If you are looking for unmatched off-road performance straight from a manufacturer without compromising the paved performance, then the answer is simple: a Ford F150 Raptor. It has received many upgrades over the past decade, proving its dominance in the truck market. And late last year, Ford released the latest version of the Raptor with a few changes.
Ford Performance is known for pushing boundaries, but are the changes for the third generation enough to call it the best Raptor yet? With production delays and a chip shortage due to the pandemic, we could barely get our hands on a Raptor to see it for ourselves. It is undoubtedly an excellent off-road performance truck, but after spending a week with one, we would go a step further and say this is the best luxury truck you can buy in 2022.
The Ford F-150 Raptor spent the last decade solidifying its place in history. From a stage win at the Dakar Rally to multiple finishes in the SCORE Baja 1000, throughout the years the Raptor has proved itself time and time again as a real-deal high-performance off-road truck.
Ford released the latest-generation F150 Raptor last year with incredible refinements over the previous generation. Although the 2022 iteration has had no significant changes, the Ford F-150 – which we had finally put our hands on – received a complete redesign in 2021. With new larger-diameter 3.1-inch Fox Live Valve shocks and refined interior; besides the 3.5 Liter V6 and 10 Speed transmission, this is an entirely new truck. But the most significant change for the Raptor was the adaptation of the five-link rear suspension. With the tried and true leaf springs falling by the wayside, the new five-link suspension is an off-roader’s dream. Gone are the days of unnecessary axle wrap, as the new design allows for wheel articulation stability and wheel travel. For now, the standard F150 model still retains leaf springs.
The F150 Raptor has 14 inches of suspension travel up front; in the rear, the new five-link suspension offers a hefty 15 inches of wheel travel. The Raptor comes equipped with 3.0 internal bypass Fox Live Valve shocks capable of adjusting 500 times per second with three different modes – comfort, normal, and Baja. This suspension was designed to perform at high speed through rough terrain, and it does. Rocky riverbeds and washed-out roads proved no match for the Raptor during testing. Just as you come upon a large hole or dip and think it will be a hard hit, you are surprised at how settled the truck feels going through it.
The suspension inspires so much confidence that it becomes easier to overdrive the truck. In older trucks factory-equipped with off-road trim, you were quickly driving at the truck’s limit. That’s not the case with the Raptor; it is a truck that is the definition of high performance. Just when you think you reached the limit, the truck has more to give and keeps going.
With a 3.5 V6 making 450hp and 510lb-ft of torque, it will go 0-60 in just 5.4 seconds. It’s easy for the truck to get out from under you with this much power. You’d better have the driving experience to back it up, because you can easily hit triple digits off-road.
This Raptor came equipped with the 37 Performance package, which is tipped off by graphics on the truck bed sides and the giant 37 BFGoodrich All-Terrains. It is a high-performance package equipped with beefy rubber, front torsion limited-slip differential, forged aluminum bead-lock capable wheels and tuned shocks.
While some critics say the Raptor may be a one-trick pony only meant for high-speed off-road performance. I am here to say that it isn’t. The on-road performance isn’t compromised by the off-road suspension. It’s actually more comfortable than a regular F150, thanks to its advanced shock technology. While it is wider than most trucks on the road, going down trails didn’t prove to be much of a problem in the mountains.
There’s luxury to match the performance. The Raptor F150 has blue Recaro leather seats with aggressive side bolsters and a massive infotainment system in the interior. There’s heated/cooled seats on top of that and all the creature comforts you could want – wireless CarPlay, multi-zone exterior lighting, and even Ford’s onboard generator capable of 2.0-kW, meaning you can power almost anything in the bed of the truck.
This interior is on par with the most luxurious trim of the Ford F150, the Platinum. Even though this one doesn’t have massage seats, the F150 can go anywhere while having ample room and all the creature comforts you would need. For that reason, I would dub it the most luxurious truck you could buy.
Overall, if you are looking to bomb through the desert chasing races in Baja and then drive to work in a luxurious truck, look no further than the third-generation F150 Raptor. It has the performance when you want it while remaining composed on a morning commute; the Raptor continues to impress us all as one of the versatile trucks you can buy. But it will cost you, starting at $64,145 for the base model. The one we drove was $82,475; by no means is this truck cheap, but damn, is it worth it.