New Ford F-150 Raptor extends extreme off-road capability

new-ford-f-150-raptor-extends-extreme-off-road-capability

Malaysians know the Ford Ranger Raptor as the most extreme Ranger ever sold in the region. Developed with assistance from Ford Performance, the pick-up truck has the performance to go with its macho looks. Its name was derived from a variant of the F-Series which was introduced in 2009 for desert racing, eventually being used to represent the brand’s high-performance trucks.

With the F-Series now in its 14th generation (since June last year), Ford has also updated the F-150 Raptor for its third generation. It comes with completely redesigned running gear, re-engineered with an all-new rear suspension and even better overall performance on rough terrain at high speeds.

“Raptor is the original desert truck. We just took it to another level,” said Ali Jammoul, Ford Performance Vehicle Program Director. “The all-new Raptor splices high-speed off-road performance muscle with advanced technology and connectivity that comes together in a unique Built Ford Tough way.”

The rugged, aggressive exterior advances the signature design of F-150 Raptor. Completely redesigned, the distinctive front emphasizes the truck’s width with a machine-tough look featuring a power dome bonnet with blacked-out grille and headlights that stretch fender to fender.

Inspired by Raptor fighter jet
The bonnet has a new heat extractor and functional side vents at the top trailing edge of the fender, all inspired by the intakes of the F-22 Raptor fighter jet. Aggressive front fenders emulate the windswept look of dust billowing off the top of the tyres at high speed. The same concept extends to the rear, with blacked-out taillights and available tailgate appliqué creating visual fender-to-fender width.

Some styling elements have been inspired by the F-22 Raptor (below).

A wider front skidplate offers greater coverage side-to-side and extends protection forward. Durable steel front and rear bumpers are built for the rigors of off-roading, with the rear bumper retaining the high-clearance design that tucks the dual exhaust tips high up against the truck.

Available in SuperCrew configuration on a 3683 mm wheelbase, the new Raptor features a fully boxed high-strength steel frame with a high-strength, military-grade, aluminium alloy and composite body. The suspension, stronger, taller shock towers and rear control arm mounting points have been made more capable.

3.5-litre EcoBoost V6 + 10-speed transmission
Power comes from a third-generation twin-turbo 3.5-litre EcoBoost high-output V6 engine. Ford is not revealing output figures yet but says it ‘delivers torque low in the rev range right where it counts’. It has new high-power fans built into the cooling system for maximum cooling performance and with the standard 36-US gallon (136 litres) capacity, the estimated range is more than 800 kms.

A new three-inch equal-length exhaust system features a patent-pending built-in X-pipe, unique ‘trombone loop’ and first-for-Raptor active valves. The system takes advantage of a true pass-through muffler design that improves sound quality. Customers can configure four sound level modes – Quiet, Normal, Sport and Baja.

The Ford-built 10-speed automatic transmission (also available in Rangers sold in Malaysia) is upgraded with next-generation controls is bolted to an innovative torque-on-demand transfer case. A standard electronic locking rear differential and available TORSEN front limited-slip differential are fitted with 4:10 final drive ratios.

With 7 selectable drive modes, the Terrain Management System allows drivers to choose the setting best suited to driving conditions. Each mode adjusts steering feel, transfer case behaviour, stability control, active valve exhaust, active damping system, throttle mapping and transmission shift points, as well as the display on the digital gauge cluster.

Trail 1-Pedal Drive is a system helps make extreme off-road driving like rock crawling easier. In harsh trail situations, a driver typically must use both pedals, modulating throttle and brake simultaneously to advance the truck. Trail 1-Pedal Drive simplifies all that, combining those operations into activating just the throttle – press to move forward, release to brake. The computer ‘co-driver’ applies the brakes proportionally as the driver lifts from the accelerator.

The F-150 Raptor also comes with standard Trail Control, which operates like cruise control for off-road use. Once the desired speed is set, the computer manages throttle and braking to allow the driver to focus on steering through challenging off-road conditions.

It’s also possible to use the truck as a mobile power generation with Pro Power Onboard. With the engine running, up to 2 kilowatts of electrical output is available to run power tools, camp lights and other equipment.

Redesigned rear suspension
Of note is the 5-link rear suspension with extra-long trailing arms to better maintain axle position on rough terrain, a Panhard rod and 24-inch coil springs – the longest in the class. The suspension, combined with more sophisticated engine management software, means the truck can put more torque to the rear wheels for quicker starts off the line, faster acceleration and better throttle responsiveness while simultaneously delivering comfort, stability, handling, control and traction at speed.

The Raptor can fly through the air easily and handle heavy landings, a requirement for a desert racer, and to improve this, there are next-generation FOX Live Valve internal bypass shock absorbers with state-of-the-art electronic control technology offering position-sensitive damping adjustability.

The Raptor’s largest-ever shocks are designed to better resist heat build-up and to react even faster to terrain changes for greater confidence over extended desert running. The larger 3.1-inch-diameter anodized aluminium bodies of the absorber unit are filled with all-new low-friction shock fluid specially designed to decrease frictional losses inside the damper for improved off and on-road comfort. New electronically controlled base valves are race-proven with an upgraded design enabling upward of 1,000 pounds of damping per corner at desert speeds.

Readings from suspension height sensors and other sensors around the truck change damping rates independently at each corner 500 times per second, with the shocks responding at the same speed the human brain processes visual information. The truck responds by the time the driver even registers a terrain change.

The Raptor is available with the largest factory-fitted to a production light-duty full-size pick- up – either 35-inch or 37-inch tyres. These are specially designed BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A KO2 tyres which can easily clear obstacles. When fitted with the 37-inch tyres, there’s up to 332 mm of running clearance. Wheel travel with 35-inch tyres reaching 356 mm at the front and 380 mm at the rear.

Tech for off-road or on-highway
The new high-tech cockpit has a customizable 12-inch digital gauge cluster with Raptor-specific graphics and animations, off-road data and turn-by-turn navigation. The customizable new 12-inch centre screen allows owners to split the screen and control multiple functions simultaneously, including navigation, music or truck features.

A 360-degree camera system provides an in-cabin view of obstacles around the truck, with the front view offering a real-time tyre track overlay to dynamically show the path of the wheels ahead to reduce the need to stop for spotter guidance.

The new interior uses enhanced materials, unique surface finishes and has more storage. The  steering wheel features a laser-etched logo, top centering mark and aluminium paddle shifters are fitted. Seats with large bolsters keep occupants in place and even more aggressive Recaro bucket seats are available as optional equipment.

The F-150 Raptor isn’t available in Malaysia but Sime Darby Auto ConneXion can offer you the equally extreme Ranger Raptor, developed with the same expertise from Ford Performance. Visit www.sdacford.com.my to know more.

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