2017 Ford F-150 Raptor 4x4 Supercab Review

The evolution of the pickup truck as reached its apex


Amos Kwon, Editor-In-Chief



Positives: Prodigious power, menacing exterior, off-road prowess is unmatched for a stock truck, commute comfortable inside, excellent technology set.
Negatives: Wide as all hell, transmission shifts that range from sluggish to slamming, small back seat with painfully vertical seatbacks, ginormous shift knob seems overdone.
Bottom Line: When it comes to a performance pickup truck, look no further than the 2nd-generation Raptor. It's not only wickedly good off-road but also truly competent on road. Though it's not a broad spectrum pickup in terms of target market, it can pull double duty in Baja-like conditions and urban traffic without batting an eye.
 View Our 2017 Ford F-150 Overview
Ford apparently thought the first-gen Raptor didn't have enough attitude, power, and off-roading skills. It was easily one of the most prominent vehicles on the scene when it bowed back as the SVT Raptor back in 2009. The new Raptor shows up wholly redesigned and with a more powerful but smaller displacement engine, and the F-150 body gets even more distinct Raptor trim and more capable suspension that place it in a class of its own. We drove it for a week to see what it was about. Sadly, we didn't get to take it off-roading, but most owners will actually never drive it off the pavement. Read on for our detailed review.
 

Driving Experience

9.2

 

It's been said that if Ferrari built a pickup truck, it would be the Raptor. That's kind of true. The power is serious, and its on-road abilities are pretty damned good for a vehicle of this nature. But to call it Ferrari-esque is actually not the whole picture. This thing can take on bumps and obstacles that would cripple lesser trucks at lower speeds, but the Raptor can handle them at insane speeds without upsetting it. This is revolutionary for a stock truck.

Ride Quality: A nice balance of firm and compliant. Its ride makes for a comfortable commute. The upgraded Fox shocks are absoutely superb and can take anything you throw at it without upsetting the status quo.

Acceleration: Power is intoxicating, and you hear the potent whine of the turbos as you rocket past everyone else. It'll hit 60 mph in 5.2 seconds, as fast as an Audi S3. Sheesh. The transmission is barometric within the drive mode range, and really the only serious demerit when it comes to the driving.

Braking: The Raptor's brakes are strong and bring three tons to a stop very well. The pedal feel is progressive, and there's no grabbiness or dead spots.

Steering: The Raptor's steering is generally on the soft side, but in Sport mode it tightens up nicely and provides sharper turn in.

Handling: This thing turns remarkably well in Sport mode, and though there's some body roll, we were surprised how good it was in the turns. Managing this much mass is no small feat, and the Raptor does it quite well.

Technology

9

 

Though it's not something you think about much when it comes to a truck of this nature, the in-car techology is another strong point when it comes to the new Raptor. It enhances the truck's daily enjoyment factor and makes long commutes that much more tolerable.

Infotainment System: Our tester came with the 8-inch screen and Sync 3 system, which is now one of the best systems on the market. It's fast, responsive and very attractive.

Controls: All controls are well-placed and easy to use with big infotainment buttons, large audio knobs, and ergonomic and comprehensive steering wheel controls.

Bluetooth Pairing: Pairing was quick and easy, and our phones re-paired quickly upon re-entry.

Voice Call Quality: Good volume and clarity with no transmission issues. Even with the loud tires and boisterious engine, we could hear our calls just fine.

Styling

8.9

 

If you thought the original SVT Raptor was menacing, Ford dialed up the drama on the new truck. It's 6-inches wider than a standard F-150, and the dark trim bits everywhere make for a look that's truly intimidating. Getting sluggards out of the way on the highway is a cinch in the new Raptor.

Front: The big black, wide honeycomb "FORD" grille is really in your face, but we like it. The matching black side mirrors and bumper trim round it out nicely.

Rear: Two sweet round tailipipes and simple vertical rectangle taillights provide for a nice look that's not overdone.

