2017 Ford F-150 Raptor First Test Review: Off-Road Super Truck!


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No other truck is as bonkers as 2017 the Ford F-150 Raptor. From the streets to the dirt, this is a pickup that’s gone mad in a good way—one that makes you feel alive when you drive it like you stole it, pretending you’re in the Baja 1000 the moment you get off the pavement. Wider, more capable, and more imposing than your average F-150, the Raptor is at home on all types of surfaces.

Under the hood is a high-output 3.5-liter EcoBoost twin-turbo V-6 with 450 hp and 510 lb-ft of torque that’s paired to a 10-speed automatic transmission. That’s good for a 0-60-mph run in 6.0 seconds before finishing the quarter mile in 14.7 seconds at 91.4 mph. Not bad for a massive high performance truck that weighs 5,711 pounds. However, because this is an off-roader with all-terrain tires, the Raptor took 140 feet to stop from 60 mph.

At the limit, the Raptor handles well for its size and was able to finish the figure-eight course in 29.2 seconds with an average of 0.59 g. At the skidpad, it produced 0.70 g of lateral acceleration. In addition to its wider fenders and wheel wells, the 2017 Ford F-150 Raptor comes with off-road-tuned 3.0-inch Fox racing shocks featuring a custom internal bypass system, giving it 13 inches of front and 14 inches of rear suspension travel for improved off-road performance without sacrificing on-road comfort. It also comes with an electronic locking rear differential with a 4.10 axle ratio, the Terrain Management System, a two-speed automatic four-wheel-drive system, and an optional Torsen front differential with a 4.10 axle ratio.

Many editors were impressed with the way the F-150 Raptor drove on the road, particularly its lack of body roll. The Raptor’s handling is surprising because it can take corners enthusiastically without feeling like it’s going to tip over. “The way it takes a set in a corner and the steering wheel itself screams SPORT TRUCK!” said road test editor Chris Walton. However, if there was one issue with the Raptor it’s that it’s extremely tail happy. Features editor Christian Seabaugh noted that the truck feels like it wants to snap its rear end out too much, and Motor Trend en Español editor Miguel Cortina found that on rough pavement, the rear end feels like it’s going to lose traction. Ride comfort, on the other hand, is good despite the off-road-tuned suspension, but it can get jittery on poor surfaces.

The 3.5-liter twin-turbo V-6 provides prodigious power that easily gets the Raptor into speeds that can get you into trouble. Thanks to two turbochargers that spool up quickly, there’s always torque on tap, and it’s enough to give you a nice push into the seatback when you put the pedal to the metal. The 10-speed automatic, which is a gearbox that Ford and General Motors co-developed, is well matched to the twin-turbo V-6, offering quick shifts, rev-matched downshifts, and the ability to skip gears up and down, allowing you to get right into the engine’s power band swiftly. However, there are times where the transmission shifts violently, and it’s most likely to happen when you drop the hammer for maximum acceleration.  Like other F-150s equipped with the 10-speed automatic, the unit in the Raptor also has a tendency to hunt for gears, especially when cruising.

Get the F-150 Raptor off the pavement, and it comes into its element, especially when you’re in a dry lake bed such as El Mirage OHV in the middle of the desert outside of Los Angeles. Regardless of whether you’re on pavement, it’s easy to drive the Raptor fast, thanks to the high levels of confidence it inspires. However, do be careful when you’re rock crawling because the Raptor is wide, and it can only fit on so many trails before you eventually find one that you can’t get through because of its width.

Inside, the F-150 Raptor’s cabin is well-appointed with padding in the dash and in places where your arms would fall. Soft-touch plastics are used throughout the cabin, making it feel more upscale. There’s carbon-fiber trim in the interior, hinting at the Raptor’s off-road performance mission. Front seat comfort is excellent because the Raptor comes with sport seats that have more aggressive side bolstering to keep you in place. As for the rear seats of our SuperCab test truck, there’s technically belts for three. That being said, it’s best suited for use in a pinch because it’s pretty cramped back there even for small adults. Choose the crew cab (SuperCrew in Ford speak) if you need to use the rear seats often.

Ford’s Sync3 infotainment system proves that you can have a slick, user-friendly multimedia interface with its quick-responding 8.0-inch touchscreen and straightforward controls. The voice command system, like in other Ford vehicles equipped with Sync, easily understands basic speech and doesn’t require you to say super specific phrases. Navigation graphics are clear, but the menu could use improvement. It looks a little dated, especially compared to newer systems found in vehicles from General Motors and Fiat Chrysler Group.

The integration of Android Auto and Apple CarPlay is one of the best. It completely takes over the head unit, and when you hit the voice control button on the steering wheel, Sync won’t answer you. This means you don’t need to learn a new operating system once you plug your phone in, and voice commands will be even easier. Additionally, with Android Auto or Apple CarPlay, you’ll be able to do more via voice commands including composing text messages. Ford equipped the F-150 Raptor with a Sony premium audio system, which offers clear, crisp sound; however, the new B&O Play system found in other F-150 models offers a better listening experience with superior sound quality than the Sony system.

There’s no truck like the Ford F-150 Raptor in terms of performance on- and off-road. From its twin-turbo V-6 and 10-speed automatic to its off-road-tuned suspension and aggressive exterior, the Raptor is the quintessential sport truck, one that’s at home regardless of whether there’s pavement underneath it. Devouring roads is what it’s good at, and it effortlessly tackles any terrain, provided the Raptor’s width isn’t an issue. This truck will make you feel like a superhero with its mind-boggling capability, especially when high-speed off-road runs are involved.

2017 Ford F-150 Raptor Supercab
BASE PRICE $51,080
VEHICLE LAYOUT Front-engine, 4WD, 5-pass, 4-door truck
ENGINE 3.5L/450-hp/510-lb-ft twin-turbo DOHC 24-valve V-6
TRANSMISSION 10-speed automatic
CURB WEIGHT (F/R DIST) 5,711 lb (55/45%)
WHEELBASE 134.2 in
LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT 220.0 x 86.3 x 78.5 in
0-60 MPH 6.0 sec
QUARTER MILE 14.7 sec @ 91.4 mph
BRAKING, 60-0 MPH 140 ft
MT FIGURE EIGHT 29.2 sec @ 0.59 g (avg)
REAL MPG, CITY/HWY/COMB 14.3/18.6/16.0 mpg
ENERGY CONS, CITY/HWY 225/187 kW-hrs/100 miles
CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB 1.20 lb/mile

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