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2010 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor: What's It Like to Live With?

Read the latest updates in our long-term road test of the 2010 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor as our editors live with this car for a year.

Ford F-150 2010

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July 28, 2010

Read our 30,000-mile wrap-up of this vehicle.

If you haven't been to the West to see Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Land, you may not fully appreciate what Ford gave us when it rolled out the 2010 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor 6.2 4x4. Compared with a traditional F-150, the SVT Raptor is more expensive, less functional and huge.

The knobby tires are almost 35 inches tall, it takes premium fuel, and massive fender flares and huge mirrors threaten the integrity of every wall and parking structure post. But when faced with an endless landscape of sand, Joshua trees and washes, the 411-horsepower 6.2-liter SVT Raptor's faults are forgiven. Open the taps and let the louder exhaust roar, and the custom-designed Fox shocks will deal with whatever comes their way.

But at the end of the day, the Ford Raptor is still a Ford F-150. It has to be able to perform on the road at least half decently. There's a lot of desert to play in around here, but there's also a lot of concrete. We'll subject our new long-term road test vehicle, the 2010 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor 6.2, to both over the next 12 months and 20,000 miles.

Why We Bought It
The Ford F-150 has been the best-selling truck in the U.S. for what seems like forever, yet Inside Line hasn't had one in the fleet since the Long-Term Road Test Blog began. That seemed like a problem to us.

In our most recent full-size truck showdown, the 2009 F-150 came in dead last. Sure it had a solid interior and ride, but the 5.4-liter 310-hp V8 pulling nearly 6,000 pounds of truck was the definition of weak sauce. It was slow, got poor fuel economy and couldn't handle a trailer as well as the other vehicles in the group.

We felt similarly about the powertrain in the first Ford SVT Raptor we tested. It wasn't as crucial with the Raptor as it's pretty much a toy, but the notion of 100 extra horses being handy was certainly mentioned.

With the new 6.2-liter V8 we get 411 hp and 434 pound-feet of torque, which is 101 more hp and 69 lb-ft more torque that the 5.4-liter. The 6.2-liter uses the same six-speed transmission and weighs slightly more. So much so (6,006 pounds) that Ford isn't required to have its fuel economy tested. Loophole much?

But of course this isn't apples/apples with a standard F-150. Because of the weight of the vehicle and the soft, desert-hugging suspension, payload is down to only 930 pounds and towing capacity is 6,000. Still, that should be enough to haul a motorcycle or project car.

What We Bought
We didn't want orange. And we didn't want graphics. OK, we'd take the optional graphics, but we weren't taking orange. Other than that, the entire field was in play.

We found some well-optioned Raptors with Sync and nav and heated seats and power passenger seat and $50,000 price tags. Then we remembered we have smartphones and jackets and we drive rather than being driven, and it already has a power driver seat, leather, Sirius Satellite Radio, Sync and cool off-road LT315/70R17 BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A KO tires. What else is there?

Our man on the street found a Tuxedo Black Raptor without graphics, without nav and without any unnecessary fluff. Well, except for the bed step ($375 tailgate step), we could do without that. But otherwise, the options are solid: rearview camera, bed extender, trailer brake controller and, most importantly of all, the $3,000 6.2-liter V8.

Lots of Questions, Fewer Answers
So it took 411 hp and a Baja pre-runner-style body and suspension, but we've finally added a Ford F-150 to the Inside Line long-term test fleet. Certainly the sandy excursions will help, but is the 6.2-liter V8 enough to make up for the 6,000-pound curb weight? Is the novelty of all-terrain tires with deep grooves and aggressive nubs going to get old? Will the tires wear prematurely due to street driving? If so, when?

There are some answers with this truck. but there are just as many questions. For the next 12 months and 20,000 miles, we hope to answer as many as possible. Oh, and have a ton of fun ripping through, well, anywhere that our 2010 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor 6.2 will fit.

Current Odometer: 917.7
Best Fuel Economy: 12.4
Worst Fuel Economy: 10.6
Average Fuel Economy: 11.6

Edmunds purchased this vehicle for the purposes of evaluation.

Now Appearing in Oregon

July 28, 2010

This year's Oregon trip came up quickly, with little fanfare. That's partly because the usual ruminations over which vehicle to take became unnecessary when my wife and youngest daughter had to stay behind due to a last-minute schedule conflict. With just myself and eldest daughter Shelby making the trip, any vehicle was going to work.

And then the 2010 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor arrived at the office — the 6.2-liter version with 411 horsepower, no less — and the decision became easy. Shell and I would have a pair of comfy seats up front, with Sync and Sirius to keep us entertained, and our stuff could ride safely inside the cab behind us.

With just two of us, a single-day banzai run would be easier to pull off. In fact we're here already, sitting in Dad's driveway near the Pistol River/Carpenterville/Brookings tri-city area. Here's a little of what we saw along the way.

We came upon this genius in WIllits, California, heading north on Highway 101. I don't know what's dumber: towing a trailer with a Smart or driving a Smart from Indiana to who-knows-where on a cross-country trip. Alone.

Oregonians who buy Ford Raptors will be disappointed to learn that their coveted personalized license plate is already taken by a birdwatcher in a Toyota Land Cruiser. It would have been great to get this gal to pull over for a nifty side-by-side picture, but there was no graceful way to get it done. Besides, we were looking for gas at this point, and she kept on going when we stopped.

Speaking of fuel, here are some early fuel consumption numbers. They're especially interesting because the Ford SVT Raptor is one of those trucks that does not have EPA mileage estimates on the window sticker. Buyers concerned about fuel economy have absolutely nothing to go on, and the standard F-150 rating is of no use because of the Raptor's 6.2-liter engine, the higher rear axle ratio, the wide and tall stance and the general Raptor-ness of the thing.

