‘Raptorous’ experience: Ford truck everything it should be, then some

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‘Raptorous’ experience: Ford truck everything it should be, then some

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The all-new 2017 Ford F-150 Raptor adds more power and torque, and sheds up to 500 pounds over the previous model through the use of high-strength, military grade, aluminum alloy. Photo by Ford

Some vehicle reviews are easier to write than others. My tester this week is a piece of cake. It’s, in fact, better than a piece of cake. It’s decadently delightful.

I’ll not forget the time I spent in the 2017 Ford Raptor. This souped-up, sporty version of the F-150 is rugged and off-road ready. It’s a truck that can do whatever you need it to do and does so with eye-popping looks. Let’s be clear, the Raptor is not an everyday, run-of-the-mill pickup truck. It puts the SPECIAL in Special Edition.

Yes, the Raptor is an F-150, loosely, and built on the same platform, but it certainly has its own formidable and aggressive look. The grille and front end are bold. Rather than the blue oval, the word FORD is centered on the blacked-out grille, in black lettering. It’s distinctive and quite attractive. The skid plate is just visible and lets you realize this is a stout truck that’s ready for some mud. The shorter 5.5-foot bed helps give the Raptor a sportier look and adds to its sex appeal.

In sharp lettering, the word Raptor spans the back third of the side panels. A drop step folds out from the rear gate, allowing for easy access to the bed. My tester, in black on black styling, also had a coated bed liner.

New for this year is an Ecoboost V6 engine. You may think there’d be a step down in power from this 3.5-liter engine, but instead the Raptor makes 450 horsepower and 510 lbs.-ft. of torque. This kind of power is beyond impressive and is downright fun. The Raptor is the most enjoyable truck I’ve ever driven. Thanks to a 10-speed automatic transmission there’s no turbo lag. The 17-inch off-road tires provide a rougher ride, but it would still be an amazing truck to drive on the highway.

Off the beaten path, the Raptor is rugged and ready. I took this truck through the woods, on a rocky creek bed and even through the creek and up a muddy hill. You could practically hear the truck thanking me for letting it play. And without a doubt this is where the Raptor is most at home.

The Raptor does have a towing capacity of 8,000 pounds, which is less than a regular F-150, but is worth the sacrifice for the muscle-car like performance and off-road ability.

Inside, the Raptor has a luxurious vibe similar to how many other full-size trucks exude richness. High-quality touchpoints can be found throughout. Three passengers can fit comfortably in the back seat. The second row can hoist upward in a 60/40 split and add to storage capabilities. A twin-panel moonroof is an added option as is leather-wrapped steering wheel and gear shit.

The center stack is clean and well-organized. This year’s Raptor gest the updated Ford Sync 3 infotainment system. This system is significantly improved and is much more responsive to voice commands and the touchscreen is more intuitive.

The Raptor has a base price of $51,310. As is the case with most trucks, you can add numerous options which can really take the price of it up. My tester came with numerous add-ons and options including the moonroof, step gate and spray-in bed liner. The Raptor also had a trailering assist package, adaptive cruise control and blind spot monitoring. With all those options, my tester had a final MSRP $68,700.

Who really cares about fuel economy when you’re talking a full-size truck, especially one that is so versatile and powerful as this one? But, by dropping 500 pounds and adding the Ecoboost V6 engine, the Raptor does manage to improve upon its previous-year fuel economy. The Raptor has an EPA rating of 15 mpg/city and 18 mpg/highway. I averaged almost 16 mpg in a week’s worth of heavy-footed driving, including the off-road adventure.

I get to drive a lot of vehicles every year. Some are forgettable. But the week I spent in the 2017 Ford Raptor will be quite memorable. I won’t soon forget how fast and fun it is mixed with how nice the interior is. I don’t endorse vehicles to purchase, but if someone could give me $68,000 I know what I’d be buying.

Jimmy Dinsmore is a freelance automotive journalist.

2017 FORD RAPTOR 4X4 SUPERCREW

  • Price/As-tested price………………………………. $51,310/$68,700
  • Mileage…………………………………… 15 mpg/city; 18 mpg/hwy
  • Engine……………………………………… 3.5-liter V6
  • Horsepower…………………………… 450 hp/510 lbs.-ft.
  • Transmission…………………………… 10-speed automatic
  • Drive wheels……………. 4-wheel drive
  • Final assembly point……………. Dearborn, Michigan

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