When the San Andreas Fault rips California down the middle or some other apocalypse befalls the state, the Raptor will be the ideal escape vehicle. This thing can traverse just about any terrain: A barely modified, street-legal 2017 Raptor successfully completed the Baja 1000, perhaps the most torturous off-road race in the world (check out Ford’s video Born to Baja on YouTube).
The Raptor is a special version of Ford’s ubiquitous F-150. Higher ground clearance, a wider track, an aluminum skid plate, and off-road racing shocks are some of the features that take the Raptor where the road doesn’t go. Moreover, it’s a fearsome-looking sucker, with a massive grille, black wheels, huge knobby tires, and enormous tailpipes.
Vehicle layout: 3.5-liter V6 (450 hp), 10-speed automatic, 4WD
MSRP, base model: $49,520; (model tested/
as tested: $62,850)
MPG, city/hwy/combined: 15/18/16
As expected, it’s a long reach to enter or exit the cab, fuel economy stinks, and the ride doesn’t exactly cosset and coddle. But the steering delivers good feel, the 3.5-liter V6 and 10-speed transmission provide plenty of grunt, and the seats are supportive and comfy. And Ford’s optional Pro Trailer Backup Assist is amazing; turning a knob on the dash left or right enables a driver to steer a trailer into position, a task many drivers find challenging.
Ford reintroduced the Raptor in 2017 with aluminum bodywork, trimming the pickup of some 500 pounds. Other F-150s receive an updated grille, headlights, and tailgate for 2018, but Ford is carrying over the meaner, leaner Raptor unchanged from 2017.
Crash-test ratings: NHTSA: 5 stars overall; IIHS: good (all scores)
Spare tire: Full-size spare
Final assembly: U.S.
Basic warranty: 3 years/36,000 miles