By on February 3, 2021

Raptor

Ford has a knack for pulling off high-profile reveals, and the 2021 F-150 Raptor is no exception. Launching it while the King of the Hammers is taking place is certainly apropos for a truck inspired by desert racing.

 

Raptor

Ford’s most off-road capable F-150 Raptor was unveiled today, a truck defined by its suspension. The five-link rear suspension features extra-long trailing arms to maintain axle position on rough terrain, a Panhard rod, and 24-inch coil springs, the longest in its class for improved wheel travel. Next-gen Fox shocks with Live Valve electronic technology, and the first 37-inch tires offered on a full-size, light-duty pickup are on the Raptor.

Raptor

“Raptor is rooted in Baja 1000 racing, and its suspension advances our capability and performance – a five-link rear setup with more wheel travel than any Raptor before it,” said Carl Widmann, Ford Performance chief engineer. “And like a trophy truck, every aspect of Raptor has been engineered to deliver precision capability when your foot is flat on the floor, way out in the middle of nowhere roaring across the desert.”

Raptor

The Raptor comes standard with over-the-air updates, a provision to share digital trail maps, and other off-road technologies to come. Cloud-connected navigation, voice search, and a FordPass mobile app that allows you to check on your truck, or to control the optional Rigid off-road lights remotely.

Raptor

Ford’s high-output third-generation twin-turbo, 3.5-liter EcoBoost engine with 10.5:1 compression is said to deliver an EPA-estimated range of 500-plus miles, and at $2.69 a gallon, filling your tank and grabbing a Red Bull equates to one Benjamin. New high-power fans are built into the cooling system to ensure your off-highway sessions don’t end abruptly.

Raptor

There’s a three-inch exhaust system featuring a built-in X-pipe, and first-for-Raptor active valves to improve sound quality. With it, you can choose between four sound level modes – Baja, Sport, Normal, or Quiet, for a rumbling sound that’s sure to be a hit with your neighbors in the ‘burbs. Improved engine management software increases torque to the rear wheels for quicker starts off the line, as you shoot away from the stoplight. Faster acceleration and better throttle response, while at the same time delivering comfort, stability, handling, control, and traction is a pretty neat trick, and it should be for such a capable truck.

Raptor

Soaking up ginormous whoops and landings are why you need next-generation Fox Live Valve internal bypass shocks with position-sensitive damping adjustability. Ford claims the Raptor has the largest-ever 3.1-inch-diameter anodized aluminum shocks, filled with low-friction shock fluid to resist heat buildup, decrease frictional losses, and to react even faster to terrain changes over extended desert running. Definitely a must-have for traversing all the obstacles most Raptor owners encounter in the Walmart parking lot.

RAptor

Raptors are available with either 35-inch or 37-inch BFGoodrich all-terrain T/A KO2 tires, the largest rubber fitted to production light-duty full-size pickups yet. On 35-inch tires, the Raptor can clear 12-inch obstacles or  13.1 inches on 37-inch tires. Desert runners and mall crawlers alike will appreciate 14 inches of wheel travel at the front and 15 inches at the rear on 35-inch tires, 25 percent more travel than the first-gen Raptor.

Raptor

The Raptor features a fully boxed, 145-inch, high-strength steel frame, with a military-grade, aluminum alloy and composite SuperCrew-configured body. The more capable suspension, stronger, taller shock towers and rear control arm mounting points serve to withstand punishing off-road use, and tours of duty around construction sites.

A Ford-built 10-speed automatic transmission is bolted to a torque-on-demand transfer case. Standard electronic locking front and rear differentials and available Torsen front limited-slip differential are fitted with 4:10 gears. Maximum payload increases by 200 pounds, to 1,400 pounds, while maximum towing also increases 200 pounds, to 8,200 pounds of conventional towing.

