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The Ford F-150 Raptor is the ultimate version of Ford's perennial bestseller. Built for everything from lumber hauling to desert dune jumping, it's a performance machine with a pickup bed.
Nearly ten years after the original Raptor was rolled off the assembly line, nobody has quite matched its blend of boldness, capability and performance. Ram and Chevy will gladly sell you off-road focused trucks, but nothing else has the high-octane fun of the F-150 Raptor.
It's one mean looking monster. Parked among normal cars, the Raptor is comically large and hilariously aggressive. Its flared haunches, gaping grill and squat stance project a clear sense of purpose; the Raptor means business.
The mechanicals live up to the looks. The Raptor has an absolutely massive 13.9 inches of rear suspension travel, which means it can soak up gigantic bumps and even jumps. The shock absorbers, which received an upgrade for 2019, are FOX racing shocks that can automatically adjust to provide more on-road comfort or more off-road capability, depending on the driving situation.
All of that wouldn't mean much, though, if the mighty blue Ford didn't pack a massive powertrain punch to get it up to desert running speeds. Serving that role is Ford's staple 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6, generating 450 horsepower and a gigantic 510 lb-ft of torque. That serious wallop of torque, along with a 10-speed transmission, means that the Raptor pulls hard in all situations and is never caught out of breath.
On a muddy trail in the backwoods of rural Ohio, the Raptor thundered down a muddy trail, flattened bumps, smashed through craters and splashed through massive puddles. It took on standing water so deep and with so much force that mud caked every inch of the roof by the time we were done.
And while that capability may not be needed every day, it makes you confident in the unstoppability of this supertruck. We found ourselves going out of our way to hit potholes dead on just to watch the Raptor shrug them off without a whimper.
In fact, the Raptor is one of the comfiest vehicles for traversing seriously broken pavement and rutty trails. The faster you go over rough terrain, the comfier the baja-focused suspension makes it.
And we have to mention the value that the Raptor presents. A decade ago, a lot of people would scoff at paying $65,610 for a pickup truck. But now, it's become normal. The average transaction price of a Ford F-150 is fast approaching $50,000 with many sales cresting $70,000.
Even among the competition, this isn't out of line. While Toyota's Tundra is more affordable, the last Ram we tested was $66,370. The GMC Sierra AT4, which we are evaluating now, stickers for $66,365. So the Raptor isn't alone.
What it is, though, is an absolute riot. For $66,610, it offers more fun than any other truck. More than that, it's one of the most fun vehicles we have tested, full stop. There are a few sports cars that can beat the Raptor in fun factor, but none can match the insane practicality of a gigantic, crew-cab pickup truck that just happens to be the most absurd vehicle on sale today.
The Raptor is undeniably more fun than the aforementioned Ram or Sierra, but it's definitely not the luxurious machine that other trucks are trying to be. Because the Raptor is built to soak up big bumps, it can feel jiggly on the road. It's never uncomfortable, but we'd describe the ride as "busy."
Also, while this Raptor was competitively priced, you have to pay more to get things like cooled seats and radar cruise control. If your priority is comfort and luxury, your dollar goes farther with a Ram 1500 or even a different trim of F-150.
Raptors start at $54,450, but we'd definitely step up to the crew cab model. That gives you four doors and enough space to really take advantage of the Raptor's dual capability as a daily driver and an unstoppable performance truck. That brings the price to $57,435.
We'd skip the packages that try to make the interior more luxurious. The Raptor isn't about luxury, so why spend money trying to make it something it isn't. Unfortunately, that means you can't get active-safety technology. Even blind-spot monitoring is locked out unless you pay over $4,235 and upgrade to leather seats plus other stuff you don't need.
As a result, we wouldn't add anything else besides a spray-in bedliner for $595. All together, our total is $58,030 with destination.
From packing the cab with five people and doing a CostCo run to flying down backcountry trails, the Raptor was hilarious and delightful in every situation. There are certainly more practical choices, but the fun-to-dollar equation is strong in the Raptor's favor.
Driving Experience: 4.5
Price as tested: $65,610
*Ratings out of 5.