When we are talking about pickups, the word sporty is usually left out off discussion. Yet there is a special breed of trucks which have something more than only huge towing abilities and a big ground clearance.
When Ford launched its new F-150 SVT Raptor, the tag “performance truck” was on everybody’s lips. The new Raptor is considered by many the ultimate off-road production truck and there is no wonder why, as its sporty pedigree contains everything it needs to make your adrenaline levels explode.
Since 2011, the truck is offered in both extended and double cab configurations and is powered by a monstrous 6.2 liter V8 which cranks out 411 hp and 484 lb.ft of torque.
The Ford F-150 SVT Raptor comes with a 4x4 traction system and has a maximum towing capacity of 8000 lbs. Though, this nice toy doesn’t come cheap at all, as it has a starting price of $45,290.
The Ford F-150 SVT Raptor comes with a fairly aggressive look which perfectly suites its sporty character. The main difference over the standard F-150 model is the grille which was replaced with a new one that comes with Ford’s name embossed on it.
The Raptor’s headlights feature the same robust design as the one from the F-150, but the bumper was slightly redesigned.
The truck sits on huge 35 tires which are combined with a ground clearance of 11.2 inches front and 12.1 rear. The wheels are housed by oversized fenders which further enhance the aggressive look of the vehicle. There are also offered practical lateral footsteps which permit you climb easier into the cabin.
Around the back you’ll find a pair of modern and robust taillights which gel great with the front headlights and give the truck a sense of unity. Access inside the load bed is made by means of a wide opening tailgate. As most trucks of its type the F-150 Raptor is also fitted with a convenient foot step integrated into the rear bumper.
Climb inside and you’ll find a fairly spacious cabin. As it was expected, the interior design is pretty robust and copes well with the muscular exterior style. The center stack is pretty imposing too and its numerous controls are laid out in an intuitive and clear way.
A standard 4.2-inch LCD productivity screen is integrated in the center of the instrument gauges. The menu is navigated through a five-way button on the steering. The gauges come with a white background combined with red pointers and ice blue daytime lighting.
The build quality is faultless and the entire cab inspires a nice air of solidity. Most of the plastics and materials are part of the first class. Though, some bits of cheap plastic still surface, especially around the center console and on the door panels.
The seats are big and supportive, but they could’ve come with extra side bolstering to protect you during more aggressive driving. Perhaps it goes without saying that there is a royal amount of leg-, shoulder- and headroom and the seats come with a wide range of adjustments to help you get cozy behind the wheel.
The double cab models offer additional room for another three passengers on the second row of seats and none of them will complain about leg or head room either. In the extended cab models however, rear legroom is a bit limited.
The driver is met by a masculine four spoke steering wheel which is wrapped in soft leather. The wheel also comes with telescopic adjustments and a few useful integrated controls.
The all around visibility is excellent, as you have a commanding view of the road and the windscreen is big enough to keep you well informed of what’s going on outside.
The cab is also fitted with plenty of storage places, so finding a place to store your things won’t be a problem.
Engines and performance
In 2011 Ford ditched the old 5.4 liter engine and introduced a new, more performant 6.2 liter V8 which is now standard for both the Supercab and SuperCrew models. With 411 hp on tap, the new V8 makes the Raptor the strongest half ton pickup available on today’s market.
To give the truck a distinctive metallic roar, the engine was combined with a uniquely tuned exhaust system which also increases the V8’s performances.
The engine is mated on a SelectShift six-speed automatic transmission which continues to be one of the best you’ll find around, as it offers ideal shifts according with various terrains and grades. The transmission can be also switched on manual mode by means of a convenient toggle switch. The gearbox comes with a new one-way clutch which improves the smoothness of the 1-2 upshift and permits 2-1, 3-1, and even 4-1 downshifts at wide-open throttle.
The fuel economy is at par with what you’d usually get from these types of trucks and it’s rated at 11 mpg in the city and 16 mpg on the highway, according to the EPA.
As it was expected, the new 6.2 liter V8 is more willing to fulfill your sporty fantasies than the previous 310 hp 5.4 liter unit. Push the accelerator pedal harder and the Raptor starts to grow claws transforming into a true predator which is ready at a moment’s notice to paint the pavement with rubber or to attack the desert’s unpaved tracks with poise leaving behind a cloud of dust.
Too keep its beast cool, Ford added a higher wattage cooling fan (600 to 800 W) and a higher pressure radiator cap (20 psi compared to the old 16 psi).
2011 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor Engines Specifications
|Engine||hp @ rpm||lb.ft @ rpm|
|6210 cc||411 @ 5500||434@4500|
Ride and handling
The strongest engine in the world is useless if the vehicle can’t make use of its power. Hence the Raptor needed similarly capable axles and suspensions.
The wheel axles received internal triple-bypass shocks by FOX Racing Shox which provide position-sensitive damping and extra suspension travel for extreme off-roading together with a smooth on road ride. The Raptor is also equipped with cast-aluminum front control arms.
Thanks to these heavy duty features the Raptor gets 11.2 inches of front suspension travel and 12.1 inches of rear suspension travel.
With these strong underpinnings under its belt the Raptor is able to make full use of all of its 411 hp. It literally flies over desert dunes and can deal with any terrain with poise. The best part is that it’s able to do all its tricks at mind blowing speeds feeling like an insane pickup truck on steroids.
Surprisingly, the Ford F-150 SVT Raptor feels pretty civilized on the highway too and around town it will hide its claws and transform back into your good old luxurious F-150 truck.
The ride is silky smooth and well controlled during normal driving conditions and the cabin is also pretty well isolated. You won’t have any complains about the steering either, as it’s pretty tight despite the massive rubber that stays under your feet.
There aren’t many other pickup trucks that are able to offer the same level of performances as the Raptor. Ford did a great job with its sporty pickup and the F-150 SVT Raptor has a lot to be loved for. The exterior design is fairly modern, the cabin is well made and luxurious, while the new 6.2 liter engine is a true gem. Not to mention about the great ride and handling abilities which will inject into your vanes a tasty mix of adrenaline and dopamine.
Video: Ford F-150 SVT Raptor