Ford made big news today with the announcement of a variety of improvement for its beastly off-road pickup. The 2019 Ford F-150 Raptor will feature new shocks, a new trail control technology and Recaro seats. These improvements will further its claim as the best off-road, half-ton pickup in the segment.
The highlights include:
The pickup will be available late in 2018. In the meantime, check out my first drive review of the 2017 model.
My thoughts are simple: Trail control sounds like Toyota’s crawl control, the new shocks are an evolution of technology upgrade and Recaro sports seats should hug the driver better in fast driving situations.
Here is the official press release:
Ford is making its iconic F-150 Raptor – the ultimate high-performance off-road pickup – even better with upgraded technology including class-exclusive, electronically controlled FOX™ shocks, new Trail Control™ and all-new Recaro sport seats.
The upgrades are focused on key components that have made F-150 Raptor the benchmark in off-road trucks for an even tougher, smarter, more capable trail runner.
“Raptor’s success is rooted in its incredible suspension, superb vehicle control and the confidence the truck instills in its owners,” said Hermann Salenbauch, global director, Ford Performance vehicle programs. “Upgrades to the 2019 F-150 Raptor have improved all three to new levels that the competition will have to benchmark – again.”
While Raptor has plenty of torque and horsepower, building a high-performance off-road truck isn’t just about engine power – it’s also about the suspension. Raptor’s suspension upgrades make it even more capable of clawing away at the terrain.
To enhance Raptor’s already proven internal bypass shocks, Ford Performance worked directly with FOX to develop all-new electronically controlled Live Valve technology for the new platform that continuously adjusts damping in real-time. This class-exclusive setup uses sensors in the suspension and body to maximize comfort, handling and bottom-out resistance.
“By automatically varying compression rates, Raptor can now make the most of its suspension travel of 13 inches at the front and 13.9 inches at the rear,” said Salenbauch. “The 2019 Raptor is not just more capable off-road. It’s smarter.”
Paired with Raptor’s Terrain Management System™, Live Valve suspension technology can increase the truck’s high-speed off-road capability while also enabling smooth on-road driving performance.
“Not many trucks need sensors to detect when you are midair,” said Salenbauch. “Raptor sets the dampers to full stiffness to help smooth shock performance as the truck lands.”
Low-speed performance off-road is also improved. New Trail Control helps F-150 Raptor drivers navigate challenging conditions. It’s like cruise control for low-speed, rugged terrain, automatically adjusting power and braking to each individual wheel to allow drivers to focus on steering over rugged terrain. Trail Control can be activated at speeds from 1 mph up to 20 mph depending on driveline position.
The system makes everything easier – from driving on a simple two-track trail to traversing a rocky hill climb. Not only can Trail Control automatically draw significant engine torque to overcome steep obstacles, it can individually brake the wheels so the truck comes down smoothly on the other side.
Raptor drivers now have enhanced seats to help keep them firmly in place for improved confidence at low and high speeds. All-new Recaro sport seats provide aggressive support with generous bolstering in the seat back and cushion. This available seat design features blue Alcantara inserts and accent stitching inspired by the Light Speed-colored interior of the Ford GT supercar.
Raptor’s aggressive exterior gets even more intense for 2019 with eye-catching new colors including Ford Performance Blue, Velocity Blue and Agate Black. An enhanced rear appliqué and available newly designed beadlock-capable wheels round out the new look.
The upgraded 2019 F-150 Raptor will be built at Dearborn Truck Plant. It goes on sale in late 2018.