2010 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor
Base price: $38,995
As tested: $49,395
- Nothing else like it for serious off-road capability
- Completely outrageous styling and fun to drive
- Will definitely get you noticed
- Wow does it suck gas
- Outrageous styling
- Expensive even with a few options checked
By Jim Prueter
Desert, canyons, water, mud holes, rock climbing — Raptor handles it all
The latest product offering from Ford’s Special Vehicles Team (SVT) team is Raptor, a four-wheel drive F-150 Super Cab pickup that is arguably the most radical and powerful do-anything pickup ever produced, regardless of manufacturer.
Ford’s Special Vehicle Team was established in 1991 to “polish the Ford oval” by creating low-volume, factory-produced vehicles designed for those select few whose idea of driving is having a high-powered passionate experience, not just getting from point A to point B. The 2010 Raptor not only meets that criteria, it far exceeds it.
Raptor is a high-performance truck capable of handling all types of off-road situations, including sand, snow, mudding, trail riding, rock crawling and especially desert off-road racing. For more than 20 years Ford has dominated Baja 1000 races. Twelve Ford-powered vehicles have won the overall title for four-wheel vehicles, the most of any manufacturer.
The new Raptor is basically a factory-built, off-road racing truck. Built alongside F-150 at Ford’s Dearborn, Michigan, truck plant, there are noticeable exterior differences along with significantly expanded engine, suspension and performance capabilities.
To begin, the SVT truck is more than seven inches wider, the maximum Ford could allow for assembly line production. The extra width was necessary for the wider suspension and larger 35-inch BFGoodrichÒ All-Terrain TA/KO 315/70-17 tires, which feature a special tread compound to help provide precise and predictable steering.
The chief engineer behind Raptor is Jamal Hameedi, who previously headed up the engineering program and planning and development for the Ford GT super car. Hameedi is the brains behind Ford’s desert racing victories in events like the Baja 1000, 2000 and others.
The Raptor’s standard engine is Ford’s 5.4-liter Triton V-8 that delivers 320 horsepower and 390 pound-feet of torque. Our test Raptor came equipped with the optional brand new 6.2-liter V-8 with 411 horsepower and 434 pound-feet of torque ($3000). The engine makes Raptor the most powerful half-ton pickup on the market. But all that power comes at a huge price at the pump, where we realized no better than 12.7 mpg on premium fuel during our weeklong testing.
But Hameedi says “building a high-performance off-road truck is not about the horsepower, it’s about the suspension.” For that, Ford worked with FOX Racing Shox, an industry leader and expert on truck suspension. Working with FOX and applying Ford engineering to the front suspension with new cast-aluminum SVT upper A-arm and lower A-arm, tie rod and new half-shaft joints, the suspension allows an incredible 12.1 inches of usable travel in the rear and 11.2 inches in the front. That means it can climb over or through just about any obstacle smoothly.
When literally launching the Raptor airborne for several feet with all wheels off the ground in desert testing, we were rewarded with an amazingly soft landing. There are massive skid plates to protect Raptor’s underside, especially when serious rock climbing is in play. On washboard gravel roads, we could hear the effects on the suspension but couldn’t feel them.
If you expect all this off-road capability to result in a harsh, jarring ride on paved surfaces, you would be wrong. It was, in fact, a bit on the soft side. We’ve driven stock half-ton pickups with a bouncier, harsher ride on pavement than Raptor.
The four-wheel drive system includes an electronic locking differential that can be locked or unlocked from the driver's seat. It also has an off-road setting that changes how the throttle and transmission react, holding gears longer for better off-road performance.
Outside, our molten orange ($495 option) Raptor certainly looked the off-road part. It is visually different, special and grabbed attention wherever we drove. Sheet metal is all new from the A-pillar forward, including the hood, fenders, bumpers, lights and black brick-wall patterned grill with a nearly four-foot long “FORD” carved across the middle. Only the doors and roof are carryovers from the standard F-150. There are legally mandated LED marker lamps on the roof, side and grille so Raptor can be identified day or night. Black bumpers, open wheel moldings and prominent louvered air extractors on the hood add to rugged appearance.
Our test Raptor also came equipped with the optional graphics package ($1075), large stick-on appliqués to the rear cab, and cargo bed that resemble dark blue/black/purple mud splatter. Most thought it was excessive and preferred the truck without. We agree.
In addition to molten orange, Raptor is available at no additional cost in black, blue flame or white exterior color choices.
Inside our Raptor was as outrageous as the exterior with the center stack of the dash, center console and door inserts a bright orange and screened black fleck design. Front and back leather seats feature matching orange inserts trimmed in black. The look is finished with brushed aluminum trim framing the center stack/console, instrument cluster and passenger airbag location. There’s even an orange tape strip on the steering wheel’s 12 o’clock position, similar to NASCAR and rally cars. The orange interior accent is an additional $395; solid black is standard.
Seats are comfortable and visibility is good. Our tester included Ford’s trailer-sway control switch located between the steering wheel and center stack. Four pre-wired auxiliary toggle switches are located on the center console just in front of the cupholders and shift lever for aftermarket accessories like spot lamps, a winch, or other choices up to 30 amps.
Raptor is available as one model with a choice of either the 5.4-liter or larger 6.2-liter V-8, both mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. Raptor weighs nearly 6000 pounds and has a 6000-pound towing capacity.
Standard safety gear includes front, side seat and canopy airbags. Raptor earned the highest possible five-star crash test rating in both front and side impacts from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and a highest rating of “Good” from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
Ford said it will produce about 1500 Raptor trucks for the 2010 model year and has hinted at a crew cab Raptor for 2011.