Why is the Raptor completely exempt from EPA fuel economy testing and labeling? Because its stated curb weight is greater than 6,000 pounds, that's why. Trucks with GVWRs north of 8,500 pounds are also exempt, but that heavy-duty trigger does not apply here.

Our average over 808 highway miles is 13.7 mpg, with a best tank that nudges up against 14 mpg. It's probably possible to do a little better with a kevlar-carbon composite foot instead of a leaden one, and a few more miles should help. We'll see on the way home.

Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing @ 1,726 miles

Highway Ride

July 29, 2010

I haven't driven our new long term 2010 Ford Raptor yet. It's up north in Oregon with Dan. But I did take an extended road trip in a nearly identical version just last month. I don't want to step on Dan's toes, so I'll post more on my road trip once his wraps up. Meanwhile, I do have something to say about its highway ride.

Just 5 miles into my commute home down the 405 freeway I was already regretting my decision to take the Raptor on an 1,800-mile road trip. The ride was horrible. Along the concrete slabs of the 405 it was as bouncy as the unladen F-350 I'd driven just days prior. Then I caught a stretch of asphalt. The ride smoothed out considerably. I would even go so far as to say the highway ride was great on asphalt. It was at least as good as that of our long term Ram 1500. And we liked that a lot.

When I learned that highway 395, the main artery of my road trip, was paved with ashpalt, I was elated. More on the road trip to come.

Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Manager

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

Our Favorite Caption

July 30, 2010

Thanks to jeremiah4 for this week's favorite caption.

Here are the other that has us hopping:

Frog balls? Right next to the Truck Nutz. (seth111976)
Anyone call for a toadtruck? (ergsum)
I said, "Which way to Bog Falls!!!" (yukonjacks)
SVT Ribbbbit (redleggt)
SVT Battletoad (aleclance)
Burp. (rayray633)
The Frog Ball Rally (ergsum)
The Toad Warrior (ergsum)
Tastes like chicken balls. (rayray633)
The competition has just croaked. (questionlp)
11 herbs and vices (snipenet)
They're both nuts. (sherief)
Hypnotoad is my co-pilot (sherief)
Ford Floggers Find Fried Frog Fare Fantastically Flavorful (sherief)
SVT: Something Very Tasty (operators)

What was your favorite?

Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor

You Write the Caption

July 30, 2010

Vehicle Testing Manager Mike Schmidt always sends me interesting photos for the caption contest. He travels a lot. Here is the Raptor at a gourmet eating establishment.

What is your caption?

We'll post our favorite this afternoon.

Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor

Feeding the Bears

August 02, 2010

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.

Getting to the drop-off point requires a lot of backing-up, beginning with Dad's narrow driveway. A three-point turn is needed at the drop zone, with trees on one side and a steep drop on the other. Our Raptor doesn't have a navigation system and the big screen that goes with it, but it does have a back-up camera and this mirror-mounted display. It's a $450 option that's well worth it.

Flopped in on itself, the Raptor's bed extender ($250) keeps the pails that contain the putrid stuff from sliding around and disgorging their sad contents all over the bed. I'm sure Ford's engineering team had this exact scenario in mind when they designed it. The local critter population approves.

Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing @ 1,912 miles

Geocaching With 411 Horsepower

August 03, 2010

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.

The thing on the tailgate was this particular cache's target. Shelby is logging it as "found" in the Garmin handheld, after which she'll open the container, sign the logbook, then replace it where it was hidden.

It's great fun and good exercise. Geocaching turns out to be a great way to get videogame aficianados, math heads and desk-bound tech geeks alike out into the wilderness. Raptor not required, but fresh batteries and sturdy shoes certainly are.

Sound interesting? Check out to get started.

Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing @ 1,943 miles

Road Trip Suspension Impressions

August 04, 2010

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

"You're Gonna Burn Fuel"

August 05, 2010

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.


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

Track Tested

August 06, 2010

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

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)

Mike Magrath, Associate Editor, Inside Line

So long, 5.4.

August 11, 2010

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 )

Still A Truck

August 11, 2010

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.

Could Do Without the Running Boards

August 13, 2010

Oh I'm sure the less-tall folks on staff find the running boards on our Raptor quite useful. They're big, sturdy and have a grippy surface.

For me, however, they are nothing but shin magnets. Every time I get in I have make a conscious effort to avoid smashing my lower leg into them. If I actually use them, I then have to crouch down to slide inside. It's quite annoying.

If this were my truck, and I kind of wish it was, I would take the boards off first thing.

Ed Hellwig, Editor, Inside Line @ 4,453 miles

Cruise Control Relic

August 16, 2010

I griped about it in 2007 on our Ford Edge. I whined further when the same interface plagued our 2009 Ford Edge. And here we are, deep into 2010, with the same craptacular cruise control interface on our longterm 2010 Ford Raptor.

I won't bother rehashing the same shorcomings, as absolutely nothing has changed from those earlier blog entries. Read the above links for a blow-by-blow. But I will summarize them.

1. No cancel button

2. No status light

3. Buttons feel the same and are stacked in a column, reinforcing the same-ness

4. Can't be left permanently on

5. Is not the BMW stalk

C'mon, Ford. The fluid in the Raptor's shocks costs $100 per ounce but you refuse to pony up for a halfway decent cruise interface?

Jason Kavanagh, Engineering Editor

Worth It for the Seats Alone

August 16, 2010

I hereby nominate the Raptor's front seats as some of the best in the business. Yes, a good ol' Ford pick'em has done what no Corvette of the last two decades has been able to muster.

Were you to do nothing but look at these buckets with their primitive-looking controls you might think they were a bit basic. Sit in them, however, and you will change your mind.

