There is certainly some thing wholly enjoyable about applying a perfectly-developed tool to its whole potential. The very best applications are arguably those that deliver far better success the tougher they are worked. Contact it grace beneath stress, get in touch with it health of intent, get in touch with it regardless of what you like, it’s crystal clear the 2021 Ford F-150 Raptor 4×4 has accurately this sort of advantage baked into the marrow of its frame, and boy, is it a thrill to explore and exploit.

Despite the fact that it arguably isn’t going to appear considerably diverse from previous year’s model, this Raptor is certainly considerably new. This pickup truck not only benefits from virtually all of the 2021 F-150 model line’s substantial inside and tech enhancements, it also gains even extra amazing off-road chops thanks to a refined new 5-hyperlink rear suspension and the availability of hulking 37-inch tires. 

Just before you talk to, one particular point that continues to be largely unchanged is the three.five-liter twin-turbo EcoBoost V6, when once again matched to a 10-velocity automatic transmission and tuned for 450 horsepower and 510-pound-ft of torque. There is certainly a larger compression ratio, revised software package for far better throttle reaction and new substantial-power cooling fans for extra confident off-roading and towing, but which is about the scope of the modifications underhood.

Now getting into its 3rd technology and at last experiencing its 1st real competitors in the sort of Ram’s formidable 1500 TRX, this is the model that will carry the Raptor nameplate into its teenage many years. Fortuitously, a day of pounding via the Mojave desert, assaulting sand dunes, blitzing around whoops and galloping across rock-strewn washes reveals not a trace of awkward adolescence. Improved nevertheless, thanks to an all-new multi-mode exhaust procedure, the Raptor’s voice has dropped appreciably, bellowing extra loudly and extra authoritatively in a decrease sign-up. 

37-inch tires on the road

My 1st drive of the Michigan-developed 2021 Ford Raptor starts off innocuously adequate, in the shadow of the casinos and motels of Las Vegas. I set off from Sin Town, driving on paved roads an hour out to Pahrump, a city of all over 40,000 whose noteworthy financial drivers contain — [checks Wikipedia] — Spring Mountain Motor Athletics Ranch, Front Sight Firearms Schooling Institute and a pair of authorized brothels. 

In this article be 37-inch monsters.

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The drive, like a detour to verify out Nevada’s lovely Pink Rock Canyon Countrywide Conservation Area, provides me a prospect to get acquainted with my examination car, which is riding on mondo meats: a set of freshly optional 37×12.five-inch BFGoodrich T/A K02s, the most significant tires I have at any time witnessed equipped to a manufacturing pickup (they are really more substantial than the Sasquatch ft on Ford’s new Bronco SUV). These tires arrive as aspect of the Raptor 37 Performance Deal, a multifaceted $7,500 solution team that contains beadlock-able wheels, exclusive shock absorbers, fetching Rhapsody Blue Recaro seats and a slew of inside and exterior trim tweaks. The tires deliver killer seems and far better floor clearance, albeit at the expenditure of some suspension vacation and unsprung weight (all over 6 lbs . for each corner).

Large cabin and tech updates

Like most roads in Nevada that aren’t in the mountains, the road to Pahrump is featurelessly flat, straight and sunbaked. But while it is just not a good position to examination the Raptor’s managing, it is a good time to notice the Raptor’s supple ride high-quality and very perfectly-controlled NVH (sounds, vibration and harshness). The big tread blocks on the BFGs will not deliver excessive tire roar and while the steering is mild on truly feel and a minimal squishy just off centre, it’s just high-quality and should not be off-putting to any individual made use of to driving a whole-size pickup.

It truly is also a good time to just take inventory of the most important information for the Raptor’s on-road manners, which have nothing to do with the vehicle’s dynamics: the new cabin. Like the rest of its F-150 siblings, it’s right here where Ford experienced fallen behind its arch rival, the Ram 1500 (and relatively considerably, at that). For 2021, the 14th-technology F-150’s inside is of significantly larger high-quality. 

Raptor’s vastly enhanced cabin is a important high-quality-of-life update.


The dashboard is thoroughly new and it’s some thing of a tech bonanza. With a typical 12-inch electronic gauge cluster and a matching 12-inch touchscreen running Sync four infotainment, you’re looking at a important high-quality-of-life up grade as opposed to the 2020 model. The graphics are sharper, the reaction instances are snappier and the function set is deeper, bringing conveniences like wi-fi Apple CarPlay and Android Automobile. Importantly, the procedure also incorporates a 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot, enabling bumper-to-bumper around-the-air updates for the 1st time. This guarantees that not only will the Sync four continue to offer you the latest and finest infotainment capabilities, new functions and bug fixes can be downloaded for the rest of the truck, too — powertrain incorporated. Further capabilities like the $765 360-degree digital camera bundle (which exhibits authentic-time tire paths for smarter off-roading), a deployable centre console table and an readily available 18-speaker Bang & Olufsen Unleashed audio procedure are authentic pot sweeteners, too.

