The third-gen Raptor has retained the same mill, but comes with a new suspension system, new exhaust system, and a lot of tech improvements

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Six months after revealing the 2021 Ford F-150, Ford finally brought in the new Raptor as well. There was a lot of mulling around Ford introducing a V-8 to rival the 2021 Ram 1500 TRX. But, Ford decided to keep the standard Raptor clear and announced a new Raptor R that will feature a V-8 and take on the cocky Ram 1500 TRX.

The 2021 model year marks the third generation of the F-150 Raptor, and Ford has come up with some significant changes. For starters, you can now have it with 37-inch tires from the factory, which was unheard of in this segment. Then there’s the new exhaust system to make it sound sweeter. But, will these changes push the price of this V-6-powered truck dangerously close to a better-accomplished, V-8-powered Ram 1500 TRX?

2021 Ford F-150 Raptor Drivetrain, Towing, and Fuel Economy

  • 3.5-liter, twin-turbo V-6 EcoBoost
  • 10-speed automatic transmission
  • Electronic locking rear differential
  • Available Torsen front limited-slip differential
  • Two-speed transfer case
  • Towing Capacity of 8,200 pounds
  • Payload Capacity of 1,400 pounds
2021 Ford F-150 Raptor Exterior
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Ford has retained the same 3.5-liter, twin-turbo V-6 EcoBoost mill this time. In the previous iteration, the engine made 450 horses and 510 pound-feet of torque. Power outputs for the 2021 model are still a mystery, but we speculate an increase of around 30-40 horses and pound-feet of torque now. The 10-speed SelectShift automatic transmission is also carried over for the 2021 Raptor, which will feed power to all four wheels.

An electronic locking rear differential comes as standard whereas a Torsen front limited-slip differential with 4:10 final drive ratios can be had for extra moolah. The truck comes with a two-speed torque-on-demand transfer case.

2021 F-150 Raptor Towing And Payload

2021 Ford F-150 Raptor Exterior Wallpaper quality
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The towing capacity is rated at 8,200 pounds and the payload capacity at 1,400 pounds for the 2021 model, which is an increase of 200 pounds each over the 2020 Raptor.

2021 F-150 Raptor Fuel Economy

2021 Ford F-150 Raptor Exterior
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The exact fuel figures are not out yet, but Ford says the 2021 Raptor can swallow 36 gallons of fuel and deliver an EPA-estimated range of over 500 miles.

2021 Ford F-150 Raptor Suspension System

  • Independent front suspension system
  • New five-link rear suspension setup
  • Panhard rod and coil springs
  • 3.1-inch Fox Live Valve dampers
  • Front suspension travel range of 14 inches
  • Rear suspension travel range of 15 inches
2021 Ford F-150 Raptor Drivetrain
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Ford has redesigned the suspension system to make it an even better off-road performer. At the front, it continues to feature an independent suspension setup, but at the rear, Ford has instated a new five-link suspension setup. The previous model featured leaf springs at the rear, but this time it’s got 24-inch coil springs and a Panhard rod. Ford says the new setup will improve the ride dynamics and offer more traction and power at high speeds. Mind you, the TRX also comes with coil springs at the rear.

It also features larger 3.1-inch, anodized aluminum, internal bypass dampers sourced from FOX. These “Live Valve” shocks offer position-sensitive damping adjustability, too. With the 35-inch tires in place, the suspension travel range is 14 inches at the front and 15 inches at the rear. With the 37-inch set, the range is reduced slightly, with the range rated at 13 inches sat the front and 14.1 inches at the rear.

2021 F-150 Raptor Exhaust System

  • New equal-length exhaust system
  • With X-pipe and Trombone loop
  • Active valves
  • Four different sound levels
Ford's Inspiration for the F-150 Raptor's Exhaust Will Blow Your Mind
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Ford will debut the Raptor R, the one that will feature a V-8 engine, sometime next year. However, the automaker came up with a neat hack to make changes that would at least make the V-6-powered Raptor sound throatier and as appealing as a V-8 – to develop a new exhaust system. The company took inspiration from the Nissan GT-R and the Alfa Romeo Giulia QV and developed an equal-length exhaust system with an in-built X-pipe.

To put it in simple words, an equal-length exhaust system is where the exhaust from each cylinder covers the same distance from the header to the tailpipe. However, the exhaust in pickup trucks is generally routed to one side due to the space limitations presented by the frame and driveshaft, which is even more cramped here because of the changes made to the suspension system and to accommodate the 37-inch spare tire. Because the exhaust is longer on one side, you hear an unequal pulse.

2021 Ford F-150 Raptor Exterior
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But, Ford countered this problem by designing a Trombone loop with active valves on the passenger side exhaust pipe to help even up the overall length of both exhaust pipes. By the time you hit the X-point at the back, the flow paths are almost identical in length. Ford also located the exhaust mufflers more towards the center of the truck to not compromise the departure angle.

