You can't drive a Raptor and not call out the giant Fox Racing shocks that swallow ruts, bumps and whoop-de-doos without an ounce of the rattle or slam your body, relying on visual input, is expecting. The massive front upper and lower control arm, combined with the super-cooling abilities of the reservoir shocks, allowed us to blast through sections of backcountry two-track road at 60, 70 and 80 mph like a Mexico-racing Trophy Truck on the last leg of the Baja 1000. Can there be any great joy than driving a purpose-built vehicle on the exact terrain or track on which it was design to run best? It's practically impossible not to smile and while smashing your foot to the floor. (We know; we tried.) We especially liked the electronically controlled Off Road Mode settings that allowed us to turn down and even shut off all the traction and throttle controls. This type of nanny we can live with. On our little outing, that directly translated into more tire-drifting fun in the middle of the 2-square-mile-wide dry lakebed. (Note to all enthusiasts: If you've never driven on an empty, wide-open, dry lake bed, put it on your bucket list).

It's also worth noting that the Raptor isn't just a truck for high-speed or even airborne thrills. It does have a low-range gear in its transfer case. The massive 35-inch tires provide a ton of ground clearance; the low-range gearing allows the Raptor to crawl with the best 4x4s around; and the long wheelbase and wide track keep it from getting bogged down in the ruts and holes all the Jeeps have dug up on just about any extreme trail. After playing with the Raptor's 4x4 system and Hill Descent Control on jagged hillclimbs and steep dropoffs, we can say this truck is as expertly equipped for slow-go trail navigation as it is for high-speed, cross-desert exploration.