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First Test: 2010 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor 6.2

Frank Markus
May 17, 2010
As we've made abundantly clear by our first reports on the Special Vehicle Team's latest pickup truck offering, the wider, taller, brawnier Raptor is optimized for Baja 1000 duty, from its fortified long-travel suspension and Fox Racing Shox to its BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A tires. But not all that many folks live near a swath of open desert. More potential buyers have handier access to dunes and trails in more humid climes, so Ford invited us to sling some mud at its Romeo Michigan Proving Ground during one of the wetter spring seasons on record, and then allowed us to hose the truck off and strap on our test gear to get some dry-pavement performance stats.
Photo 2/23   |   2010 Ford F 150 SVT Raptor 6 2 Front In Mud
The day's exercises were chosen to highlight many of the Raptor's unique features, some of which were demonstrated on newly blazed trails and facilities conceived especially for this unique truck. Paved grades varying from 19 to 60 percent served to demonstrate SVT's interpretation of Hill Descent Control, which will hold any speed up to 20 mph. Just accelerate or brake to the exact speed you want and the system will dither the brakes to maintain it. HDC will also resume holding that speed if you accelerate to a speed above the 20-mph cutoff but under 40 mph (as when crossing a brief flat before descending again). The system switches off completely above 40 mph. It also works in reverse, but only at the minimum set speed of a few miles per hour.
Photo 3/23   |   2010 Ford F 150 SVT Raptor 6 2 Right Side In Air
On a big new gravel skidpad we had a chance to sample the three SVT-tuned AdvanceTrac modes: On, Sport, and Off, which behave like high-ground-clearance, 6100-pound riffs on Ferrari's On, Race, and CST-Off manettino settings. In fully On mode, the chassis is almost entirely immune to throttle-goosing or Finnish flicking of the steering wheel in corners; it responds to such shenanigans with easily controlled oversteer in Sport. Switch it off and it'll allow Baja 1000 victors to do Alex Zanardi-style donuts, spraying their fans with gravel.
The team agonized over the merits of fitting a single Terrain-Response-like selector with pre-packaged settings for all the electronic control variables, but decided to allow the driver greater freedom to mix and match variables like the stability control setting, rear differential locking, and tuning of engine and transmission responsiveness and behavior (via the Off-Road mode selector switch). It was the right decision, and Ford claims the Raptor is alone in allowing the electronic rear-differential lock to remain engaged all the way up to the vehicle's top speed (in Off-Road mode), whether operating in rear- or four-wheel drive.
Photo 7/23   |   2010 Ford F 150 SVT Raptor 6 2 Front In Water
On Romeo's freshly minted "high-speed" course -- a huge undulating field peppered with table jumps and mud bogs -- we were able to heat those Fox Shox up and appreciate all three of their damping rates (as the shock piston passes three different relief-valve orifices near the bottom of its jounce travel, the damping rate ramps up gradually to slow the bodywork down before encountering the microcellular urethane jounce bumpers, all of which happens so softly it's almost hard to know when you've truly bottomed the suspension in most bumps and jump landings. The course was so demanding that with the AdvanceTrac off, 4WD Hi mode engaged, and rear diff unlocked (locking it provokes more throttle oversteer), I was sawing away at the wheel so hard I was sweaty after two laps.
Photo 8/23   |   Raptor's track widens more than its center of gravity rises, allowing its static roll-over rating to improve by one star relative to the F-150 FX4's.
Surprisingly, my most ardent flailing never managed to overpower the steering pump, despite its being carried over (along with the steering ratio) largely unchanged from standard F-150 duty save for a new cap design that reduces fluid frothing (which can lead to overflow). The power-assist level is slightly lower for greater road feel both on and off-road, however. During this exercise the standard-issue orange "center-finder" sewn into the steering-wheel cover at the 12-o'clock position on all Raptors (regardless of interior or exterior color) came in ever so handy.
The balance of the day was spent creeping, crawling, and blasting through various bogs, swamps, and mud fields. Airing the desert-optimized BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/As down from their 44-psi placard setting to 28 psi improves their mud performance without undue risk of unseating a tire bead (in pure sand running, you can lower them even further). They proved adequate to the task, though a couple of wet-grassy inclines nearly defeated a couple of our Raptors. Here again, the T/As are better on-road and in high-speed desert duty than a dedicated mud tire would be, and swapping tires is probably the simplest performance alteration an owner can perform if mud is to be his primary habitat, so this decision seems to have been a sound one. This exercise included plenty of opportunities to call on all 411 of the 6.2's horses to power through and out of the muckiest bogs. If the 91 extra horses and 44 added pound-feet of bog-extrication performance don't motivate you to sign on this $3000 line, the engine's spirited snarl surely should. Anyone opting for the base 5.4 will be bitterly disappointed if he ever samples a 6.2.
Photo 12/23   |   2010 Ford F 150 SVT Raptor 6 2 Front Three Quarter Static
Our last stop was Ford's 2.5-mile concrete straightway, where this engine earned its three-grand asking price, propelling our 6100-pound test vehicle to 60 mph in just 6.5 seconds and through the quarter-mile in 15.1 seconds at 91.3 mph, clobbering the 5.4-liter's times by 1.8 seconds to 60 and 1.2 seconds and 6.2 mph in the quarter. Those times were generated in 4WD by the way, which proved 0.3 second quicker than the rear tires alone can accelerate this mass without immolating the tires. Braking distance was virtually unchanged at 143 feet from 60 mph.
