The 2019 Ford F-150 Raptor is a monster for trails

Provided you can find a trail wide enough for this 7-foot-wide pickup truck.

The F-150 Raptor is designed for trail use, but the powerful engine and wide track make it fun on roads too.
The F-150 Raptor is designed for trail use, but the powerful engine and wide track make it fun on roads too. –Ford

The 2019 Ford F-150 Raptor is not like other trucks. Sure, at its core is a typical F-150 pickup, but the frame is widened 6 inches right in the middle. With the wide-body kit and wide all-terrain tires, the truck spans 7.2 feet across — the widest of any light-duty pickup.

Aside from the added half-foot of width, the Raptor sets itself apart from other F-150s with a massive grille with Ford emblazoned across it, and features integrated big rig-style marker lights, which are required by law for vehicles wider than 80 inches. Below that is a steel bumper that provides aggressive approach angles for the tires, and integrates seamlessly with the lower front skid plate.

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Available in extended SuperCab and four-door SuperCrew, the Raptor boasts some serious off-road gear, including Fox Shocks and off-road tires. It also features a tailgate bed step, which makes getting in and out easier, especially for the lifted truck.

The Raptor features a function-first interior that isn’t much to look at, but it’s as useful as a Swiss Army knife. The cabin is rife with cubbies, compartments, cupholders, power outlets, and USB ports. And the standard touchscreen features Ford’s SYNC 3 infotainment system. It also supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

The F-150 Raptor has an incredibly spacious interior. —Ford

The rear seat folds all the way up against the back wall, revealing a massive load floor. And there’s some organization to it as well. Cubbies lining the rear and doors allow smaller items to be stored. You can load bigger items into the massive space behind the front seats.

You might think such a bonkers off-road truck would come standard with V8 power, but Ford has been leading the way in twin-turbo V6 trucks with its EcoBoost line of engines. The 3.5-liter unit in the Raptor makes an impressive 450 horsepower and 510 pound-feet of torque. There’s a stop-start system for saving fuel, which can be deactivated via a button above the touch screen.

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Power is sent though a 10-speed automatic transmission to standard four-wheel drive. The system features a two-speed transfer case with low-range, a terrain management system with multiple drive modes, and a hill-descent control, which is like cruise control for the trail.

Acceleration is strong, and though it doesn’t necessarily have the same “lurch” of a V8, the mid-range acceleration on main roads and highways is where this truck really shines. Step on it anywhere between 20 and 50 miles per hour, and you can feel a rush of power that makes quick jumps to highway speeds. The Raptor was inspired by Baja desert racing trucks, which can churn along dried-out river beds at 80 miles per hour.

The Raptor features specially designed Fox Racing shocks for tackling trails. —Ford

We don’t have deserts around here, but we do have plenty of trails, and this truck is a monster in those settings. The specially designed Fox Racing Shox make rocky trails feel like paved roads. The only problem will be finding trails wide enough for the Raptor. Once on the streets, the truck is smooth. There is some body roll in cornering, but the wide track means you can take corners with decent speed.

This is the second generation of the F-150 — and the Raptor, for that matter. The big difference between this truck and its predecessor is the use of aluminum, and that smarter powertrain. That makes it lighter and theoretically more maneuverable, though you wouldn’t know it from driving in densely populated areas.

The wide track means a three-point turn takes up quite a bit of space. Luckily the suite of cameras and sensors monitor how close you get to objects, meaning you can get right up to that curb or wall without guessing.

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The stripped-down 2018 Ford F-150 starts at $27,705, and the Raptor starts at $50,675. Our Raptor SuperCrew with options came in at around $62,000.

Unlike a supercar, the Raptor is an extreme vehicle that’s actually practical. Its incredible utility means you can get places other trucks can’t, and in weather others won’t venture out into. And after all that, the Raptor is still fun, too.