2010 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor Long Term Road Test


2010 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor: "You're Gonna Burn Fuel"

August 05, 2010

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In our last Oregon-trip episode, reader rdgdawg1 closed his own capsule review of his friend's 6.2-liter 2010 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor with these sage words, "...just know you're gonna burn fuel." Truer words were never tweeted, posted, e-mailed or spoken.

But how much, exactly? We'll never get an official figure because, as we touched on before, the 6.2-liter Raptor is exempt from EPA fuel economy testing because it weighs more than 6,000 pounds. So its window sticker lacks those huge City and Highway fuel economy numbers that we usually see. Instead, the 6.2-liter Raptor's window sticker has a big blank spot that proclaims "Fuel Economy Ratings Not Required on This Vehicle" in bold type.

Well, my 1,863-mile Oregon trip is history, so I have a little data. It's mostly highway data, so my results are probably closer to a best-case scenario. Combined mpg, the day-to-day average figure all of us should use for budgeting purposes, will be lower than what I measured. Count on it.

Raptor overall trip average: 13.9 mpg.

More details after the jump.

Worst tank: 12.1 mpg -- Rural two-lane, a couple of low-speed highway trips to town -- much less stress than a pure urban city loop.

Best tank: 15.7 mpg -- This was the very last short leg of my trip, with a net downhill elevation change. No gridlock, but speeds dropped as the freeway entered the city. At 119 miles, this was not a full run to empty. I filled when I got home because I wanted to end all fuel calculations at the endpoint of the trip.

Best range: 364 miles -- As you can see in the photo, I ran deep into the warning, too. I added 25.33 gallons to the 26-gallon tank. Yikes!

I played around with octane, too. I ran 91 octane on the northbound leg and 87 octane coming home. Either fuel is OK by Ford, but 91 octane is associated with the horsepower claims.

Northbound, 809 miles, 91 octane: 13.7 mpg average

Southbound, 839 miles, 87 octane: 14.5 mpg average

I'm not sure I can call this definitive. Jay says that if it changes at all, it should go the other way. I wonder if it matters enough to measure during low-stress part-throttle cruising. The routes weren't exactly the same, as evidenced by the small difference in mileage. The northbound leg included a little traffic near San Francisco, and the southbound leg featured higher freeway cruising speeds. It's probably best not to read too much into this.

Total trip fuel cost: $461.21 -- Still cheaper than airfare for two, airport parking (or a shuttle), a rental car at the other end and the gas I'd have bought for it.

Why?

Because of its size and weight, it stands to reason that a Raptor would burn more fuel than a standard 2010 F-150 4x4 with the 5.4-liter V8 that's rated at 14 City/18 Highway/15 Combined.

That base truck comes with a 3.31 diff ratios and P235/75R17 tires. Ford would have chosen the lightest 5.4-liter 4x4 version for the official EPA test, and that's the regular cab 6.5-foot bed model, which has a listed weight of 5,083 pounds. Aerodynamically, one of these is 78.9 inches wide and 76 inches tall.

The Raptor comes with 4.10 differential gears and 315/70R17 tires, which works out to 170 additional engine rpm (11% more) while cruising in 6th gear at 60 mph. A Raptor also punches a much bigger hole in the air because it's 7.4 inches wider and stands 2.4 inches taller. And all Raptors (so far) use the Super Cab, and they're well-equipped. Add in the SVT suspension, tires and body add-ons and it all adds up to between 800 and 1,000 pounds more than that base regular-cab short bed 4x4.

So our 6.2 Raptor's official curb weight is 6,006 pounds, a very convenient number because it means that Ford didn't have to test the new 6.2-liter engine for fuel consumption and factor the results into their official CAFE average.

Meanwhile, the 5.4-liter Raptor (5,863 pounds) escapes its own EPA test for an entirely different reason. It's considered a small-volume variant of the regular 5.4-liter F-150 4x4 described above. That means it gets to wear the same 14/18/15 ratings on its window sticker, even though that's wishful thinking due to the weight, gearing, aero and other Raptor factors.

So how much lower will the Raptor's fuel economy be, over time? I'm thinking we'll be very lucky if our 6.2-liter Raptor's observed fuel economy, the combined average we see after a year of use, is in the 13 mpg range. I'm betting it will come in at 12-point-something, maybe less, even if we mathematically remove the results where we were towing something. The lifetime average stands at 13.1 mpg right now, but almost all of that data came from this single highway road trip.

So, yeah, you're gonna burn fuel. About $50 extra per month over a regular 2010 F-150 4x4, by my estimate. That shouldn't come as a surprise. Any performance variant is going to be thirstier and more expensive. It's part of the deal. If fuel economy is that important to you, then you're simply not Raptor material.

Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing @ 2,780 miles

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The Edmunds TCO® estimated monthly insurance payment for a 2010 Ford F-150 in VA is:

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