2010 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor Long Term Road Test

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2010 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor: Finally.

August 08, 2011

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It's official. My pathetic streak is over. I might not have needed to engage the Raptor's four-wheel drive, but I did spend some time in the dirt this weekend. Sideways, even.

Here's how things like this go in Orange County: There's one accessible (no gate, no long drive) dirt road in the county on which to have some fun. One. As a result, the stupidity level on that road is high on the weekends. It's five miles of the roughest, nastiest dirt anywhere. There are washboards sections, offest frame twisters, creek crossings, water bars and idiots.

Did I mention the idiots?

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2010 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor: Jump Start

July 20, 2011

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The move is over. I'm in my new place. Things got so busy I didn't have time to post everything our 2010 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor did to support the effort in real time.

The last thing I moved -- or attempted to move -- was my '57 Ford 2-door Del Rio wagon. Of course it wouldn't start. The Raptor tried it's best to jump the old sled, but it still wouldn't turn over.

I'm sure a couple of hours of fiddling and a couple of trips to the auto parts store would have handled it. But I was short of time and, more to the point, the movers had already left with my tools.

Time to call in a flatbed. I was in no mood to futz with it anyway.

Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing @ I forget miles

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2010 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor: Pathetic?

July 19, 2011

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I realized this morning as I looked wantingly at the Raptor's 4x4 switch that in nearly a year of driving this truck at least once weekly I've never switched it out of two-wheel drive.

So go ahead and begin the verbal abuse. I deserve it.

I take that back. Settle down. Because I have done this and this in a Raptor back when it had the sissy-pants 5.4-liter V8, so it's not like I've never put this truck through its paces.

But more importantly, I'm completely satisfied driving the thing around on the street. Because it's freakin' cool. I'm happy just looking at it in my driveway. And it's particualrly cool with a mountain bike in the back -- something I've done too many times to count.

So here's to the Raptor; A dirt truck that doesn't even need dirt to be cool.

Josh Jacquot, Senior editor

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2010 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor: Suicide Doors. The Downside.

July 18, 2011

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My wife took the Raptor to the store today and came back with this observation: It's not the best for shopping. And you can see from this shot why that's the case.

Cram a wide truck into a standard spot (it fits just fine), but there's little room to open the doors. More importantly, the arrangement of the doors -- the front must open first and close last -- precludes loading the rear seat with groceries directly from the cart.

It's not the end of the world, but it's also not very convenient.

I still love this truck.

Josh Jacquot, Senior editor

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2010 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor: Sounds Good!

July 13, 2011

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I don't drive our long-term 2010 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor too much because it is a pain in the tuchus to park. But when I do take it, my favorite thing about is the engine/exhaust sound.

Hit the jump for the video and soundtrack from the driver's seat with the windows up. (btw: I didn't hear the belt whine that Doug recently mentioned.)

Albert Austria, Senior VE Engineer @ 27,950 miles
(Photo by Kurt Niebuhr)

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2010 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor: Change of Heart - The Tailgate Step Rules

June 23, 2011

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The first time I saw one, I dismissed Ford's tailgate step option as an old man's accessory. something that looked interesting on the showroom floor but was worth nowhere near the $375 they get for it. I was wrong.

Over the last couple of days, I've used the one in our 2010 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor dozens of times for a variety of move-related tasks. It's been invaluable when climbing in and out of the bed while loading scrap metal on its way to the recycler, wood and other debris headed to the dump and for loading and unloading a bunch of those flip-top storage boxes bound for the new garage.

Sure, the Raptor sits a bit higher than other F-150s, but I reckon the difference isn't great enough to change my opinion in a normal F-150 application. Ford's tailgate step has gone from "whatever" to "gotta have it" after just a couple loads.

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2010 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor: Moving the Miatae

June 22, 2011

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First off, I want to thank Mike Dunn for letting me use his big-ass Big Tex trailer. Our 2010 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor is only good for towing once a trailer can be rounded up.

But this time there is no race, no track-day event at the end of the road. Today I'm moving to a new 45-year old house. Thankfully, a three-car garage is involved, just like before.

And like before, Mazda Miatas are going to fill two-thirds of it.

Above is the restored first-win car that I drove a couple of decades ago to the Miata's first ever race victory anywhere. This 22-year old retired race-only Miata still has less than 7,000 miles on the odometer.

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2010 Ford Raptor Surviving the Rapture

May 23, 2011

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On Saturday, as predicted, the righteous ascended to heaven leaving the rest of us to suffer through six months of hell on Earth followed by total mass destruction sometime in October. I don't know about you, but so far, this sure sucks. True, the LA freeways only look slightly better than this on a Thursday afternoon, but for a Monday morning, it's just pure ... well, hell. And the heat! Oy vey.

But if I must be subjected to hell on Earth, at least the Rapture is made easier thanks to the Ford Raptor. Brute force needed to plow zombie horde? Check. Gorge-jumping abilities needed to clear rivers of lava? Check. Ice cold A/C? Check. Pumping stereo that now plays only Meat Loaf? Yep.

So for the next few months, you can bet which car I'll be taking when the clipboard comes around. The Fiat 500 could probably survive the plague of locusts that was just spotted north of Pasadena, but it's just not suited for the rest of this crap.

James Riswick, Automotive Editor @ 23,795 miles

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2010 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor: Stig Drives a Supercharged Raptor

May 19, 2011

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Who wouldn't want to watch the Ford F-150 Raptor tear around a track, driven by the Stig? OK, these Top Gear USA guys annoy me but this video is worth seeing for the Hennessey VelociRaptor 600, a supercharged Ford F-150 Raptor, going sideways. Yes, the pickup. Funnn!

