2017 Ford F-150 Raptor Features Ten-Speed Trans, HO EcoBoost
All-New Performance Truck Looks Primed for the Apocalypse
True to earlier rumors about Ford’s North American International Auto Show debuts, the company showed off its new 2017 F-150 Raptor performance truck, and believe us, it looks even more brutal and capable than the first Raptor.
Foremost among the changes for the new Raptor is its construction. The standard F-150’s “military-grade” aluminum body construction makes the jump to the Raptor, although bodywork is substantially altered from its work-spec sibling. Sitting under the 6-inch-wider body is a frame that was purpose-built for the Raptor, using more high-strength steel than last year’s SVT to help save weight and add strength.
The Raptor’s performance should be out of this world. Thanks to its unique construction, the 2017 weighs about 500 pounds less than the outgoing pickup, and Ford says it will be more powerful as well. We’ve assumed that an EcoBoost engine would power the new Raptor for a while now, and Ford confirmed just that this morning. While the company didn’t release firm power and torque ratings, Ford claims the 3.5L twin-turbo V-6 in the new Raptor is more powerful and produces more torque than the outgoing Raptor’s huge (and thirsty) 6.2L V-8. That engine produces 411 hp and 434 lb-ft of torque, and we’re giddy the new Raptor will make more than that, especially since it’ll come in a lighter package.
Helping that massively powerful V-6 stay in the meat of its powerband (while increasing efficiency as well) will be an all-new Raptor-exclusive 10-speed automatic transmission. The gearbox will route power to the Raptor’s BFGoodrich All-Terrain KO2 tires through a new four-wheel-drive “torque-on-demand” transfer case, which Ford says combines the best attributes of clutch-driven all-wheel drive and traditional, mechanical-locking four-wheel drive. The system will allow for 2-High, 4-High, 4-Low, and all-wheel-drive modes. An available Torsen front differential aids traction, particularly when scrambling up rocky or slippery grades.
The company’s Terrain Management System comes standard in the 2017 Raptor, with six preset modes for everyday driving; performance on-road driving; rain, snow, and ice; mud and sand; high-speed off-road driving; and low-speed rock crawling. Switching between these modes selects different calibrations for the truck’s powertrain, driveline, anti-lock brakes, traction control, and stability control for ideal performance in those conditions. We hope at least one of the modes will allow threshold braking without ABS intervention, as that safety feature can be annoying in certain off-road situations.
Ford has updated the suspension on the new Raptor as well. New FOX Racing Shox come with custom internal bypass technology that will damp and stiffen the suspension to prevent bottoming out over rough terrain. Additionally, the front and rear shock canisters have grown in diameter from 2.5 to 3 inches, providing better performance and durability when driving near the limit. Ford says the upgrades have increased suspension travel over the 2014 Raptor’s 11.2 inches up front and 12 inches at the rear.
Of course, no discussion on the Raptor would be complete without addressing its meaty, Mad-Max-esque styling. It’s still instantly recognizable as a Ford F-150, with pencil-thin LED signature lights front and rear. The F-150’s upright, hexagonal grille shape makes the transition to the high-performance truck as well, although the outgoing Raptor donates things like clearance lights and bold “FORD” script to the new one’s visage.
Well-integrated flared fenders provide coverage for the huge, meaty tires mounted on 17-inch wheels (with more clearance lights front and rear), and the tailgate is sculpted as well, with the Ford script spanning a stamped panel that runs the width between the taillights. Ford only showed photos of the extended-cab Raptor, which, like before, comes with the company’s shortest bed for maximum maneuverability. It’s a polarizing design, but it looks like it could take on a zombie horde or the Baja 1000 with equal ease.
On sale late next year, the new Raptor looks like it picks up where the old, SVT-branded truck left off. Ford’s claims of increased power, suspension travel, off-road capability, and on-road refinement add up to a very compelling package, and we’re sad we have to wait more than a year to shake one down. It should be a very talented, fun-to-drive truck, and we’re looking forward to learning more about it as it gets closer to series production.