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In the Spotlight - Ford F150 Raptor {{favouriteCount}} Quantity of Likes

22 Jun 2018

It’s big, it’s bad and it could be over here – say hello to the 2017 Ford F150 Raptor. Now, when I say big I really mean it – the latest Ford F150 Raptor (we’ll just call it the Raptor from now on) sits at six feet high and over seven feet wide including the mirrors. Oh and it’s over 19ft long – that’s over a foot longer than the latest Mercedes-Maybach limo. The side step sits 18 inches off the ground as well, so you’d better get stretching those calf muscles.

So why is this pickup truck such a behemoth? Well to start with, it was never meant to be sold in the UK and it isn’t – any winner will get a fresh US import in LHD, all delivered, taxed and cleared – the Raptor was designed for the US market and specifically designed for desert running. What’s desert running? Well it’s events like the Baja 1000, which is a desert race across sand, rocks and anything nature can throw at them over – you guessed it – 1000km. For years there have been off road vehicles and pickups that have been extensively modified competing in the Baja, but Ford decided that they’d make a car that can compete – and win – straight from the showroom floor. That’s no easy task when you consider how tough the race is – but when you see that the Raptor can do this all day long without breaking you know it probably stands a chance:

The chassis is strengthened in all the right places thanks to high strength steel reinforcements to the framework and there is lots of additional under body protection and there are 17-inch beadlock wheels with massive off road tyres to get you where you need to go. But the really clever stuff is what connects those wheels to the body – a set of extremely long travel Fox Racing Shocks with three inch diameter internal bypass units and remote reservoir dampers. In case that jargon means nothing, that’s basically a set of professional off-road racing shocks.

Those fancy shocks are what enables the Raptor to land from big jumps like above and not destroy itself, but also smooth out all the tiny little bumps caused by driving over rocks and gravel at 70mph. But what keeps it all on the ground and not upside down in a ditch is the really clever drive control system, offering six different driving modes. The Raptor is basically an off-roading Nissan GT-R such is the level of complexity and technical wizardry onboard. You can drive around the desert like a, well basically like an idiot, and the stability control, traction control, drive distribution and differentials will keep you out of trouble, making you look like a hero.

Of course being a full-size American pickup truck the Raptor has a V8, right? Well, no actually. The latest Raptor is a victim of the down-sizing trend which means the old 6.2 litre V8 is gone and in its place sits a 3.5 litre, twin turbo V6 Ecoboost engine (not unlike the one in the new Ford GT). Many cursed Ford for removing their beloved V8, claiming it’s their constitutional right to have one or something, but Ford stuck to their guns and used the Ecoboost engine.

Power is actually up from the old V8 to 450bhp and there’s a chunky 510lb/ft of torque, which means this massive truck can sprint from 0-62mph in just 5.3 seconds. Top speed isn’t great as it’s limited to 120mph thanks to the tyres, but I don’t think you’d want to be going much faster than that anyway when you’re so high off the ground. That power goes to all the wheels (of course) via Ford’s latest 10-speed automatic gearbox – yes you read that number correctly – ten forward gears. This means that the Ecoboost engine is always on song, delivering performance whenever you want it, and then enables low revs for half-decent economy when cruising. This along with the smaller engine certainly helps as the Raptor manages 21mpg versus the old V8’s 15mpg.

 

One thing people always mention to me is that the Raptor is LHD so you can’t really drive it in the UK. Well as someone who has driven one (albeit briefly) I can say that the fact that you sit on the left is largely irrelevant most of the time. You sit so high up with such a huge view of the road that it’s not an issue until you want to go to a drive-through, multi story car park or toll booth, when you’re sitting a good 10ft from the ticket machine. Thankfully US car importer Clive Sutton now offers a RHD conversion for the Raptor and having looked at it briefly I can say you really can’t tell any difference from the original – in fact the materials actually feel higher quality! The conversion costs around £20,000 so get that cash add-on as well and you can have a RHD Raptor!

When searching for a video of a Raptor review to post, until now there has always only been US videos to choose from, which have been somewhat.... cheesy. But thankfully this year Ford UK imported a Raptor of their own, so now we get to have the pleasure of Steve Sutcliffe getting behind the wheel and offering up his thoughts on Ford's big beasty. This pleases me greatly - but keep your eyes open soon for Christian and I getting behind the wheel of one too - fun!

Tickets are only available until midnight on Sunday – so go set some!

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