Those graphics I mentioned looked cool and add $1075 to the price of the truck. My test vehicle also had the luxury package with power adjustable pedals, heater mirrors, power driver and passenger seats, and heated front seats. The Sony stereo option was ticked and Navigation was included as well along with a rear view camera. The total for the Raptor I am looking at today was $48,130.
To say this is the best looking truck I have ever seen is an understatement. The looks of the Raptor alone had people stopping to stare and ask me about the truck everywhere I went. One woman left the tanning place (which by the tan she sported was a place she frequented) next to my gym just to come outside and ask me what sort of truck it was. I was very surprised to see that people responded with more enthusiasm to the Raptor than they did the 2011 Mustang GT and the GT500 that I will be writing about next week. If you want an awesome truck that is going to draw envious glances from all you pass, the Raptor is it.
I am not a truck guy, I have never owned a truck and never had a real desire to own a truck since the GMC Syclone left the market. I really had fun in the Raptor though, this is the truck that will appeal to both the hardened truck guy, and the car guy who has decided they want more utility and the ability to haul go fast toys like a racecar or boat. The Raptor is rated for 7000 pounds towing so any and all of your toys this side of a bulldozer will be towed with ease.
One of the things you can’t miss about the Raptor is the stance. This thing screams off-road and performance. The massive and beefy tires are BFG all terrain units and the black painted 17-inch wheels look fantastic against the white body with black trim. My favorite visual cues on the Raptor weren't the wheels or the big tires though. My favorite parts of the truck are the massive black grill and the functional black louvers on the hood for heat extraction.
The ample ground clearance and stance of the Raptor gives you a good look at the shocks that Ford uses on its off road beast. I spent a fair amount of time riding dirt bikes as a kid and I am very familiar with Fox Racing. The Raptor has Fox Racing shocks all around and these things can soak up abuse like you wouldn’t believe.
Ford has video of the Raptor on its Raptor specialty site showing the truck moving at triple digit speeds and jumping right off the show room floor. The Raptor is certainly capable of crossing rivers and running though mud all day, but the real purpose of the truck is high-speed off road Baja style driving. Since I live in the pine forests of East Texas there is no desert around to test the trucks capabilities and the thought of tearing up a $50,000 truck is more than I can bear anyway. I did find chance after one of the common Texas flash floods to take the beast through mud that was deep enough to suck the boots off your feet.
The Raptor blitzed the mud as if it was rolling along on dry pavement. I soon realized the downside to playing in the mud is that you have to clean the beast. I am sure there will be a number of people who buy these trucks with the intention of taking them into the wilds and doing some serious off-roading. That said I suspect that many buyers of the Raptor will feel just like I did and have an aversion to scratching or tearing up the truck. For most people who own a 4x4 the vast majority of the life of the truck is spent on normal roads.
For that reason the off-road prowess of the Raptor, while important, pales in comparison to the expectation of the driver for the truck to be livable on the roads in normal daily use. I can say that the Raptor is every bit as easy as driving a much smaller car around town. In fact, my wife drove the Raptor as much as I did and loved it. She could whip the wide truck in and out of crowded parking lots and climb into the high cab with ease, and she only 5'3". If she can drive the Raptor, anyone can.
I know most of the performance features of the Raptor are off road oriented, but I was very impressed by the on road performance of the truck as well. The 6.2L V8 has plenty of power and with the 4.10 gears in both transfer cases the Raptor is a beast off the line and can crawl you out of the rough with ease. You won't confuse it with a sports car, but in the truck world, this thing is a performer. I also really loved the sound of the exhaust system Ford uses. It has a nice deep rumble that is usually associated with aftermarket systems. It does have a bit of drone at highway speeds, but not enough to make me wish the truck was quieter.
The on road manners of the Raptor were surprisingly benign. It simply goes with no fuss or difficulty. The wide tires are a bit loud at cruising speed but the truck rides very comfortably and you could drive the Raptor across the country in comfort and style that is impressive given the hard-core off-road capability of the truck.
With a truck designed for high-speed off-road driving, you want brakes that are able to perform as well. The brakes on the Raptor have very nice pedal feel and stop the massive truck much more quickly than I thought was possible. I really enjoyed my time with the Raptor and my wife asked if we could trade her new Edge in and get the Raptor, she liked it as much as I did. This is a great truck that while expensive has some of the coolest features and best styling I have ever seen on a truck. There is a very good reason the Raptor was named the Truck of Texas in 2009 the thing is awesome.
One of the few downsides I can find to the Raptor is the fuel economy. The massive V8 gets about 15 miles to a gallon, at least with my heavy foot at the controls. The rubber floor mats are great for keeping the carpet in good shape, but do add some difficulty when you are trying to load up your groceries at the store and want to slide them across the floor while standing outside. The Raptor is also very wide. I had a few anxious moments driving on narrow downtown streets next to big rigs. When all is said and done, the caveats of the Raptor are slight and the cool factor and fun the truck brings to the table offset any negatives for me.