Profile: The Supercab version of the Raptor and the short bed look good, along with prominent black fenderwell trim. Too bad our tester had the rather expensive and tacky "Raptor" decal treatment on the bed. We would've liked the beadlock wheels, too, instead of the 17" aluminums.

Cabin: The interior of the Raptor is right for a high-end truck that has off-road intentions. Though it's a dark environment, everything looks and feels great (except for the ziggurat-sized gearshift knob).

Comfort

9

 

The Raptor is a shockingly comfortable place to sit in traffic. It has all the right appointments, and it provides for enough comfort and adjustability to make daily driving a breeze. There are passenger cars that aren't this good.

Front Seats: Wide, supportive, and very comfortable. Spending hours situated here is no problem, and the leather is quite soft.

Rear Seats: There's not a ton of room here, and the seatbacks are a bit too vertical. We can't imagine spending too much time here. The middle position is especially tight in the leg area.

NVH (noise/vibration/harshness): The Raptor is very well made, and it's meant to hold up to serious punishment without upsetting its occupants. The build quality is solid, and there were no vibrations. The noise from the big custom-made BF Goodrich tires and the hulking engine weren't overbearing.

Visibility: Good visibility all around, and the backup camera is a huge help, too.

Climate: The HVAC system worked very well, and we liked the illuminated markers on the big fan knob. The system is powerful and effective with big air vents.

Safety

7.8

 

The F-150 pickup truck on which the Raptor is based gets great test scores by both entities. The Raptor model, itself, hasn't been tested, but we expect that it will fare well. Our tester didn't come with the optional tech package that comes with a good set of safety features, including a lane-keeping system, lane departure warning, auto high beams, rain-sensing wipers, and adaptive cruise control with collision mitigation

IIHS Rating: The F-150 scored a Top Safety Pick rating, scoring a "good" in all crash tests. It missed the "Top Safety Pick+" rating due to "poor" headlights and "marginal" child LATCH ease of use.

NHTSA Rating: The F-150 scored a 5-star crash safety rating.

Standard Tech: The Raptor only has a basic set of standard safety tech that includes airbags, ABS, and traction control.

Optional Tech: None

Storage/Cargo

8.7

 

The Raptor's interior storage cubbies are very good, and the Supercab configuration allows for ample space in its 5.5-foot bed, as well as storage in the cabin.

Storage Space: A cavernous armrest compartment is long and deep. Trays on the dash and in front of the shifter are great for small items, and the narrow slot next to the cupholders are great for phones and small tablets.

Cargo Room: The 5.5-foot bed can hold 53 cubic feet of cargo, and the 60/40 split fold down seats allow for even more cargo space inside.

Fuel Economy

6

 

A truck with this much firepower under its hood isn't going to be a fuel miser. That being said, moving from a V8 to a twin-turbo V6 actually helps it by a couple of mpgs. The Raptor, however, encourages you to be prodigious with the gas pedal, killing even remote hopes of getting anything resembling mediocre gas mileage. Our rating incorporates the improvement since the last model.

Observed: 12.6 mpg

Distance Driven: 241 miles

Driving Factors: We drove on suburban roads and highways equally, mostly in Sport mode to capitalize on improved steering and handling.

Audio

7

 

Our test vehicle didn't come with the upgraded B&O PLAY premium audio system, but the sound from the base system was pretty good. The 802A Equipment Group that includes the upgraded system costs a whopping $9,770 (but also comes with a 4.10 Front-Axle w/TORSEN Differential, 10-way Power Driver and Passenger, Seats with Heat/Cooled and Memory, 360-degree camera, and SYNC Connect). Most owners will never need the upgraded suspension and differential.



Final Thoughts

Pickup trucks are hot, and the Raptor is the hottest among them all largely due to its larger-than-life presence, as well as its off-the-charts performance on and off road. It's furiously fast, tough-as-nails and truly everyday practical thanks to its space, comfort, and great technology. It's a truck we'd love to own ourselves if the gas mileage weren't so damning. It's the very kind of pickup that makes us want to move to Utah and go rollicking through the canyons.
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