is readying the next generation of the hot-selling F-Series lineup, and by the looks of it, there could be some big changes in store. That's all the more interesting for this machine spotted recently, the 2021 Ford F-150
| 2021 Ford F 150 Raptor Exterior Disguised Rear Suspension 01
Wearing current-generation Raptor bodywork
, wheels, and tires, this mule for the next-gen F-150 is also sporting significant rear suspension camouflage. Plainly obvious is the lack of rear leaf springs, which have been found under the Raptor since it was introduced for 2010. Instead, we see a Panhard bar and pivot bolt, suggesting, the 2021 F-150 (or at least the F-150 Raptor) will get a five-link rear suspension like its rival, the Ram 1500
| 2021 Ford F 150 Raptor Exterior Disguised Rear Suspension 02
The move could be reactionary as Ram
prepares to launch the 2021 Rebel TRX
, a die-hard off-roader that will give the Raptor its first real competition since it was launched nearly a decade ago. The Rebel TRX (first previewed as a concept
on the previous-generation 1500) is likely to boast a long-travel suspension and widened bodywork, like the Raptor, but it will borrow the regular Ram 1500's five-link rear suspension, possibly with optional air springs.
| 2021 Ford F 150 Raptor Exterior Front Quarter
So what will a potential five-link F-150 Raptor drive like? Probably very well. Properly designed link suspensions and coil springs offer improved underbody clearance, articulation, and suspension travel relative to leaf springs. They also offer more in the way of ride and handling tuning, meaning the 2021 Ford F-150 Raptor could be even more comfortable than the current truck and its excellent predecessor
| 2021 Ford F 150 Raptor Exterior Rear Quarter
The new Raptor is about a year from being revealed (we expect to see it and the rest of the 2021 F-150 family at the 2020 North American International Auto Show in Detroit next June). So until then, we probably won't be able to confirm too much about the truck. But nevertheless, it's clear Ford is doing a full-court press on the off-road pickup market, and enthusiasts will reap the benefits.
| 2021 Ford F 150 Raptor Exterior Side Profile