The 2019 Ford Raptor

by Scott Huntington

Ford broke the mold for performance pickup trucks in 2010 with the first-generation Raptor. Equipped with a snarling 6.2-liter V-8 engine and the industry's most-capable dedicated off-road suspension on a factory pickup, it became an immediate hit— even for those who'd resigned to the "imports only" school of trucking. We're looking at you, Tacoma bro.
Many have tried, but none have succeeded in offering as complete or capable a package as the F150 Raptor in the decade since its release. For 2019, the musclebound F150 super truck has undergone a complete redesign. The result is a worthy successor to the truck built for the Baja 1000, but the course of evolution has brought a few unexpected surprises to the 2019 Raptor.

The Next Generation of Super Truck

Perhaps the biggest surprise about the original Raptor was that it was a success at all. In the age of pickup trucks as commuter vehicles, not only did car buyers flock to Ford dealerships to pay upwards of $50,000 for a Mad-Max F150, but they also put the trucks to good use. If you don't believe these trucks get thrashed, run a quick YouTube search for Raptor jump. See what we mean?
Rather than chastise the truck-buying public, Ford has doubled down on the Raptor's bad-boy image. For 2019, it looks even more like an F150 that swallowed a smaller, less sexually mature F150 that was threatening its territory. With ample power, advanced long-travel suspension, standard four-wheel drive and a cabin worthy of a rather macho luxury car, we don't see anyone displacing the Raptor from its roost in the near future.

It Can't Fly, but It Does Have Jump Mode

Fox suspension — a key selling point of the first Raptor — once again does damping duty on the 2019 truck. This time it features a high-tech, computer-controlled valving system that allows the Raptor to adjust suspension rates in real-time to fit your driving style and terrain. It has jump mode, but at the push of a button, this Raptor can tow up to 8,000 pounds and haul up to 1,200 pounds in the SuperCrew trim. The numbers dip slightly for the SuperCab variant, but the value-add remains. You don't have to sacrifice practicality for performance.
As a halo vehicle, the Raptor gets all the in-cabin amenities you could wish for. There's an 8-inch touch screen with Ford's range-topping Sync 3 infotainment software, hill descent control, and a digital trip computer that will provide readouts on your shock settings and angle of approach. You can even choose the front-mounted camera option, which allows you to see exactly where the Raptor's admittedly broad beak is pointed should you find yourself on a technical off-road trail without a spotter. Or with a lazy spotter.

EcoBoost Bruiser

When the Ten Commandments of truck-dom were handed down, the words "thou shalt claw at the earth with not less than eight cylinders, or be looked on as meager and weak," were emblazoned in block letters. Probably the same font was used on the Raptor's model-specific FORD grill.
The 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6 has been an optional powerplant in the F150 lineup since 2011. However, the 2019 Raptor's twin-turbo six-pot isn't what you'd call "original recipe." The Raptor gets a beefed-up version of the twin-turbo six-pot with larger intercoolers. The output is 450 horsepower and a meaty 510 pound-feet of torque, delivered earthward through an uber-smart 10-speed automatic transmission. That handily outclasses the old truck's V-8 powertrain, even if the sounds coming from the engine bay might not be quite as animalistic.
Despite laying down performance numbers that clearly eclipse what its predecessor was capable of, there will always be doubters of the V-6. Get behind the wheel, and you should have no trouble believing that this nearly 6,000-pound truck can do 0-60 in 5.1 seconds. That means chances are good you'll be showing the taillights to your buddy's EcoBoost Mustang at the stoplight Grand Prix.
The Raptor does its best sportscar impression at the skidpad by using its adaptive shocks to control body roll and a 70-0 stopping distance inside of 200 feet. The Mustang might make some time up on you in the twisties, but really, who's taking their Raptor to the track when you can just tow your sports car there?

A Product of Its Environment

When you talk to people about the Ford Raptor, you might get the impression they have mixed feelings about this truck. After all, it is huge, largely uncalled-for and despite its EcoBoost badge, this truck will not be signing up for tree-planting duty on Earth Day. Ignore all that.
When it comes to the Raptor, there are two kinds of people: those who admit they love it and those who are ashamed to. Ford has done the math, and clearly, there are enough people in the former group ready to fork over $52,855 to make this automotive ballad to American brashness a good investment. Do you really want to be the one missing out? You can't imagine how much fun we're having.

 Scott Huntington is an automotive blogger who lives in Vermont and writes about everything from the Model T to the Model 3. Check out his site Off The Throttle or follow him on Twitter @SMHuntington