I didn't drive far this past weekend, but when I was behind the wheel it was a mighty comfortable place to be. Not sure what it is exactly that makes these buckets so pleasing, but the next time I head out for a long road trip, I may pick the Raptor for this reason alone.

Ed Hellwig, Editor, Inside Line @

Relocation Desired

August 17, 2010

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

Crew Cab Seems Unnecessary

August 19, 2010

At first, Ford said it would only make extended-cab Raptors. Then, earlier this year we got confirmation that a crew cab version is indeed on its way. Sounds good, but after checking out the back seats of our extended cab version, a crew cab seems a little overkill, no?

Granted, I haven't had to sit in back for any length of time, but just look at all that room, how bad can it be?

Ed Hellwig, Editor, Inside Line @ 4,683 miles

Dyno Tested

August 24, 2010

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.

The big ramp in torque output that you see at 3,500 rpm was no fluke. It was there run after run after run. This gives the heavy Raptor a good shove right where it needs it. As measured at the wheels, peak torque is 372 lb-ft at 4,700 rpm, and peak power of 361 hp arrives at 5,750 rpm. The rev limiter cuts in softly at 5,900 rpm with a hard limit at 6,000 rpm.

One tricky aspect to dyno testing vehicles equipped with automatic gearboxes is that slushboxes are in fact sentient beings. They're unruly, downshifting at will when you floor the go pedal. The only workaround is to begin the dyno pull from very high revs and leave no room on the tach for a downshift. Naturally, this approach misses out on a lot of data.

However, the Raptor's gearbox behaves differently — when you select '3' with the console shifter, the transmission stays in third gear. No downshifting, no nonsense. This makes dyno testing a breeze as it allows us to begin the big truck's dyno pulls from as low on the tach as the torque converter's lockup characteristics allow.

Of course, Ford didn't craft this feature to make dyno testing easy, they did it because if you're in a situation that requires you stir the transmission's gear selector — say, in dirt — you very likely need fine throttle control too. A big, whompin' downshift would cause instant wheelspin when you want it least.

Okay, back to the engine. The Raptor's V8 displaces 6.2 liters and employs two valves per cylinder. Sound familiar? GM's LS3 V8 ticks those same boxes.

Lo and behold, we just happened to have dynoed our 2010 Chevy Camaro SS a few months ago on this same dyno, so I threw them together for a quick comparison. Yeah, one's tuned for truck duty and the other's not, but that actually makes things even more interesting.

For instance, the Raptor makes a whole lot more peak torque (nearly 30 lb-ft), which you possibly maybe might expect, but it's worth pointing out that the truck only gives 9 hp at its peak to the Chevy coupe. Also worthy of note is the Chevy's edge below 3100 rpm.

So despite the spec sheet's suggestion to the contrary, the Raptor indeed has an engine that suits its mission. Still, all of the Ford 6.2's rev-tolerant hardware makes one wonder what kind of latent potential lies within.

Jason Kavanagh, Engineering Editor @ 5,029 miles.

Hittin' Switches

August 26, 2010

Just in front of the shifter on our 2010 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor sit four rocker switches. They're pre-wired blanks with an orange light in the center but for now do nothing other than offer a satisfying click and a subtle orange light.

But that should change. I spent hours of my life in high school drilling into dashes and doors just to add more switches. Because, really, is one horn really enough?

Here's what I'd do:

Aux 1: Horn. A serious one. This wouldn't be a 'beep beep' horn, but one I'd want to leave on to really let the message sink in.

Aux 2: Roof lights. I can't get Back to the Future out of my brain. I want a big silly light bar on a black truck more than I want dinner tonight.

Aux 3: Winch.

Aux 4: Another horn. Or a permanent bolted-to-the-bed air compressor.

The question: Your truck, what would you do? Our truck, what should we do?

Mike Magrath, Associate Editor, Inside Line

Hit List

August 30, 2010

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

Crew Cab?

August 31, 2010

Uncamouflaged pictures of the crew cab prototype of the 2011 Ford F-150 Raptor have been floating around the Internet for a while.

You can see how it looks in the spy shot above.

As Ed mentioned in a previous post, he thinks a crew cab would be overkill.

What do you think, should we have waited and gotten a crew cab instead?

Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor

Separated At Birth

August 31, 2010

Driving home last night I came to a conclusion about our Raptor. If there was such a thing as a human and truck being born of the same mother, I feel the Raptor has been taken from its brother for a very long time.

Who is this long lost sibling you may ask?

The Macho Man.

This is no DeVito/Schwarzenegger "Twins" thing. These guys are full blooded equals. They've got the same attitude. They're both muscular, athletic, and tough. They're both flashy and have great stage names. Besides, they share a monster grille that only a mother could love.

Ok, so maybe our factory bro-dozer can't do a Savage Elbow Drop, or has a deal to endorse meat snacks, or has a rap album. Yes, a rap album. But it's just as capable in the ring. It just happens that the Raptors' ring is everything it stomps over.

Ooh yeah!

Scott Jacobs, Senior Photographer

Big Wheels, Big Jack

September 02, 2010

The last time I towed with our 2010 Ford F-150 Raptor SVT, I piled a bunch of stuff in the backseat. Namely, plastic bins that I wanted to stack back there. However, the giant jack in the fuzzy satchel got in the way and made the boxes sit all cattywampus. That's all I was really after with this blog entry.

Then I became curious about the satchel's contents. Bad idea.

I mean, I knew it held the jack bits. So why'd I have to go messing with it? That felt satchel is an intricate piece of ancillary equipment that must have taken twelve Ford engineers six months to develop. Each one of those jack bits above has its own little pocket with a velcro flap closure. There are then extra fuzzy layers to ensure no metal touches other metal (that would make unseemly clanking noises, after all). It then flips and folds and ties in a very specific way that took me about ten minutes of futzing and head scratching to sort out after I'd unceremoniously shaken out the contents.