As mentioned earlier, the system comes with active valves. Using the Drive Selector inside the cabin, you can choose between four different sound level modes. These include Quiet, Normal, Sport, and Baja. So, if you don’t care about what engine you have under the hood as long as it sounds close to the V-8, the Raptor will please you. If not, then you can wait for the Raptor R to arrive in a couple of years.

2021 Ford F-150 Raptor Exterior

  • Based on the 2021 Ford F-150
  • LED headlights and taillights
  • Hood with power dome and functional air vents
  • 17-inch wheels
  • 35-inch tires standard, 37-inch optional
  • Available only in SuperCrew body style
  • 5.5-foot truck bed
2021 Ford F-150 Raptor Exterior
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Ford has said that the third-gen Raptor will feature a high-strength, military-grade, aluminum alloy and composite body. It continues to have a tougher, more muscular look than the standard F-150. However, the face isn’t as appealing as it used to be, especially the headlights. The hood comes with a power dome and breathes better thanks to the functional side air vents. The grille is blacked out and headlights are wider. The skid plate is also wider than before, thus offering better protection. The truck comes with LED headlights as standard, whereas the Adaptive LEDs are optional.

The truck will come with three different 17-inch wheel options and two different tire sizes – 35- and 37-inch rubber, both of them being BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A KO2s. The 37-inchers are the largest tires factory-fitted to a light-duty full-size truck. In fact, Ford had to make changes not just to the suspension system and the vehicle frame to get the truck to ride on these big wheels, but also the production lines!

2021 Ford F-150 Raptor Exterior Wallpaper quality
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At the rear, the tailgate now boasts of a huge black strip with ‘FORD’ on it instead of the Blue Oval logo, which feels a little overboard. But, looks are subjective and to each his own. Unlike the 2020 F-150 Raptor which was offered in two different body styles – SuperCab and SuperCrew – the 2021 Raptor will be available only in the SuperCrew style.

It is a 5.5-foot bed that offers 52.8 cubic feet of cargo space. This is a distinct advantage it holds over the Ram TRX because if you opt for the 37-inch tires there, the spare tire is mounted onto a bed carrier which eats up a lot of space. In the Raptor, irrespective of the size, the spare tire sits under the body.

How Big Is The 2021 F-150 Raptor

2021 Ford F-150 Raptor Exterior Wallpaper quality
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When equipped with the 35-inch tires, the new Raptor measures 232.6 inches in length, long, 96 inches in width, and 79.8 inches in height. The tracks are 74 inches wide at the front and 73.6 inches wide at the rear. The wheelbase is 145.4 inches long, whereas the ground clearance is rated at 12 inches.

When riding on 37-inch tires, the length, width, and wheelbase remain the same. The height increases by 0.9 inches and the ground clearance is up by another 1.1 inches. The front and rear tracks measure 74.3- and 73.9 inches.

With the 35-inch tires, the approach angle is rated at 31 degrees, departure angle at 23.9 degrees, and breakover angle at 22.7 degrees. These get even better with the 37-inch rubber. The ratings then stand at 33.1-, 24.9-, and 24.4 degrees, respectively.

These are the ratings when the Raptor is equipped with the 35-inch tires:

Ground Clearance 12 inches
Approach Angle 31 degrees
Departure Angle 23.9 degrees
Breakover Angle 22.7 degrees

And, these are the ratings when equipped with the 37-inch tires:

Ground Clearance 13.1 inches
Approach Angle 33.1 degrees
Departure Angle 24.9 degrees
Breakover Angle 24.4 degrees

2021 Ford F-150 Raptor Interior and Technology

  • New steering wheel
  • Recaro bucket seats optional
  • 12-inch digital instrument cluster
  • 12-inch touchscreen SYNC4 infotainment system
  • Wireless Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and Amazon Alexa
  • 18-speaker Bang & Olufsen audio system
  • Keyless entry and Start/Stop
2021 Ford F-150 Raptor Interior
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Ford has taken things up a notch inside the cabin, too, and many notches up in terms of technology. The cabin comes with aluminum elements as standard, but you can opt for the Carbon fiber package that adds the namesake elements to the doors, center console, and instrument panel. The seats are also better cushioned and bolstered now. If you want something sportier, you can add the Recaro bucket seats, too. Ford has also equipped a new steering wheel with the Blue Oval logo laser-etched on it. It also comes with aluminum paddle shifters.

Behind the steering wheels used to be an eight-inch instrument cluster, but Ford has swapped that in favor of a bigger, more exhaustive 12-inch digital display. The 2021 Raptor now features a new 12-inch touchscreen system on the center console, unlike the eight-inch touchscreen that was standard on the 2020 model. It will run on the SYNC4 infotainment system and will support over-the-air updates. It supports wireless Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and Amazon Alexa.

