LONG-TERM RE­PORT: 2017 FORD RAP­TOR

Sec­ond re­port: from trail racer to daily driver

Four Wheeler - - Con­tents - BY SEAN P. HOL­MAN ED­I­TOR@FOUR­WHEELER.COM PHO­TOS: SEAN P. HOL­MAN

Sec­ond re­port: from trail racer to daily driver

THERE IS NO DENY­ING THAT THE Ford Rap­tor is an ab­so­lute beast in the dirt. With 13 inches of travel in the front and 13.9 inches in the rear, nine-zone Fox in­ter­nal by­pass shocks, 35-inch tires, a rear locker, front Torsen dif­fer­en­tial, and 450 hp, there isn’t an­other fac­tory ve­hi­cle on the planet that can go toe-to-toe with the wide-track Ford off-road. How­ever, we seem to go toe-to-toe with ev­ery other ve­hi­cle on the planet, es­pe­cially dur­ing our daily hour-and-a-half com­mute on South­ern Cal­i­for­nia’s no­to­ri­ous 405 freeway.

So what’s it like to live with the Rap­tor day in and day out? The truth is, the Rap­tor is quite liv­able and docile in the city. Vis­i­bil­ity is gen­er­ally very good, and other than tak­ing up more lane space and hav­ing to be more aware of where the cor­ners are in tight quar­ters, the Rap­tor drives just like any other F-150. We haven’t found a park­ing space or struc­ture yet the Rap­tor doesn’t fit in, al­though some­times it just barely makes it.

The Rap­tor Su­per­cab is ideal for two peo­ple, uti­liz­ing the rear of the cab with the seats folded up for stor­age. If you do need to car­pool, two or three peo­ple can be squeezed in the back in a pinch, al­though with lim­ited le­groom it is best used for short trips. Rear pas­sen­gers will ap­pre­ci­ate the fact that the rear win­dows roll down and chil­dren are per­fectly happy back there. If your fam­ily sit­u­a­tion re­quires that you use a car seat or the Rap­tor is go­ing to be your main fam­ily ve­hi­cle, the Su­per­crew is still the way to go.

As our log­book has noted, the same big travel and big tires that make the Rap­tor a star on the trail also make it a great choice in de­cay­ing ur­ban en­vi­ron­ments. Our truck hits cross ditches at speed, and mo­tors through pot­holes that leave 20-inch wheels bent and scat­tered in their wake. On the freeway, road de­bris passes un­der the truck al­most un­no­ticed, and the skid­plates keep the truck pro­tected from er­rant chunks of road­way or other peo­ple’s lost cargo.

Some­times the chas­sis can feel a lit­tle ner­vous in cer­tain con­di­tions, such as ac­cel­er­at­ing on bro­ken pave­ment. With so much power on tap, curvy on­ramps re­quire driver at­ten­tion, es­pe­cially in slip­pery con­di­tions. For­tu­nately, the trans­fer case has an A4WD set­ting that keeps the Rap­tor track­ing straight in wet weather, mak­ing it eas­ier to harness all that power on slick pave­ment and sandy trails alike. Sure, it could han­dle a lit­tle tighter in emer­gency lane change ma­neu­vers, but if it means less off-road per­for­mance, we wouldn’t trade a thing.

In the straight line, the Rap­tor is shock­ingly quick…just ask the old guy in his “four-door Corvette” Caddy CTS-V who gave us an em­phatic thumbs up at the next light and told us, “I thought it might be fast, but I had no idea it was THAT fast.” Turns out he was an orig­i­nal Buick Grand Na­tional owner, and has much re­spect for the 3.5L twin-turbo Ecoboost. Match­ing that big power are good brakes, so just as the 3.5L Ecoboost can get the Rap­tor away from trou­ble, the binders can keep you out of it.

With a re­cent re­model to one of our tester’s homes, we put the 1,000-pound pay­load rat­ing of the Rap­tor to the test. From pal­lets of lam­i­nate wood floor­ing to sod, the spray-in bed­liner-equipped alu­minum bed has been up to the task. Al­though, much as with a trailer, the soft long-travel sus­pen­sion sags a lot quicker than your run-of-the-mill F-150.

Over­all, we love the Rap­tor for its big power, com­fort­able cloth thrones, and mul­ti­fac­eted per­son­al­ity. Mileage is pretty good for the power level. If there is any­thing we’d like to see im­proved

for the on-road per­for­mance, it’s more range for those longer cross­coun­try trips. So far, the truck hasn’t had any strange squeaks or rat­tles and feels as tight as the day we picked it up in Michi­gan.

Now that we have a fair amount of mileage from all of our com­mut­ing rolled on the odome­ter, we’ve been able to get a pretty good idea of fuel econ­omy. The six gets about 16 mpg in mixed driv­ing, while our best high­way num­ber to date is a re­spectable 18.62 mpg. The Rap­tor has also been great with ser­vice, only re­quir­ing one trip to the dealer to date for a sched­uled oil change.

Stay tuned for our next re­port when we plan to hit the trails and have some dirty fun with our su­per truck, just the way Ford in­tended.

We’ve used the Rap­tor to haul many loads of home re­mod­el­ing sup­plies, and while the soft, off-road sus­pen­sion isn’t rated as high as the rest of the F-150 lineup, it’s still able to get the job done.

Ford didn’t skimp on the spare, a match­ing full­size 35-inch BFG A-T KO2 is nes­tled un­der the bed.

|> Our Rap­tor came equipped with a cu­ri­ous tail­light you don’t see much. This is what you get when you or­der the pre­mium LED light­ing pack­age on the F-150, but don’t in­clude blind spot de­tec­tion. Sev­eral times we’ve been asked who makes this tail­light.

|> With a spray-in bed­liner, LED bed light­ing, and Ford’s Boxlink cargo man­age­ment sys­tem, we haven’t found a load yet that we couldn’t se­cure.

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