The redesigned Raptor’s front fascia emphasizes the truck’s width with its power dome hood inspired by an F-22 Raptor fighter jet’s intakes. A blacked-out grille, immense headlights, and windswept-looking front fenders complete the front end. The same theme extends to the rear, with blacked-out taillights and an optional tailgate appliqué in case someone mistakes your Raptor for a more pedestrian truck.

Assembled at Ford’s Dearborn Truck Plant in Dearborn, Michigan, the 2021 F-150 Raptor will be available this summer. If this isn’t enough to get you to throw down for a new rig, there’s a Raptor R with V8 grunt coming next year.

[Images: Ford]

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22 Comments on “2021 Ford F-150 Raptor Drops the Hammer...”


  • avatar
    Lichtronamo

    I’ll take the form of this reveals (like Bronco and GMC Hummer), which are way better than the press conferences with the CEO dressed up in a Patagonia vest over pants and dress shirt with lame scripted PR babble.

  • avatar
    NoID

    I wonder if the tires still impact the wheel liners before its full advertised suspension travel is achieved, or if they fixed that particular gap in their advertised performance.

    It doesn’t matter how much shock travel you have if the tire starts hitting things…

    • 0 avatar
      stuki

      Did it impact the liner even with little shear force on the rear axle? As in, with the truck fairly level and not turning too hard and fast?

      If not, it may well have been solved by the more rigid lateral axle location available with 5 link coils, compared to a simple, soft and long travel leafspring setup.

    • 0 avatar
      IHateCars

      Huh? I’ve owned/driven Raptors for ten years and haven’t heard that complaint.

      If you’re talking about guys who have swapped out rear OE spring packs for aftermarket softer ones without installing bump stops….that’s a different kettle of fish.

      • 0 avatar
        NoID

        I didn’t own one, but I may know a guy who was involved in a project designed to eat Raptors and their benchmarking data was pretty clear. The tires hit the wheel wells (I think on the front, not the rear) prior to full suspension travel being achieved.

  • avatar
    EBFlex

    Wow.

    We’ve seen manufacturers pull of some pretty pathetic refreshes but this about takes the cake. Styling takes a major step backwards and continues the “sunken eyes” headlight design. How cheap are you that you can’t make specific housings to fit the body kit you tack on? Interior is standard F150 which means it’s rather cheap and not nearly as good as the Ram. It gets the goofy generator so when you’re flying through the air (and risking bending the frame) you can make a pot of coffee and t still has the tiny little V6.

    Really the only thing that raises the bar is the coil spring rear suspension. It only took Ford 12 years to catch up to Ram.

    We were expecting an answer to the TRX and instead Ford gave us an answer to the Colorado ZR2.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    “And like a trophy truck, every aspect of Raptor has been engineered to deliver precision capability when your foot is flat on the floor, way out in the middle of nowhere roaring across the desert.”

    Serious question: How many people take a shiny $75k truck and go 10/10ths on it in the desert? (Maybe the article’s Walmart comment answers that.) I’m asking this about the competition, too. I’ve never owned a truck, let alone AWD, and this type of vehicle is well beyond my interest and price point.

    I suspect most people with a truck like this push it to 5 or 6/10ths, which is kind of a waste when you get the top trim. Safety margin?

    • 0 avatar
      monkeydelmagico

      Exactly 10x more than there are videos of said destruction. Plenty of people have money to burn and a set of brass ones.

      Some even have the gall to bitch about bent frames after subjecting stock vehicles to trophy truck levels of abuse.

      • 0 avatar
        EBFlex

        “ Some even have the gall to bitch about bent frames after subjecting stock vehicles to trophy truck levels of abuse.”

        Or use them in the same manner depicted in Ford’s advertisements

    • 0 avatar
      MrIcky

      I’m always surprised by how many people have money for vehicles that they truly treat like toys. I know that enough of the 1st generation were jumped that there are guides to tell used truck shoppers what to look for on stressed frames and overly punished suspension- particularly on gen 1.

      When I go to moab theres always quite a few new, expensive 4x4s that look like they’ve been out playing hard.

