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2017 Ford F-150 Raptor

The Legend Returns

Mar 16, 2017
Photographers: Robert Guio
Wow. Where do we start?
Since Ford took the wraps off the first production-intent second-generation F-150 Raptor concept in January 2015, we’ve been eager to wrap our hands behind the off-road special’s chunky wheel and give the throttle a good boot. Finally, after nearly two years of waiting, Ford dropped a Lightning Blue F-150 Raptor SuperCab at our offices, threw us the keys, and told us to have fun. And have fun we did.
Photo 2/10   |   2017 Pickup Truck Of The Year Ford F150 Raptor Engine
So, before we get too far, allow us to clear one thing up: This truck is extremely cool. With 450 hp and 510 lb-ft of torque on tap, the high-output 3.5L EcoBoost engine imbues the ’17 Raptor with incredible thrust, furthered by the truck’s 500-pound weight-loss regimen. A 10-speed automatic transmission, the first in the modern era, keeps that engine right in the heart of its very broad powerband. The paddle-shifted gearbox routes power through a sophisticated transfer case that offers the usual 2-high, 4-high, and 4-low settings, plus a clutch-based “4A” setting that mimics a torque-on-demand all-wheel-drive system.
Adaptive steering modes and a slick terrain management system take advantage of the truck’s improved 3-inch FOX internal bypass shocks and increased suspension travel. There’s a lot of technology going on, but it all dials down to a very fast, fun truck to drive in almost any terrain. Rocks, whoops, ditches, and jumps (er, “railroad crossings”) are no match for the F-150 Raptor’s advanced off-road hardware, with an impressively smooth ride and plenty of control in a variety of conditions.
Photo 3/10   |   2017 Pickup Truck Of The Year Ford F150 Raptor Suspension
Indeed, at our top-secret off-road test facility, the Ford F-150 Raptor soaked up exceedingly large bumps at speeds exceeding 70 mph, with little discernible performance degradation after hours of playtime. The power on tap was ferocious and addictive, and we loved getting the truck sideways in the dirt.
On-road, the Raptor suffers a little for its off-road performance. Soft springs yield a pretty smooth ride over broken pavement, but there’s a good amount of body roll and brake dive during emergency handling maneuvers. The biggest tradeoff for the Raptor’s dirty-minded demeanor comes from towing ability. Although it has plenty of power, the F-150 has a towing capacity of just 6,000 pounds and a sag-happy payload rating of 1,000. Both numbers are near the bottom of this test, with the Raptor beating only the Honda Ridgeline in rated trailer-lugging and coming up last in payload. Furthermore, towing composure suffers in the short-wheelbase F-150, with each editor commenting on the truck’s flinty ride when hitched up.
Photo 4/10   |   2017 Pickup Truck Of The Year Ford F150 Raptor Side
In most other respects, the Raptor is a pretty comfortable truck. One editor praised its recliner-comfortable front seats, which are supportive and have a good amount of adjustments to fit a variety of body types. As could be expected of an extended-cab truck, rear-seat space is limited; the SuperCab/5 1/2-foot bed combination is a Raptor exclusive, mounted to a Raptor-specific 134.2-inch wheelbase for improved maneuverability.
The Ford’s race-ready steering wheel has an extremely thick rim, comfortable thumb rests, and a straight-ahead stripe in the 12-o’clock position. The helm felt unusual underhand but worked well in daily commuting and enthusiastic driving, with palpable differences between Sport, Comfort, and Normal steering modes. The button-happy interior is a bit overwhelming, particularly when sorting through the various off-road settings, but after some familiarization, the Raptor’s auxiliaries become reasonably easy to operate.
Photo 5/10   |   2017 Pickup Truck Of The Year Ford F150 Raptor Interior
While interior styling is largely standard–F-150 fare, the exterior is absolutely steroidal. With more than 6 inches of added track width and more than 2 inches of extra ground clearance compared to the regular F-150, the Raptor stands tall with broad shoulders. The front end features an octagonal grille with bold Ford branding, LED clearance lights, and high-clearance bumpers that provide a favorable approach angle. Massive fender flares are much better integrated in the new Raptor than in the original, and they hide attractive wheel designs and 35-inch BFGoodrich tires.
Complaints were few, although every editor hated the artificial exhaust note piped in over the stereo system. The actual exhaust tone, as observed outside the vehicle, is a boring drone that’s totally out of character for a high-performance vehicle. With dual variable overhead cams and two massive turbos, there’s no reason the powerplant shouldn’t sound like the technical tour-de-force it is. To Ford, next year, let us hear the turbos whir and the camshafts phase and quit with the fake V-8 soundtrack!
Photo 6/10   |   2017 Pickup Truck Of The Year Ford F150 Raptor
With fire-spitting performance on and off-road, but limited cargo and trailer-hauling ability, the ’17 Ford F-150 Raptor can be best described, as one editor said, as a “man-sized UTV with seating for five.” However, the Raptor’s off-road–centric resume didn’t stop any one of us from lusting after its massive power, bold styling, comfortable interior, and legendary capability.
WE LIKE: Incredible off-road composure, paired with sports car beating acceleration. Attention-grabbing styling. Comfortable cabin.
WE DON’T LIKE: Button anxiety. Compromised towing ability. Phony exhaust note inside, boring exhaust note outside.
Photo 7/10   |   2017 Pickup Truck Of The Year Ford F150 Raptor Front

2017 Ford F-150 Raptor

Base Price: $48,325
Price As Tested: $61,840
Trim: Raptor
EPA Fuel Econ (City/HWY/Comb): 15/18/16
Engine: 3.5L EcoBoost V-6
Horsepower: 450 @ 5,000 rpm
Torque: 510 lb-ft @ 3,500 rpm
Transmission: 10-speed automatic
Accel 0-60 MPH: 5.98 seconds
Quarter Mile: 14.78 seconds @ 94.57 mph
Braking 60-0 MPH: 175.98 ft
Accel 0-60 (Payload): 6.45 seconds
Quarter Mile (Payload): 15.08 seconds @ 93.35 mph
Braking 60-0 MPH (Payload): 143.61 ft
Accel 0-60 (Towing): 10.29 seconds
Quarter Mile (Towing): 18.00 seconds @ 79.65 mph
Weight: 5,514 lbs
Decibel Level (at 60 MPH): 64.9
Tested Fuel Econ (Average/Best): 13.00/18.09
*1,000 pounds of payload **4,445-pound trailer weight

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