2017 Ford F-150 Raptor Begins Durability Testing
Anticipation for the all-new 2017 Ford F-150 Raptor has been high ever since Ford pulled the covers back at the North American International Auto Show. Its aluminum body and its lighter weight combine with the new high-output 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6 engine for an outstanding power to weight ratio. Not to mention the Raptors upgraded suspension parts, new transfer case, and upgraded wheel and tire package. All these things promise the 2017 Raptor will leapfrog the current truck’s abilities.
But before anyone can take one home, Ford has to ensure it works.
The Blue Oval has just announced its 2017 F-150 Raptor prototype survived a 1,000-mile torture test conducted in the sweltering heat of the deserts in the southwest U.S. Ford says it chose this location for its similarities to the 1,000-mile Baja race course in Mexico. Deep sand, tall ruts, and large jumps were all present.
Inside the 1,028-mile test circuit, Ford put together a 66-mile test loop where engineers could run timed laps with both the new truck and the current 2015 Ford F-150 Raptor. The course, like that of the Baja, featured high-speed areas where the truck could top 100 mph and other areas so rough the team had to slow to 10 mph. The results proved the new Raptor to be 25 percent faster around the loop than the current truck.
What’s more, at the end of the course was a tabletop jump that consisted of a steep ramp that launched the truck onto a two-foot plateau that the truck then drove off onto level ground. The Raptor’s upgraded suspension and new high-strength steel frame certainly took a beating.
Ford says this is all part of the Raptor’s durability testing to ensure the truck will perform as promised in conditions far beyond what owners would normally subject onto their trucks. Testing will continue through the coming year when the 2017 Raptor hits showrooms in the fall of 2016.
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Why it matters
Automakers always subject their prototype vehicle to harsh testing before putting them on the market, but the F-150 Raptor requires higher level of harsh testing. It’s interesting to see how Ford tests its Raptor mules to ensure regular folks don’t end up bending control arms or launching a shock absorber through the hood.
All these efforts will surely pay dividends when the updated Raptor goes on sale. The first generation truck sold extremely well – far beyond what Ford had originally anticipated – and I see no reason why the all-new truck won’t share that same success.
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