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2017 FORD F-150 RAPTOR

(preliminary specifications)

TYPE: Full-size extended-(SuperCab) or crew-cab (SuperCrew) off-road pickup

DRIVE FORMAT: Four-wheel drive

BASE PRICE: N/A (for reference, 2014 model started at $46,190 for a SuperCab, $49,090 for a SuperCrew)

ENGINE: 3.5-liter EcoBoost twin-turbo V-6

HORSEPOWER: N/A (est.: 450-500 hp)

TORQUE: N/A (est.: more than 434 lb.-ft.)

REQUIRED FUEL: All engines: regular

TRANSMISSION: 10-speed automatic

SUSPENSION: Front: independent coil-over-shock; rear: solid axle leaf springs

BRAKES: Four-wheel disc, ABS, traction control, stability control

EPA MPG: N/A (will improve on current Raptor's 11 city/16 hwy/13 combined)

WHEELBASE: SuperCab: 133 inches; SuperCrew: 145 inches

LENGTH (approx.): SuperCab: 221 inches; SuperCrew: 232 inches

CARGO BOX LENGTH: 67 inches

TOWING MAX: N/A (for reference: 2014 Raptor rated 6,000 lbs. for the SuperCab, 8,000 for the SuperCrew)

WHERE BUILT: Dearborn, Mich.

 

 

Credit/ Dan  Wiese

We live in an automotive era of consumption-conscious downsizing.

Consequently, it was reasonable for off-road enthusiasts to fear Ford, with the advent of its all-new, more fuel-efficient, aluminum-intensive 2015 F-150, might allow the old, brawny Raptor off-road variant, produced from 2010 to 2014, to go the way of the 45 rpm record. After all, this outgoing bush-whacker, with its 11-mpg EPA city rating, had not been particularly PC.

You can almost hear the conversation between Ford Performance engineers:

Engineer 1: "Should we do another Raptor?"

Engineer 2: "Mmmm, we'll need a quiet place to seriously ponder the pros and cons — moonscape terrain, where no one else can follow and we won't be bothered."

Engineer 1: "We'll need a truck to get there."

Engineer 2: "Let's do a Raptor."

 

And so they have.

Set to arrive in the fall of 2016, the 2017 Ford F-150 Raptor, unveiled at last month's Detroit auto show, makes just two hardware concessions to modern sensibilities: its former six-speed automatic is replaced by Ford's first 10-speed (!) automatic, and its fuel-slurping 6.2-liter, 411-hp V-8 has been replaced by a more PC, and inevitably more fuel-efficient, 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6. Happily, however, Ford promises this twin-turbo six-pack, compared to the outgoing eight, will develop more horsepower and more torque — between 450 and 500 ponies, and grunt north of the old V-8's 434 lb.-ft.

Geez, if that's what Ford engineers consider a concession, they need to be negotiating treaties for the state department.

Other Raptor off-road equipment includes:

• Meaty 35-inch trail-taming tires.

• Fox Racing shocks with front and rear canisters that grow from 2.5 inches to 3 inches in diameter to enhance Raptor’s already impressive suspension travel of 11.2 inches at the front and 12 inches at the rear.

• More compact bumpers for better approach and departure angles.

• Under-nose skid plating that would make an Abrams M1 battle tank envious.

• Driver-selectable chassis settings that include, along with street modes, a Baja mode for high-speed desert running and a Rock mode for low-speed boulder crawling.

Offered in SuperCab (extended cab) and SuperCrew (crew cab) bodies, Raptor boasts weight-saving "military grade aluminum alloy " body panels, a unique, purpose-built high-strength steel frame, an own-the-road body that's 6 inches wider than a standard F-150 and industrial strength styling.

But don't get excited yet. This guy, alas, is still a year-and-a-half away.


Dan Wiese is a freelance automotive writer 

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