The 2017 Ford Raptor Flexes Its Off-Road Muscle
Sometimes you just have to do the manly thing and go get your truck stuck in a bog somewhere while listening to rockabilly and spitting in the manliest fashion possible while your buddy winches you out. All of this sounds incredibly masculine, but getting bogged-down in the everglades is not something Ford wants to see happen in its redesigned Raptor, and if getting there is half the fun, maybe we should do the macho thing and climb a mountain instead of taking the via duct.
When Ford released a YouTube video highlighting the off-road prowess of a Raptor prototype rocking some standard F-150 flare, adrenaline levels spiked across America as millions of hardcore bros continue to eagerly await the next installment in Ford’s plot to turn trucks into something much more. Sporting aggressive fenders, integrated LED tube-lighting and a bad attitude, this mean machine climbs rutted-out trails, lumbers across logs and bests bogs, as the Detroit-based automaker continues to test the limits of what a truck can do.
While many must wonder what could make the Raptor even better than the outgoing model, engineers have chosen to approach this new project from a two-sided standpoint. This new model is being built around a belief that making something more masculine than its predecessor mustn’t constitute a decrease in fuel efficiency or amenities. A better balance between brawn and brains is what Ford is going for this time around, and if the stars align the way they want them to, we might possibly have the greatest off-road truck of all time on our hands come next Autumn.
But the Fall of 2016 is still well over a year away, and even though Ford’s Raptor prototype is already out in the wild shredding trails, there are still lots of things that need to be factored into the equation before it gets ready for sales floors. Ford is taking its precious time bringing this bad boy to market too; with all of the safety recalls it has been dealing with in the past few months, we can’t really blame them. Safety is always priority number one when designing a car, and when that car is a hardcore off-road truck, the level of attention shoots through the roof as engineers must factor in all manner of wilderness-oriented situations on top of the already insurmountable amount of around-town parallel parking problems.
Ford’s press release was short and sweet. It highlighted how their performance engineers are prepping trail test prototypes of the all-new F-150 Raptor so that they can pave the way for the “toughest, smartest, and most capable Raptor ever.” These trucks are already quite hardcore, and even though they may look somewhat like a regular F-150 in stature, stand next to one and you will soon see how huge these machines really are.
Designed to go toe-to-toe with the likes of Toyota’s Tundra TRD-PRO, the Raptor is leagues ahead in the power department, as the new model will sport Ford’s second-generation 3.5-liter EcoBoost engine. It’s now good for 450 horsepower, handily trumping the outgoing 6.2 liter V8. And if what Ford says is true, this new version’s frame will be the strongest ever in the F-150 lineup, and feature more high-strength steel than anything out there on the market.
Other interesting add-ons include the new dual exhaust and 17-inch wheels, which are reportedly wrapped in next-generation BFGoodrich All-Terrain KO2 tires specifically designed for off-road performance. The truck will also sport a 10-speed paddle-shifted transmission for improved efficiency and prowess, an all-new four-wheel-drive setup with a torque-on-demand transfer case and an advanced, easier-to-use version of Ford’s off-road driver-assist technology. The new Raptor also features changes to its powertrain, driveline, traction control, ABS, and AdvanceTrac stability control for even more performance.
The redesigned FOX Racing Shox on this thing look pretty badass too. They now have custom internal bypasses that dampen and stiffen suspension travel to better prevent bottoming out, and since their canisters have grown from 2.5 inches to three inches in diameter, you’ll get more suspension travel than ever before. Preset driving modes include Normal Mode, Street Mode (for higher-performance tarmac driving), Weather Mode (for rain, snow, and ice), Mud/Sand Mode, Baja Mode (for high-speed desert running), and Rock Mode (for low-speed rock crawling). Opt for the available Torsen front differential, and you’ll be able to dominate almost anything that gets in your way, even when traction is split between the front tires.
“When we created the first Raptor, we set out to prove vehicle performance isn’t just measured on the street or at the track – off-road can be even more fun,” said Raj Nair, Ford group vice president of Global Product Development. “The original Raptor, plus enhancements on the all-new F-150 set the bar for us to make the all-new Raptor better in every way.”
It sure looks like you boys are off to a good start Mr. Nair. Just be sure to call us if you need any help testing them out in that abandoned trailer park down the street.