Just for some perspective, our 2010 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor does 0-60 in 7.2 seconds while the VelociRaptor 600 hits 60 in 4.9! That's as fast as a Lotus Evora. Sounds fun but what would one do with such a beast? Hauling ass AND moving boxes don't mix. I'm speaking from experience.

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2010 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor: Electric Smart Hop-Up

May 11, 2011

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How do you improve the pitiful 0-60 mph and quarter-mile performance of the electric Smart car? They one they call the 2011 Smart Fortwo Electric Drive Passion, for some reason?

Lash it to a trailer and let a 2010 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor tow it up the strip, that's how.

Doing so cuts nearly TEN seconds off the Passion's 0-60 time. The e-Smart also gains 15.8 mph of terminal velocity at the far end of the strip when it's along for the ride.

2011 Smart Electric

0-60

1/4-mile

Under Its Own Power

22.4

22.0 @ 59.5

Towed Behind Ford Raptor

11.9

19.0 @ 75.3

Humorous video after the jump...

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2010 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor: A Monster of an Engine

April 15, 2011

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Forget for a moment that this engine is a mess of grease and dust. Buried beneath all that grime is one of the best V8s around. I know this because every time I drive our Raptor I'm absolutely stunned by its power. It moves the big Raptor like it's some dinky Ranger from 1982. I find myself having to hold back just to keep things legal. That's rarely an issue in a 6,000 pound pickup.

When I eventually get around to rebuilding the 360 in my '75 F-250, I hope it has even half the kick of the Raptor's 379. Of course, then the old truck will probably grenade the u-joints or some other helpless part, but that's all part of the fun right?

Ed Hellwig, Editor, Inside Line

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2010 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor: A Range Extender I Can Get Behind

April 11, 2011

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Teamed with a rented U-haul car hauler, our 2010 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor has become something of a range extender for electric cars. Last week is was an electric Smart ForTwo, this week it's our own 2011 Nissan Leaf.

The Leaf in question is currently (pun fully and unashamedly intended--that's how I roll) plugged in to my garage. Tomorrow morning I'll unplug it, load it back onto this here rented trailer and head for the test track for its first date with the VBox.

Our Raptor will barely be aware of any of this, of course; 411 horsepower makes this chore a real yawner.

Dan Edmunds, Direcot of Vehicle Testing @ 20,324 miles

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2010 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor: Already At 20,000 Miles

April 08, 2011

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Our usual goal for a vehicle in our long-term fleet is 20,000 miles over 12 months. This here 2010 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor just crossed that marker in something like 8 months and 10 days.

It helps that it's already been to Oregon and back and it has towed Jay's championship-winning LeMons car to events a couple times. The desert isn't far away, but it is decidedly farther than going to the movies.

But it's not just the go-anywhere, do-anything nature of the Raptor that has made it a favorite of just about everyone in the office. The Raptor's got attitude, it's got a rip-snorting 6.2-liter V8, it looks badass and, well, if I'm being totally honest and thorough, it's got Sync and it rides OK, too. No one seems put-off by the slight issue of parking the big lug -- not enough to reject the keys, in any case.

It should be said that we've bought just over 1,500 gallons of gas along the way. A Prius would have used somewhere between 1,000 and 1,100 gallons less to cover the same distance. You gotta pay to play.

But even though we've reached our goal, we're not through with our Raptor just yet. No one is ready to send this beast packing. We're going for 30,000 miles, maybe more.

Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing @ 20,010 miles

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2010 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor: Get Smart

April 05, 2011

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Today we brought an electric Smart car to the test track. Like all electric cars we test, we had to tow it out to Auto Club Speedway in Fontana so it would arrive ready to go with a full battery.

Our 2010 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor got the call. It can tow but 6,000 pounds, but that's more than enough with a Smart that weighs about 2,100 pounds and a trailer that can't be more than 1,500.

The 6,000 pound limit is not the fault of the 6.2-liter engine, which is rated to tow over 10,000 pounds in an F-150 Harley Davidson. No, the lowish tow limit here is the fault of the Raptor's long travel suspension, which is tuned softer to better absorb the whoop-de-doos that are common out in the desert.

In back that means much more linear leaf springs, which is another way of saying the rear springs have a much smaller "helper" leaf than a truck with a high payload would have. Less helper equals better off-road performance but also less payload and less ability to cope with high trailer tongue weight.

Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing @ 19,876 miles

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2010 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor: Towing Duty

March 30, 2011

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Our longterm 2010 Ford Raptor keeps being around when I need to tow something, so that's what happens. This LeMons car won't tow itself, after all.

First thing: the improvement in the transmission's gearchanges is night and day now that it's been under the knife. Er, wrench. The shifts are far less abrupt. As before, tow/haul mode works perfectly for this load of about 4000 pounds, with plenty of reserve power and smart downshifting logic while descending grades. The tiny backup camera located in the rearview mirror isn't ideal for lining up a trailer, but it's better than not having one.

When the truck was cold and not towing, I did twice observe a hint of uncouth shifting, a pause-then-hard-shift. And if you recall, this is how the eventual bad shifting originally manifested itself.

Could this be the start of the same nonsense all over again? We shall see. For now, it shifts 95% better.

Jason Kavanagh, Engineering Editor @ 19,421 miles

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2010 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor: Desert Snow

February 21, 2011

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Yes, it snows in the high deserts of Southern California. Saturday night storms brought several inches of fresh powder to the local mountain ski areas and about an inch or two to the off-road desert area near Bell Mountain.

Bell Mountain is only an hour north of my house, so the melt was well underway when I arrived in the 2010 Ford Raptor at midmorning. A lot of this is open desert, but since I was alone with no one to take action shots you'll simply have to imagine how much air I did or didn't get. Let's just say the Raptor's long travel suspension took it all in stride.

