2019 Ford F-150 Raptor quick spin review

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The 2019 Ford F-150 Raptor is a special truck. Nothing from Chevy or Ram comes close to matching the look and feel of ’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 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.

Editor-in-Chief Greg Migliore: Is it a cliché to say the Raptor is your favorite Ford F-150? Well, for me, it is. I tend to be meh on the F-150’s styling, but soup it up in off-road Baja trim and this truck’s mojo is amplified in a way I can get on board with. Not surprisingly, I also like the Chevy Silverado Trail Boss and Ram’s Rebel and Power Wagon.

The Raptor is a riot to drive around town, even on pavement. The off-road tuning works well over Michigan’s broken roads (not the intention, but hey …). I think the interior is a step behind the Ram, but it’s still a pleasing environment. I put a rear-facing car seat in back, which fit nicely. A golden retriever was also comfortable in the spacious cabin. The turbo V6 offers plenty of power, but the sound is a little nasal. The performance is great, but the vocals don’t quite measure up. Regardless, the motor pairs well with its 10-speed automatic. Overall, I’m a huge fan of the Raptor. it’s in a class of one, and it offers a cool halo for the F-150 lineup.

Senior Editor, Green, John Beltz Snyder: Walking out of the office with the sun setting over Metro Detroit, keys in hand, my eyes scanned the parking lot trying to spot the Raptor. The search was brief — it’s hard to miss — and I’m pretty sure I actually

quoted Wedge Antilles when I saw it, maybe with an expletive tossed in. This is a truck that warrants a close inspection, as there are a lot of details to soak in. The huge tires, unique graphics and componentry make the Raptor particularly interesting. Running boards, the dual exhaust tips, tow eyes and Fox suspension are all visually interesting, even if some of it is superfluous for daily driving.

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 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 ride is a little stiffer than you’d expect, but the tradeoff for the off-road capability and on-road handling was definitely worth it for me. It has me wondering what Ford could do if they created a successor to the old F-150 Lightning.

The other thing that stood out, not in a good way, was the exhaust note. The Raptor has a much louder exhaust than other F-150s, and it’s a droning note that sounds more like someone didn’t hook up a muffler to a regular EcoBoost F-150. And it’s loud enough that you’ll never be able to ignore it completely. I totally understand the reason for having a loud exhaust; the Raptor’s looks and capability demand a raucous voice. 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.

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