The 2021 Ford F-150 Raptor is back for round three. Can it answer the giant glove that the new RAM TRX threw off?
The Ford F-150 Raptor is the upper floor of the factory high-speed SUVs. The truck first hit the market in 2010, and 2021 will be the third generation of the fast beast. Ford finally took the blanket off the cage and showed us what his new creature is about.
We still have a lot of questions, but let’s get into what we know.
F-150 Raptor Power
The 2021 Raptor comes in one format – SuperCrew – with a 5.5-foot bed. At least initially, it’s powered by an updated version of the high-performance, dual-turbocharged 3.5-liter V6 EcoBoost engine found in the current Generation 2 Raptors, backed by the same 10-speed automatic transmission with paddle switches.
While we don’t yet know any of the COPs for this new engine, we’re sure it’s the best it’s based on right now, producing 450 horsepower and 510 pound-feet of torque.
You’re not buying a truck like this to save fuel, but Ford hasn’t released official EPA numbers yet. It let us know we can expect more than 500 miles per 36 gallon tank. With some basic math, it gives an expected average of around 14 mpg. I have no doubt that my lead foot would produce much worse results as this truck will beg for speed in almost any terrain.
While the twin-turbo V6 will be more than enough to have a good time, it’s not the return of the V8 that many were hoping for. However, there is light at the end of the tunnel when Ford announced a Raptor R for 2022.
We’re assuming the 2022 Raptor R will have the supercharged 5.2-liter Predator V8 under the hood, an engine currently used in the 760 hp Shelby Mustang GT500. The Raptor R will be the real competitor of the RAM TRX702 horsepower and 650 pound-feet of torque.
2021 Raptor Suspension
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Fox Racing Shox continues to make incredibly high-performance, high-speed all-terrain suspensions for the Raptor, which is also tough enough to be endorsed by a massive automaker like Ford.
For the latest Raptor, Fox is showcasing its smartest landing gear yet with an update to Live Valve technology that was introduced at the Raptor 2019. These new electronically controlled internal bypass 3.1 Fox shock absorbers ensure a super smooth ride over the toughest terrain by independently changing their damping rates 500 times per second at every corner of the truck.
The other big news in terms of driveability and front handling is a brand new rear suspension. The archaic leaf springs were replaced by a five-link rear suspension with a massive 24-inch spiral.
This new setup should offer a much more compliant driving behavior and at the same time offer a controlled bike path under extreme terrain conditions. This setup should sound familiar as it is almost identical to the one used in the RAM TRX.
While the Raptor was never small, Ford decided to oversize everything for 2021. The truck itself is a few inches narrow, 8 feet wide and 20 feet long, and has a wheelbase of just over 12 feet. This is a big truck in every way!
The 2021 Raptor is just a tad wider, 12.6 inches longer, and has a wheelbase 12 inches longer than that of the Gen-2 Raptor. The additional space is almost entirely in the passenger compartment, creating a more spacious interior for guests and equipment.
Great all-terrain tires
The 2021 Raptor comes standard with 35 inches Off-road tires – as always. For the first time, Ford is also offering a 37-inch BFG KO2 tire option ex works. Yes, you heard that right, 37s from the factory!
The 35s offer 12 inches of ground clearance, while the 37s offer 13.1 inches of ground clearance. The bike path also plays a big role on uneven terrain, and the 2021 Raptor offers an impressive 13 to 15 inches depending on the tire size and corner of the vehicle.
Both tire size options are offered with three different 17-inch wheels, two of which are beadlock capable. These large tire and small wheel options offer a lot of sidewalls for improved handling, traction off-road and ventilation. The beadlock option allows you to keep the tire on the rim when you need to ventilate deep down and tackle extreme terrain.
As a reference, the TRX is almost the same size in all dimensions and equipped with 35-inch off-road tires on 18-inch beadlock-capable wheels. Unfortunately, 37-inch tire options are not yet available in RAM.
No modern vehicle would be complete without massive screens. For 2021, the Raptor will get two 12-inch displays, a digital instrument cluster behind the steering wheel and a touchscreen infotainment screen in the center of the dashboard.
Both are standard equipment, ultra-configurable, and offer a ton of Raptor-specific features, animations, and graphics.
Loaded with big tech
The infotainment system can now receive wireless updates that will enable new functions in the future. The system runs on the latest cloud-connected SYNC 4 system and includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
The latest FordPass mobile app offers a wide range of remote functions. The app lets you lock and unlock the Raptor, check the fuel level and tire pressure, monitor a connected trailer and much more.
This is an off-road vehicle, and Ford hasn’t forgotten to add the latest driver aids for every terrain you find yourself in. The 2021 Raptor comes standard with off-road speed control from Trail Control, a Trail 1-pedal drive and a selectable terrain management system with seven modes.
A 360-degree camera package is also available, which offers real-time tire overlay and even a dash-mounted hard button that allows the camera system to be pulled up at any time.
Real off-road ability
In addition to all-wheel drive, lots of power, large tires and an amazing suspension, the new Raptor is also equipped with the right hard goods to make it really suitable for off-road use.
It has 4:10 gears and comes standard with a rear e-locker. A front limited slip differential from Torsen is available as an option. The front skid plate has been widened for more protection, and high frequency steel bumpers at both ends of the truck provide vehicle protection and recovery points.
Even the interior of the new Raptor is designed for off-road action. The stock front seats are heavily padded to keep you in place on uneven terrain. There is an optional lockable, collapsible locker under the back seat to store all of your belongings in Off-road rescue equipment.
More Ford Raptor upgrades
The 2021 Ford F-150 Raptor is a feature-rich vehicle with all kinds of cool and useful parts and systems.
A really cool new feature for 2021 is a dual exhaust system with an active valve and the same length that should really make the V6 growl with two turbochargers. With the exhaust system, you can choose between four sound level modes (Quiet, Normal, Sport and Baja) on the go.
A hot feature of the latest F-150 that has now been carried over to the Raptor is the Pro Power OnBoard system. This system supplies your truck bed with 110 V and turns your truck into a mobile generator. With this 2 kW system you can power tools for work or the like Refrigerators, Lights and electric blankets around the warehouse.
The new Raptor will also have a payload of 200 pounds and a trailer load. This means the 2021 Raptor can carry 1,400 pounds of equipment and pull up to 8,200 pounds. That should be enough to get you and your toys out into the wild. But remember, Ford designed this truck for fast off-road driving rather than pulling heavy loads.
While Ford released a surprisingly large amount of detailed information about its newest off-road predator, the brand still left us with a lot of important questions. The most pressing issue is probably the pricing, followed by performance information, performance figures and curb weight.
In the end, the real question may not be whether the Ford F-150 Raptor 2021 is better than the RAM TRX 2021, as both trucks fit into a very specific market niche. Perhaps the question is, is the new Raptor really a better adventure tool than that Super duty tremor, F-150 tremoror even the smaller one Ranger tremor.
Regardless of our questions and comparisons, the 2021 Ford F-150 Raptor will undoubtedly be an absolute hit. We’re ready to get behind the wheel and make some dust! Get one this summer.
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