A couple of hours of sunshine later the white stuff was all gone.

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2010 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor: Transmission Troubles?

December 28, 2010

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The Raptor has taken to showing some transmission temperament when it's waking itself up in the morning. When the systems are cold, both second and third gear engage with a stutter and a slam, and the rear of the truck wriggles up and down like an old dog.

It's hard to say what kind of issue we're having. We'll see what the dealership says at the next service. With all that hydraulic fluid flushing through those passageways, the whole automatic transmission thing seems more like sorcery than science anyway.

Considering the way the Raptor is driven, it's a miracle that all the wheels are still on.

Michael Jordan, Executive Editor, Edmunds.com @ 15,307 miles

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2010 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor: Track and Dirt Videos

December 16, 2010

I don't know about you but I was kind of sad that editor Scott Oldham didn't include a video in his post of our 2010 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor tooling around the dunes when he took it up to Oceano Dunes a couple of weekends ago. But since he didn't, I went looking for our past videos we did on the Raptor. Found the above track test video with very comical shots of the 60-0 and skid pad tests. BTW, is it just me or does the truck sound like a TIE fighter when it's on the skid pad (0:32)?

But to see the Raptor in its element doing powerslides in the dirt and speeding through the desert, hit the jump. <3

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2010 Ford Raptor: St. Nicks New Sleigh

December 15, 2010

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I love driving the Raptor. Look, we all know the concerns on size and thirst, but you have to get past that with this vehicle. It's a big, mean truck that is an absolute blast to drive.

It starts with the special grille, then gets more impressive with it's raised stance, flared wheel wells, blacked out wheels, more than capable suspension and awesome engine. The topper for me is the Baja 1000 race-like steering wheel. In fact I think this thing might be capable enough to be Santa's sleigh. Forget the reindeer. This thing can fly.

Ok, it might not be able to haul the estimated 353,000 tons or go the 650 miles per second that Santa would need to do come Christmas Eve. But I think it could work as pretty fun alternative if the sleigh went down. Your gifts may arrive slightly damaged from the impact of multiple jumps off the dunes in Glamis.

Scott Jacobs, Senior Photographer

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2010 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor: Will it Fit? Who Cares?

December 14, 2010

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Last night was the first opportunity for me to spend some quality time with our Raptor. I want more. This big bad truck spoke to my tiny little brain stem. There are so many things that would deter me from loving it as much as I do, but I just don't care.

As you can see from the picture, it doesn't fit in my Corvette-eating driveway. I don't care. People will drive by and say, "There lives a man who likes red meat."

It's a challenge driving it down narrow streets. I don't care. People move out of the way when they see and hear this behemoth approaching.

It sucks down unleaded like a top-fuel dragster with the chutes deployed. I don't care. It makes a great noise and keeps those right-lane bandits at bay.

I get disapproving glares from some motorists, as if to say, "He's compensating for something." I don't care what they think. They picked a boring econo-coffin to commute in, plus, I doubt they realize how much energy and resources went into building their Prius.

The whole affair reminds me of the first time I rode a Harley-Davidson. I was a scrawny twenty-something on a big mean Fat Boy (the same kind that Schwarzeneggar rode in Terminator 2). I didn't care. I felt like I was ten-feet tall and bulletproof. I felt like I could easily win any fistfight even though I couldn't intimidate most squirrels.

The Raptor is like a seared prime ribeye in a world full of tofu. Sure, it's not all that healthy or politically correct, but it's not like I live my entire life in the pursuit of wastefulness. Sometimes, you just need some spice to remind you how cool cars can be and why you work so hard. It's not something I'd drive everyday, but once in a while would suit me just fine.

Mark Takahashi, Associate Editor @ 14,542 miles

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2010 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor: Up On Saddleback

December 12, 2010

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This morning dawned crisp and clear, making it the perfect day to take our 2010 Ford SVT Raptor up to the top of Saddleback, the highest point in Orange County.

Saddleback is not one mountain, but two. Santiago Peak (5689 feet) and Modjeska Peak (5496 feet) stand about 3/4 of a mile apart and from most points in OC the pair of them look very much like a horse's back.

From up here I could the huge sweep of Southern California, from Point Loma in San Diego through Newport Beach, Palos Verdes, Santa Monica, Malibu to Point Mugu in Ventura County--all as if it were one humungous bay. The view to the East was equally stunning and comprehensive.

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2010 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor: Mule Duty

December 07, 2010

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Trucks -- even offroad playground-leaning ones like our longterm 2010 Ford Raptor -- are tools. If they aren't used for dirty work, you're doing it wrong. Go buy something else.

As such, I once again hauled my clapped-out heap of a racecar to the 24 Hours of LeMons Buttonwillow race in the Raptor this past weekend, and once again the Raptor didn't even notice. Its reserves of power are so plentiful that tow/haul mode was more of a formality than anything.

The gusting high winds that accompanied the storms on Sunday night did little to faze the rig, either, save for a bit of sway that was easily corrected. For a truck whose primary mission is not towing, the Raptor does a fine job of it.

However, I did notice something during the times it wasn't towing.

The Raptor's transmission gets a bit grumpy when it's stone cold. When stepping off from a standstill or shifting from 2nd to 3rd, the revs wind up and the gear engages with an abrupt blam! The 1-2 upshift isn't nearly as violent in this circumstance.

Once it warms up, it behaves as normal. This may or may not be related to the hard upshifts I observed the last time I towed with the Raptor

Unless this mushrooms into something more serious, my affection for this truck will remain unfazed. It is just so damned good.

