We were all set. I was even contemplating an appointment with a chiropractor to follow my week in the 2017 Ford F150 Raptor. The Raptor is essentially an ultra high-performance version of the Ford F150 pickup truck that is nearly race-ready, minus a few necessary safety features. The fascinating thing is that I don’t really believe in the benefits of Chiropractic.
The few days prior to the Raptor’s arrival were spent obsessing over whether there was a need for kidney belts that hold your guts in place to prevent your innards from getting beat up. By week’s end, it was clear I would need to find another way to meet my medical insurance plan deductible.
It’s a Trophy Truck…almost.
It’s an impressive truck. Starting with what is essentially a Ford F150 pickup truck, Blue Oval engineers have utilized the latest in military-grade aluminum alloy as seen in other F150s, and placed it on a modified boxed-steel frame chassis designed specifically for the Raptor.
Power for the Ford F150 Raptor comes from a Ford EcoBoost twin turbocharged 3.5-liter V6, which is the basis for the somewhat tamer version found in the Ford SHO Taurus and Ford Police Interceptor vehicles. In the case of the Raptor, it offers 450-horsepower and 510 lb-ft of torque in its High Output configuration. Power gets to the rear or all four wheels via Ford’s 10-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters to flick your way through, should you think your brain is more adept at quick changes than the millions-per-second from the Raptor’s CPU.
From there, it heads to an AWD/4WD transfer case whose function varies according to sensors that provide torque on-demand between the front and rear wheels, as well as a 4×4 Hi and 4×4 lo locking differential.
Ford’s Terrain Management System makes the 2017 Ford F150 Raptor behave essentially like a Land Rover, because it is similar to the TMS developed for the English-brand while their were under Ford stewardship. With it, drivers can select between two, four and All-Wheel drive modes with protocols built in for specific driving conditions ranging from street to snow to gravel to nearly everything in between.
If looks could kill, the 2017 Ford F150 Raptor would be on Death Row. Featuring a wider face with bold Ford lettering, twinkle running lights, and a six-inch wider gait thanks to the special issue BFGoodrich on/off high performance meats all around, it’s clear this is a purpose-built vehicle. In fact, the only difference between this and the Raptor that competed in the 2016 Baja 1000 was the addition of a full roll cage and other safety equipment as dictated by the off-road corporate racing honchos at SCORE. When all is said and done, the Raptor looks like an off-road Trophy Truck, as seen running down the Baja Peninsula in Mexico.
The ten speed automatic transmission never sent us on a hunt for the proper gearing and still managed to turn in the minimal EPA mileage expectations of 15 city / 18 highway with an actually observed 18 mpg average.
But wait! What is going on here? This ride is surprisingly plush! What we were truly expecting was a jarring, teeth-rattling drive whether on-road or off. Instead, what we got was a floaty-boaty cruiser heading down to Miami thanks to the Fox-branded High Performance shocks developed in conjunction with Ford Performance. Growing half an inch from 2.5 to 3.0-inches in diameter over the shocks from the previous Raptor, they offered a ride that even the spousal unit loved. Still, her love of high heels was likely the cause of grumblings about the high step in required to enter our truck. For those with a larger brood, the Raptor can be ordered in the larger SuperCrewCab option.
The new grille had a big bad-assed look to it with the aggressive FORD grille up front and minus the racerboy RAPTOR stickers all around the rear. To see the Raptor in plain view would have you think you were looking at a standard, but higher-riding version of the F150, modified with a liberal dusting of “Daddy’s Money.”
Interior-wise, our Raptor SuperCab had newly bolstered front seats with the requisite Raptor embroidery, and a bin under elbow that was large enough to store the latest MacBook Pro. Ford’s Sync3 system worked flawlessly, offering great tuneage through the Raptor’s high-end audio system. In the cheap seats, there was enough room to carry photography gear for several photo shoots, thanks to the flip-up rear bench seat. Tossing the seat bottoms into their upright and locked position meant you could actually store a 50-inch wide flat screen TV from Costco, on one of those secret-right-before-the-Super Bowl binge buys, only to return it the Monday after. By the way, anything over 50-inches could be carried in the step-equipped cargo box behind the cab.
We were surprised the Raptor did not include a telescoping steering wheel. At first glance, we thought we would be subjected to a week of contortionistic moves while trying to find a comfortable seating position. That was until we found the adjustable foot pedal switch that allowed us to move the pedals forward or back for an optimal driving position. The ventilated seats helped keep our backsides comfortable, which was essential during the peak of Hurricane season which starts with a feeling that once you leave an air conditioned dwelling, its as if you have become blanketed by a, uh, warm, wet blanket.
The 2017 Ford F150 Raptor is not for the meek of heart, or those who don’t wish to attract attention from others. Thankfully our example did not include the big screaming decals on the rear flanks that yell “look at me, look at me, I’m a Raptor!” Instead we were treated to a subtle yet aggressive vehicle that manages to talk softly but pack that extra wallop that appears once you step on the skinny pedal.
Sure, it’s not as eardrum piercing as the spawns from the Mother of Dragons on “Game of Thrones,” but this Raptor is a Mutha in its own right.
2017 Ford F-150 Raptor
Story and Photos by Mark Elias
Base MSRP: $48,325. As Tested: $61,685.
Includes Equipment Group 802A, $9,345; Tailgate Step, $375; Raptor Technology Package, $1,950; Spray-in Bedliner, $495; Destination and Delivery, $1,195.