab

Second report: from trail racer to daily driver

Sean P. HolmanPhotographer, Writer

There is no denying that the Ford Raptor is an absolute beast in the dirt. With 13 inches of travel in the front and 13.9 inches in the rear, nine-zone Fox internal bypass shocks, 35-inch tires, a rear locker, front Torsen differential, and 450 hp, there isn’t another factory vehicle on the planet that can go toe-to-toe with the wide-track Ford off-road. However, we seem to go toe-to-toe with every other vehicle on the planet, especially during our daily hour-and-a-half commute on Southern California’s notorious 405 freeway.

So what’s it like to live with the Raptor day in and day out? The truth is, the Raptor is quite livable and docile in the city. Visibility is generally very good, and other than taking up more lane space and having to be more aware of where the corners are in tight quarters, the Raptor drives just like any other F-150. We haven’t found a parking space or structure yet the Raptor doesn’t fit in, although sometimes it just barely makes it.

The Raptor SuperCab is ideal for two people, utilizing the rear of the cab with the seats folded up for storage. If you do need to carpool, two or three people can be squeezed in the back in a pinch, although with limited legroom it is best used for short trips. Rear passengers will appreciate the fact that the rear windows roll down and children are perfectly happy back there. If your family situation requires that you use a car seat or the Raptor is going to be your main family vehicle, the SuperCrew is still the way to go.

As our logbook has noted, the same big travel and big tires that make the Raptor a star on the trail also make it a great choice in decaying urban environments. Our truck hits cross ditches at speed, and motors through potholes that leave 20-inch wheels bent and scattered in its wake. On the freeway, road debris passes under the truck almost unnoticed, and the skidplates keep the truck protected from errant chunks of roadway or other people’s lost cargo.

Sometimes the chassis can feel a little nervous in certain conditions, such as accelerating on broken pavement. With so much power on tap, curvy on-ramps require driver attention, especially in slippery conditions. Fortunately, the transfer case has an A4WD setting that keeps the Raptor tracking straight in wet weather, making it easier to harness all that power on slick pavement and sandy trails alike. Sure, it could handle a little tighter in emergency lane change maneuvers, but if it means less off-road performance, we wouldn’t trade a thing.

In the straight line, the Raptor is shockingly quick…just ask the old guy in his “four-door Corvette” Caddy CTS-V who gave us an emphatic thumbs up at the next light and told us, “I thought it might be fast, but I had no idea it was THAT fast.” Turns out he was an original Buick Grand National owner, and has much respect for the 3.5L twin-turbo EcoBoost. Matching that big power are good brakes, so just as the 3.5L EcoBoost can get the Raptor away from trouble, the binders can keep you out of it.

With a recent remodel to one of our tester’s homes, we put the 1,000-pound payload rating of the Raptor to the test. From pallets of laminate wood flooring to sod, the spray-in bedliner-equipped aluminum bed has been up to the task. Although, much as with a trailer, the soft long-travel suspension sags a lot quicker than your run-of-the-mill F-150.

Overall, we love the Raptor for its big power, comfortable cloth thrones, and multifaceted personality. Mileage is pretty good for the power level. If there is anything we’d like to see improved for the on-road performance, it’s more range for those longer cross-country trips. So far, the truck hasn’t had any strange squeaks or rattles and feels as tight as the day we picked it up in Michigan.

Now that we have a fair amount of mileage from all of our commuting rolled on the odometer, we’ve been able to get a pretty good idea of fuel economy. The six gets about 16 mpg in mixed driving, while our best highway number to date is a respectable 18.62 mpg. The Raptor has also been great with service, only requiring one trip to the dealer to date for a scheduled oil change.

Stay tuned for our next report when we plan to hit the trails and have some dirty fun with our super truck, just the way Ford intended.

Report: 2 of 4

Previous reports: Jan. ’17
Base price: $48,325
Price as tested: $50, 910
Four-wheel-drive system: Part-time/full-time electronically controlled, two-speed

Options as Tested
Pro Trailer Backup Assist ($395), Torsen front differential ($500), spray-in bedliner ($495), and destination and delivery ($1,195)
Long-Term Numbers
Miles to date: 9,491
Miles since last report: 4,941
Average mpg (this report): 15.46
Test best tank (mpg): 18.62
Test worst tank (mpg): 13.17

This period: 10,350 miles; scheduled service
Problem areas: None

What’s Hot, What’s Not
Hot: Twin-turbo grunt, docile daily driver, still a useful truck
Not: Needs more range, suspension sometimes feels skittish on road

Logbook Quotes
“As wide as the Raptor is, it’s pretty easy to park. We haven’t found a situation, space, or parking garage yet that we weren’t able to take the Raptor into.”
“The best thing about the Raptor is the sound of two turbos spooling that can be heard in just the right conditions.”
“I wish we had the bigger fuel tank; hate having to fill up every 300 miles.”
“Just loaded the bed with 1,300 pounds of building supplies—rear sagged, but the Raptor handled the load no problem.”
“Whether you are bombing down the trail or hitting dips and cross ditches in the city, the Raptor is stupid fun.”

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