This seems like a bad idea: Ford takes an amazingly capable factory-built turn-key off-road racer and adds a 300-pound foot to it. That hyphen isn't misplaced. We're not talking torque here-300 extra pound-feet are always welcome. No, the SVT Raptor has been stretched by a foot to make the rear seat roomier than MT's corporate suite at the Joe Louis hockey arena. That extra metal, glass, and 10 surplus gallons of fuel-tank capacity mean that this supernumerary foot weighs as much as a linebacker. Adding so much mass and length to a performance vehicle seems as unwelcome to us as polymelia or polydactyly (growing a surplus arm/leg or finger/toe).

Of course, the upside to this growth spurt is added capability. The new SuperCrew Raptor's longer, sturdier chassis can haul 100 pounds more gear (1030 versus the SuperCab's 930) and it can tow an additional ton (8000 versus 6000 pounds). Ford credits the original Raptor's greatly increased tow/haul capability relative to its SVT Lightning progenitor with nearly doubling that hot-rod pickup's annual sales rate, so more of a good thing should be better, right?

Maybe, but SVT drive programs never involve such quotidian drudgery as hauling gravel or lugging an Airstream down the Interstate. Press-junket agendas are crammed with such photo- and telegenic pursuits as launching 3-ton-trucks off dunes in southern California, plunging them into Michigan mud bogs, or (this time around) sliding them sideways across snow-covered ice on a cold-weather proving ground in far northern Michigan.

To make the stretched Raptor behave as much as possible like the original, the steering ratio was tightened from 20:1 to 16:1 to preserve turn-in responsiveness on the longer wheelbase, and the spring rates were stiffened by 8 percent to match the SuperCab's ride frequency. (The Fox Racing triple-bypass shock damping rates were tweaked to match.)