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2019 Ford Raptor: Off-road truck gets new tech, seats and equipment


The 2019 Ford F150 Raptor has a variety of new features this year and we hit the dirt roads for hours testing them out. Here are our thoughts.

For years, one of the best-known off-road trucks around, the Ford Raptor has been many a fan’s boys (and girls) dream pickup. It has a great stance, tons of cool factor and just creates this desire to go off-road, really, really, really fast.

This year is no different. Upping the ante for other wanna be off-road trucks, Ford has given the truck a set of FOX 3″ shocks with Live Valve technology, new RECARO seats and a new trail control system.

New Shocks

Starting with the Live Valve technology, Ford says it makes the Raptor smarter with the ability to adjust on the fly to changing road conditions.

“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.”

In our week of testing, we didn’t notice any discernible difference with the new shocks, however, we surmise at higher speeds than everyday driving, they likely make a difference. Why do we say that? We are pretty sure Ford wouldn’t mess up a good thing and just slap new shocks on a pickup.

Trail Control

Next, we gave the Trail Control a try up a long, steep rise.

This system works by pressing a button and literally setting cruise control to the speed you would like. It sends torque to each wheel, through braking, to keep the pickup at a constant rate of speed no matter what the terrain.

It can even dig itself out if you get stuck.

Here is a video on how it works:

During our testing, it worked exactly as described and was much quieter than Toyota’s Crawl Control system. It is hard to say which system worked better without a head to head test, but the quietness was a nice benefit.


Known for their hip hugging racing seats, the 2019 Ford Raptor sports a front seats bathed in RECARO blue and gray. However, these seats come with a twist – they are comfortable as well!

We spent hours driving around on the bumpy dirt roads and dry pavement with no complaints. The cloth seats look to be of sturdy material and should hold up well to continued abuse. We were pleasantly surprised by just how good they performed and really hope other manufactures take not.

Besides the upgrades, the 2019 Ford Raptor continues to impress. The high-output 3.5L V6 is a blast to drive, the drive modes set the truck up for just the right amount of fun and the style looks just as good as well. While the lack of exhaust note may baffle some fans, the off-the-line speed is so much more impressive than the big 6.2L V8, it is easy to see why Ford went this direction. Now, if they could just get that price down to our budget, we would have one sitting outside. It is just that much fun to drive.


Tim Esterdahl

Automotive Journalist Tim Esterdahl has been a lover of trucks and SUVs for years. He has covered the industry since 2011 and has pieces in many national magazines and newspapers. In his spare time, he is often found tinkering on his '62 C10 pickup, playing golf, going hunting and hanging out with his wife and kids in Nebraska.

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