Jason Kavanagh, Engineering Editor

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2010 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor: Put Her In 4X4 Low

December 04, 2010

Last Friday my family and I spent the day in our long-term Ford Raptor. Literally. We left Santa Monica about noon and drove about 170 freeway miles north to the Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area on California's central coast where you can drive on 1,500 acres of Earth including endless open sand dunes and several miles of beach (yes you can skim the waves if you dare).

As soon as we got there we put the Raptor in 4x4 Low (just turn the knob on the dash) and used it as God and Ford's engineers intended for nearly two hours. Then, after the sun set over the Pacific, we hit the superslab and drove home.

Those 8 hours behind the wheel have convinced me that this is the absolute coolest pickup truck ever made, dethroning Dodge's 'Lil Red Express of 1979.

The Raptor is extremely comfortable on the highway and it could not be easier to drive in the dunes. I had the wife and kids with me so jumping the Raptor was off the menu, but we did put its front skid plate and its drivetrain to the test. Especially its engine. With the short gearing of 4x4 Low and the need to climb those hills, the Raptor burned nearly half a tank of fuel in two hours and less than 25 miles of actual driving. I had that 6.2-liter V8 perpetually riding the top of the tach. It sounded awesome and performed flawlessly, with the air conditioning on by the way (gotta keep the Mrs. comfortable).

I even left the tires at spec which is 44 psi. No air down needed. I should also mention that my fellow 4x4 enthusiasts were breaking their necks looking at the Raptor. In fact, in one of the photos below you can see the guy on the quad checking it out.

By the way, sorry there's no video of the truck in action, but it's hard to film yourself and drive at the same time.

Great day. Great truck. The Raptor and I will be back.

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2010 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor: Reserved Parking at the Bank

November 24, 2010

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I thought it was kind of my new bank to reserve a spot right out front for our long-term 2010 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor. Such convenience shaved 7 or 8 seconds from my ATM run.

And when my fellow banker in the Prius shot me a dirty look as I climbed back into my very black monster truck, I couldn't help but educate him on the Raptor's green credentials. I very kindly pointed out that the Raptor's 6.2-liter V8 does meet emissions requirements in all 50 states and manages 16 mpg (almost) on occasion.

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2010 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor: The Warranty

November 12, 2010

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After my day off-roading earlier this week, I was wondering how warranty coverage works with the Raptor. (That is, if something breaks on our truck while off-roading, would it be covered under warranty.) So I've pulled a few quotes from the Raptor's owner's manual.

"The F-150 Raptor carries the same New Vehicle Limited Warranty as other Ford F-150 models."

"SVT does not recommend modifying or racing SVT vehicles, as they are designed and built to be driven as delivered from the factory."

Ford SVT has engineered your F-150 Raptor for off-road use beyond what is normal for a F-150. However, it can incur damage if driven beyond its capabilities. Skidplates, shock guards and running boards were designed to help limit damage to vital components and exterior finishes, but cannot prevent all damage if driven in extreme off-road conditions. Damage to skid plates, shock guards, running boards and exterior finishes as well as bent, cracked or broken body, frame and chassis components may not be covered by warranty."

It still seems a little nebulous to me. The truck is meant to go off-road, but if you end up breaking parts, who's to say whether the way you were driving it was "beyond its capabilities"?

Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor

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2010 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor: In Search of Edison

November 11, 2010

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About a week ago a friend of mine was telling me how he was interested in checking out some of the historic hydroelectric sites in the Sierras that supply electrical power to Southern California; specifically, Southern California Edison's (the utility, not the person) massive Big Creek project that was built in the early 1900s. The only problem: my friend's Lexus IS wouldn't be suitable for the roads and trails needed to get there. No worries, I told him. I've got a Raptor.

We both took the day off work yesterday and headed up to find Old Railway Grade Road (Google mapped here), a road/trail that was at one time the route of the custom railroad that Edison built to supply material for the project. I had read that the trail was dirt and generally smooth and suitable for passenger vehicles but "should be avoided if the surface is wet from rain or snow." It had rained a lot two days previous. Well, you never know until you go, right?

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2010 Ford Raptor: The Antiprius

October 25, 2010

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When people ask me "What's the best car out there?" I in return ask them how they intend to use it. There are great vehicles for various uses, and this past week I found the perfect vehicle for me: the Raptor

It has a dual personality like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. It's a mean S.O.B. off-road and a gentleman on. Don't let those tough looks fool you. After 1,798 miles I put on it, I found the seats to be unbelievably comfortable. I never got numb butt/legs. Match that seat to the awesome grip of the steering wheel and you got yourself a long haul trucker to get you back home after hitting a distant OHV park.

The Raptor has got rugged good looks and people are drawn to it. I don't know how many conversations I had at gas pumps over the past 10 days. It ranged from dudes with cell phone cameras, to a guy in Truckee asking if this was the one with the 6.2 (he looked at it like a starry eyed kid when I said yes) to a creepy voice from the back of an Accord wagon in Lost Hills: "Is that the Raptor? Like it now before I take it from you, bro."

It's got meats. It's got power. It's got clearance. It's got attitude. It's like playing Super Off Road but in real life. I took it to the desolate Mojave Preserve, to the top of Red Mountain, up to Tahoe, and over a lot of canyons and sandy washes in between. It never gave me problems navigating rocky roads, traction on embankments of shale, or going down steep mountains. The ONLY concern I had was getting through some of the brush that crowds the edge of those roads. I didn't want to scratch her up!

Look, I know this thing isn't for everyone. It's big, expensive to own, and is a flavor most truck folk don't always trend too. Living in West LA, all you see are Prius, 3 Series, A4's and a few Escalades. This thing is a contrarian finger to all that and I dig it.There are great vehicles for specific tasks. The Raptor allowed me to do all the things I've been wanting to do for a long time all in one package with great ease and comfort. Pure awesome.

