Behold, the Raptor: Ford’s turnkey Baja racer from the factory, all-new and redesigned for 2017. That means that it’s coming to dealers this year, which means that we’re getting our first look at the production SuperCrew model before it’s revealed at the Detroit Auto Show this week.
It was apparent that the Raptor wasn’t going to diverge much from the show model we saw at last year’s Detroit show, but it doesn’t make the production model any less stellar. Built on the new F-150 architecture that sees more use of aluminum alloys and a new turbocharged EcoBoost-branded V6 that will produce more than the 411 horsepower that the outgoing 6.2 liter V8 summoned. Ford, in its press release, says that the new Raptor will save about 500 pounds versus its predecessor.
The new truck is defined by… well, a lot of stuff. There’s the giant skid plate that comes stock from the factory, the knobby, burly tires that wrap Raptor-specific rims, the huge “FORD” stamped across the grille, and the aggressively-flared fenders. Now, your Raptor can come with four real doors in addition to the Super Cab, pictured above.
The new Raptor will make use of an all-new 10-speed transmission to shovel what’s said to be 450 horsepower where it’s needed via a torque-on-demand transfer case. Despite the weight savings, Ford says that there’s actually more high-strength steel than the outgoing Raptor.
“F-150 Raptor means superior off-road capability, from rock crawling to sand running,” said Dave Pericak, Ford Performance global director. “With the addition of SuperCrew, F-150 Raptor customers can leave the pavement behind – without sacrificing comfort and space.”
Ford says that the SuperCrew’s 145-inch wheelbase is a full foot longer than the standard Raptor SuperCab 133-inch wheelbase, and we’re guessing that unless you’re a really serious off-roading enthusiast, the added length won’t make a whole lot of difference. It’s already going to be a beast to park in crowded urban areas, so what’s another 12 inches?
So far, Ford doesn’t have any direct gauntlets thrown in front of it. The Ram Rebel and Toyota Tundra TRD-Pro come the closest, but those two don’t commit to the same level of off-road dedication that the Raptor does. It appears that trend is going to continue through 2016; however, with Jeep putting pickup plans under consideration, the Raptor might see its first real competition before long.
Like classics? It’s always Throwback Thursday somewhere.