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2017 Ford F-150 Raptor 4WD Super Cab Review By John Heilig

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By John Heilig
Senior Editor and Bureau Chief
Mid-Atlantic Bureau
The Auto Channel

REVIEWED MODEL: 2017 Ford F-150 Raptor 4WD Super Cab

ENGINE: 3.5-liter V6
TRANSMISSION: 10-speed automatic
HORSEPOWER/TORQUE: 450 hp @ 5,100 rpm/510 lb.-ft. @ 3,500 rpm
WHEELBASE: 134.2 in.
LENGTH X WIDTH X HEIGHT: 220.0 x 86.3 x 75.8 in.
TIRES: P315/70R17
CARGO CAPACITY: Bed - 52.8 cu. ft.; Max payload 3,720 lbs.
ECONOMY: 15 mpg city/18 mpg highway/11.7 mpg test
FUEL TANK: 26.0 gal.
CURB WEIGHT: 5,525 lbs. #/HP: 12.3
TOWING CAPACITY: 13,200  lbs.
COMPETITIVE CLASS: Chevrolet Silverado, Dodge Ram, Toyota Tundra
STICKER: $61,685 (includes $1,195 delivery, $12,165 options)
BOTTOM LINE: The Ford F-150 Raptor is the truck side of Ford’s Performance Group. As such, it offers power and handling enhancements over the base F-150, with few of the disadvantages of souped up other vehicles.

The vehicles coming out of Ford Performance have dual personalities. Yes, they are performance cars and perform well on the race track and off-road. In the case of the Mustang GT350, on-road performance is shadowed by the car’s impressive on-track performance. In the case of the Ford F-150 Raptor, the truck performs just as well as a “normal” truck as it does in the SCORE Baja 100 and Best in the Desert races.

Raptor equipment is a $9,345 option package that includes a bunch of nice features that you would probably want in any truck. Additional optional equipment ($2,820) includes much more important features, like cast aluminum 17-inch wheels. the 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6, LT315/70R17 tires, the 6,600-lb. GVWR package, tailgate step and a spray-in bedliner.

The engine is at the heart of the Raptor. The 3.5-liter Eco Boost V6 is rated at a healthy 450 horsepower and 510 lb.-ft. of torque. Hooked to a segment-first 10-speed automatic transmission, the Raptor delivers 12.3 pounds per horsepower. And yet it can be docile.

The same week we drove the Raptor we had another performance car in the driveway that was loud and raucous, and really had no civilized manners. The Raptor, on the other had, had manners, and the neighbors didn’t complain about the noise.

Raptor isn’t all about the engine, just as the Mustang GT350 isn’t all about its engine. Underneath the average height of the Raptor increased two inches, primarily due to custom-engineered Fox shocks that are upsized to three inches in diameter. Meeting the road are LT315/70R17 tires that help smooth out the bumps. 

Ride quality is actually very good in the Raptor. Even though this is essentially the same street legal truck that completed the Baja 1000, you could use it around town with no problems. Front seats are deep bolstered and even though they say “Raptor” on the embroidery instead of “Recaro,” they offer similar great support. The rear seats are entered via a pseudo door that cannot be opened without the front door being opened. Rear legroom is compromised somewhat. Between the front seats is a huge console/arm rest that seems big enough to hold a small child (not really). There are assist handles on the A pillars for the front passengers, but the rear passengers get no assist in entering or exiting. 

Behind the cabin is a 5.5-foot box (in SuperCab configuration) with a spray-on bedliner that not only protects the bed, it keeps objects from sliding around. The same spray-on material is on the running boards and the rear bumper that includes a tailgate step. Raptor’s shorter overall length (than the bigger F-150s) makes handling (especially backing up) better. The tailgate lowers automatically, but you have to lift it up. 

Styling reveals the Raptor’s true identity. The truck wears a hood scoop, exhaust pipes that looks as if they can hide a smart car, and the engine boosts. However, the performance doesn’t quite live up to the image. Acceleration is very good, but not neck-snapping. Handling is very good omg tight roads. 

The driver faces a clear instrument panel as well as a clear infotainment screen. The Raptor contains a full compliment of gauges. The infotainment screen has a white background that seems to make it clearer. And, as with the GT350, there’s a centering stripe on the wheel to let you know when you’re headed in the right direction.

Overall, the Raptor is well-equipped with lots of power.

(c) 2017 The Auto Page Syndicate

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