Scott Jacobs, Senior Photographer @ 10,162 miles

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2010 Ford Raptor: Northward Bound

October 21, 2010

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I'm done with scaling rocks, miles of walking the desert floor and dirt boogers. It's time to pack it up and head north to Tahoe.

Though the Raptor is a monster off-road, it's surprisingly well mannered on-road. It's big, no doubt, but beyond that caveat it rolls like any other comfortable luxo-truck. The generous power plant is a nice bonus when passing on the freeway, too.

I'm actually looking forward to making the long drive to my family's cabin. I'm also looking forward to a hot water shower for the first time since entering Mojave. Then I have to close the cabin for winter and make the comfortable long drive back home.

Scott Jacobs, Senior Photographer

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2010 Ford Raptor: Second Time Is For Revenge

October 18, 2010

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The day I found out a Raptor was becoming a member of our family, I asked to get it for this week. It's my once a year quest into the Mojave Preserve in search of Chukar.

This weekend has got perfect timing for this stage in my life. Trying to manage the planning for a wedding is driving me batty. It's a good time to get out with the boys and blow off a little steam.

The Raptor was designed for Mojave-like romping. Perfect, that's exactly where I'm going. Deep into the washes of mountains far off the beaten path. I think it's deep in those remote washes I need to seek "dude refuge." I need to take a break from all the thoughts of who sits at which table and if I like pink or red flowers.

Time to bomb over those washboards and through the sandy wash outs with our capable Raptor to the perfect place to get a campfire started.

Scott Jacobs, Senior Photographer

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2010 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor: Underneath

October 08, 2010

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Ford has taken seriously the idea that people are going to actually used its Raptor as intended. This is obvious with a quick glance underneath -- starting with the full-size spare tire.

Tucked neatly underneath the bed is the same 315/70R17 BFGoodrich All Terrain T/A rubber which sits at all four corners. The tough-looking alloy wheel even appears the same as those used at every corner, although I didn't drop it to confirm.

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2010 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor: Venting

September 27, 2010

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The Raptor's hood vents are one of my favorite elements of its tough-truck styling. But do they actually accomplish anything?

Jump with me to find out.

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2010 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor: The Secret to the Seats

September 14, 2010

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A few weeks ago Ed told you about the Raptor's absolutely awesome seats. For me, it's this small fabric insert in both the seat back and seat bottom which makes them good. This seemingly insignificant detail makes all the difference in holding my small frame in place during cornering. And this thing will corner harder than you might imagine.

In case you forgot, here's what the whole seat looks like.

Nice.

Josh Jacquot, Senior editor

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2010 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor: Tioga Pass

September 12, 2010

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The Raptor's 6.2 had no issue with the 9,500 foot elevation as we climbed the Tioga Pass. It was as if we were at sea level. No hesitation from the transmission either. Maybe the 6,000 rpm redline deserves the credit, but it held gears and pulled heartily despite the grade.

It was almost sad to pull into Yosemite. The Raptor would be parked for a few days with nothing other than a layer of filth to protect it from the bears. After 3 days of hiking in the park, our Raptor road trip was nearing its end.

Next, we headed home.

Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Manager

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2010 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor: Ford Off-Road Trucks, Then and Now

September 09, 2010

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This is our long-term Raptor lined up with my 1975 F-250 High Boy. As you can see, Ford's idea of an off-road pick up has changed a bit over the last 35 years.

Back then, the factory lift consisted of blocks underneath the leaf springs. For extra damping there was a dual shock option for the front. Traction? How about some Goodyear G78 snow tires?

And power? How about a torque-rich and horsepower-challenged 360 big block hooked to a four-speed manual on the floor? With 8.4:1 compression and a two-barrel carburetor, it put out a whopping 196 horsepower from the factory.

So yes, the Raptor puts out more than twice the horsepower, probably gets 50% better mileage and drives like a normal vehicle instead of a mildly-domesticated farm implement.

Of course, I like driving the '75 as much as I do the Raptor, so to each his own I guess.

Ed Hellwig, Editor, Inside Line @ 5,671 miles

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2010 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor: Bristlecone Pine Forest

September 09, 2010

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Back on the road in the 2010 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor, we headed further north. Our next stop was Big Pine, home to the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest. Never heard of it? The forest resides in the White Mountains and boasts some of the oldest known trees on earth. The oldest, named Methuselah, is dated at more than 4,700 years old.

And the road heading back to the forest, well, it's fun.

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2010 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor: Alabama Hills

September 08, 2010

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Our 10-day road trip in the 2010 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor continued up Highway 395 to the Alabama Hills. Located on the eastern slope of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, the Alabama Hills rest at the base of Mount Whitney in Inyo, CA. This land is BLM maintained for off-road recreation.

Recognize those hills in the background? You will after the jump.

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2010 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor: Jawbone Canyon

September 07, 2010

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We decided to make Jawbone Canyon OHV area the first detour of the trip. For those unaware, Jawbone is an expanse of desert maintained by the BLM (Bureau of Land Management) for recreational use and located off Highway 14. It offers trails for hiking, dirt bikes, 4x4s and general dusty fun.

But before we even reached the highway turnoff we saw this guy. Take the jump.

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2010 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor: Road Trip Introduction

September 06, 2010

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Just weeks before we purchased our long-term 2010 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor, I road-tripped an identical truck up to Northern California. All told the trip spanned 10 days and 1,200 miles.

The plan was loose but there was some direction. We'd drive up Highway 395 to Mammoth Lakes, across the Tioga Pass into Yosemite National Park, further west to Napa and then head home. Everything in between was piloted by the seat of my pants. I spent quite a bit of time in the Raptor, and it left plenty of impressions.

