Ford promised us the 3rd generation F-150 Raptor in new skin, particularly in the image of the 14th generation F-150 and it has been finally unveiled with a contender ready to face it on the competitive ground. Like the recently revealed RAM TRX, the Raptor is focused on aggressive styling and extreme off-road driving whilst maintaining a “day-to-day” acceptable ride. It is no surprise seeing the Ford Trucks and RAM Trucks social media accounts throwing jabs at each other about these cars.

They have a similar spec set-up but RAM had to start all over and build a platform for the TRX to excel on whereas the Raptor took what it achieved from the previous generation and simply improved on that. This statement proves just that as it says, “the Raptor is the original desert truck. We just took it to another level” and refinements have been done to solidify the Raptor’s stature.   

Design

At first glance it is all about aggressive, big on everything including the bumper, hood, tires, headlights, actually every component is massive. The signature F-150 Raptor design is first noticeable with the big Ford logo on the blacked-out front grille coupled with the amber three LEDs and the L-shaped yellow daytime LEDs. The hood has a heat extractor, functional side vents and intakes inspired by the F-22 Raptor fighter jet as they say. The front skid is there for underbody protection, the headlight’s design stretches from fender to fender and the rear taillights are blacked-out.

Moving to the side you are met with huge 37-inch tyres courtesy of BF Goodrich in All-terrain T/A KO2 spec. There are 35-inch tyres available if ever the extra 2 inches seem too much for your liking but that only allows a 31-degrees approach angle whereas the 37-inch ones have a 33.1-degrees approach angle. Both specifications can run clear 12-inch obstacles easily. Overall, the design is what we expected and it has not disappointed at all.

Suspension

The folks from Michigan have gone the extra mile to make it stand out by giving it state-of-the-art suspension components and making sure that it carries on with it’s dominant Baja DNA. It’s incredible what you get out of the box when you purchase one of these and Ford actually encourages customers to put their Raptors in tough paces because they believe in their product. The main focus of any Raptor is the suspension and making it indestructible in high-speed rough terrain driving.

They installed a rear five-link suspension with an extra long trailing for improved axle position on rough surfaces. In addition, the Panhard rod and 24-inch coil springs help with the strength of the suspension. The engine management software has been configured to deliver most of its torque to the rear wheels whenever a quick launch off the line is required.

The next-generation FOX Live Valve internal bypass shocks have been included which have electronic control technology to offer position-sensitive damping adjustability. They are designed to resist heat build-up and they react faster to rapid terrain changes, improving comfort, control, stability and handling. It is said that the damping rate changes independently at each corner 500 times per second, talk about sophistication.

Engine

Only one engine is available at the moment which is the 3.5-litre twin-turbo Ecoboost V6 engine paired to a 10-speed automatic transmission. Ford have not mentioned the power figures yet which may puzzle a lot of fans but we know why. The TRX produces over 700 hp and that is rather intimidating to the folks at Ford but they are planning on revealing the Raptor R which should have a power figure somewhere around that number.

As standard, it has an electronic rear differential and Torsen front limited-slip differential with 4:10 final drive ratios. The other thing that was included are the twin 3-inch equal-length exhaust system with active valves that change the sound level according to the mode selected: Quiet, Normal, Sport and Baja.

Interior

Inside it is all so similar to the normal F-150 pick up truck but with some distinctive Raptor-inspired changes which include the unique 12-inch digital gauge cluster with the specified graphics, Recaro bucket seats, steering wheel with a laser-etched logo, aluminium paddle shifters and bits of carbon fibre scattered all over the interior. It has a Trail 1-pedal drive ideal for rock crawling.

The huge 12-inch center infotainment touchscreen has the SYNC-4 system which comes with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, voice control through SYNC AppLink apps like Ford+Alexa and wireless charging. There is also an 18-speaker Bang and Olufsen sound system.

It may seem a bit of an unfair competition between the Raptor and the TRX considering the latter has a bigger V8 engine but what matters here is how they can handle a typical Baja course and that is down to the toughness of both cars. The Raptor has already proved that with the past generation models but we shall see how this exciting stand-off unfolds.

Source: Ford Media F-150 Raptor Press Release