The 2019 Ford F-150 Raptor is a special truck. Nothing from Chevy or Ram comes close to matching the look and feel of Ford’s road-going trophy truck. Even the smaller, diesel-powered Ford Ranger Raptor we drove in Australia earlier this year doesn’t have quite the same feel. Since that truck isn’t coming to America, we’ll just have to settle for this 450-horsepower widebody desert runner.
The list of upgrades on the Raptor is extensive. Visually, the truck has been widened several inches both front and rear. There’s a new grille, new bumper and new fenders. Beadlock wheels are wrapped in knobby off-road rubber, while skid plates protect all the sensitive bits underneath. Fox internal-bypass shocks help improve the truck’s capabilities both on- and off-road. The interior gets some small upgrades, too, including a set of Recaro sport seats up front.
Commuting home, I was actually surprised by the comfort and ease in which the Raptor drives. On Michigan’s rough roads, the Raptor felt composed, those big tires and shocks unconcerned about mere potholes. The ride wasn’t that rough, jittery truck behavior that chatters your teeth and gives you a sore neck. It was also really easy to place on the road. After recently getting out of the Lincoln Navigator, which took a lot of concentration to keep from drifting to the edge of the lane, the Raptor had no problem tracking true down the highway.
One thing that always gnaws at me when I drive something of this size is fuel economy, so I made note of that after my round-trip commute in the thing. I kept it dialed in to two-wheel drive for the duration of the 76 miles I put on the car overnight, most of which are highway miles. I averaged 15.6 mpg, according to the trip computer, which is pretty close to the EPA’s 16 mpg combined rating (15 city / 18 highway). I’ve got some penance to do.
Associate Editor Joel Stocksdale: Two things stood out to me with the F-150 Raptor, one of which was great, the other not so great. First the good: This thing is a surprisingly nimble truck on pavement. The steering is quick and the chassis willing. I was finding myself carrying speeds much closer to normal cars in corners than I ever would have imagined in a massive dune-bashing pickup.
The other thing that stood out, not in a good way, was the exhaust note. But it needs singing lessons. Or at least Ford ought to give it an adjustable exhaust like the Mustang, so you can hush it as you wish.