Sunday, June 16, 2024
NewsThe 2021 Ford Raptor Is Not The Raptor We Were Waiting For

The 2021 Ford Raptor Is Not The Raptor We Were Waiting For

The 2021 Ford Raptor takes its off-road abilities to the next level. Ford has confirmed that the Raptor R will have a V8.

  • That Raptor we want will be the Raptor R with V8 power expected for next year.

  • Ford invented the off-road high-performance trucks in 2009.

  • The new 2021 Raptor is more civilized and even more capable.

For more than ten years, Ford owned the segment it created. Unrivaled and unchallenged, the Ford Raptor imposed itself as the king of the hill when it came to off-road performance, power, and presence. It was the truck to have if you were serious about truck-stuff. But then, almost overnight, the Ram 1500 TRX dethroned and trashed the Raptor’s image with more of everything. Ford was not going to let this go unheeded.

2021 Ford F-150 Raptor | Photo: Ford

The arrival of the all-new 2021 Ford F-150 last year serves as the new 2021 Raptor’s foundation. The new F-150’s highlights include more technology, increased refinement, and capability. These elements have found their way into the new Raptor.

Now, more than ever, the 3rd generation Raptor has to bring it – it has to do it all, from drive and play, as well as work hard. The truck’s roots are in trophy-trucks and desert racing and never more have they been honoured in a Raptor. The pickup’s frame and foundation, borrowed from the F-150, has been seriously reinforced and features stronger shock towers, extra bracing, and more to handle what the Raptor was built to do.

Fox does it again

And that is drive fast and hard over rough terrain. To the beefed-up frame is attached a heavily-revised chassis. The Raptor now includes an all-new 5-link rear suspension, purpose-built, and conceived without compromise. It includes the longest a Panhard rod, triple-rate coil springs which at 24 inches are the longest in the segment. The Raptor now features extra-long wheel travel thanks in part to the new next-generation FOX Live Valve internal bypass 3.1-inch shocks with electronic control technology. They have thicker shock bodies and thanks to the height sensors, the dampers react instantly to driving conditions. They are optimized for each drive mode and allow for a comfortable on-road ride and hardcore off-road performance.

2021 Ford F-150 Raptor | Photo: Ford

Total wheel travel is up to 15 inches in the rear and upfront, there are up to 14 inches of travel available. This is 1 inch more than the TRX at both ends. The standard wheel and tire combination measures 35 inches. It consists of 17×8.5 wheels (Beadlock optional) with 315/70/R17 BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A KO2 tires. Optionally, and for the first time ever, the Raptor can be fitted with factory optional 37×12.50R17LT BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A KO2 tires. With these installed, ground clearance increases to 13.1 inches (from 12 inches) however wheel travel decreases to a maximum of 14.1 inches in the rear. With these specific tires and wheels, the Fox dampers are revised with thicker rod diameters.

Controlling the majority of the Raptor’s off-roading hardware is the included Terrain Management System, It features seven selectable drive modes including Slippery, Tow/Haul, Sport, Normal, Off-Road, Rock Crawl, and, of course, Baja. Furthermore, the Raptor is delivered with Trail One-Pedal Drive which is designed to make extreme off-road driving like rock crawling much easier. The truck’s brain modulates throttle and brake. The driver need only to apply throttle when desired and it’s backed off, the truck will apply the brakes proportionally to the driver’s lifting from the accelerator. Also part of the package is Trail Control, which operates like cruise control for off-road use.

2021 Ford F-150 Raptor | Photo: Ford

The EcoBoost V6 is back

Powering the 2021 Ford Raptor is the well-known twin-turbocharged high-output 3.5-litre EcoBoost V6 mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission. For the moment, the specifications are “to be determined” but we expect that they will be greater than the 2020’s 450 horsepower and 510 lb.-ft. of torque (on 93-octane fuel). In a strange move, Ford is touting the Raptor’s fuel efficiency saying that brings a projected 500-mile-plus (800 km) range. We’re not convinced that fans care about this very much… Between the V6 and the rear electronic-locking rear differential with 4.10 gearing, 4.10 front axle (optional limited-slip TORSEN) is a 10-speed automatic transmission.

Possibly to make up for the fact that only the V6 is offered at first, Ford has developed a new three-inch equal-length exhaust system. Ford was proud to say that it fooled many an outlet into thinking that the spied Raptor prototypes had a V8. The system features a patent-pending X-pipe, specific “trombone loop”, active valves, and a true pass-through muffler design. There are four sound level configurations: Quiet, Normal, Sport, and Baja.

2021 Ford F-150 Raptor | Photo: Ford

Raptor looks

Physically, the all-new 2021 Ford Raptor looks exactly as it should. Ford says certain aspects were inspired by the F22 Raptor fighter jet and past generations of the Raptor. The fighter jet served as a visual guide for the built-in air extractors mounted at the rear of the massively flared front fenders. The Raptor is 6 inches wider than the base F-150 and sports a far bolder blacked-out grille and headlights. Up top, the power-dome hood includes functional airflow while below, there’s a wide prominent skid plate. The rear is adorned with blacked-out taillights and tailgate appliqué.

Among the available options will be Rigid fog lamps, two different graphics packages with alpha-numeric and QR code markings. There will be three wheel designs, the standard being regular 35 inchers. The optional 35-inch wheel will be Beadlock capable as will the 37-inch wheels. Finally, for those who will use their Raptor on the job, the Pro-Power onboard generator will also be optional.

Premium and tech-loaded

2021 Ford F-150 Raptor | Photo: Ford

The cabin will go upscale in the new F-150’s image. It will feature unique and durable materials and finishes. At the heart of it all will be a new unique steering wheel positioned ahead of a 12-inch digital gauge cluster and a 12-inch central touchscreen display. The latter will include Sync 4 (with 2x more computing power as Sync 3) with built-in off-road assist, wireless Apple CarPlay, and more. Over-the-air updates will be possible and will improve aspects such as FordPass (remote start, zone lighting…) and others.

Here too, options will be numerous. Ford will offer the choice of three interior design themes including “Code Orange”. Recaro seats will once more be available as will be the Work Surface offered, and a B&O premium audio system.

Raptor R

Finally, the 2022 Ford Raptor R. This is the Raptor that all super-truck enthusiasts wanted and will now have to wait a little longer for. Mike Levine, Ford North America Product Communications manager, has confirmed that a V8 is coming for the R.

It is said that it will get the Mustang GT500’s supercharged 5.2-litre V8, albeit in a de-tuned state. We’ll have to wait and find out.

Pricing for the 2021 Ford Raptor is not yet available. It arrives in showrooms this summer. The Raptor will be assembled at Ford’s Dearborn Truck Plant in Dearborn, Michigan.

2021 Ford F-150 Raptor | Photo: Ford
2021 Ford F-150 Raptor | Photo: Ford


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Matt St-Pierre
Matt St-Pierre
Trained as an Automotive Technician, Matt has two decades of automotive journalism under his belt. He’s done TV, radio, print and this thing called the internet. He’s an avid collector of many 4-wheeled things, all of them under 1,500 kg, holds a recently expired racing license and is a father of two. Life is beautiful. Send Matt an emai


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