To see a Ford Raptor on the street is very rare – to drive one even more uncommon. Within a one month time I was (extremely) fortunate to drive both a 2012 and a 2013. The week I tested the Raptor I took it through the city, on the highway, to a Habitat for Humanity type of event and then to my favorite 4×4 testing grounds, Stone Canyon Ranch in Glenn Heights.
Let’s start with response
The engine of the tested model was a 6.2 L 2V EFI V8 Electronic 6 speed and took off as soon as you touched the accelerator.. and it would go as fast as one could ever want (and quite possibly even more faster than that).
Another type of response the Raptor received was one of awe, especially by the little kids who attended a local community project. When I drove up to this event I was told that as soon as the truck drove onto the lot where the projects (one hundred or-so) volunteers were congregated, almost everyone present turned to stare at the Raptor. I was even told that the little kids who were playing ball in the parking lot were telling their friends to ‘look at the Raptor!’. That was cute to hear.
However cute is not the right adjective to describe this powerful and reckoning force complete with top-rated four-wheel drive. Its rumble on the road under normal driving is commanding, but when accelerating the Raptor gives an even deeper growl full of steel and might. Its presence and performance can cause any driver to feel like the most dominating force on the road while providing the driver a euphoric and drug-free sense of steroidal-like strength and immortality.
Other features which add to its robust aura is everything from the 4×4 tires, tow hooks, Raptor insignia grill, running boards and bold color scheme and accent claw marks which extend the length of the bed. In essence, the Raptor is rugged and durable and its industrial-like interior is just as hardy.
As for the trucks off-road features, the 4×4 requires one to have to shift into neutral to transfer into 4H, 4L, and 4A (auto). 4A delivers electronic control 4 wheel drive to all four wheels as needed for increased traction and can be used for all on-road conditions.
During off-road testing, I took the Raptor through the same tests as I put all the the other off-road capable trucks through. Driving down a limestone creek bed filled with algae covered rocks went well, however I did notice a little slippage when the rear differential system was not activated (as soon as this slight event happened though Stabilitrac and ABS systems quickly kicked in). Then while testing on steep graveled terrain (approximately 60 degree angled incline) which included ruts and large tree roots there were no problems and the Raptor performed very well. The Hill Descent feature is purely automatic and automatically applied braking during every inch of its descent.
Another thing I liked about the Raptor besides its looks, speed, and its outstanding off-road capabilities are a lot of little things such as power sliding rear window with defrost, running boards, select shift transmission, and heated and cooled front seats (which also provided a comfortable ride) and cameras which show the view from the front of the truck as well as rearview cam. The rear back-up camera is located under the blue oval Ford emblem under the (very light and easy to open/shut) tailgate. There are also numerous airbags, and Advancetrac with Roll Stability Control (electronically senses and adjusts braking and engine power to reduce the chance of rollover).
I also love the Supercrew which not only provided tons of room in the back but seats up to five full-sized passengers. The Raptor is not only great for transporting people but can also haul and tow with a Gross Combined Towing Rate, (for the Supercrew) 14,700 lbs while achieving 11city/16hwy mpg.
During my time of testing I did not experience any signs of top heaviness even though the NHTSA gave the vehicle three out of five stars in the rollover category. However, Raptor did receive all five stars when it came to results achieved during side crash testing.
The 2012 Ford F-150 Raptor was awarded Motor Trends 2012 Truck of the Year while the 2013 Raptor won the Texas Auto Writer’s Off-road truck category. Base model $43,340 – Tested model (including upgrades) $52,665.
This week Ford will be showing the 2013 Raptor at SEMA or it may be viewed at: www.MyFordGarage.com.
Additional articles by this author may be viewed at: www.AutoGoddess.com