RE: Ford F-150 Raptor: Driven

RE: Ford F-150 Raptor: Driven

Friday 9th February

Ford F-150 Raptor: Driven

You can't buy the Raptor in Britain, and for good reason. But we couldn't say no to a go...



The UK has no equivalent to the Ford F-150. Not just mechanically, but emotionally. No car can claim to be so close to the British heart that its sales volume ranks as unassailable. People buy Fiestas here because they're pretty and affordable and nice to drive. In its domestic market, Ford's pick-up truck is such a long-running phenomenon that such objectivity seems almost by the by. The F-150 is, therefore it sells. Such devotion gives Dearborn plenty of latitude when it comes to finessing the model range, which has made the quickest version a fearsome prospect.

In its previous guise, the Raptor certainly lived up to its name - not least because Ford installed a 6.2-litre V8 but also because it came with the kind of bespoke chassis that embraced heavy-duty off-road treatment. Conceptually, its belated replacement doesn't fall far from the tree (not nearly far enough for Ford to countenance the idea of selling it in the UK) with the biggest news being a powertrain swap-out. Thus the savage thirstiness of the Boss V8 has been replaced by the slightly less savage thirstiness of a 3.5-litre turbocharged V6 - the same basic engine that powers the new Ford GT.

Plainly the Raptor's iteration, mated to a ten-speed auto and variably driving all four wheels, is in a much lowlier state of tune, but forced induction still ensures that it modestly outboxes its larger predecessor, and the switch from a steel body to an aluminium one means that there's over 200kg less kerb weight to shift. The diet however has not precluded the truck getting larger: the track has increased dramatically, taking the Raptor from wantonly large to downright humongous. On one hand its preposterous scale will surprise precisely no-one, but it's worth dwelling on it for a moment because its sheer bigness impacts on just about everything the Raptor does. Or doesn't do.


The latter includes all the scenarios you'd imagine, none of them unfamiliar to the driver of, say, a Routemaster bus - although all are made inevitably trickier by the truck's left-hand drive only status (you can actually have one converted to right-hand drive in the UK, but it's probably cheaper to simply emigrate). The difficulty involved in judging the precise whereabouts of each corner is made doubly apparent by the scale of the interior. Unlike large European SUVs, which tend to cleverly wrap around the driver at some point so as not to seem unwieldy, the Raptor's extremities never seem less than 13 or 14 feet distant.

Everything in the cabin is determinedly oversized, too. The steering wheel and gear lever and anything else that needs pulling or closing is uniformly gigantic, and usually festooned with buttons. The overhead switchgear is so remote that locating it is a little like searching the sky for a lobbed tennis ball. There's room for a rucksack in the centre console. The glovebox is practically in Dover. You get the picture. Now imagine the prospect of driving such a colossus very briskly.

It is not entirely unwelcome then to learn that the Raptor is only fast in terms relative to its size. So while 450hp might sound fairly robust, it must (as ever) be considered in proportional terms - and when those proportions tip the scale at 2.5 tonnes, it's possibly comforting to discover that big Ford is not in the class of a Range Rover SVR or Porsche Cayenne GTS. Not that anyone should mistake that fact for a lack of hustle; when called upon to bear down, the forever roving automatic drops three ratios almost by default and lets 510lb ft of torque from 3500rpm do the heavy lifting.


However, the resulting surge, mild turbo lag notwithstanding, is less neck-snapping than it is eye-opening, as it has the Raptor leaning back on its pliant suspension and simultaneously careening forward. There's no mistaking the body-on-frame architecture - good for toughness and towing (and stronger than ever) but bad for anyone craving a definitive connection with the road surface.

Compounding its meandering sense of detachment is a very un-Ford -like steering rack, which has traded in most of its accuracy and heft for manoeuvring convenience. Not only is it light and relatively slow, but by modern standards there's quite a bit of play in it too - which is decidedly inconvenient when you're trying not to sideswipe an oncoming tractor.

Consequently, you tend to make a discombobulated sort of progress on lesser roads and in towns: wincing at HGVs and traffic islands, never emphatically in control of the twitching mass around you although never entirely against the idea of surging dramatically forward either. Frequently the Raptor is useless in the ten-gallon hat mould - big on attitude, short on manners, undeniably cumbersome - and yet rarely is it bereft of charm.


Not unlike the hat, it's all about finding the right backdrop. Typically this occurs on the motorway where the truck adequately fits lanes measured for commercial vehicles and therefore doesn't require you to be quite so diligent with corrections. With less to do, a flat-out and carefree sort of mosey descends; traceable to the Raptor's ostensibly sporty seats, which are in fact paid-up endorsers of a nonchalant slouch, and a ride quality of remarkably similar bent.

