Since its debut a decade ago, the Raptor version of the Ford F-150 has dominated the segment that it basically created, that of high-performance off-road pickup trucks.
This year is different, though, since the just-unveiled new Raptor actually has competition staring it in the face, in the form of the Ram 1500 TRX. For Ford, the debut of that truck makes now a good time to launch its riposte – and frankly, in the world of pickup trucks, it's all about perception. You have to offer more than your rival, practically at all costs.
As per this arms race, the new Raptor benefits from significant improvements, and that’s before an even more powerful R version makes its debut, sometime in the coming months. That should be the one to really get enthusiasts drooling. In the meantime, though, here are details on what Ford has done with its third-generation dino.
Perhaps the most notable update is the switch from leaf springs to a coil spring system at the rear. These are 24 inches long, 0.4 inches longer than those of the Ram TRX. This change allows the rear wheels to have more travel (up to 15 inches), in addition to providing better wheel articulation. Front wheel travel is also improved, up to 14 inches when 35-inch tires are fitted.
Other enhancements include improved shock absorbers. The shocks work in conjunction with the new five-link suspension and are the largest ever installed on the Raptor. They provide better control and promise greater durability, especially in the event of severe impacts.
The 2021 Ford F-150 Raptor 2021 will be available with either 35-inch or 37-inch BFGoodrich K02 off-road tires, a first for a light-duty truck. Opting for 35-inch tires provides a ground clearance of 12 inches (0.2 more than the TRX), an approach angle of 31 degrees (0.8 above the TRX) and an exit angle of 23.5 degrees (identical to the TRX). Going in with the 37-inch tires increases the ground clearance to 13.1 inches, the approach angle to 33.1 degrees and the exit angle to 24.9 degrees.
A number of other high-tech features will be available to drivers, including devices for autonomous off-road driving, notably low-speed cruise control. A function allowing you to drive with one foot is even available to simplify your life; the gas pedal to move forward, lift your foot off the gas pedal to slow down.
Unfortunately, all was not revealed today: while we know that the 3.5L EcoBoost V6 will be back under the hood, Ford hasn't released any figures regarding the power it will offer. We can expect something close to 500 hp, but to compete on-par with the Ram 1500 TRX, you'll have to look at the R version, which will receive the supercharged 5.2L V8 of the Shelby GT500.
We'll get back to you with more details when they're shared by the automaker, but what we're seeing now already looks pretty fantastical.