Camera in hand, I left the truck idling as I descended the running board onto the dirt path. I’d planned to get a couple of quick snaps in a beautiful natural setting, considering the vehicle’s considerable off-road prowess.
The report of what could only be a 12-gauge shotgun fired a couple hundred yards away made me reconsider my artful ambitions.
Have I ever mentioned how much I appreciate good, clear rear-view cameras? I’m not the greatest at parking large vehicles, so the tech is useful in many situations — but this feature was especially helpful as the 2019 Ford Raptor and I quickly escaped a bad situation in reverse.
To be fair, the lands where I took the Raptor to properly test the four-wheel drive and long-travel suspension are listed by the state as a wildlife area — but I thought that meant they were wildlife safe zones, NOT hunting zones. I’m a city boy, not a hunter. I don’t know these things.
And before you comment: I’m not making a statement about guns or hunting. I’ve no specific problem with either. I’m just not down with the lingo.
It’s difficult to find good trails in Central Ohio, yet I see lifted four-wheel drive trucks and SUVs everywhere, often caked in mud — so people are getting out there and enjoying the rough stuff somewhere. Some of those rigs are so compromised toward off-road performance that they have to be absolutely miserable to drive on the tarmac.
Not so the Raptor. Certainly compromises over a more typical full-size pickup are made — the tall tires do give less steering feedback, for example, as well as producing more road noise due to the knobby tread — but the truck is otherwise quite easy to live with every day.
On road, it’s genuinely fun to drive — especially on the twisty roads I navigated to get to what turned out to an active hunting ground. When hustling around corners, the body roll is massive, but the Raptor just sticks to the ground once it’s leaning. The unloaded inside front tire feels as if it can float over imperfections like a trophy truck, and the 510 lb-ft of torque makes powering out of corners a breeze.
I could do without the showy bits on the Raptor. That big FORD grille and the optional ($1,075!) Raptor sticker package for the sides of the bed are a bit too much for me. That said, I’m in love with the $1,895 optional dark forged wheels. They look right.
Considering how many Raptors I see rolling around suburbia, I was surprised when this SuperCab example appeared. I’d forgotten the shorter cab option was even available, as every Raptor I recall has been the longer SuperCrew. While I appreciate the longer doors and better rear legroom of the crew cab, I prefer the look of this shorter cab. The proportions are just a bit better to my eye.
The interior, for better or worse, is pretty much standard F-150 save the special embroidery on the seats and the silly stripe at the twelve o’clock position on the steering wheel. It’s comfortable, functional, and works exactly as you’d expect. Again, I’d prefer the longer SuperCrew cab for a bit more rear legroom —the kids just won’t stop growing! — but that’s a minor matter of preference.
Some might notice that last week I reviewed a completely different version of the F-150 with a sticker price also right around seventy thousand dollars. It’s a fair question — which one would I buy, since the sticker is roughly equal? For me, the standard truck is all I need. While the capabilities of the Raptor are impressive, and the driving experience is plenty of fun, the tradeoffs in efficiency are simply not worth it to me.
But if I lived in an area where I could put the Raptor’s off-road chops to use more often? You bet this absurdly fun F-150 Raptor would be atop my list.
I’d be sure to buy a few blaze orange vests for safety, as well.