To help jog my memory I even consulted the jack's instruction sheet, which was conveniently folded into the satchel within its own dedicated pocket and closure. It didn't help for the reassembly, but what's cool is that it's laminated to make it impervious to the inevitable mud and water in which you'll be replacing the tire.

Anyway, let this be a lesson. Don't be curious about what's in the jack satchel. They're just jack bits.

Jason Kavanagh, Engineering Editor

Camera is Just Good Enough

September 02, 2010

Our 2010 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor is 220.9 inches long and rides on a 133.3 inch wheelbase. To say that it's big is an understatement. But ya know, it's a truck, it's got good mirrors and if you've backed up one giant truck you've done 'em all.

So the first time I saw the postage-stamp-sized $450 rear-view camera was annoying and inadequate and could really benefit from some additional sonar. And while I still think that sonar would help, just having this small thing is probably worth $450 in bumper damage alone.

See, where the Raptor differs from other trucks is the height. With the exception of the Dodge Ram Powerwagon and G550, there's not a lot that sits higher than the Raptor, and even the G doesn't have the hip-point height the Raptor enjoys. It's awesome for cruising around the city, but it's pretty lame when you're trying to see if you're a foot or three feet away from something. Angles are tricky.

So while I'd prefer beeps, or a bigger screen to see what's going on, the more I drive this thing, the more I just sort of forget the camera is there unless I'm really trying to thread the needle.

Mike Magrath, Associate Editor, Inside Line @ 5,289 miles

Just Blew Past 5,000 Miles

September 02, 2010

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

Road Trip Introduction

September 06, 2010

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

It Makes Me Feel Like Colt Seavers

September 07, 2010
Scott Oldham, Editor in Chief

Jawbone Canyon

September 07, 2010

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.

Yep, somewhere mid-Lancaster we passed this truck. He was struggling with 55 mph so wasted only enough time for this picture before passing him.

Back in Jawbone (formally Cantil, CA) we had some fun. Slow speed over the washboards quickly reminds the jiggling body that its time to renew the gym membership. But pick up a little speed and the ride levels out, almost floating across the ruts. It's easy to see somebody growing over-confident in this situation and getting into trouble.

Before too long we were back on 14. Just up the highway curiosity jerked the wheel into Robber's Roost, a small general store and home of the frog balls.

We stood in the empty store for a good minute before a wrinkled, ephedrine-Santa character appeared. We asked the obvious, "What are frog balls?" He took a long drag from his cigarette and exhaled, "Pickled brussel sprouts." After an eery moment of silence and a second pull from his Marlboro he added, "Ten bucks."

We bought a jar and wasted no time getting out of there. That was far too creepy for the middle of the day. Further up the road was Red Rock Canyon and the obligatory picture because, well, it's just too pretty not to.

Next stop, the Alabama Hills.

Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Manager

Fire It Up And Watch Those Needles Dance

September 08, 2010

Cool or too much?

Scott Oldham, Editor in Chief

Alabama Hills

September 08, 2010

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.

The trailer and early scenes for the first Iron Man was filmed here (skip to 0:15 for Whitney in the background and more of the Hills at 1:32). Other notable footage shot in these hills: Tremors, Gladiator, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen and countless westerns. Take the manicured dirt roads back to Movie Flat Road to see most of the spots. No need for anything of the Raptor's capability there.

If you drive far enough west toward the Sierras there are some steeper sections where 4WD comes in handy. Would you believe I backed up this hill just to get a photograph? Well, I did. The backup camera made it easy. You can't see from this angle but there is a jagged rock jutting out of the road just behind the truck. If not for the camera, our trip may have ended here. But it didn't.

Next stop, the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest.

Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Manager

Wide Running Boards

September 08, 2010

I like big trucks, high-heeled boots and wide running boards.

In that order.

Kelly Toepke, News Editor @ 5,607 miles

Bristlecone Pine Forest

September 09, 2010

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.

The road is long and wide, which in the Raptor equates to quick and entertaining. 4WD-high or even 2WD are fine. There are larger stones distributed over some sections, so keep an eye out for those. As if to keep us from having too much fun, a handful of shallow water crossings slowed the pace a bit and work well to muddy up the truck. As we powered up the road and the sun lowered in the sky we had a realization.

At its crest this road gets steep. Really steep. And it narrows. Really narrows. One lane, no turnouts and steep inclines on either side made us think twice about taking the double-wide Raptor up the last stretch of road. I wasn't prepared for a depth perception check after a full day of driving. So we took the wussy way out. We parked the truck and hiked it.

Our reward was a whole bunch of these guys. Pretty amazing. It is a must-see. When we get back to the Raptor our fuel tanks were on empty, and so was the truck's.

We made it to Bishop before the fuel light forced a refuel. We filled up and offered a moment of silence for all of the non-renewable resource we'd burnt this far. Our 12.1 mpg highway average left us feeling guilty. But we got over it once we climbed back into the supremely supportive seats of the Raptor.

A stop at Schat's Bakery in Bishop was our final detour before leaving town. But it was already closed. We would have to get our Schat's fix at the Mammoth location instead.

Next stop, Mammoth Lakes.

Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Manager

Ford Off-Road Trucks, Then and Now

September 09, 2010

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

Mammoth Lakes

September 10, 2010

We pulled the Raptor into our rental lodge in Mammoth Lakes and walked inside. We were in for a surprise.

