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2019 Ford F-150 Raptor

2019 Ford F-150 Raptor (Image courtesy of Ford Motor Co.)

With the spotlight firmly shining on the budding horsepower war between the Ram TRX and the Ford F-150 Raptor, it can be easy to miss some of the finer details that might go unnoticed. But a new report suggests that the next-generation Raptor might have more tricks up its sleeve than we first thought.

The report which was published by our friends at TFL Truck appears to suggest that the next-generation Raptor will have not one, but two engine choices for buyers to choose from. Citing an anonymous Ford inside source, TFL Truck reveals that the Raptor might also offer a hybrid V-6 alongside the alleged V-8. The appearance of the hybrid (if proven true) would be the first time such an option has ever been offered on the Raptor, and it would also help the model better mesh with Ford’s plan of greatly expanding its lineup of electrified vehicle offerings.

That said, it would also be the second time that the Raptor has had two engines lurking under the hood. The first time happened when the first-generation Raptor model thundered onto the world stage. That version was initially offered with a 5.4-liter V-8, before a beefier 6.2-liter was added later in its life. For a short period of time, the two engines were offered together, but the 6.2’s stronger sales figures ultimately pushed the weaker 5.4 out of the truck entirely.

Since then, the second-generation F-150 Raptor has been exclusively powered by a 450-horsepower 3.5-liter twin-turbocharged V-6 that up until now, made the truck the undisputed king of the off-road pickup segment. According to TFL Truck’s report, the new engine would tentatively be called PowerBoost HO which would (at least in theory) make it a distinctive variation of the existing PowerBoost engine in the soon-to-be-launched F-150 Hybrid.

But things get murkier from here, with no further information known beyond the mysterious engine designation. For example, it’s unknown what exact engine could find its way under the hood of an electrified Raptor? But Ford certainly has plenty of options to choose from when it gets to that key point in development.

2021 Ford F-150

The only full hybrid in the segment, available PowerBoost provides targeted best-in-class horsepower and torque, a targeted EPA-estimated range of approximately over 700 miles on a single tank of gas and at least 12,000 pounds of maximum available towing capacity. It’s available across the lineup from XL to Limited. Shown here on the all-new F-150 Limited.

The most logical suspect for many folks would be the electrified 3.0 liter turbocharged V6 that’s found in the Grand Touring version of the Lincoln Aviator. When paired with its electric motor, the combined power plant produces 494 horsepower and a stout 630 pound-feet of torque. That latter figure makes a very vivid difference in acceleration runs, but the key problem with this theory is that the 3.0 liter is designed to support a plug-in hybrid setup only, and it’s well known that the F-150 hybrid will not be offered in that particular layout when it goes on sale.

A secondary issue is the potential increase in cost that Ford would have to pay to adapt the 3.0-liter to the F-150 platform. Both the current generation Raptor and the F-150 Hybrid use derivatives of the familiar 3.5-liter V-6, which have proven to be dependable and reliable enough in real world use. With Ford in the middle of a cost cutting blitz that’s stretching to cover a wide swath of the company, we highly doubt that the money is there to prepare and test an all new engine for the F-150, let alone a niche focused Raptor model.

TFL Truck even suspects that if Ford were to equip the next generation Raptor with an electrification system, and perhaps shoe horn a bigger engine into the engine bay, the combination could make “well over 500 horsepower and well over 630 pound-feet of torque.” These figures (if confirmed) would be a noticeable improvement over the old truck, with horsepower going up by 50 extra ponies. Torque would see an even wilder increase, which would allow the truck to display newfound agility, and stouter acceleration characteristics.

It will be interesting to see if a hybrid engine would drastically alter the Raptor’s pricing ladder versus what we have now? A current generation 2020 Raptor has a base sticker of $55,150 before extra equipment. Hybrids tend to command a premium over traditional vehicles, and that could cause prices to go up slightly. With that said, it would appear that the new figure would still be far below the $71,690 required to snag a base Ram TRX from your local Ram dealer. In addition to being a lower priced alternative, a lower tier Raptor would also be Ford’s way of addressing any surprise moves, especially if Ram eventually expands the TRX lineup to include lower priced versions that would ditch the 6.2-liter Hellcat V-8 for a few of the volume focused V-6 and V-8s in FCAs broader engine arsenal.

Ford for its part is following the usual procedure when it comes to future product speculation, and is preferring to keep its lips sealed on the validity of the report. However, the next few years will be a key period of time for the Raptor, and it will be interesting to see if it can hang on to its spot on the top, or if it’s in for a very rapid fall from sales grace.

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