Test Drive Notes Library
- Let’s just get this out of the way: This is the baddest-ass-looking pickup truck ever. If you played with Tonka trucks as a kid, now you can own one. From the big, black grill to the belly-button-high tires, this is the baddest-looking pickup truck Ford has ever made. It drives right up to the “stupid looking, obnoxious” line, but doesn’t blow right through it the way that Fiat Chrysler’s over-the-top phony Freightliner front ends do. This is the toy that the inner-12-year-old in every 50-year-old male secretly wants for Christmas.
- If you have some reason to haul things at very high speed on nasty, off-road terrain (which nobody does), you can justify buying this truck. We did not test it as it was designed to be used. There are few trashable sand dunes and desert flats in our fair city, and we wouldn’t be eager to trash them if there were. But others who have tested the Raptor in its natural habitat (rally racing), have reported positively on its capabilities in that regard. This means nothing to us, nor to you, because we know the closest you get to off road in your Subaru is your gravel driveway after you’ve shopped at Whole Foods. But let’s stipulate that the Raptor is fast, rugged, and stable, and will be an asset for you if you do decide to enter the Paris to Dakar race to address your mid-life crisis.
- This is our first exposure to Ford’s new 10-speed automatic transmission. We are impressed. The Raptor has an optional dashboard display that will show you what gear the transmission is in. The transmission operated relatively smoothly when moving through the gears, and quickly got the truck into the highest possible gear, saving fuel. Of course, saving fuel is relative. The 10-speed transmission, when paired with the Raptor’s 3.5L 450-hp V6 got us a combined 15 mpg. We’ll be interested to see how the 10-speed performs on other more common vehicles.
- It’s not a bad ride. Just from the size of the tires alone, you’d think it would be absolutely punishing. But it’s only a bit punishing. And actually, the ride itself is not bad. The steering is numb, so it’s hard to know exactly where the wheels are pointing when driving slowly. But on the highway, it rides pretty well, and takes highway curves pretty sharply and confidently.
Test Drive Notes Library
- This thing is a beast to drive in civilization. If you live out in a rural area, or perhaps in the more sparsely populated versions of suburbia, you might not hate the Raptor after a week. But if you live in an urban, or exurban type of setting, you’ll quickly be asking to borrow your wife’s Honda Civic on a regular basis. The optional blind-spot monitors and 360-view back-up camera are absolute necessities for changing lanes and docking this thing. The Raptor is tall. It’s wide. It’s hard to park. It’s hard to maneuver in parking lots. It’s too tall for some parking garages. And it’s too big for U-turns. Oh, and the running boards are necessary so you can step up into the cab without a push from your kid. Don’t buy a Raptor for daily use unless most of your zoning is two-acre lots or greater.
- You'll pay a high price for a lot of capability you will probably never use. The price tag on our Supercrew (four-door) Raptor was just one Weekend Wall Street Journal short of $70,000. And then you pay at every fill-up for the 15 mpg. If Ford made this an appearance package, and made it available on other, more commonplace F-150’s, they sell a lot of them.
- If you plan to use the Raptor as a pickup truck (let’s say you legitimately need a pickup for work, and manage to convince your spouse that the Raptor was the only F-150 left on the lot), you’ll find loading and unloading a challenge. Because of the height of the Raptor, lifting stuff into and out of the bed is a chore. And whereas you might just reach over the side sill and drop a bag of potting soil into the bed of your normal pickup, and grab it when you get home, you might need a stepladder to do that in the Raptor — especially if it slides away from the bed’s sidewall.
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