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        They went with a softer leaf pack that the shocks weren’t necessarily tuned for. No other Raptors bent their frames in that manner (that I’m aware of). Basically the gap between the bed and cab separated wide at the top.

        That’s the weakest point on any pickup’s frame. The only other time you see that type of (mid section) frame damage is when a truck is severely overloaded at the bumper hitch, or rear ended just right.

        There’s about zero you can do off-road to bend a frame in that way, without direct frame (mid section) impact with rocks for example. The Raptor shocks (now too stiff for the modded springs?) both had a forward lean and attached to that center area of the Raptor’s frame. So when the suspension was overly bottomed-out (at high speeds), the force traveled upward through the shocks.

        The next gen of Raptors staggered the shocks, one attached forward on the frame, the other back, which is the more normal setup if I’m not mistaken. I’m not sure it would’ve helped the above scenario though.

        • 0 avatar
          IHateCars

          The issue wasn’t the softer leaf packs per se, and no shock(s) will prevent bottoming out when hitting high speed whoops/major bumps. The problem was that hydraulic bump stops were not installed in addition to the aftermarket leaf packs. The bump stop will prevent bottoming out, just as limiting straps will prevent excessive droop when trucks hit massive air over bumps….all desert racing/trophy trucks have them. Without them, on compression the axle will slam up against the rubber stops and the frame absorbs the impact….hence the kinked frames.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            The frames weren’t damaged where the axle and frame meet. It was outside of the spring area, at the weakest part of the frame.

            That’s thanks to where the shocks mount. Trophy trucks have the shocks mounted straight up, or perpendicular to the axle.

            Production trucks can’t have the shocks protruding into the bed so they’re at a sharp angle to the axle.

            The bed re-enforces the frame between its mounts and the same happens under the cab. It’s the frame area in between that’s the weakest point and that’s where the Raptor/Fox shocks were mounted.

            If the frames were damaged within the spring mounts, or at the bump stops, the bed and cab wouldn’t have separated.

            It had to be upward impact/force to do that, not downward.

    • 0 avatar
      IHateCars

      Serious question: How many people take a shiny $75k truck and go 10/10ths on it in the desert?

      I’d wager more than M car, Vette and AMG owners that take their cars to the track.

      • 0 avatar
        RHD

        Ford is going 10/10ths on the profit margin.

        All they need is enough buyers who believe that they’ll suddenly become the KOA Backyard Desert Gymkhana Champion of 2021.

  • avatar
    Dan

    I don’t know how price conscious this segment is but when a Hellcat Ram starts at 75 this stops having any appeal whatsoever at 60.

  • avatar
    Mackey

    Did I miss something? Following months of ‘Will they/won’t they regarding the horsepower war with the TRX, and this entire article doesn’t mention the new horsepower rating, let along that of the planned R version?

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      Ford hasn’t released HP or torque numbers for the V6. There will be a V8 eventually.
      The recent videos I’ve seen of the Raptor and TRX show that the only advantage the TRX has is in HP. The Raptor’s suspension is superior.

      • 0 avatar
        Flipper35

        You mean the new Raptor suspension, correct?

        • 0 avatar
          Lou_BC

          @Flipper35 – yes. New Raptor. I find it interesting that in any new video’s , Ford emphasized the truck riding over rough terrain and Ram just shows it doing power slides and emphasizing it’s motor. The TRX was just another hellcat transplant.

      • 0 avatar
        Mackey

        Yeah- I guess I was just sarcastically highlighting that (aside from a writer failure, which would be an unthinkable mistake for an auto journalist), clearly this smacks of Ford being caught flat footed.

        It feels like they didn’t take the TRX seriously as competition, aside from it’s HP novelty. They new they were going to come in light, so they didn’t even release it, and instead teased a future V8 as kind of a ‘But wait, there’s more’, we promise.

        I just feel like they realized that the TRX was going to eat some of their lunch after all, and then had to spool up the V8 tease since they were too far in on the V6.

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