One of the things we were damn certain the 2021 Ford F-150 Raptor would have is a V-8 engine. I mean, how could it not with the Ram 1500 TRX’s 702-horspower Hellcat derivative under the hood?
Well, to steal a line from one of my favorite movies: Get used to disappointment.
However, I doubt the majority of fans will shrug it off with a simple “Kay,” like Inigo Montoya.
So, all those videos we heard with the “V-8 roar”? Smoke and mirrors, my friends. It’s all in the exhaust tuning.
What will the 2021 Raptor have under the hood? Get this: a 3.5-liter V-6 EcoBoost engine. Say what? Isn’t that what the 2020 model had? Yep.
At the time of writing this article, Ford hadn’t yet released the horsepower and torque specs. So, while we can assume they’ll be greater than the 450/510 numbers from 2020, we’re not sure by how much just yet.
Oh, and if you’re curious about how the 2020 and 2021 models compare, check out our spec-by-spec comparison of the two vehicles. We even threw the TRX specs in for giggles.
OK, now that we’ve got the engine sad trombone out of the way, let’s talk about some of the cool things you will get on the 2021 Raptor.
Range goes up to 500 miles
One of the things you can’t get with the TRX is range, and this is where the Raptor delivers. Ford put a 36-gallon tank in the 2021 Raptor, and it has stated the truck should get up to 500 miles of driving range.
The EcoBoost engine will also provide vastly better fuel economy than a Hellcat. And even if we don’t know what those numbers are just yet, I can pretty much guarantee they’ll be better than the 4.7 MPG I got when I drove the TRX around Chicago.
Max towing increases by two Jills
One of the things our publisher, Tim Esterdahl, lamented in his original first-look review of the TRX was the lack of versatility, with max towing and payload numbers that mean you’ll have a hard time not overloading the truck if you want to carry people and stuff.
While the numbers on the 2021 Raptor aren’t hugely different from the TRX, they are better and towing actually gets a 200-pound boost (that’s 10 pounds more than two Jills, in case you were wondering). Max payload gets a 55-pound increase.
One-pedal driving isn’t just for EVs
Anyone who’s ever driven an EV is familiar with the concept of “one-pedal driving.” It’s the idea that you can control throttle and braking just by the pressure you apply to the accelerator pedal. Push down, move forward; ease off, braking engages. It’s a way to regenerate energy, and it’s a simpler way to drive. The brake is still there if you need it, but if you do things right, you should be able to control everything – including a complete stop – with a single pedal.
The 2021 Raptor adapts this method specifically for trail driving, with the standard Trail 1-Pedal Drive system that is designed for extreme off roading. This eliminates the need for two-foot driving under harsh conditions, allowing the gas pedal to operate as throttle and brake simultaneously, similar to how the EV one-pedal driving operates.
Right now, we don’t know if there’s a button or dial to engage, or if it’s automatically turned on with certain drive modes, so stay tuned for more details on that.
Lux-level amenities from F-150 carry over
While you will see a more rugged and sporty interior on the 2021 Raptor – including Code Orange accents – you’ll also see a lot of the lux-level amenities carry over from the just-introduced next-gen F-150.
The Raptor will get the 12-inch screen as well as standard Sync 4, which means Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are also standard and wireless. Some other features you’ll see will include the interior work surface with fold-flat gear shift, lockable under-seat storage and an available 360-degree.
It’ll also get a base version of Pro Power Onboard, which is capable of generating 2 kW of output power.
Wait, Raptor R?
One of the last things Ford said during the press briefing was this: “Raptor R? That’s real. And it’s coming next year.”
So, any hopes enthusiasts had of a V-8 engine aren’t completely dashed. It’s just not coming as soon as we had hoped. So, we’re still postulating that the 5.2-liter V-8 supercharged engine from the Mustang Shelby GT500 will make it into a Raptor yet, and it will likely have more than 702 horsepower because, well, TRX.
The bottom line
Ford hasn’t released anything in the way of pricing, but we do know there will be three series available: Base, High and Accent. The current Raptor with the SuperCrew starts at $56,440, so we anticipate the 2021 model will add about $2k but keep the price less than $60k overall.
While some might be feeling serious disappointment right now (see above: get used to it), I think there are a lot of bright shiny spots here – including available 37-inch tires, better driving range, better weight balance, cool technology and a way better exhaust note.
And as Ford so poignantly pointed out: There’s more to come.