“If you could drive the new one and the old one, blindfolded, back-to-back, you’d be convinced it’s a completely new truck,” says Jamal Hameedi, Ford Motor Company’s global performance chief engineer. “Straight-line performance blows the old truck away. The new truck, with its longer wheel travel, is much more plush off-road, and better-handling on-road.”
Ford says the four-door SuperCrew, built on a 145-inch wheelbase, provides more interior room and space for gear than before. The Raptor SuperCab, with its rear access doors, rides on a 133-inch wheelbase.
“Imagine a square torque curve,” he says.
It’s also the first production vehicle to use a new, 10-speed automatic transmission that Ford has co-developed with General Motors for longitudinal-engine cars (the two also are working on a 9-speed for transverse-engine models). The Raptor comes with a torque-on-demand transfer case.
Even with its 500-pound material bypass, the Raptor’s still a heavy piece of machinery. Nearly six inches wider than a standard F-150, with its big wheels and tires, a hefty suspension and four-wheel-drive, the Raptor is still about 5,500 pounds for the SuperCab, and 5,700 pounds for the Super Crew.
Ford says it doesn’t have official EPA fuel economy numbers quite yet. But with a turbo V-6 replacing the eight, aluminum body and four extra gears in the transmission, it expects an improvement over the old truck’s rather marginal 11/16/13 city/highway/combined mpg.
The Raptor’s new Terrain Management System comes with normal, street, weather, mud and sand, Baja and rock modes. Expect more than 30 inches maximum wading depth, up slightly from the old truck’s 30-inches flat. Towing capacity is 8,000 pounds.
An optional Torsen front differential is available in place of the standard open differential. The rear diff is 9 ¾-inches, with an electronic locker. The truck comes with beadlock-capable wheels, and a new Fox Racing Shox design with a custom internal bypass that damps and stiffens the suspension over rough terrain and reduces the chances of bottoming out.
The weight reduction really becomes obvious off-road, Hameedi says: “When you had the old truck on a sand dune, it would move the sand dunes out of its way. The new truck feels like it’s riding on top of the sand.”