Ride Impression: Ford F-150 SVT Raptor

We test Ford's purpose-built off-road truck

Aug. 26, 2009 By Josh Burns
Ford's 2010 F-150 SVT Raptor is a purpose-built off-road truck from Ford's Special Vehicle Team.

Ford’s 2010 F-150 Special Vehicle Team (SVT) Raptor hasn’t really been a secret in the off-road community. It competed in the Baja 1000 in 2008 (one of our editors actually rode in it during the race), and Ford has advertised the specialty truck at races and industry events for months. Other racers, such as Rob MacCachren, have been competing in a Raptor in select off-road races, such as the recent Best in the Desert Vegas to Reno.

Ford recently invited Off-Road.com out to Anza-Borrego Desert State Park in Southern California to test-drive the new model right about the same time Raptors were hitting dealership showrooms. Borrego was really the birthplace of the Raptor and ground zero for much of its testing, so it was the perfect location for us to put the specialty off-road F-150 through its paces.

“We spent a lot of time developing our desert durability test so that it’s very close to replicating the Baja 1000,” said Kerry Baldori, SVT chief functional engineer. “Desert testing provided to be a very quick way to learn about the reliability of the truck and it put another level of extreme loads on the engine that our normal durability testing doesn’t cover.”

While the Raptor has been on the off-road community's radar for a while, one the thing that was unclear is the price tag. Everyone I spoke to after the event asked me, 'How much is it?' The answer typically surprises them like it did me. We expected something in the $50,000 range. Considering it’s an off-road version of an F-150 that still comes with a factory warranty, we couldn’t see it being much less. We were wrong.

The starting price for the Ford SVT Raptor is $38,995, which is roughly $2,000 more than a comparably equipped F-150 4x4. The base Raptor’s power plant is the same 5.4-liter V-8 found on other F-150 models (a 6.2-liter version will be available for $3,000 more in 2010), but Raptor is equipped with a unique dual-outlet muffler that gives the truck a nice growl. The 5.4-liter engine is rated to produce 320 horsepower and 390 ft-lb of torque (with a 6000-pound towing rate and 1000-pound payload). Ford tells us the 6.0-liter is rated at 400 horsepower and offers 400 ft-lb of torque.

In terms of hardware, no addition to the Raptor over the standard F-150 is more important than the addition the Fox Racing Shox internal triple-bypass shocks.

“Building a high-performance off-road truck is not about the horsepower – it’s about the suspension – and the F-150 SVT Raptor doesn’t disappoint,” said Jamal Hameedi, Ford SVT chief nameplate engineer. “It’s well beyond what SVT has ever done with one of our vehicles.”

The Fox internal triple-bypass shocks are the key to the Raptor's off-road savvy.

These internal triple-bypass shocks are an industry-first on a production truck, and they are also covered under the factory warranty. The Raptor provides 12.1 inches of usable travel in the rear, while the front offers up to 11.2 inches of travel. The position-sensitive damping of the FOX Shox provides over sevens time the compressive damping force when fully compressed compared to a standard shock.

The appearance and dimension of the Raptor are also a little different compared to the standard F-150. The grill features a unique design with Ford prominently displayed in the design. The front bumper, front fascia and fenders and also new, as are the functional vented hood extractors fenders extractors and skid plates that serves as a step into the vehicle.


Next Page... Ford F-150 Raptor Continued

Off-Road.com Newsletter
Join our Weekly Newsletter to get the latest off-road news, reviews, events, and alerts!