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First Look 2021 Ford F150 Raptor

All-new for 2021, Ford releases its most off-road capable and connected F-150 Raptor ever.


When it arrived in 2009, the Ford F150 Raptor made a huge splash as the first pickup from a major automaker that you could drive fast off-road without damaging the vehicle. Inspired by the Trophy Trucks that ruled the gruelling Baja 1000 off-road race, the production Ford Raptor had the upgraded frame, suspension, and power needed to create a new category for seriously capable off-road pickups.

No longer did your truck need a slew of aftermarket parts to perform well on the dirt. And no surprise, these Raptors sold well. Scads of them started showing up at off-road races, serving as pre-runner and support vehicles that could drive to and from events. Now, for 2021, there’s an all-new, 3rd-generation Ford F150 Raptor.


What’s new?

This 2021 Ford F150 Raptor, available specifically as a SuperCrew model with a short bed, continues as a tremendously capable off-road pickup, but it has been improved in several unique ways. When Ford set out to design its new Raptor, the company had two primary goals: It must look menacing, and it must be instantly recognizable as a Raptor.

On both counts, Ford has succeeded.

Ford says its designers took inspiration from the F-22 Raptor fighter jet in shaping the 2021 Raptor, which is packed with new technology and is about 15 centimetres wider than a typical F150. In front, there's a power dome hood and amber daytime running lights, along with a prominent black grille that has huge Ford lettering spanning its width. The air intakes of the F-22 explicitly inspired the heat extractor on the hood and the functional side vents on the front fenders' top trailing edges.

In the back, blacked-out LED taillights, and an available large tailgate applique help accentuate the new Raptor's width, which also features a front skid plate that's wider and offers more forward protection. The front and back bumpers are steel, with the rear bumper’s high-clearance design allowing the dual exhaust tips to be tucked up high.

While Ford hasn’t finalized the horsepower and torque figures for the Raptor’s turbocharged 3.5-litre 6-cylinder engine, we’re confident it won’t match the supercharged 702-horsepower 8-cylinder in its biggest rival: the new 2021 Ram 1500 TRX. However, Ford has another arrow in its quiver: the Raptor R, which goes on sale in 2022 with an undisclosed powerplant (perhaps with the Ford Shelby GT500’s supercharged 5.2-litre 8-cylinder with 760 horsepower?).

The 2021 Ford F150 Raptor’s high-performance steel frame has been modified with taller and stronger shock towers for the modified front suspension, plus the rear section has been modified to accommodate the Raptor’s all-new 5-link rear suspension. With extra-long trailing arms and extra-tall coil springs, the new Raptor also gets a Panhard bar, which keeps the live rear axle laterally located in relation to the frame, improving off-road traction. There are 36 centimetres of front wheel travel and 38 centimetres in back, and massive Fox Live Valve shock absorbers have double the previous Raptor’s damping control. Ford says the damping is adjusted up to 500 times a second for consistent and optimal chassis control.

The new 2021 Ford Raptor comes standard with 35-inch tires BFGoodrich All-Terrain K02 tires in size LT315/70R-17. For the first time, however, 37s will be available, in size 37 x 12.50R-17LT. Ford says this helps performance off-road, with improved approach and departure angles. Note: If you get the 37s, the Raptor gets beefier dampers to handle the added unsprung weight. But for clearance reasons, suspension travel is reduced to 33 centimetres in front and 36 in back. On a positive note, the 37-inch spare tire fits beneath the Raptor’s bed.

With it now being based on the redesigned Ford F150, the 2021 Raptor has an all-new interior, one that’s designed to convey the Raptor’s high level of performance. To that end, there are available Recaro bucket seats with large side bolsters, and a new Raptor-specific steering wheel with a top centering mark and aluminum shift paddles. Other Raptor interior highlights include a 12.4-inch digital instrument cluster, overhead switches, and a 12-inch central touchscreen.

Additionally, the new Raptor interior is graced with advanced materials, unique finishes, and standard aluminum trim on its doors, instrument panel, and center console. There’s also an available lockable storage compartment beneath the spacious rear seat. It looks like an ideal spot for your tow straps, high-lift jacks, or anything else you might need while out on the trail.


What’s the same?

Although official horsepower and torque figures haven’t been released, the Ford F150 Raptor continues to be powered by a high-output twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter V6 gas engine. Last year, this engine produced 450 horsepower and 510 lb-ft of torque. With added compression and revised exhaust, the new 3rd-generation powerplant should exceed that in both categories. 

As before, a Ford-built 10-speed automatic transmission is on duty, bolted to a torque-on-demand transfer case. An electronic locking rear differential is standard; a Torsen limited-slip front differential is available. Both have 4:10:1 final-drive ratios.


When will it go on sale?

Ford says the all-new 2021 F150 Raptor will go on sale this summer.


How much will it cost?

We expect the new F150 Raptor to be similarly priced as the outgoing 2020 version, which started at $76,699.


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