2021 Ford F-150 Raptor Interior
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Other impressive stuff, either standard or optional, includes:

  • 18-speaker B&O Unleashed sound system by Bang & Olufsen
  • 360-degree camera
  • Keyless entry and Start/Stop
  • Lockable, fold-flat rear storage
  • Underseat vault
  • FordPass to control certain features using your mobile

2021 Ford F-150 Raptor Off-Road Tech

2021 Ford F-150 Raptor Exterior
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The 2021 Raptor comes with a Terrain Management System, too, that features seven drive modes. They include:

  • Slippery
  • Tow/Haul
  • Sport
  • Normal
  • Off-Road
  • Baja
  • Rock Crawl

Ford is offering the 2021 Raptor with Trail One-Pedal Drive, which, as the name suggests, allows you to drive the truck using just the A-pedal. We saw this on the Bronco as well, wherein the feature lets you accelerate and brake using a single pedal for speeds of under 20 mph. This is extremely useful while off-roading. The Raptor also comes with Trail Control, which is essentially cruise control for off-road use. The system takes off the throttle and braking inputs while you can concentrate on merely maneuvering the truck.

2021 Ford F-150 Raptor Interior
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Ford has also offered ‘Pro Power Onboard’, which we first saw on the standard F-150, as optional. It gives owners the ability to use the truck as a mobile generator and power camp lights, power tools, and whatnot. It offers two kW of power, unlike the Ford F-150 which can be had with up to 7.2 kW of exportable power.

2021 Ford F-150 Raptor Pricing

2021 Ford F-150 Raptor Exterior
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Ford has not announced the pricing for the 2021 Ford F-150 Raptor yet. The 2020 Raptor in the SuperCrew configuration starts at $56,440. So, we speculate a starting price of a notch under $60,000, for, you know, the psychological effect of it starting under 60 big ones. Anything beyond that would put it dangerously close to Ram 1500 TRX, which starts at $69,995 before destination and add-ons.

Is The 2021 Raptor Better Than The Ram 1500 TRX?

2021 Ram 1500 TRX Exterior
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That depends on your loyalty towards a brand, your preference and needs, and your budget. The Raptor is in its third generation now and doesn’t need an introduction. The Ram 1500 TRX came a decade after the Raptor, which had already established itself in the niche, but was still touted as the Raptor-killer. Essentially, the upcoming Raptor R will be the primary rival to the TRX, but considering that the starting price gap will be just around 15-percent, we can pit the two.

The Ram TRX comes with a mighty 6.2-liter, supercharged V-8 HEMI Hellcat engine that churns out 702 ponies and 650 pound-feet of twist. Power is sent to all the wheels via an eight-speed automatic gearbox. It comes with eight drive modes including three off-road dynamic modes. It features an independent front suspension system and a coil-spring setup, just like the new Raptor. The Raptor has a slightly lower final drive of 4.10:1 compared to the TRX’s 3.55:1. The TRX has lower towing and payload ratings, and comes with a bed-mounted carrier for the 37-inch spare tire, unlike the Raptor’s underbody carrier which frees up space in the bed to a huge extent. We speculate the 2021 F-150 Raptor to start under $60,000, whereas the Ram 1500 TRX starts at just under $70,000.

Read our full review on the Ram 1500 TRX

2021 Ford F-150 Raptor Driver-Assistance Features

2021 Ford F-150 Raptor Exterior Wallpaper quality
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The new Raptor comes with Ford’s Co-Pilot 360 suite. The standard includes:

  • Auto Hold
  • Auto On/Off Headlamps
  • Auto High Beam Headlamps
  • Forward Collision Warning and Dynamic Brake Support
  • Hill Start Assist
  • Pre-Collision Assist with Automatic Emergency Braking (with Pedestrian Detection)
  • Rear View Camera with Dynamic Hitch Support
  • Blind Spot Information System with Cross-Traffic Alert
  • Trailer Coverage and Reverse Brake Assist

Some other features can be purchase by shelling extra, and they include:

  • Active Drive Assist Prep Kit
  • Distance Alert/Distance Indication
  • Forward Sensing Systems
  • Pro Trailer Backup Assist
  • Trailer Reverse Guidance

2021 Ford F-150 Raptor Warranty

2021 Ford F-150 Raptor Exterior
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Ford offers a bumper-to-bumper warranty of 3 years/36,000 miles and a powertrain warranty of 5 years/60,000 miles. Roadside assistance is offered for 5 years/60,000 miles. 5 years/unlimited miles is offered on aluminum body panels, corrosion, and paint adhesion.

  • Leave it
    • Second-gen Raptor was better-looking
    • Ram 1500 TRX could offer better bang-for-the-buck
Sidd Dhimaan
Sidd Dhimaan
Associate Editor and Truck Expert - sidd@topspeed.com
Sidd joined the Topspeed.com team in 2017 as an intern and in less than a year he earned a full-time position as an associate editor and junior automotive expert. He is currently our pickup truck expert and focuses his attention on heavy-duty and off-road vehicles.  Read full bio
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