Ford Unleashes Most Off-Road Capable and Connected F-150 Raptor Ever
Words and Photos provided by: Ford Motor Co.
Ford created an off-road icon in 2009 when it introduced the desert racing-inspired F-150 Raptor.
And for 2021, it’s born again with an all-new F-150 Raptor that takes the mechanical and technical brilliance and precision of Raptor and infuses it with enhanced technology.
A high-performance off-road pickup is defined by its suspension, and the F-150 Raptor has an all-new five-link rear suspension designed to deliver more control and power to the ground over rough terrain at high speeds.
The rear suspension features extra-long trailing arms to better maintain axle position on rough terrain, a Panhard rod and 24-inch coil springs. This design, combined with the engine management software means the truck can put more torque to the rear wheels while simultaneously delivering comfort, handling, control and traction at speed.
Soaking up giant whoops comes courtesy of FOX™ Live Valve™ internal bypass shocks with electronic control technology offering position-sensitive damping adjustability. Raptor’s shocks are designed to better resist heat buildup and to react even faster to terrain changes for greater confidence over extended desert running. The 3.1-inch-diameter anodized aluminum shock bodies are specially designed to decrease frictional losses for improved off and on-road comfort. New electronically controlled base valves are race-proven with an upgraded design enabling upward of 1,000 pounds of damping per corner at desert speeds.
Readings from suspension height sensors and other sensors around the truck change damping rates independently at each corner 500 times per second.
For the first time, Raptor is available with either 35-inch or 37-inch specially designed BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A KO2 tires. Wearing 35-inch tires, Raptor clears 12-inch obstacles with an approach angle of 31 degrees, maximum departure angle of 23.9 degrees and breakover angle of 22.7 degrees. Raptor with 37-inch tires features 13.1 inches of running clearance, 33.1 degrees of approach angle, a maximum 24.9 degrees of departure angle and 24.4 degrees of breakover angle. It has outstanding wheel travel with 35-inch tires, reaching 14 inches at the front and 15 inches at the rear.
Available in SuperCrew configuration on a 145-inch wheelbase, Raptor features a fully boxed high-strength steel frame with a high-strength, military-grade, aluminum alloy and composite body.
Under the hood is a twin-turbo 3.5-liter EcoBoost® delivering torque low in the rev range right where it counts. Firm horsepower figures are yet to be released, but speculations are in the mid to high 400’s, doubtful to break the 500HP mark. The 10-speed automatic transmission is bolted to an innovative torque-on-demand transfer case. A standard electronic locking rear differential and available TORSEN® front limited-slip differential are fitted with 4:10 final drive ratios. Maximum payload is 1,400 pounds, while maximum towing is 8,200 pounds.
The F-150 Raptor debuts a cockpit with a 12-inch digital gauge cluster featuring a large information-on-demand area with off-road data and turn-by-turn navigation. A 12-inch center screen is standard, allowing owners to split the screen and control multiple functions simultaneously, including navigation, music or truck features.
Future possible upgrades like trail maps plus Trail Turn Assist could add even more off-road capability. Customers can control their Raptor with FordPass – a mobile app that can lock or unlock their vehicle, check tire pressure, fuel level, and allow control of new features like Zone Lighting, Trailer Theft Alert, Trailer Light Check and Pro Power Onboard.
The Terrain Management System’s seven selectable drive modes allow customers to choose the setting for seven different driving conditions. Drive modes adjust steering feel, transfer case behavior, stability control, active valve exhaust, active damping system, throttle mapping and transmission shift points, as well as the display on the digital gauge cluster. Another feature, Standard Trail 1-Pedal Drive helps make extreme off-road driving like rock crawling easier. In two-foot harsh trail situations, this system simplifies all that, combining those operations into activating just the throttle – press to move forward, release to brake. The truck applies the brakes proportionally as the driver lifts from the accelerator.
F-150 Raptor also comes with standard Trail Control, which operates like cruise control for off-road use. Drivers simply select a set speed and the truck manages throttle and braking to allow them to focus on steering through challenging off-road conditions. With the available 360-degree camera package, the driver has an in-cabin view of obstacles around the truck, with the front view offering a real-time tire track overlay to show the path of the wheels ahead to reduce the need to stop for spotter guidance.
Standard SYNC® 4 includes voice control and wireless smartphone connection, and an available 18-speaker sound system by Bang & Olufsen. A new steering wheel features the iconic top centering mark and aluminum paddle shifters. Seats with large bolsters keep occupants in place, and standard aluminum or available carbon fiber packages trim the doors, instrument panel and center console.
A completely redesigned aggressive exterior advances the design of F-150 Raptor. The hood has a new heat extractor and functional side vents, all inspired by the intakes of the F-22 Raptor fighter jet. The same concept extends to the rear, with blacked-out taillights and available tailgate appliqué creating visual fender-to-fender width.
A wider front skid plate offers greater coverage side-to-side and extends protection forward. Durable steel front and rear bumpers and an available Rigid™ lights mounted in the front bumper helps illuminate the path ahead. Three different 17-inch wheels are available, two with beadlock capability – all designed for maximum strength and great looks.
The 2021 F-150 Raptor will be available in showrooms this summer. And the long anticipated Raptor R is coming next year. Look for an in-seat review in an upcoming 2021 issue of UTV Sports Mag, as we put it through a real test of the southwest desert.