Prodigious thirst aside, Raptors have constantly created amazingly good daily drivers, but this new inside and tech should really genuinely make each day life considerably simpler, even if you will not opt for stuff like Professional Electrical power Onboard, a developed-in two.-kilowatt generator able of powering a compact career web site or a killer tailgate bash.

Off-road impressions

The convoy of examination Raptors spends the evening in Pahrump in order to get an early commence to conquer the late-summertime warmth. How early? I’m in the hotel’s foyer by four:00 a.m., then caffeinated and on the road by four:15 a.m. I have an additional fifty-mile drive to arrive at California’s Dumont Dunes, a extensive, 7,620-acre playland that lies in the shadow of volcanic hills and along the banks of the Amargosa River. 

When I get there, it’s nevertheless pitch dim, supplying me time air down the tires to about 24 psi and to bolt on substantial-visibility dune flags, as perfectly as don a helmet and HANS device for safety. The solar swiftly catches fireplace, illuminating a amazing martian backdrop that feels like another person clicked the “widescreen” button on my life. It will be perfectly around a hundred and ten degrees just before the day is out, so I load in adequate drinking water bottles to take in the advisable liter or extra an hour and head for the different courses that Ford’s crew set up.

Playing in the dunes at velocity where the Raptor is happiest. 

Nick Miotke/Roadshow

Whoops! This overall performance is no incident

Whilst it’s not the 1st process I tackle, it’s the Raptor’s overall performance on the whoops — a long area of of compact, rolling jumps that build a quickly undulating surface — that impress me most. Credit score goes to the engineers who developed the Raptor’s absolutely new rear suspension, which ditches the leaf springs made use of on all other F-Sequence trucks other than the Lightning EV. This all-new 5-hyperlink setup employs long rear trailing arms, a Panhard rod and gigundous 24-inch coil springs to provide severe vacation (15 inches out back again on 35-inch-tire-geared up models, or on my pickup’s 37-inch BFGs). Ford says this 2021 model has 25% extra suspension vacation than the primary Raptor, which was not accurately missing in that department. 

Perhaps most importantly, this refined rear suspension allows considerably extra exact place of the axle in the course of the suspension’s vacation — not just up and down, but fore/aft and laterally, as perfectly. The final result is that the truck has an simpler time putting the power down and retaining it there, in particular with a set of much larger, upcoming-technology Fox Dwell Valve shocks. These electronically controlled, inside-bypass models function much larger tubes to far better regulate the punishing thermal load of substantial-velocity desert running. 

How this will work out in authentic life is that the a lot quicker you go, the far better the Raptor performs across the whoops. What feels juddery at 40 mph smoothes out remarkably at 60-plus mph, the Raptor’s freshly strengthened chassis being amazingly stage while its suspension executes a punishing substantial-velocity dance as the truck streaks across the desert washboard. It truly is a impressive overall performance at speeds that could perfectly mail the mattress on a lesser truck mule-kicking uncontrollably — typical ol’ leaf springs might’ve subjected this Code Orange Raptor to a Code Brown second. In its place, I discover myself pushing to speed up to even larger speeds all the sooner, forcing me to rely at any time tougher on Raptor’s able brakes (thirteen.7-inch discs up entrance,thirteen.two inches out back again).

The Raptor is a far better performer in desert whoops.

Nick Miotke/Roadshow

Beadlocks for all

Ford coned off a couple of massive sand courses that operate up and down Dumont’s enormous dunes, too, supplying me the prospect to kick up some severe rooster tails while assessing minimal-grip managing on tires that have been aired down even even more to just 15 psi. The key right here is momentum — you by no means want to gradual down for anxiety of burying the Raptor up to its axles. The 10-velocity gearbox is primed to hold the revs up in Baja mode and it’s incredible fun to hang the tail out and leap at any time larger and even more around a crest. Or, at minimum it is right up until I load up the outer entrance tire in a corner too really hard, the BFG rolling around on its sidewalls and popping a bead, deflating the tire and bringing the motion a screeching halt. (Other workout routines showcased the Raptor’s readily available beadlock-able wheels, but not this one particular, oddly.) Ford minders swiftly shuttle me to an additional Raptor, afterwards reuniting me with my primary Code Orange tester just after a contemporary rubber swap.

Involving the whoops, the dune running and piling along a substantial-velocity study course on a wash, it’s crystal clear the Raptor is extra able than at any time in the rough stuff. Even avid off-roaders are significantly extra most likely to operate out of expertise long just before this truck operates out of capacity. I’ll have to hold out for a upcoming engagement to see how the new suspension stands up to the rigors of rock crawling, but the switch to a 5-hyperlink setup and much larger tires hasn’t appreciably harm the Raptor’s on-road livability, possibly.