We stood at the front desk a couple of minutes before the guy on duty walked up. Instead of "hello" he asked, "Is that your Raptor?" Yep. "The kid I bought my Tacoma from was selling it so he could buy a Raptor. That have the 6.2 engine?" Yep. That's what he's getting. Hey, so I noticed you're in the 1-bedroom with a shared bathroom. I can move you to one with a private bath, no extra charge if you'd like. And it's bigger." Sure, thanks. "Man, that's a cool truck. You like it? Yep, I sure do.

Mammoth Mountain was open for skiing until the 4th of July this year. That was bad news for us. It meant that all upper elevation 4WD trails were still snowed in. But it meant more time snowboarding, so maybe it wasn't all bad news.

Next stop on the Raptor road trip: Mono Lake and Bodie

Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Manager

Our Favorite Caption

September 10, 2010

Thanks to pushrodpower for this week's favorite caption. How could we turn down a caption in the actual Hutt language?

Here are the others that had us rolling:

American Graffiti (ergsum)
The hills have eyes. (mrb5091)
Ford Raptor, don't take it for granite. (ergsum)
Don't be fooled...he's incredibly gneiss. (vt8919)
Ford Raptor, it doesn't mesa around. (ergsum)
Your mind powers will not work on me boy! (anonimo)
Separated at birth? (vvk)
Postcard from the Vader family vacation at Beggar's Canyon (deagle13)
May the FORD be with you... (mrryte)
The instructions said to park near the cliff face. (ergsum)
Look! What's that...a head in the road?! (ergsum)
The Rocky Horror Pickup Show (ergsum)
And Chevy thought they were "like a rock"! (teampenske3)
If you paint a face on a rock, are you defacing it? (teampenske3)

What was your favorite?

To the winner:
You can select one of these three prizes:

A Stig keychain (not like mine, this one is flat)
Red fuzzy dice (just like the purple ones I used to keep in the GT-R)
A Skrapr (as seen on TV)

Send your choice and your address to dderosa (at)

Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor

You Write the Caption

September 10, 2010

Vehicle Testing Manager Mike Schmidt took this photo of the Raptor on Tatooine in the Alabama Hills near Mount Whitney.

You knew once you saw this road trip on the LTRTB that we had to put this picture in the caption contest.

Looks like Jabba the Hutt to me.

What's your caption?

We'll post our favorite this afternoon and I'll see if I can rummage up another prize.

Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor

Mono Lake and Bodie

September 11, 2010

This is the part of our 2010 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor road trip when things started moving fast. We were anxious to get to Yosemite but still had time to spare. So we crammed in some requisite tourist stops.

Up the hill from Mono Lake (first photo) we grabbed breakfast at the Lee Vining Mobil Station, which houses the Whoa Nellie Deli. Get anything they offer with bacon. Being that it's so close to Mono Lake, I'd avoid the fish tacos.

Then we drove north to the Bodie ghost town. Population: 0, Elevation: 8,375. Bring sunblock.

Bodie in the background.

Does that look like 90 degrees and steady 15 mph winds? Take my word for it. This is where the Raptor displayed its best feature yet. Shelter from the elements.

We packed up and aimed for the Tioga Pass.

Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Manager

Tioga Pass

September 12, 2010

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

Off-Street Parking

September 13, 2010

Let's talk off-street parking. If you live in a big city, or even within 50 miles of a big city (like me) you know off-street parking is highly coveted. You can't have too much — particularly if you're an impulsive car geek who spends too much time browsing Hemming's and eBay.

So a couple years ago I increased my home's off-street parking count by one after converting the former dirt patch next to my driveway into interlocking paving stones. The stones look good, don't crack over time, and can easily support the weight of a modern car (or truck).

However, while converting the dirt lot to paving stones was simple, converting the curb/sidewalk area below the dirt was complex. It involved permits from the city, re-routing a drain, and a major demolition effort. Certainly doable, but costly and strewn with red tape. So I decided to forego the curb shaving and just drive over to the paving stones from the existing driveway lip.

In the intervening two years I've confirmed this system for using my extra offstreet parking works, but it's a pain.

Except for our Long-Term 2010 Ford SVT Raptor.

Follow the jump to see video of the Raptor's curb-scaling in action.

From the bottom inset image in the photo above it's clear a car like our 2004 Chevrolet Malibu can't drive over this curb. It has to angle onto the paving stones from the official driveway lip, meaning it always looks strewn across the paving stones and it takes practice to get the car all the way over there without blocking the driveway or falling off the edge of the paving stones into our neighbor's front yard (she really hates that).

But with the Raptor the process is, literally, straightforward.

Here's a close-up video of the SVT Raptor's wheels going over the curb. I start in two-wheel drive mode to show that the rear wheels actually spin (and smoke — whoops!) when trying to climb it that way. Then I switch to 4-Hi (you can hear it engage) and the truck walks right over the curb.

Sorry I don't have comparable video showing the Malibu tearing its undercarriage apart trying to climb this same curb. The wife wouldn't go for it (something about needing it for kids/errands).

Moral of the story? If you need extreme off-road capabilities, or if you need a powerful, open-bed vehicle with a bad-ass look, or if you just need easy access to your off-street parking, buy a Raptor.

Karl Brauer, Editor at Large @ 5,680 miles

Road Trip Wrap Up

September 13, 2010

We took the long way home (by way of Napa) from Yosemite to wrap up our 2010 SVT Raptor mega road trip. Take the jump for beer, jelly beans and fuel economy.

Fuel economy breakdown after just over 1,500 miles.

Average: 13.6 mpg
Worst: 10.8 mpg
Best: 16.1 mpg (321 miles)

Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Manager

The Secret to the Seats

September 14, 2010

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.


Josh Jacquot, Senior editor

I Love Irony

September 16, 2010

Here you see our long-term 2010 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor sitting in its designated parking space on P1. We use P1 for the Raptor because P3 (where our test cars normally park) has a low roof, and we don't want the Raptor to bang into it.