Raptor sales and orders to date total 7000, making this the most successful truck SVT has ever minted. This shouldn't surprise anyone because unlike its road-scorching hot-rod Lightning predecessors, Raptor sacrifices little if any half-ton truck capability (900-pound payload, 6000-pound towing). And it appears to be just as happy slinging mud as it is blurring cacti.
Photo 16/23   |   This squeeze-cast aluminum part weighs about 30 pounds - that's 8.5 pounds MORE than the standard stamped steel ones weigh, but the strength is far greater. To ensure proper material flow into the critical area where those fancy Fox Shox bolt in, the casting is way thicker than necessary, requiring a surprising amount of rough machining. The anti-roll bar attachment is moved to the back side of the control arm where rocks and obstacles can't snag it.
More 4-1-1 on the 411-horsepower Raptor...
  • All 6.2-liters get two spark plugs per cylinder, but it's the Raptor that drove that design call. The two plugs fire simultaneously and permit a smoother idle than would be possible with one plug, given the Raptor's aggressive high-overlap cam profiles.
  • Differences relative to the Super Duty 6.2-liter include the cam profiles, the exhaust system, calibration, and the use of a mechanical cooling fan (Raptor's are electric).
  • The 6.2-liter (and the new 5.0-liter Coyote) V-8s use a new firing order that's gentler on the crankshaft in terms of torsional vibration frequencies. A side benefit is better interference of the exhaust pulses in the manifold that lend these engines a unique rasp.
..And its rear shock
Three bypass holes permit increased fluid displacement for more comfortable ride over smaller bumps. The two larger ones are blocked by a couple reed valves arranged like leaf springs that deflect to different degrees depending on the severity of the jounce. The smaller one in the middle is unimpeded. As the piston stokes past each of these holes, the damping rate increases. A single hole near the top of the travel provides a similar step change in rebound damping. The external reservoir on the rear shocks helps lower shock temperatures by increasing the amount of shock fluid. There's no room for such a reservoir in front. Fox taught Ford plenty about high-performance damping, but Ford reciprocated by teaching Fox a thing or two about 150,000-mile durability and ride comfort. One example: Ford engineered an auxiliary wiper seal that covers the top of the shock to clean dirt off the piston while wicking moisture away via small open channels, preserving Fox's internal seals.
Photo 17/23   |   2010 Ford F 150 SVT Raptor 6 2 Rear Shock
2010 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor
Drivetrain layout Front-engine, 4WD
Engine type 90-deg V-8, iron block/alum heads
Valvetrain SOHC, 2 valves/cyl \
Displacement 379.8 cu in/6210 cc
Compression ratio 9.8:1
Power (SAE net) 411 hp @ 5500 rpm
Torque (SAE net) 434 lb-ft @ 4500 rpm
Weight to power 14.8 lb/hp
Transmission 6-speed automatic
Axle/final/low ratio 4.10:1/2.83:1/2.64:1
Suspension, front; rear Control arms, coil springs, anti-roll bar; live axle, leaf springs
Steering ratio 20.0:1
Turns lock-to-lock 3.8
Brakes, f;r 13.8-in vented disc; 13.7-in vented disc, ABS
Wheels, f;r 8.5 x 17-in, cast aluminum
Tires, f;r 315/70R17 M+S BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A KO
Wheelbase 133.0 in
Track, f/r 73.6/73.6 in
Length x width x height 220.9 x 86.3 x 78.4 in
Turning circle 44.6 ft
Curb weight, (f/r dist) 6100 lb (56/44%)
Seating capacity 5
Headroom, f/r 41.0/39.7 in
Legroom, f/r 41.4/33.4 in
Shoulder room, f/r 65.9/65.7 in
Pickup box L x W x H 67.0 x 65.2 x 22.4 in
Width bet. wheelhouses 50.0 in
Payload capacity 900 lb
Towing capacity 6000 lb
Acceleration to mph
0-30 2.1/2.7 sec*
0-40 3.5/4.2*
0-50 4.8/5.9*
0-60 6.5/8.3*
0-70 8.9/11.0*
0-80 11.4/14.2*
0-90 14.5/19.1*
Passing, 45-65 mph 3.6/4.6*
Quarter mile 15.1 sec @ 91.3 mph/16.3 sec @ 85.1 mph*
Braking, 60-0 mph 143/146 ft*
Lateral acceleration NA/0.71 g (avg)*
MT figure eight NA /29.8 sec @ 0.53 g (avg)*
Top-gear revs @ 60 mph 1700 rpm
Base price $38,995
Price as tested $43,070
Stability/traction control Yes/yes
Airbags Dual front, front side, f/r curtain
Basic warranty 3 yrs/36,000 miles
Powertrain warranty 5 yrs/60,000 miles
Roadside assistance 5 yrs/60,000 miles
Fuel capacity 26.0 gal
EPA city/hwy econ N/A mpg
Recommended fuel Unleaded premium
*6.2L/base 5.4L performance



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