Audio views

As to the carryover powertrain’s new audio, Ford equipped a radically diverse exhaust setup to the 2021 F-150 Raptor, entire with a funky-looking midpipe trombone loop in advance of the muffler to equalize the three-inch pipe lengths from aspect to aspect to be certain the best possible acoustics. Put together with lively valves with four driver-selectable modes (Tranquil, Regular, Activity and Baja), the new exhaust guarantees the Raptor has a considerably extra assertive voice when you want it and a will not-wake-the-neighbors tone when you will not. Baja mode’s howl is a large improvement around the relatively flaccid-sounding next-technology Raptor, but it continues to be a long way from the intrinsically enjoyable guttural V8 bellow of the Ram 1500 TRX.

The three.five-liter twin-turbo V6 engine hasn’t modified considerably, but at minimum the exhaust sounds far better.

Nick Miotke/Roadshow

Thirsty, but not TRX thirsty

On the plus aspect, the 2021 Raptor, while rarely thrifty, handily outpoints the considerably extra powerful Ram in fuel financial system. Designs geared up with 35-inch tires should really see 15 mpg city, 18 mpg freeway and 16 mpg blended, while 37-inch-tire models slide to 15, 16 and 15, respectively. The significantly heavier Mopar, in the meantime, nets a comparatively reprehensible 10 mpg city, fourteen mpg freeway and 12 mpg blended. 

In contrast to the TRX, the Raptor is pleased to dwell on typical 87-octane fuel and the Ford has a much larger 36-gallon fuel tank, too, enabling extra than 500 miles involving fill-ups. Your bladder may possibly not previous that long on the freeway, but you’ll be grateful for the further potential when you’re caning the EcoBoost off-road in some remote place, receiving significantly significantly less than EPA estimates.

Large price tag raise

I dislike to dwell on the range comparison video game with the Ram, but there is one particular other crucial set of figures I need to discuss: pricing. The outgoing Raptor held a large cost gain as opposed to the Ram, starting off about $15,000 significantly less. That is adequate of a pricing gulf that one particular could argue these two automobiles really existed in diverse courses — supertruck as opposed to hypertruck, perhaps. 

No longer the 2021 Raptor’s enhancements have induced a important price tag raise. The outgoing 2020 Raptor commenced at $fifty five,090 like a steep $one,645 for shipping. For 2021, a base Raptor will set you back again $65,840 (like $one,695 shipping) and a whole-boat model can conveniently best $eighty,000. By distinction, the TRX starts at $seventy two,a hundred and twenty sent and can climb previously mentioned $94,000. There is certainly nevertheless a substantial price tag differential, but it’s generally noticeable on substantial-content material models and with only all over $6,000 separating base MSRPs, the Raptor’s price proposition is drastically significantly less noticeable than it when was.

You won’t be able to get into a 2021 Raptor for significantly less than $65,840.

Nick Miotke/Roadshow

How did this transpire? In aspect, it’s because Ford nixed previous year’s significantly less-highly-priced SuperCab entire body type just after just four% of prospective buyers chose the shorter model’s rear-hinged half-doorways. For 2021, the only way you can get a Raptor is with Ford’s much larger four-doorway SuperCrew entire body paired with a five.five-foot mattress and its one,four hundred-pound max payload (towing sits at 8,200 lbs .). Further more bloating the base line is all of that new tech, like a brace of good towing aids and Ford’s Co-Pilot 360 suite of lively safety gear, which bundles typical ahead-collision warning with automatic crisis braking, adaptive cruise management, blind-place monitoring, automatic substantial beams and so on. A prep package for BlueCruise, Ford’s forthcoming partially automated hands-free of charge driving tech, is optional.

At the conclude of the day, the 2021 Ford Raptor is a considerably enhanced truck, making on what was currently a vastly amazing pickup. This truck’s significantly extra superior suspension will give hardcore off-roaders enough reason to take into account the new model, but it’s the cabin’s considerably-desired overhaul and the enormous infusion of convenience and safety tech that they’ll value most in daily life. Regrettably, the new model’s substantial price tag raise blunts the Raptor’s appeal relatively and it does have me wanting to know how stratospherically the forthcoming V8-run Raptor R will be priced when it comes upcoming 12 months. That aside, there are extra factors than at any time to take into account parking this 4×4 in your garage. It truly is one particular of the very best, most expressive automobiles The usa will make.

Editors’ notice: Travel charges linked to this tale have been coated by the maker, which is popular in the vehicle sector. The judgments and views of Roadshow’s staff are our possess and we do not take paid out editorial content material.