Now comes the irony...

This happens to be the exact same parking spot we used for the Mini E during its tenure in our long-term fleet. Did we use P1 for the Mini because it also risked banging into the ceiling on P3? Not quite.

But the all-electric car did need a special high-voltage wall charger, and routing that voltage to P3 was more difficult (and expensive). In fact, that's the Mini E's charger and bright orange cord on the wall, hanging forlornly next to the Raptor. Too bad the truck doesn't have a battery pack we could plug in and charge up to cut its fuel use.

So, same reserved parking spot; two vastly different cars using it for vastly different reasons.

Karl Brauer, Editor at Large

Cool Old School Valve Covers

September 17, 2010

The Raptor's old school "Powered By Ford" valve covers are just another example that the details matter and somebody at Ford knows what's cool. Someone at GM should take notice.

Scott Oldham, Editor in Chief

How Tall Is It?

September 21, 2010

Well, that's a 2002 Chevy Silverado. It isn't lowered, nor loaded with granite boulders. The Raptor is just that ridiculously tall.

James Riswick, Automotive Editor @ 6,191 miles

More Door Detents Needed

September 22, 2010

The Ford Raptor and presumably the entire F-150 line desperately needs another door detent. As is, you're stuck with one of two choices. The first is shimmying through the narrower first detent, which is quite difficult given that the Raptor's cabin is located in the lower stratosphere and getting up there requires more maneuvering than with a shorter vehicle. Second, you could swing out the door fully and obliterate whatever is parked next to you. You can hold the door open when you get in, but trust me when I say it's harder to get out whether you use the running boards or just slither awkwardly out of the driver seat to the Earth below.

One solution I discovered last night was to park really far away from the grocery store and just take two spaces. Which, given the Raptor's width, wouldn't be a bad idea even if Ford smartly added one or more detents to the door.

James Riswick, Automotive Editor @ 9,220 miles

What's That For?

September 23, 2010

This is a little piece of driving utility familiar only to a specific subset of enthusiasts.

Do you know what it's for?

One word: Hoonery.

That little mark on the center of the wheel is found in (generally speaking) only two types of vehicles: Rally cars and off-road trucks. In theory it helps the driver find center when silly things like the above-pictured powerslide happen.

Of course, I've got my own opinion about its actual usefulness. That is to say, it's worthless. Because if you're searching for center in the above situation you are, in all likelihood, doomed anyway. Check out where that guy's eyes are focused. On the wheel? Nope.

Finding center in a powerslide is an instict, a feeling, a sixth sense. Like wheelies and stoppies on a motorcycle, it's something you're either born with or your'e not. And it's certainly not something you get from a red stripe on the wheel.

Josh Jacquot, Senior editor

Wear Sunscreen

September 24, 2010

Yesterday afternoon I drove the Ford Raptor an hour-and-a-half south in traffic, from Santa Monica to Newport Beach, to help pick up a test car that was stranded in Orange County.

Normally I looooove driving the Raptor, but on the way back north, the sun on the driver's side of the truck was killing me. The truck's windows are so tall, there was no good way for me to avoid a full blast of sun on the left side of my face. I swung the visor to the side, but it was still way too high to be of use.

Sounds like a girly, nitpicky thing to complain about, but I can't remember the last vehicle I drove where the light annoyed me so much.

I'll still happily drive the Raptor whenever possible, but will prefer it on cloudy days.

Kelly Toepke, News Editor @ 6,520 miles

Fits Just Right

September 25, 2010

If there's one thing I love about trucks with an extra cab it's this: I can roll my bike in, drop the front wheel next to it and the whole mess stays put. There's easy access, it's secure and it takes only a few seconds.


Josh Jacquot, Senior editor

Saturday at the Home Depot

September 25, 2010

I've got a pickup truck, a day to kill and a need for a new workbench. Hey kids, buckle up, we're going to The Home Depot. As you can see in the photo below, the 72-inch long bench top and 2x4s didn't fit in the Raptor's bed with the tailgate closed. Which was cool, because it gave me an excuse to use the truck's bed extender.

Light duty for sure, but hauling lumber is hauling lumber. And hauling lumber is real truck stuff. Sorta. Whatever, the Raptor was up to the challenge.

Scott Oldham, Editor in Chief


September 27, 2010

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.

That little hole in the bottom right of the photo is what the Raptor's hood vent looks like from the underside. I've intentionally cropped loose for perspective on its shape, size and location. It sits right above the windhsield washer reservoir. There's an equally small hole on the other side. So do they actually accommodate any airflow?

Your guess is as good as mine.

Josh Jacquot, Senior editor

Oooooooh Burn!

September 27, 2010

I went out my lady Friday and I thought the Raptor might not be able to fit in a parking garage, so it sat parked out in front of my house all night. When I hopped into the truck Saturday morning, right on the windshield was a ticket.

A few expletives later, I stood out on the rail to grab said violation from under the wiper. Violation of VC 5200 Display of Plates, aka - no front plate. If I were a cartoon, steam would have been coming out of my ears right then. Ooooooooh I just wanted to crush and rip the ticket up right there. A ticket in front of my own house! That just didn't feel right to me.

But I thought about it for a minute. There can be a debate for a lot of vehicles and whether the front plate on the bumper just kills the looks. Would you put a plate on the front of the Raptor? Would you run the risk of tickets to preserve the looks?

Scott Jacobs, Senior Photographer

Spot the Alpha Dog

September 28, 2010

This was the scene in my garage last night. Pretty sure that Chevy Metro and Vespa-like scooter were scared spitless.

