2017 Ford F-150 Raptor

“There is a time and a place for everything.”


This phrase came repeatedly to mind during my experience with the 2017 Ford F-150 Raptor, as driving the huge desert runner on city streets registered as insanely wasteful to me. Particularly in light of the adventure I had a few years back kicking up huge rooster tails of dust with Ford’s barely domesticated racing truck at highly elevated speeds in California’s Anza Borrego Desert.

Lest you accuse me of engaging in hyperbole, consider this; an essentially stock 2017 Ford F-150 Raptor took third place when it completed the 2016 Baja 1000 against full-blown, purpose-built race trucks. Said simply, purchasing a F-150 Raptor for use in the city is kind of like buying a Le Mans GTE racing car for your daily commute. The only modification made to the Raptor for the race was the addition of the required safety gear. This included a roll cage, a light bar, a fuel cell and minor shock changes to handle the additional weight. The Arizona-based racing team then drove the Raptor back to Phoenix — on public roads — after the event.

 

Ford F-150 Raptor Overview

With an overall height approaching six and half feet, and a width of some seven feet, the Raptor is HUGE. Using it around town is more like maneuvering a vessel than driving a car. You have to be careful to avoid squishing MINIs and Smart Cars. This thing is “Look over here y'all, I got a gigantic ego,” big. You have very little room for error when parking in the city. On the other hand, you’ve got a set of 34-inch tires with reinforced sidewalls, so scratching a wheel on the curb is a non-issue.

Plus, if you’re stuck in traffic on the Interstate, you can just drive over curbs and through the median — with little concern of what might be lurking in the tall grass — to head in the other direction. A reinforced frame to deal with whatever mayhem owners decide to inflict backs those huge rubber boots. Supporting all of this mass are a gigantic set of shocks with tubes measuring some three inches in diameter. The Raptor uses these to accomplish an amazing 13 inches of front suspension travel and just under 14 inches at the rear.

Power comes from a twin-turbocharged V6, good for 450 horsepower and 510 ft-lbs of torque. This is routed to all four wheels through a 10-speed automatic transmission. A true high performance engine, the V6 runs a lightweight valvetrain along with port and direct fuel injection. With this engine, the 2017 Ford F-150 Raptor is capable of running zero to 60 in just over five seconds. Fuel economy is quoted at 15 mpg in the city and 18 on the highway.

And yet, perhaps ironically, every effort was also made to deliver a truck you’d want to drive everyday. Interior comfort is outstanding—once you’ve scaled Mt. Raptor and planted yourself upon its plush heated and cooled leather upholstery. Ford’s SYNC 3 software conducts infotainment activities, while Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are offered to help your smartphone feel at home. The pedal set is adjustable, as is the steering column, so a comfortable driving position is readily attainable for pretty much everyone.

An additional benefit of all of that suspension travel is a comfortable and smooth ride over just about anything an urban environment is likely to fling in the Ford’s path. Railroad crossings and potholes are crushed into submission, leaving the Raptor bored and unfazed. Directional stability is quite remarkable at highway speeds and tire roar is graciously low. Wind noise is subdued as well. Priced like a luxury car, Raptor also coddles its occupants in a similar fashion.

Still though, it’s way too much truck for city streets. Which, of course, means a lot of people will find the 2017 Ford F-150 Raptor perfectly suited to their overachieving proclivities.

 

Pricing starts at $49,265.

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