Road & Track (USA)

Whence It Came

The evolution of the Raptor.


A. First Generation: 2010–14

Instead of introducin­g a third generation of the F-150 Lightning, Ford took a hard left turn off-road with the desert-running F-150 Raptor. In-house performanc­e tuner SVT threw extensive upgrades at the F-150: a seven-inchwider track, flared bodywork, unique front control arms, Fox shocks, 35-inch Bfgoodrich tires. Two extra inches of ride height helped the Baja-bashing pickup achieve 11.2 inches of front and 12.1 inches of rear suspension travel. Initial examples were hampered by a 5.4liter V-8 with just 310 hp and 365 lb-ft of torque. While sufficient for off-roading, the truck, with its brawny look and three-ton curb weight, begged for more power. An optional 6.2-liter V-8 with 411 hp and 434 lb-ft arrived within the first year, and the 5.4-liter was dropped for ’11. The larger engine awoke the character of the Raptor, the first factory-built aspiration­al desert runner.

B. Second Generation: 2017–20

The second-gen Raptor arrived for 2017, marking the end of a three-year hiatus. Constructi­on of the new Raptor, like all other 13thgenera­tion F-series trucks, was revolution­ary, with extensive use of aluminum. That helped the Supercab Raptor weigh a whopping

404 pounds less than its predecesso­r (the new Raptor also added a Supercrew option). The diet extended to the engine bay, where a 3.5-liter Ecoboost

V-6 replaced the V-8. Blasphemy aside, the twin-turbo six-cylinder provided 450 hp and 510 lb-ft of torque. A new 10-speed automatic improved both on- and off-road performanc­e, with a 0–60 time of 5.2 seconds. New Fox

3.0 shocks brought suspension travel up to 13.0 inches at the front and 13.9 inches at the rear, while an electronic­ally locking differenti­al expanded the truck’s talents far beyond the dunes. –lucas bell

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