Friday, June 10, 2011

2011 Ford F-150 4×4 SVT Raptor Review – The most off-road capable truck Ford has ever built

2011 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor
By contributing editor David Colman

  • Now with four full-size doors with the Supercrew version
  • New cab configuration increases interior volume and allows for more comfort for rear passengers
  • Large 36 gallon fuel tank
  • Unique Raptor motor roar
  • SelectShift automatic transmission as close to a manual transmission as an automatic can be
  • Large 36 gallon fuel tank
  • Uncomfortable upright rear seating position
If Popeye owned a pickup, the Raptor would be it. When you fit the 6.2 liter, 411hp engine to this 4×4’s beefy frame, you’ve got way more muscle than a tin of spinach. No other truck in our care has ever engendered so many conversations. Most of them began with the question, “Is that the Raptor?” because lots of truck fans have been on the lookout for this stout rig since it was announced at the beginning of the 2010 model year. However, the mid-year addition of the $3,000 optional 6.2 liter V-8 motor, which produces 434lb-ft of torque, is just what the hefty 5,850 lb Raptor needed to make it fly. If you need a power boost for passing, the 6.2 is your ticket to the fast lane. On back roads, just drop the massive shift lever into second or third gear, and the Raptor will jump obligingly when you prod the accelerator. On the freeway, in the “Drive” gate, a stomp of the gas pedal instantly drops the rig into passing gear. The 6.2 liter V-8 rocks the truck slightly at idle, and sounds like a motorboat at full chat. It’s a delightful motor that failed to use a full tank of gas during a week of heavy-footed driving.
2011 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor
What’s really going to sell the Raptor is its appearance. Without question, this is the best looking sport truck on the road today. The compendium of stylistic innovations is ingenious. Because the front bumper has been eliminated in favor of a pair of resilient pads, the snout of the Raptor looks clean and nasty. Gigantic “F-O-R-D” letters are so skillfully integrated into the flat black grill matrix that you hardly notice them at first. A bevy of orange running lights cover the front end and illuminate whenever you open a door or lock the truck. They match the shocking “Molten Orange” metallic finish of the exterior. Large operative heat exhaust grills atop the hood mimic nostrils, and a pair of SVT-logo extractor vents add interest to the front flanks. Running boards that look like dinosaur backbones help lift you into the cab.

2011 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor bucket seats
Once inside, you’ll slide into mildly bucketed seats and face a full bevy of instruments, including small gauges for water and oil temp, amp meter for battery charge and fuel gauge. Under them lie the large 7,000 rpm white tachometer face decorated with SVT logo and accompanying speedometer dial. The aluminum trimmed center console features a series of auxiliary switches and buttons for ride control and hill descent. The door panels match the aluminum trim of the console and contribute an upmarket feel to the cabin. SVT logos adorn the rubber floor mats, and Raptor embossments distinguish the front seat headrests. A large and effective $2,430 optional Sony Navigation screen completes the front dash array. A pair of small suicide doors to the rear of the cab can be opened once you’ve released the front doors. The rear seat is uncomfortably vertical, but will accommodate 3 adults in a pinch. Ford has thoughtfully equipped the rear of the center console with sizeable air vents for back benchers.
2011 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor 2011 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor 2011 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor
The Raptor is really all about fast off road travel, and to that end, Ford has not stinted in the suspension department. Clearly visible in every fender well is a remote reservoir “Internal Bypass” Fox Racing Shox featuring a blue anodized SVT cap piece. The front lower A-arms are massive cast aluminum pieces, and the SVT 12 spoke, 8.5 x 17” alloys carry serious off-road wear: 315/70R17 BF Goodrich All Terrain T/As with tri-cord 3-ply sidewalls. The stiffly sprung Raptor squishes these donuts like Play-Dough. Between the tires, the suspension system and the 4×4 geometry there isn’t a piece of terrain that will escape the Raptor’s mighty wrath.
2011 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor Unique cast-aluminum SVT front control arms
2010 FORD F-150 4×4 SVT RAPTOR
  • ENGINE: 6.2 liter 2V EFI V-8
  • HORSEPOWER: 411hp
  • TORQUE: 434lb-ft
  • TRANSMISSION: Six-speed automatic overdrive with tow/haul mode
  • FRONT 4×4 SUSPENSION: Coil-on-shock, long-spindle double-wishbone independent, aluminum
    lower control arm, forged-steel upper arm, FOX Racing Shox™
  • REAR 4×4 SUSPENSION: Hotchkiss-type non-independent live, leaf springs and outboard shock
    absorbers, FOX Racing Shox
  • PRICE AS TESTED: $48,175
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