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

The performance vehicle with a bed

Sean P. HolmanPhotographer, Writer

It’s fun to drive a supercar with a bed on the back of it. From the looks to the performance, the Raptor is a blast on the street or the dirt. However, that doesn’t mean its pickup truck roots have been neutered. With 1,000 pounds of payload and 5,000 pounds of towing, plus the extreme level of off-road ability, the Raptor is still a useful tool to have in the driveway.

So far we’ve filled the bed with over 1,000 square feet of laminate wood flooring, transported axles for one of our Jeep projects, and filled the bed to the brim with sod for a backyard project. While the long-travel suspension is notably softer, squatting more under load than a standard F-150, it is quite manageable.

To increase the usefulness of our factory-lined bed, we mounted a Yakima CrashPad to the tailgate. With that addition we can easily take our Giant Trance and three of our buddies with their mountain bikes to the trail for a day of riding. As cool as it is to be on the trail with the Raptor, it can get you a little deeper into some cool riding terrain when you want a different type of off-roading.

But rest assured, when the road does turn rough, the Raptor is an absolute thrill ride. With every box checked on the equipment you want on your 4x4 (front Torsen, rear electrically activated locker, performance suspension, towhooks, full skidplating, and a fullsize spare), the Raptor is ready to romp wherever you want to go. Whether it is fast dirt, whooped-out trails, or deep washes, the Raptor doesn’t disappoint.

Thanks to more power and lightweight aluminum construction, the current truck feels lighter on its feet than its predecessor. With the advanced Terrain Management System and a unique AWD/4WD transfer case, the Raptor is generally a point-and-shoot affair. Leave on the electronic nannies and the Raptor will let you have fun, right up to the point where you may need saving from yourself. Toggle through the various terrain modes to “Baja,” and you are left to your own devices and rewarded with a raw and visceral driving experience. However, be warned that the 10-speed automatic transmission is ultra-responsive and will downshift with minimal throttle tip in, letting loose those quick-spooling turbos. It’s best to match Baja mode with the manual paddle shifting to better control your desert racing ambitions.

Overall the 3-inch-diameter Fox internal bypass shocks work astonishingly well, but we’ve found the rear, when unloaded, could use some additional rebound control. Also, in certain conditions such as riding the tops of the whoops under power, the truck can become somewhat skittish, an undesirable trait we’ve noticed on-road when traversing broken pavement in turns. We are also disappointed that Ford chose to remove the locker functionality in two-wheel drive, although we’ve heard there is good reasoning behind it, as the 450hp 3.5L EcoBoost apparently wasn’t conducive to keeping the rearend together in certain situations while in two-wheel drive with the rearend locked up.

After 14,632 miles, we’ve found the Raptor to be incredibly competent, fun, and reliable, with no unscheduled dealership visits or issues to speak of. The SuperCab is proving to be much more solid-feeling than the older-generation trucks with tighter door sealing, and no squeaks or rattles so far. However, we’d highly recommend the crew cab model for families with a baby seat. The thick front Raptor chairs just don’t allow enough room for a rear-facing baby seat and an average-height front passenger to coexist. Our only other complaint is with the suspension on the pavement. When the truck is cold, the shocks give a mild pogoing sensation, which almost feels like flat-spotted tires (thanks to our familiarity with the excellent 35-inch BFGoodrich A-Ts, we know that’s not the case). This sensation disappears after a minute or so of driving when the shock oil starts moving.

With only a few months left with our long-term Raptor, we’ll use this last quarter to wean ourselves off those intoxicating turbos and take advantage of the truck’s always-ready trailability.

Report 3 of 4

Previous reports: Jan. ’18, Apr. ’18
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: 14,632
Miles since last report: 5,141
Average mpg (this report): 14.76
Test best tank (mpg): 18.62
Test worst tank (mpg): 13.17

This period: None
Problem areas: None

What’s Hot, What’s Not
Hot: Ready to play at a moment’s notice, always fun
Not: SuperCab not the best choice for those with baby seats

Logbook Quotes
“There are times I wish I could use the locker in 2WD, like in the last Raptor. Disappointed that this feature was removed.”

“I love the auxiliary switches on the overhead console, reminds me of an airplane.”

“The Raptor is one mean-looking truck at night.”

“The SuperCab is uncomfortably small with a baby seat in the back, but I was reasonably able to fit four mountain bikes and three buddies in the truck with me on a recent trip.”

“I notice a little pogoing of the suspension in the morning after the truck has sat overnight, but drive it a few hundred yards and the sensation disappears.”

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

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