New Ford F-150 Raptor will remain forbidden fruit for SA bakkie fans
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DETROIT - The original Raptor has just been reinvented, with Ford having revealed the all-new 2021 model that’s based on the latest-generation F-150. And although South African bakkie fans can now buy a Ranger Raptor, the F-150 version will remain an American dream as there are currently no known plans to market the larger pick-up in SA.
Thankfully, however, there are plans to build a new-generation Ranger in SA from 2022 through a R15.8 billion investment announced earlier this week, and this will bring an improved Raptor model too, likely with a V6 engine.
But what makes the new F-150 Raptor special?
The latest-generation F-150 Raptor for the US market gains an all-new chassis as well as a more ‘connected’ cabin, but at this stage it’s not clear exactly how powerful it is.
Ford says it will be powered by a new generation version of the 3.5-litre twin-turbo V6 petrol engine found in its predecessor. No output figures have been released as yet, but it will almost certainly improve on the current vehicle’s 335kW tally.
But that surely won’t be an answer to the new V8 Hellcat-powered Ram 1500 TRX, which produces 523kW, although Ford does mention that a Raptor R is coming in 2022, presumably with a V8 heart to challenge its Fiat Chrysler rival.
The Raptor’s V6 engine is paired with a 10-speed automatic gearbox, which is bolted to a torque-on-demand transfer case.
Built to jump - Raptor gets redesigned chassis
Ford’s Raptor models have become renowned for their sophisticated suspension systems that allow for Baha-style high-speed off-roading, and Ford wants to take that a step further with the all-new F-150 Raptor, which debuts with “completely redesigned” running gear.
The vehicle gains an all-new, purpose-built five-link rear suspension with extra-long trailing arms to better maintain axle position on rough terrain. It also features a Panhard rod and 24-inch coil springs. This vehicle was built to jump and to facilitate that the new model comes with electronically-controlled new-generation Fox Live Valve internal bypass shock absorbers.
The ‘tekkies’ come in the form of specially designed BF Goodrich All-Terrain T/A KO2 tyres, which are available in both 35-inch and 37-inch sizes, the latter being the largest factory fitted tyres ever to be made available on a pick-up truck, AKA bakkie.
“Raptor is rooted in Baja 1000 racing, and its suspension advances our capability and performance – a five-link rear setup with more wheel travel than any Raptor before it,” said Ford Performance chief engineer Carl Widmann.
“And like a trophy truck, every aspect of Raptor has been engineered to deliver precision capability when your foot is flat on the floor, way out in the middle of nowhere roaring across the desert.”
In line with the latest-generation Ford F-150 that was revealed last year, the Raptor gets a new digitised cabin that also includes Raptor-specific graphics and animations, as well as off-road data that could in future be updated over the air as new trail maps become available.
A sophisticated Terrain Management System is part of the deal too, allowing drivers to choose from seven driving modes: Baja, Rock Crawl, Off-Road, Slippery, Tow/Haul, Sport and Normal. The vehicle also comes with a Trail Control system, which acts like a cruise control system for off-road use.