Curious about what crowns the Raptor king? It’s less of what you’d think and more of what you wouldn’t.
The factory off-road pickup truck segment is scorching hot. There are currently several key players in the arena, such as the 2017 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro, the 2017 Ram Rebel, and the mighty 2017 Ford F-150 Raptor.
Ford Truck Enthusiasts recently spent quality time at the wheel of the famous Baja racer and were blown away by its all-around performance. It took us a bit of time, but we narrowed it down to five key things that make the F-150 Raptor better than the rest.
Off-road trucks are supposed to go fast. Like, absurdly fast across a barren landscape. No truck does this better than the 2017 Ford Raptor. This dirt-eater can reach 60 mph in just 5.3 seconds, and its high-output 3.5L EcoBoost V6 engine puts out an impressive 450 horsepower. The much larger (and heavier) 5.7-liter V8 engines from Ram and Toyota put out 395 and 381 horsepower.
Then there’s the tranny and other high-tech gizmos. The Ford sports a 10-speed transmission and an array of advanced driving modes, which alter the truck’s drivetrain characteristics to meet driver’s needs. For example, the much ballyhooed “Baja” mode restricts the transmission to only six speeds and makes the engine much more responsive, and therefore feel more powerful. Dialing it back to the “Normal” mode makes the EcoBoost feel somewhat tame, but its behavior becomes much smoother. All things considered, the Raptor is simply quicker than any other stock off-road truck.
Have you ever seen a Ford Raptor rock crawl? Maybe not, but the truck can certainly do it. Have you seen a Ford Raptor exceed 100 mph across the desert? Likely. The truth is, when it comes to capability, the Ford Raptor has it all.
All things considered, the Raptor is
simply quicker than any other stock off-road truck.
What do the other guys have? Nothing really. The Ram Rebel can raise and lower itself with its clever air suspension. Yeah, okay. The Tundra TRD Pro has a great sounding exhaust note and sits higher. Great. The Raptor has that and then some. It’s wider and taller than a stock F-150, and its hill descent control system allows it to gradually and safely work its way down steep hills.
In addition, the Ford has better approach and departure angles for off-roading. There’s a 30-degree approach angle up front, and 23-degree departure angle in the back. By comparison, the Tundra weighs in at 26/22, and the Rebel 25/23.
It features six different drive modes: Normal, Sport, Weather, Mud and Sand, Baja, and Rock Crawl. These are complimented by three different steering modes: Normal, Sport, and Comfort. These are not found with the competition.
The AWD/4WD transfer case means you don’t have to worry about fluctuating weather or road conditions. Forget to put it in 4WD? The Raptor has you covered. Think you don’t need 4WD, but the rear end starts to slip? The Raptor also has you covered. Again, the competition is left in the dust.
Where do we begin with this list? Equipped with the new and improved SYNC 3 system and multiple charging options for smartphones and computers, the Raptor offers great functionality and connectivity. All of this is beautifully displayed on an 8-inch LED screen nestled into the center stack.
There are (optional) 360-degree-view cameras which allow you to see every corner of the truck and the road ahead. Not sure what’s on the other side of the hill? The Raptor has you covered with its grille-mounted camera. Tight parking spot? It’s a breeze!
The bevy of built-in overhead auxiliary switches allows you to quickly and neatly add all of your favorite accessories, such as LED light bars, compressors, and even air horns.
The Raptor is a superior pavement driver. Why would this matter? The fact is, unless you live at the off-road park, chances are you have to get there and back.
Ford has done an exceptional job working with FOX shocks and BFGoodrich to give the Raptor an exceptional off-road and on-road ride quality versus the other trucks.
Nothing against the supple ride quality of the Rebel and the Tundra TRD Pro, but once again the Raptor bests them both in this category thanks to its versatility. If you don’t think this matters, try driving the Raptor 100 miles or so to the desert and back. You will see the importance of good road manners.
At the end of the day, if you’re looking to do serious off-roading, there is really only one choice in the full-size stock pickup market – the 2017 Ford F-150 Raptor. Sure, it costs more than the competition, but you truly get what you pay for.