Also note how little room to spare there is for the Raptor in my non-compact parking space. It's a good thing a Metro and a Vespa-like scooter thing parks next to me, because if it was a Suburban, things could get messy. Probably best not to own a Raptor if you live in a apartment building, then.

James Riswick, Automotive Editor @ 6,665.9 miles

With Mirrors, Size Doesn't Matter

September 29, 2010

I've been the passenger in our 2010 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor lots of times but last night was the first time I actually got behind its wheel. And I have to say, it may surprise those of you who are familiar with my Mini obsession, but I LOVE the Raptor's size. Last night sitting in rush-hour traffic, I couldn't help but marvel over the fact that I could actually see over the gridlock. HA ha! Everyone else is so short!

And props really should be given to the Raptor for its visibility despite its intimidating stature. Even though you get a sense of its immensity while driving around on city streets, the large side mirrors and rearview mirror allow you to negotiate the roads with relative ease. See below. Just mind the cyclists and bikers.

For my parallel-parking worries, since I know for a fact this baby won't fit in my tiny garage, I had the handy-dandy backup camera.

Of course, one still has to be super aware of spatial relations around the truck but I appreciate all the help it offers.

Caroline Pardilla, Deputy Managing Editor @ 6,687 miles

The Rear View

September 30, 2010

I've loved this feature since I first witnessed it on our long-term Mazda CX-9 several years ago. On the Raptor, however, it's even more useful. This truck's wide, tall and long dimensions make it difficult back up with confidence that there's nothing immediately behind you. Sure, you can see 20 or 30 feet behind the truck no problem, but that doesn't fly in a cul-de-sac filled with kids.

Josh Jacquot, Senior editor


October 01, 2010

Let's say you're driving a Corvette ZR-1 and dead-stopped traffic won't let you use all billion horsepower. Now let's say the long term 2010 Ford Raptor is behind you. What's that like? Sort of like this. You don't see a lot of the Raptor when its behind you, mostly just that big grill and the headlights.

When we parked, I asked the Raptor driver if he'd been tailgating to freak out the guy in the expensive bathtub. He said that he was not. I showed him this picture and he promised to show me what tailgating looked like on the way out.

Luckily, there was no traffic when we were done.

Mike Magrath, Associate Editor

Demonic Milestone

October 02, 2010

I've always been amused by how freaked out people get about the number 6. My phone number starts with four of 'em. I get lots of women replying "yikes" and "oh dear." I had someone in Georgia hold a cross up at me and light a Virgin Mary candle. Actually, I can't back that up, but the Raptor hit 6666.6 miles this week. Aaaaaaaaaaah!

James Riswick, Automotive Editor

Moving Day!

October 05, 2010

I was moving this weekend and when there's a pickup truck around, that's the vehicle you want. But since it's the Raptor, I felt compelled to take a detour whilst moving to jump the gorge.

Actually, the Raptor was a life/time saver this weekend. Even though it's the extended cab with the short bed, I was still able to fit this ridiculous amount of boxes back there. With help from a gnarly dolly cart courtesy the Edmunds video team, I was able to single-handedly load all this up in four trips (and given the bed extender, I could've taken more). Had I had anything other than a pickup, this would've taken forever to load, unload and move. Or, I would've had to pay my moving crew for the time needed to move it.

So even though the Raptor's raison d'etre is hardcore performance, jumping gorges and smashing cacti into salsa, it can still do what a pickup is intended to do.

Next week, towing my boat whilst jumping the gorge.

James Riswick, Automotive Editor @ 6,966 miles

Long Live the Man Step

October 06, 2010

I have no idea what Ford calls this thing, nor do I care, for Chevy did a pretty good job rechristening it the Man Step. In case you forgot, I've included the video below of former Raider, current Fox analyst and perpetual flat top aficianado Howie Long deriding a portly fellow who is struggles to disembark from his F-150's bed using the Man Step.

Perhaps the Chevy has a longer warranty, but I still think it's pretty foolish to point out a feature your truck doesn't have — especially when that feature is awesome and all trucks should have one. For all the press the RamBox got, this is far more useful. While tubby climbed down backwards like he was 80-year-old woman about to take a dip into liquid hot magma, in reality you can just walk down frontwards like it's a big stair. Going up is easy — just grab the sturdy pole* and climb onto the Man Step.

The Man Step came in handy this weekend when moving those boxes, as I loaded them into the rear portion of the bed then quickly climbed up to arrange things. No need to get your pants dirty sitting on the bed, swivelling around and standing up, or hoisting yourself up like you're in a pool. Having the Man Step is especially handy with the Raptor, given that it's taller than every pickup on the road — other than those modified by 5-foot-2 flat billers named Kyle or Rico. They'd need the Man Ladder.

* That's what she said.

James Riswick, Automotive Editor @ 9,866 miles

What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

October 07, 2010

Occasionally, the powers-that-be at One Edmunds Tower bring me, their long-suffering Senior Editor, Detroit, out of my mole-hole and into the brilliant sun of Santa Monica, California. This is one such occasion.

During my stay the kind man that sits at Mike Schmidt's desk saw fit to toss me the keys to the big, black bruiser, the SVT Raptor. Now, I'm sure we've mentioned to you before that this vehicle is, er, big boned for use in the utopia that is Santa Monica. It won't even fit in our parking garage, or at least not on the floor that we park most of the fleet.

So if I didn't already feel out-sized by Southern California standards, I now had a vehicle that was so wholly inconsistent with its surroundings that it was, freakin' fabulous. The above picture is taken in the underground garage of my hotel, a place I was warned could never accommodate such an oafish thing. I apologize for the awful cell-phone digital sketch above but there was no room in the Raptor for a real camera. Save for the whip antenna that did indeed put a whippin' on those low-hanging ducts, the Raptor did no damage to to the garage and only minimal damage to my atrophied arm muscles.