Check back daily for each leg of the trip.

Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Manager

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2010 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor: Just Blew Past 5,000 Miles

September 02, 2010

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It's a bit overdue, but our F-150 SVT Raptor blew past the 5,000 mile marker a ways back. So far it's been a pretty trouble free ride. And I don't think there's anybody left in the office that doesn't like it either. It has carted kids to school, gone on long vacation road trips and, of course, been thrashed in the dirt. Still feels like a new truck, though, so something must be right.

Ed Hellwig, Editor, Inside Line @ 5,251 miles

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2010 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor: Hit List

August 30, 2010

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The more I drive the Raptor the more I like it, so now might be a good time to talk about what I don't like about it. Driving it day-to-day, it feels about 1000 pounds too heavy, as evidenced by the way it takes the 6.2-liter mill time to build up a head of steam. It's also remarkable that they chose to use the extended cab version of the F-150 for the Raptor launch, as you really notice the chassis flex on rough pavement at low speeds, an effect no doubt amplified by the huge daylight opening created by the anchor-less front and rear doors.

This chassis shimmy gets amplified at low speeds on uneven pavement in a way that makes the whole machine seem active, which is more annoying than unsettling. Over 30 mph, or as soon as the suspension gets involved this all settles down. Will the wheelbase trade-off be worth a B-pillar when the four-door appears? How about a regular-cab Raptor?

Thanks to the freakishly quiet tires, wide track and poster-boy shocks, you can hustle the Raptor on the pavement in a way that's far more satisfying than anything else in the current F-150 lineup. Unfortunately, such abilities may lead you to corner charging, in which instance the brakes that are plenty powerful for off-road duty can seem overtasked. Thank all that weight and the limited space inside 17-inch off-road wheels. And the fuel economy stinks (I seem to average about 12 mpg). I'd go broke having a blast in this thing.

That's about all the nitpicks I have so far, and I only long for a massive set of Brembos because the Raptor is such a hoot to hustle on the pavement. It reminds of Subaru tuning, where there's a fair amount of initial body roll, followed by a hunkered line. Once you get used to the lean/settle, Bob's your uncle. There's also tire squirm closer to the limit thanks to the deep tread, which can raise your heartbeat a few ticks, but much like the suspension, once the tires settle, they grip well.

All the stuff that can cause concern in other road-going vehicles (potholes, road imperfections, the edge of the road...) don't really matter in a Raptor. If you've got a gently graded curb, or dirt at your apex, well, that just became part of the route. Day to day, this gets somewhat addictive, and you have to recalibrate your brain. That dip in the road that would remove the oil pan in your Camry and the whole front clip of a Viper? Don't even bother lifting off the gas, and you'll still hardly feel it. It's much like riding a dirtbike on the street, where the pogo penalties of long suspension travel can turn into assets.

So then you want charge up some 18-percent dirt grade for a sweeping view of the Pacific? No drama. The hardest thing is convincing your brain that off-road obstacle can also be taken at a generous clip, or that the Hill Descent Control will bring you safely back down. This is just me, and I ride dirtbikes on the street, but if I worked for an oil company, I'd already own one of these.

Paul Seredynski, Executive Editor @ 5,202 miles

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2010 Ford F-150 Raptor SVT: Dyno Tested

August 24, 2010

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Here's proof that there's nowhere our longterm 2010 Ford F-150 Raptor SVT won't go. It barely fit on the rollers of the Dynojet chassis dyno, but fit it did. And that's a good enough reason to put it there.

There's also a more compelling reason. The 6.2-liter gasser under the Raptor's hood is a new offering from the blue oval. Sporting bore diameters of a hair more than four inches and a stroke that's a quarter-inch less than the bore diameter, this mill is surprisingly oversquare.

It's also got two spark plugs per cylinder, which is likely a measure made necessary by the large-diameters cylinder bores -- large combustion chambers burn their contents more slowly than compact chambers. You want a quick rate of combustion for optimum power, efficiency and to minimize cycle to cycle variation. Adding another spark plug effectively doubles the total area of the flame front, quickening the burn rate.

The large cylinder bores also permit the use of large valve diameters, which are great for high-rpm breathing. Roller rockers and and overhead cams round out the impression that this engine is more of a revvy screamer than a truck engine.

There's one very effective way to find out. Hit the jump.

The stats don't support this conclusion. Ford reckons the big V8 produces its peak power of 411 horsepower at a trucky 5,500 rpm. Peak torque of 434 lb-ft arrives at 4,500 rpm, which seems fairly high for a truck...

...until you see that there's plenty of torque swelling on either side of the peak. Here's our dyno result.

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2010 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor: Relocation Desired

August 17, 2010

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How come every time I get near the Raptor, I hear Alfonso Arau saying, "Wilder? Joan Wilder?!!" Getting a truck for the night means an instant rewrite of the evening's script, with a Home Depot trip suddenly penciled in after some precipitous detours that require not just a 4X4 and a locking rear diff, but hill descent control. Trails you previously avoided due to sheer drops and sheer terror are now checked off during casual conversations with both feet untasked and idle on the floor mat. There's plenty of fireroad to crawl near the coast, but driving the Raptor 6.2 anywhere makes you long for more open unpaved spaces to unwind the Boss V8 and get some air beneath the drooping suspenders.

Even Pepe's well-recorded V8 honk from Romancing the Stone is present in our 6.2-liter version, courtesy of the exhaust unique to the larger mill. I attended the press launch for the Raptor, and though the standard 5.4-liter mill eventually gets the job done, the 6.2 makes it far more livable. It's still no rocket ship off the line, but once it builds up a head of steam and the brawny mill starts to rev, this version is pleasantly swift in a way the 5.4 just lacks. With day-to-day mpg a wash (if you can stay out of the cam -- good luck with that...), the 6.2-liter option is a no brainer, and likely the only one for 2011.

