The All New Ford Raptor – Setting The New Off-Road Performance Standards
It’s often called the Porsche 911 GT3 of the truck. And why not? As Ford commissioned its performance division SVT to produce a truck like no other. A truck that can compete the toughest desert challenge, the Baja 1000 race and can be used as a daily driver to the office. No Surprises here, as Ford raised the curtain at 2015 NAIAS to reveal its next generation 2017 Ford Raptor ultimate off-road truck based on newly released aluminum bodied F-150 pickup truck. Ford has re-engineered every part of the F-150 Raptor to make it the toughest, smartest, most capable off-roader – and more efficient than ever.
“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, 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.”
The Body & The Mechanics
The all-new Raptor starts with a purpose-built frame – the backbone of the truck – that is the strongest in the F-150 lineup, featuring more high-strength steel than the outgoing Raptor. Forged from high-strength, military-grade, aluminum alloy that helps save more than 500 pounds of weight, Raptor’s exterior design is inspired by Ford’s performance heritage in off-road racing that includes Best in the Desert, Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series and the famous Baja 1000.
An available Torsen front differential increases off-road capability further. The system increases grip significantly for the front end of the truck and allows it to pull itself over obstacles and up steep grades – even when traction is split between the front tires. However there was some speculation from media that new Raptor sans the legendary Fox Shox with some affordable system. On the contrary and thankfully Ford continued not only to equipped Raptor as standard but now improved new FOX Racing Shox with custom internal bypass technology that works to damp and stiffen suspension travel over rough terrain to help prevent the truck from bottoming out.
Front and rear shock canisters have grown from 2.5 inches to 3 inches in diameter for improved performance. They feature more suspension travel than the current Raptor’s 11.2 inches at the front and 12 inches at the rear. The all-new Raptor also boasts its first-ever dual exhaust and new 17-inch wheels with next-generation BFGoodrich All-Terrain KO2 tires specifically designed for off-road performance.
The New EcoBeast
The next-gen Raptor is no exception when it comes to the engine department. Ford has found a sweet-spot in it’s EcoBoost engines that deliver exceptional power and performance numbers. Hence this time the 2017 Raptor is stripped from it’s mega 6.2L V8 mill (good for 411 Hp and 434 lb.-ft. of torque), in favor of new second-gen 3.5L V6 EcoBoost engine that will out-shine the aforementioned figures, though no specifics were revealed at this point.
Exclusive to the 2017 Raptor, the high-output 3.5-liter EcoBoost will be paired with an all-new long time coming,10-speed transmission for improved efficiency. This maybe the transmission that was being co-developed with GM.
An all-new four-wheel-drive, torque-on-demand transfer case, with an advanced, easier-to-use version of off-road mode driver-assist technology, further improves Raptor’s trail performance. Raptor’s new transfer case, which manages power distribution between the front and rear wheels, combines the best attributes of clutch-driven, on-demand all-wheel drive with durable, mechanical-locking four-wheel drive.
There are six preset modes for the truck depending on terrain and driving conditions can be selected via all-new Terrain Management System that enables the driver to select modes to optimize driving dynamics to environmental conditions and features calibration changes to its powertrain, driveline, traction control, ABS and AdvanceTrac stability control for optimal performance.
- Normal mode for everyday driving
- Street mode for higher-performance, on-road driving
- Weather mode for rain, snow or ice
- Mud and sand mode for muddy and sandy trails and terrain
- Baja mode for high-speed desert running
- Rock mode for low-speed rock crawling
“The new transfer case offers better traction for a greater variety of terrain at low and high speeds – both on-road and off-road,” said Jamal Hameedi, chief engineer, Ford Performance. Dave Pericak, director, Ford Performance added “This all-new F-150 Raptor takes Raptor performance to the next level,”
The all-new Raptor will be built at Dearborn Truck Plant, and goes on sale fall 2016.