First launched by Ford in 2009, the F-150 Raptor is entering its third generation in 2021. This time, Ford has made a host of changes both aesthetic and mechanical to improve off-road performance.
Here are five things to know about the 2021 Ford Raptor.
Calibrated for off-road
Originally designed for off-road driving, the Ford F-150 Raptor has received a series of upgrades to make it even more proficient on all types of terrain. The rear suspension is now five-link and includes 24-inch coil springs – the longest in class according to Ford.
Shock absorption will be provided by the new generation of FOX Live Valve shocks, equipped with electronic control technology. In this sense, the system will be able to adjust the damping according to its position. Readings from the suspension height sensors and other sensors around the truck change damping rates independently with every turn 500 times per second.
Finally, the F-150 Raptor will be shod with gigantic 35 or 37-inch BFGoodrich tires. The Raptor clears 12-inch high obstacles with a 31-degree attack angle, 23.9-degree exit angle, and 22.7-degree roll angle with 35-inch tires. Angles are between one and two inches higher with the optional 37-inch tires.
Available in SuperCrew configuration on a 145-inch (3,683 mm) wheelbase, the Ford F-150 Raptor features a high-strength steel frame with a military-grade aluminum alloy and composite body.
An electronic locking rear differential comes standard and an optional Torsen limited-slip front differential comes with 4:10 final gear ratios. The payload has been increased to 1,400 lbs (635 kg) and the same toll for towing which has been increased to 8,200 lbs (3,720 kg).
Fighter plane aesthetics
Ford designers have put the emphasis on the width of this new Raptor to give it an air of “machine”. This is indeed the case when compared to the second generation.
This new version has an imposing and rectangular grille. The shapes are also rather refined, unlike the old one which had a more sculpted style. We keep the huge FORD logo both front and rear, and rectangular headlights surround the body.
Additionally, the hood has a new heat extractor and functional side vents located above the wheel arches, near the mirrors. This last aesthetic element is directly inspired by the air intakes found on the F-22 Raptor fighter planes. The idea is replicated to the rear wheel arches as well.
A wider front skid plate provides superior front and side coverage. In addition, the front and rear bumpers are made of steel. At the rear, the dual exhaust pipes are retained and the lights have more conventional lines.
Revised and added technologies
The new generation of the Ford F-150 Raptor will receive recent technologies on board.
A brand new standard feature is added: one-pedal driving. This function will be used in particular for severe off-road conditions or even in rocky terrain. It is a matter of applying pressure on the accelerator to move forward and releasing it to brake.
In addition, the Raptor will “sound” better thanks to the adoption of a dual exhaust with active valves including an “X” pipe as well as an exclusive “trombone curve”, designed so that the two exhaust lines are of equal length. This active exhaust will have four modes: Quiet, Normal, Sport and Desert Race (Baja).
Equipped with seven selectable driving modes, the terrain management system allows you to choose the setting best suited to the driving conditions, including Slippery Terrain (Slippery), Towing / Transport, Sport, Normal, Off-road, Baja (Race in the desert) and Roche / Traction (Rock Crawl).
Drive modes adjust steering feel, transfer case behavior, stability control, active valve exhaust, active damping system, throttle mapping and shift points, as well as the display on the digital gauge cluster.
On board, the console is dominated by a 12-inch touchscreen. This integrates the SYNC 4 system and will be compatible with Apple CarPlay as well as Android Auto, both wireless. In addition, updates will now be done by air. A high-quality sound system with 18 Bang & Olufsen speakers is available as an option.
A 360-degree camera as well as Recaro bucket seats are also available.
The Ford F-150 Raptor 2021 remains equipped with the V6 3.5 biturbo EcoBoost which also animated the older generation of the model. Paired with a ten-speed automatic transmission, the engine has been added new high-power fans integrated into the cooling system. In addition, the mill has received more sophisticated engine management software.
While the power figures weren’t revealed by Ford, we would expect these to be similar to the older generation, which put out 450 horsepower and 510 lb-ft of torque.
Ford has, however, indicated the upcoming release of a Raptor R, which will compete directly with the Ram 1500 TRX. Rumors suggest that this variant could be equipped with the supercharged 5.2-liter V8 engine of the Mustang Shelby GT500. To be continued…
The 2021 Ford F-150 Raptor will be available nationwide this summer. The Raptor R will be unveiled next year.
In video: the 2021 Ford F-150 Raptor in action