Still impressive is the Raptor's curvy road comportment, as the ultra-wide track, moon-rock shocks and X-Files tires let you hustle this off-road machine like few pavement-only trucks. The only thing I hate about the Raptor is how much I want one, or worse, how it makes me want to live where I need one.

Paul Seredynski, Executive Editor @ 4,670 miles

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2010 Ford F-150 Raptor: Still A Truck

August 11, 2010

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Badass as our longterm 2010 Ford F-150 Raptor is -- and it really is -- fundamentally, it's still a pickup and needs to function well in that capacity, else it serves no purpose save for being a toy.

After towing 1100 miles to Willows, CA and back to SoCal, I can state with confidence that it is totally up to the task of serving duty as a truck in the traditional sense. Your towing needs must be relatively modest -- the Raptor's tow rating is 6000 pounds. Payload is 930 lb. The car/trailer you see above is about 4000 pounds.

The seats are exceptionally comfortable. They have fairly aggressive torso bolsters that I eyed with suspicion at first but after many, many hours in the saddle with no squirming and no road butt, I'm a fan. Better than our longterm Ram's seats, even. A smidge-longer thigh bolster would be my only nitpick.

Ride quality was never an issue, towing or not. Same with road noise. There's simply very little ride or NVH downside to the Raptor's off-road-slanted suspension and tires. I compared notes with Dan regarding the ride quality and concluded that he subjected the Raptor to a wider variety of terrain than did I in reaching his assessment that the Raptor is a wee busy over high frequency road inputs. Dan's got quite the well-calibrated derriere especially when it comes to the suspension tuning of pickups.

With tow/haul mode engaged, my (reasonably light) towing load posed little burden to the Raptor's 6.2-liter V8. Felt about as urgent as our old '07 Tundra. Twice and only twice, though, the Raptor's 2-3 upshift was especially hard. Like "mid-'80s F-body with a shift kit" hard. Odd.

I generally tow at 65-ish mph in CA. Average fuel economy for this towing trip was 10.7 mpg, which is 1.5 to 2 mpg less than what I garnered when towing with our '09 Ram.

Jason Kavanagh, Engineering Editor @ 4,362 miles.

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2010 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor: So long, 5.4.

August 11, 2010

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See that, that's the mighty 411-horsepower 6.2-liter V8 we paid some $3,000 to get in our Raptor. Straightline scooped the Universe -- which we think pretty much covers evreything -- and found that with today's announcement that the 5.4-liter V8 is gone, replaced by an Ecoboost V6 and a 5.0-liter V8, didn't quite include the Raptor. No 5.0-liter will be offered on the SVT product, nor are there plans to adopt the Ecoboost for this application.

No word on a price increase for the base model, but we'd have to assume yes.

( Straightline )

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2010 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor: Track Tested

August 06, 2010

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Break-in's done. The 411-horsepower 6.2-liter V8 was ready, so we took our long-term Ford F-150 SVT Raptor to the track.

We know this thing's made for the desert and other off-road escapades, but how is it when faced with pavement?

Follow the jump for numbers and a video!

Vehicle: 2010 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor 6.2-Liter
Odometer: 3,101
Date: 6/8/2010
Driver: Chris Walton
Base MSRP (with destination): $38,995
Options on Test Vehicle: 6.2-liter V8 engine ($3,000 -- includes LT315/70R17 tires and 4.10 electronically-locking rear axle); Rearview camera ($450); Tailgate Step ($375); Bed Extender ($250); Trailer brake controller ($230).

Price as Tested: $43,400

Specifications:
Drive Type: Four-wheel drive
Transmission Type: 6-speed automatic with tow-haul and off-road modes
Engine Type: Naturally-aspirated, port-injected V8
Displacement (cc/cu-in): 6,210/379
Redline (rpm): 6,000
Horsepower (hp @ rpm): 411 @ 5,500
Torque (lb-ft @ rpm): 434 @ 4,500
Brake Type (front): 13.8-inch ventilated cast-iron discs with 2-piston sliding calipers
Brake Type (rear): 13.7-in ventilated cast-iron discs with single-piston sliding calipers
Steering System: Hydraulic-assist, speed-proportional, rack-and-pinion power steering
Suspension Type (front): Independent double-wishbones, coil-over springs, triple-bypass dampers, stabilizer bar
Suspension Type (rear): Solid live axle, leaf springs, triple-bypass dampers with remote reservoir
Tire Size (front & rear): LT315/70R17 118S (44 psi cold spec)
Tire Brand: BF Goodrich
Tire Model: All-Terrain T/A KO
Tire Type: All-terrain, all-season, off-road performance
Wheel Size (front & rear): 17-by-8.5-inches
Wheel Material (front/rear): Painted alloy
Curb Weight, mfr claim (lb): 6,006

Curb Weight as tested: 6,080

Test Results:
0 - 30 (sec): 2.8
0 - 45 (sec): 4.8
0 - 60 (sec): 7.2
0 - 75 (sec): 10.7
1/4 Mile (sec @ mph): 15.3 @ 91.4
0-60 with 1-ft Rollout (sec): 6.8
30 - 0 (ft): 36
60 - 0 (ft): 142
Braking Rating: Average
Db @ Idle: 44.9
Db @ Full Throttle: 76.8
Db @ 70 mph Cruise: 71.2

Acceleration Comments: Wheelspin is the enemy, hence quicker run with trac on. Didn't try a launch in 4WD. (The 4WD system here isn't made for on-road use and doesn't have a center-differential. The owner's manual says that it's not made for on-road use, though it may produce a faster time, it's against our protocol.)