As before, an emphasis on off-road pursuits has endowed the truck with colossal Fox Racing suspension components, to the extent where they dwarf even the add-ons that preceded them; Ford claiming an additional two inches of spring travel, and dampers that have increased 44 per cent in size. The result is a brand of long-wave buoyancy that makes a Land Rover Discovery 4 feel abruptly sprung. Factor in the muffling effect of those massive profile tyres and the Raptor goes big on the kind of long-striding comfort that no doubt helps shrink the distance to the State line.

Liveable would be the catch-all term, although that doesn't entirely sum up the short work the Raptor's chassis makes of a British B road. In practically anything both fast and European (or Japanese or Korean even), experience teaches you to avoid the really tragic bits of tarmac - especially when accelerating. In the Raptor it is possible to pay the condition of the faraway surface virtually no mind at all; whatever is coming your way, speed humps included, is made to seem putty-like by the truck's accommodating running gear.


It is by this virtue that the Ford may be driven very quickly indeed, given sufficient space in a reasonably straight line. However, because stopping and turning in takes a) nerves of steel in the face of shifting weight b) a fair amount of guesswork with regard to the front end and c) endless downshifting on the ten-speed 'box, in the UK the fun tends to be measured by your distance to the next unsighted bend. Of course what you really want (and what the Raptor is plainly meant for) is mile after mile of gravel or sand or shallow mud.

Even when unfairly hemmed in by the slow-down limitations of a British byway, the truck is undeniably compelling off road, not just because the specialized combination of tyres, suspension, two-speed all-wheel drive and a locking rear diff make it feel all but unstoppable, but because the Ford is weighed down by none of the gin-palace ostentation that comes with driving an SVR or Cayenne across the countryside. Instead, with its blocky, cheap-feeling interior fixtures and industrial voiced V6, it remains stoutly blue collar and tool-like.

Were you living in Arizona or Montana or Utah, and frequently visiting the great outdoors, the point of the Raptor would be nigh on irrefutable, just as the reasons for not bothering to sell it in the UK are pretty much self-evident. Driving it here is diverting, but never less than hard work - and that's precisely not the point of Ford's quickest pick-up. Its power and powered-up chassis are all about adding in more fun to the F-150 without dramatically curtailing its all-court usability. And while that doesn't make it right-sized for Britain, it ultimately makes it no less laudable than the ST stripe of Fiesta.


SPECIFICATION - FORD F-150 RAPTOR

Engine: 3,490cc, twin-turbo V6
Transmission: 10-speed automatic, four-wheel drive
Power (hp): 450@5,000rpm
Torque (lb ft): 510@3,500rpm
0-62mph: N/A
Top speed: N/A
Weight: 2,584kg
MPG: 16 (American EPA combined figure)
CO2: N/A
Price: $50,020

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Author
Discussion

monzaxjr

Original Poster:

66 posts

78 months

Thursday 8th February
quotequote all
Room enough in the back to sniff the biff of your sister, cousin & your mother. No wonder these sell like hotcakes over there.

J4CKO

24,766 posts

132 months

Thursday 8th February
quotequote all
monzaxjr said:
Room enough in the back to sniff the biff of your sister, cousin & your mother. No wonder these sell like hotcakes over there.
And that was your first thought about it ? says more about you than Americans.

What a weird thing to say.


RDMcG

12,541 posts

139 months

Friday 9th February
quotequote all
As it happens I have a winters house in Scottsdale AZ. It is an amazingly well suited truck for the environment. Personally I prefer the old V8 though. It just should have a V8.

PBDirector

494 posts

62 months

Friday 9th February
quotequote all
I had to work really hard to read that article; many of the sentences just didn't seem to flow for me.

Sorry: limitless of the prose declined to simply flow for me it did.

The Moose

16,614 posts

141 months

Friday 9th February
quotequote all
RDMcG said:
As it happens I have a winters house in Scottsdale AZ. It is an amazingly well suited truck for the environment. Personally I prefer the old V8 though. It just should have a V8.
I couldn’t agree more. I was most disappointed when riding in the new Raptor for the first time.
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Danez

21 posts

31 months

Friday 9th February
quotequote all
The Moose said:
RDMcG said:
As it happens I have a winters house in Scottsdale AZ. It is an amazingly well suited truck for the environment. Personally I prefer the old V8 though. It just should have a V8.
I couldn’t agree more. I was most disappointed when riding in the new Raptor for the first time.
Is there any new ford motors apart from the mustang that even has a V8 anymore?

Brompty

133 posts

76 months

Friday 9th February
quotequote all
PBDirector said:
I had to work really hard to read that article; many of the sentences just didn't seem to flow for me.

