RSS icon Home icon
  • 2017 Ford F-150 Raptor

    Posted on July 27th, 2017 ninarussin

    Off-road racer is top tier at any speed

    By Nina Russin

    2017 Ford Raptor

    2017 Ford Raptor

    This year, Ford introduces an all-new version of its off-road race-ready Raptor, based on the F-150 light-duty pickup truck. Powered by an EcoBoost V-6 engine that delivers a whopping 450 horsepower and 510 lbs.-ft. of peak torque, the Raptor is a formidable competitor on any terrain.

    To prove its mettle, Ford Performance entered a Raptor in the Baja 1000: the granddaddy of Mexican off-road SCORE races. It’s a grueling test for any vehicle, with roaming cows, seas of loose sand, boulders and rattlesnakes all in a day’s work. The Raptor placed third in its class, after which Greg Foutz and his team drove the car back to their shop in Phoenix, Arizona, almost 400 miles away.

    What makes the Raptor even more amazing, and what distinguishes the 2017 model from the first-generation car, is how well it functions as a daily driver. Small but significant design changes such as the dropped side windows that lower the driver’s sight-line to better spot low-profile cars, a more versatile, quieter interior make the Raptor a competent contender in the Monday-Friday 9-5.

    2017 Ford Raptor

    2017 Ford Raptor

    The twin turbocharged V-6 engine gains three miles-per-gallon over the 2014 model and accelerates faster. The ten-speed automatic transmission on the 2017 model that replaces a six-speed gearbox on the 2014 truck does a better job of matching power needs to output, making for a smoother and more fuel-efficient ride.

    Engineers utilized high-strength military grade aluminum alloy for the body to shave off 500 pounds compared to the outgoing model. In addition to improving gas mileage, the rigid body produces remarkably good steering feedback from the EPAS system, on par with vehicles having less suspension travel and lower centers of gravity. Drivers can select from three steering modes- normal, sport or comfort- depending on their needs.

    Base price for the Raptor is $48,325 excluding the $1,195 destination charge. Options on the test car include a power sliding rear window, 360-degree camera, automatic temperature control, LED cargo box lighting, trailer brake control, trailer backup assist, remote start, voice-activated navigation, tailgate step, 17-inch forged alloy wheels, and a technology package with adaptive cruise control. Final MSRP is $64,420.

    Test drive in Southern Arizona

    2017 Ford Raptor

    2017 Ford Raptor

    Over the past week I drove the Raptor around Phoenix, Arizona’s east valley as well as rural roads on the southwest side of the San Tan mountains south of town. With its new terrain management system that automatically shifts between rear-wheel, all-wheel and four-wheel drive depending on the terrain and traction needs, the Raptor is ready and willing to take on any challenge in its path.

    While Phoenix, Arizona’s glassy-smooth roads normally make for a placid driving experience, the annual monsoon season is a different story. During the test drive, severe thunderstorms hit the area, dropping massive amounts of rain and producing winds that downed trees and powerlines. Since few parts of the valley have sewer systems, what falls on the roads tends to stay there. It’s not unusual for a dry road to quickly turn into a river.

    While most of us who live here don’t make a point of going out in this stuff, there are times when a driver simply has-to get from point A to point B with no good options. The Raptor has the ground clearance, tires and traction to handle the job, and equally important, features such as blind spot monitoring to help the driver see in weather that severely limits visibility. Ford worked with tire supplier BF Goodrich to create special treads for the Raptor, that together with upgraded Fox shocks add ground clearance without sacrificing stability.

    A lane keeping assist system utilizes the vehicle’s brakes to move the vehicle back to center when a driver starts to veer out of the lane without signaling. Some of these systems can be annoying, while others are pretty-intuitive. The system on the Raptor does the job unobtrusively. Considering the vehicle’s width, it’s a useful safety feature to have.

    The 2017 model is wider than the 2014 truck, so it can be a challenge staying inside the lines of a typical parking space. Garages are iffy as well. I was-able-to clear the barrier at a Scottsdale parking garage entrance, but found myself quite close to the ceiling’s supporting structures.

    Although the suspension is engineered for off-road performance, the independent four-wheel setup with stabilizer bars functions quite well on paved roads. There is no noticeable bouncing or chatter, and the off-road tires are remarkably quiet. A robust braking system stops the truck in firm, linear fashion.

    Off-road is the Raptor’s playground. With features, such as hill start assist, hill descent control, terrain management and a fail-safe cooling system, drivers without extensive off-roading experience can comfortably tackle rock piles at off-roading parks. In addition to the truck’s ample ground clearance, skid places protect sensitive parts of the chassis from rock damage.

    Versatile interior

    2017 Ford Raptor Interior

    2017 Ford Raptor Interior

    The crew cab seats up to five adult passengers and adds valuable interior storage space. Running boards ease access and egress for smaller occupants. I found power driver’s seat controls easy to adjust for a clear forward view with ample lower lumbar support. Both the gauge cluster and center stack screen are easy to read in a variety of lighting conditions.

    The 360-degree camera works on a split screen with a rearview camera image on the opposite side. The two views of the car’s perimeter make it much easier to park and back out of parking spaces in crowded lots.

    The height of the Phoenix summer is an ideal time to test vehicle HVAC systems. The system on the Raptor blows ice cubes, cooling the interior down quickly in 100-plus degree weather.

    Standard safety

    The Ford Raptor comes with front, side and canopy side curtain airbags, antilock brakes, reverse sensing system, rearview camera, stability control, SOS post-crash alert and tire pressure monitoring. The Raptor received a five-star overall crash test rating from NHTSA.

    Ford builds the F-150 Raptor at its Dearborn, Michigan assembly plant.

    Like: An off-road race truck that functions equally well as a daily driver, thanks to its rigid body structure, exceptional ride, handling, steering response and advanced active safety features.

    Dislikes: None

    Quick facts:

    Make: Ford
    Model: F-150 Raptor
    Year: 2017
    Base price: $48,225
    As tested: $64,420
    Horsepower: 450 HP @ 5000 rpm
    Torque: 510 lbs.-ft. @ 3500 rpm
    Zero-to-sixty: Around six seconds
    Antilock brakes: Standard
    Side curtain airbags: Standard
    First aid kit: N/A
    Bicycle friendly: Yes
    Off-road: Yes
    Towing: Yes
    Fuel economy: 15/18 mpg city/highway

    Comments are closed.