Braking Comments: Lots of dive but always true. No sense in going beyond 2nd stop (that was 9 feet longer than the 1st!)

(Note * We didn't redo the skidpad and slalom tests this time around. Our reasoning is simple: When a vehicle weighs over 6,000 pounds, as the F-150 SVT Raptor 6.2 does, there's not a heckuva lot to be learned from these handling tests. We reasoned that the 6.2 Raptor would not improve significantly on the 0.70g skidpad and 55.5-mph slalom numbers recorded in our 5.4 Raptor test vehicle. Moreover, repeating the exercise would have trashed another set of the Raptor's expensive BF Goodrich off-road tires, and given the anticipated negligible difference in the numbers, this collateral damage didn't seem justified. -- IL Track Tested 6.2 Raptor)

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2010 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor: Road Trip Suspension Impressions

August 04, 2010

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This picture of our 2010 SVT Raptor's front suspension was taken after it climbed to the top of "The Dog", Dad's name for the peak behind his house, the one atop the previously-mentioned "Wall of Death".

If you want to see more suspension shots, up to and including a full Suspension Walkaround, follow this link to the one I posted using another Raptor last year.

"But Dan," you may be thinking, "It took over 900 miles of paved road driving to get to the point where you could drive to this point. How did the Raptor fare on those paved roads?"

Good question.

The short answer: not bad. More than tolerable, but not without flaws.

As we all know, the SVT Raptor was designed and built as an off-road vehicle. But anytime you emphasize something extreme, like high-speed off-road prowess in this case or circulating the Nurburgring in the low 7-minute range in other cases, you're going to lose some day-to-day "normal" performance.

The Raptor's triple-bitchin' triple-bypass Fox Racing shocks soak up desert whoop-de-doos like they're not even there. Pulling off that trick effectively takes a ton of travel and lots of damping force via the shock absorber -- things that aren't necessarily the friend of daily-use ride comfort.

Those bypass circuits help by cutting back on the maximum force the shock's internal valve is capable of by, in effect, short circuiting it. You need a cutaway to fully get how it works, but here's a verbal attempt anyway.

The three short circuits are arrayed along the length of the shock, and they're additive. The maximum total bypass is available at the unloaded smooth-road ride height. That is, the shocks are in their softest "mode" while cruising down the street. As the suspension and shocks compress toward the bump stops, the short circuits phase out, one by one. Approaching the end of travel, all of them are out of the picture and all of the shock oil must cram its way through the tiny passages of the main valve. The shock gets stiffer and stiffer as it compresses further and further.

This is flat-out awesome off-road, where the process is spread out over several inches to match the terrain. But on normal roads, the sorts of sharp bumps and cracks that matter amount to less than an inch. In this situation, the fully-bypassed valve doesn't always feel like it develops enough resistance quickly enough.

On top of that, those off-road wheels and tires weigh 97 pounds apiece. There's a lot of unsprung weight, especially out back, where everything rides on a heavy solid axle and leaf springs, to boot.

Bottom line: the Raptor's ride is generally smooth and soft (but no overly so) on smooth pavement, even if the surface texture itself is coarse. It deals gracefully with swells and dips and other low-frequency stuff. Its wide stance helps it feel planted in corners, even.

But hit a high-frequency crack or bump of a certain size and there's a shudder, usually from the back. Sometimes the rear hops to one side a little as one of the big tires bounces off the pavement. This behavior isn't foreign to pickups, but it's more obvious here than it is on your average new pickup with a standard leaf-spring suspension.

As for tire noise, yes, these BFG All-Terrain T/A tires do emit some pattern noise. But it's not excessive, and it's certainly consistent with the character and mission of the Raptor. But even this is largely drowned out by engine noise, as our Raptor's big 6.2-liter V8 burbles noticeably (but pleasantly) at all times. Even when idling down the freeway at 2,000 rpm, the murmur of the 6.2-liter V8 essentially relegates wind and tire noise to the background.

All of this is fine by me. The overall ride isn't tiresome over long distances and the occasional quirk is a worthwhile trade-off for those who appreciate the Raptor's intended mission, like me. In fact, if the Raptor was too quiet or rode too well on paved roads, I'd wonder if the off-road claims were nothing more than hype.

Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing @ 2,393 miles

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2010 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor: Geocaching With 411 Horsepower

August 03, 2010

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Our family discovered geocaching (a worldwide electronic version of hide-and-seek via GPS) a few weeks ago when we took a 2011 Infiniti QX56 to Mammoth Lakes, California. Turns out, for the iPhone at least, there's actually an app for that -- a very good one. Said app is called, plainly enough, "Geocaching".

It works really well, except for the part where there's no AT&T coverage -- 3G or otherwise -- anywhere close to my parents' place here in rural coastal Oregon. Geocaching here can lead you far off the grid, so a real hand-held GPS unit is a must. A 2010 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor doesn't hurt, either.

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2010 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor: Feeding the Bears

August 02, 2010

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This isn't Jellystone National Park, and the trash man only visits my parents' place to empty their single alloted can once a month. So Dad has a burn pile. Mom has a trash compactor. The garbage disposal (and toilets) drain into a leach field, so all table scraps and leftovers are instead stored and collected in containers that are summarily dumped once per week off the side of an old logging road that runs through their property, several hundred yards from any homes or human activity.

Something eats the stuff, 'cause it's all gone each time we come back. It could be a bear. It could be raccoons. It could be almost anything, and it probably is.

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2010 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor: Wall of Death = Piece of Cake

July 29, 2010

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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.

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