Sorry: limitless of the prose declined to simply flow for me it did.
I thought so too: it seems to be regurgitation of the manufacturer's press release in an order not oft encountered. Or most of it doesn't make sense.

toohuge

3,008 posts

148 months

Friday 9th February
quotequote all
Danez said:
The Moose said:
RDMcG said:
As it happens I have a winters house in Scottsdale AZ. It is an amazingly well suited truck for the environment. Personally I prefer the old V8 though. It just should have a V8.
I couldn’t agree more. I was most disappointed when riding in the new Raptor for the first time.
Is there any new ford motors apart from the mustang that even has a V8 anymore?
The F150 and Superduty trucks can still be purchased with a V8 - however, the ecoboost engine has significantly better torque output and improved fuel economy, hence its popularity.

I love the Raptor - however, I agree with RDMcG - the raptor ought to have a V8.

I think deep down, we'd all want a raptor with a powerstroke V8 biggrin

Djtemeka

783 posts

124 months

Friday 9th February
quotequote all
You can get the v8 in the f150. Just not the raptor smile

Guffy

2,158 posts

197 months

Friday 9th February
quotequote all
You can see why it's not suitable for the UK, i have a VW Amarok which is ungainly enough, this would be a monster.

rtz62

1,455 posts

87 months

Friday 9th February
quotequote all
Guffy said:
You can see why it's not suitable for the UK, i have a VW Amarok which is ungainly enough, this would be a monster.
So, ridiculous size, slightly uncouth manners and an interior that sounds a bit low-rent / vulgar; coming to a Premier League footballers driveway near you/me sometime soon...

SmartVenom

402 posts

101 months

Friday 9th February
quotequote all
PBDirector said:
I had to work really hard to read that article; many of the sentences just didn't seem to flow for me.

Sorry: limitless of the prose declined to simply flow for me it did.
It was terrible! I assumed that PistonHeads were now paying by the word and this journalist needed a big payday. Large chunks of the text were just rubbish.

smartypants

35,616 posts

101 months

Friday 9th February
quotequote all
PBDirector said:
I had to work really hard to read that article; many of the sentences just didn't seem to flow for me.

Sorry: limitless of the prose declined to simply flow for me it did.
I’ve got a mild hangover so I thought it was me. It made by hangover worse trying to follow that, so I just looked at the pictures.

I love it smile

andrewparker

3,202 posts

119 months

Friday 9th February
quotequote all
Good use of the word “careening”.

Turbobanana

1,043 posts

133 months

Friday 9th February
quotequote all
SmartVenom said:
PBDirector said:
I had to work really hard to read that article; many of the sentences just didn't seem to flow for me.

Sorry: limitless of the prose declined to simply flow for me it did.
It was terrible! I assumed that PistonHeads were now paying by the word and this journalist needed a big payday. Large chunks of the text were just rubbish.
Disagree. Nick's come in for a lot of criticism on here lately, some of it justified, but this reads well - if a little "Troy Queef" smile

On another note, the gear selection indicator on the LCD display:

- P=Park: yup, get that
- R=Reverse: obvious
- N=Neutral: check
- D=Drive: the fun bit smile
- M=??? Monster? Motherf**ker?

I think we should be told.

Grey944

16 posts

36 months

Friday 9th February
quotequote all
SmartVenom said:
It was terrible! I assumed that PistonHeads were now paying by the word and this journalist needed a big payday. Large chunks of the text were just rubbish.
I got a few paragraphs in and then gave up, heavy going to read. Too many poor articles recently - it's starting to effect the site.

Boyakasha

27 posts

109 months

Friday 9th February
quotequote all
Turbobanana said:
Disagree. Nick's come in for a lot of criticism on here lately, some of it justified, but this reads well - if a little "Troy Queef" smile

On another note, the gear selection indicator on the LCD display:

- P=Park: yup, get that
- R=Reverse: obvious
- N=Neutral: check
- D=Drive: the fun bit smile
- M=??? Monster? Motherf**ker?

I think we should be told.
M = Manual, it’s got paddles.

Blackpuddin

8,015 posts

137 months

Friday 9th February
quotequote all
Grey944 said:
SmartVenom said:
It was terrible! I assumed that PistonHeads were now paying by the word and this journalist needed a big payday. Large chunks of the text were just rubbish.
I got a few paragraphs in and then gave up, heavy going to read. Too many poor articles recently - it's starting to effect the site.
I thought it was really well written.

tim milne

240 posts

165 months

Friday 9th February
quotequote all
F150 — the world's best-selling 'car'

Dave Hedgehog

10,004 posts

136 months

Friday 9th February
quotequote all
J4CKO said:
monzaxjr said:
Room enough in the back to sniff the biff of your sister, cousin & your mother. No wonder these sell like hotcakes over there.
And that was your first thought about it ? says more about you than Americans.

What a weird thing to say.
extremely weird

how could he forget that it also has space for a large gun rack, a beer cooler and a tail gate BBQ making it the perfect date your sister car