Review: AmeeReehal; Snaps: Ford
Innovation is the driving force behind Ford’s current success. The company has recently taken reign as the top automaker in North America. Some may attribute this to the unforeseen, gradual demise of the competitors, i.e. the recall bonanza, but the reality is, Ford was well on its way to the top, introducing diversity and innovation to their products lines—frankly, taking engineering and design risks the competition wouldn’t dream of; risks that are now paying off. The all-new, fearless 2010 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor is just another example.
The Raptor is the result of Ford’s 20 years of off-road racing experience at events including the infamous Baja 1000 and the Championship Off Road Racing (CORR) series, collecting copious awards and accolades along the way—above all, collecting the knowledge and capacity to now produce the best purpose-built, high-performance off-road truck on the streets; one that finally addresses the needs of a fairly untapped, highly demanding market. As Mark Grueber, Ford Product Marketing Manger, puts it, “Most of the manufacturers have focused on on-road performance, so when we looked at what was available in off-road truck performance, it was somewhat limited. This was the perfect opportunity for Ford to further differentiate the F-150 from other trucks on the market.” Coupled with Ford’s well-established Special Vehicle Team (SVT), the Raptor is simply the F-150 on steroids; building upon a solid foundation with added performance while retaining the needs of the daily driver.
Powered by Ford’s proven 5.4-litre Triton V8 engine (as tested), the Raptor creates 320-hp and 390 lb-ft of torque. Want more? The Raptor is now available with the all-new 6.2-litre V8 engine designed specifically for the needs of an overzealous truck. Not convinced? Ford performed extensive testing to ensure this new engine was capable. Still not convinced? SVT used a specially designed, 62-mile durability loop in the desert of Borrego Springs, California, to replicate the challenging conditions of the Baja 1000 race, just to be sure.
As with any high-performance, off-road vehicle, the suspension setup is paramount, and the Raptor is no exception. In fact, the Raptor has likely set the bar for manufacturer equipped (OEM) off-road suspensions, teaming up with Fox Racing Shox to create the industry’s first internal bypass shock system for the street that allows the shock to become significantly stiffer as it travels, preventing bottoming out. This Ford-Fox collaboration ensures the perfect off-road, on-road balance without compromise. In addition, the whole front axle is different, with a new upper A-arm, lower A-arm, new tie rod, and new half-shaft joints; Ford claims this exceeds anything SVT has ever done with any of their vehicles. The Raptor also finds 13.4-inches of useable travel in the rear suspension and 11.2-inches in the front, rolling on 17-inch cast aluminum wheels wrapped in BF Goodrich All-Terrain TA/KO 315/70-17 heavy-duty tires. When off-road, the driver can select either Sport mode (which shuts off traction control) or Full Off-Road mode (shuts off all electronic stability programs and the ABS switches to a special off-road setting).
The Raptor’s menacing, chiseled look won’t go unnoticed, especially here in Alberta, the apparent World Truck Epicentre, where trucks, 4x4s and SUVs rule the land; where you’d be hard-pressed to make it 2-kms without at least another truck, usually an F-150 (and there are many), perilously weaving traffic just to catch up and get a glimpse of the scarce Raptor, honking their horn while flashing countless thumbs up; without budgeting at least 20-minutes at the pump to account for all the interest and conversation; without letting that guy at Quizzno’s spend a few minutes inside the truck because he spent 20 minutes outside hovering and gawking at it while you were having lunch; without feeling totally awesome and pimp every time you find an excuse, any excuse, to take the Raptor for a rip. And this is just in the city…can only imagine how exhilarating this beast is off-road.
Back to the exterior: some of the key cosmetic differences between the SVT Raptor F-150 and the conventional F-150 include a very distinctive, very cool black front grille adorned with a large, but not invasive, carved Ford logo below 3 small, slick orange LED lights; front bumper, vented hood, front fascia and fenders, functional hood extractors, fender extractors with ‘SVT,’ plus the Fox Racing Shox in plain sight. The Raptor is also more than seven inches wider.
The interior retains much of the rugged, utility styling from outside, but with a huge dose of refinement, including comfortable, stylish leather seats; black leather wrapped steering wheel with a molten-orange leather strip that serves as a centering sightline; an optional $1300 power moonroof, optional $2300 Sony navigation radio system, and an optional $500 rear view camera, all as tested, to name a few.
The all-new 2010 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor illustrates, once again, the company’s ability to seek opportunities, innovate, and take chances, building on the foundation of the successful F-150 to deliver a high-performance vehicle that will appeal to both off-road mudslingers and on-road soccer-moms.
For more info on the 2010 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor, including pricing and options, visit here