2010 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor: Wall of Death = Piece of Cake
July 29, 2010
There's an old logging road by my dad's place. It leads from his hilltop home to the top of a taller summit behind. The road was cut by and for tracked vehicles like a D-9 Cat, so it's quite steep in places. Dad calls the steepest section, the section that's usually coated with leaves and pine needles, the Wall of Death. Only 4x4s with low range need apply.
To the surprise of no one, our 2010 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor and its knobby BFG All-Terrain tires make easy work of it. It's no contest. Child's play.
The payoff is a sweeping 360-degree view, 180 degrees of which is Pacific Ocean. From up here, the sunsets are out of this world. We plop down on the picnic table dad installed and watch for the fabled green flash that can happen if conditions are just so when the sun slips below the horizon. They're not, and the sun disappears without any rare atmospheric fanfare -- again.
We're high above the coastal fog up here, so you'll simply have to imagine the distant seal barks coming from somewhere below.
On the way down, I sample the Raptor's hill descent control (HDC). The Wall of Death turns out to be too steep for 1st gear in low range; the truck picks up too much speed if I don't ride the brake. But HDC handles it with no sweat whatsoever.
And the descent speed is driver-controllable in two ways: HDC keys-off the gear you've selected when you engage the system, and you can lift the target speed up slightly if you nudge forward on the throttle. All in all, it's pretty slick.
Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle testing @ 1,826 miles