That sincere idiot surely would have killed himself, the vehicle and the structure of the hotel if faced with such a challenge. But that's his problem.

Me? I loved rolling through Santa Monica streets, 6.2-liter a-burbling like a great black shark, ushered reluctantly through town by a bevy of Toyota Prius pilot fish. And it seemed only appropriate that this vehicle should be parked at fancy Fred Segal, with its gnarly tire a bit on the landscaping. I love this thing, man.

Daniel Pund, Senior Editor, Detroit


October 08, 2010

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.

Here you can see skidplates over the fuel tank (left) and transfer case (center). And that massive differential pumpkin doesn't look like it'll take any crap from any rocks, either.

Up front you can see the exhaust crossover pipe from the driver's side cylinder bank is tucked neatly flush with the crossmember in an effort to prevent it from being easily removed. In the foreground you can see the rearmost of the two massive front skidplates. This plate covers the engine sump while the front plate links the front of the frame rails with the front lower control arm pivots. In doing so it effectively keeps those pivots from digging into soft earth in the event of nose-down landing — something our city boy Raptor will certainly never experience.

Josh Jacquot, Senior editor

Bike Hauler

October 13, 2010

Ed Hellwig and I found ourselves, our motorcycles and the Raptor refueling in the pre-dawn hours Monday morning on our way to Buttownwillow Raceway park. After a few gallons of Shell's finest and a load of IHOP pancakes we were off for a day of track riding.

Exceeding the Raptor's load rating by a several hundred pounds didn't seem to matter one whit as the beast hauled up the Grapevine without so much as a labored breath. The bikes did, however, squat the rear of the truck enough to reduce the headlights' effectiveness. We achieved 14.67 mpg as pictured over 361.2 highway miles.

Ford rates the Raptor's payload at 930 pounds. A rough weight estimate for the bikes, passengers and gear is 1,305 pounds, which puts us 375 pounds over weight. Hey, it's a truck. And we're going to use it like one.

Josh Jacquot, Senior editor

Comes With A Funnel

October 13, 2010

Here's something Kavanagh didn't mention in his breakdown of the Raptor's jack and associated accessories: The funnel.

Presumably this is there in case one has to fill the capless fuel tank from a container without a nozzle (Slurpee cup, anyone?), but I see no reason it couldn't be used to direct oil into the engine as well.

Either way, it's a nice thing to have around.

Josh Jacquot, Senior editor

First Dealer Service

October 13, 2010

We dropped our 2010 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor at Ford of Santa Monica for the first round of scheduled maintenance. Just after crossing the 8,000-mile mark the service light recommended we make an appointment. But we didn't. We just showed up.

It was 11am when we pulled into the service drive. By 2pm our truck was ready. Pretty quick. Synthetic oil and a tire rotation set us back about 90 bucks, most of which was spent on the oil itself. While there we asked the dealer to slap on the front plate to avoid any pesky no-front-plate tickets we might get from our local parking enforcement ninnies.

Days Out of Service: None

Total Cost: $87.24

Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Manager @ 8,266 miles

Our Favorite Caption

October 15, 2010

Thanks to ergsum for this week's favorite caption.

Here are the others that got our gourd:

Let's go Pumpkin Chunkin'! (ralphhightower)
The new Ford Raptor is gourdgeous! (thegraduate)
Cute vs Brute (ergsum)
Raptors like pumpkins "Nom Nom Nom" (thegraduate)
Gourd meets Ford. (thegraduate)
Ford Raptor and Gourd Captor (ergsum)
Pumpkin your ride. (technetium99)
Pretty rock! Pretty rock! With Raptor, all rocks are pretty rocks. (carraway)
The Raptor protects and watches over young Pumpkin gatherers. (hybris)
Contact patch meets pumpkin patch. (felonious)
The competition is squashed. (vt8919)
Pumpkin Pie ala Off-Road Mode. (sherief)
Child's play. (teampenske3)
SVT: Stone & Vegetable Transporter (teampenske3)
The Raptor has an impressive gourd clearance. (ergsum)

What was your favorite?

To the winner:
You can select one of these three prizes:

- A BMW X5 messenger bag (it's shiny)
- A DVD called "The Story of Mercedes-Benz"
- BMW flip-flops (size XL Men's 12-13)

I don't hang onto your addresses. So send your choice and your address to dderosa (at)

You Write the Caption

October 15, 2010

Senior Editor Josh Jacquot sent me this adorable picture of our Raptor at the pumpkin patch. It must be getting ready for Halloween.

What's your caption?

We'll post our favorite this afternoon and once again we'll have fun prizes.

Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor

Second Time Is For Revenge

October 18, 2010

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

Calling Dr.Tooth

October 19, 2010

The Raptor makes me happy. I absolutely love driving this truck. Getting this truck out to the open desert makes me feel like a totally different person, like being Scott v2.0.

I think the best way to illustrate how this truck makes me feel is this picture:

I don't think I need the Red Bull.

Scott Jacobs, Senior Photographer

Up In Your Grille

October 20, 2010

I think one of the cooler styling points of the Raptor is the grille. It's special to the Raptor, but I think Ford should use this cool looking grille on all of their trucks.

What do you think? Keep it for the Raptor, or use it on all their trucks?

Scott Jacobs, Senior Photographer

Northward Bound

October 21, 2010

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

It's Official

October 23, 2010

The Raptor hasn't been here too long and already it's got plenty of mileage on it. This fact might just make it a crowd favorite. I know I was happy to pile on over 1,300 miles this past week!

Scott Jacobs, Senior Photographer @ 10,006 miles

The Antiprius

October 25, 2010

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

Sweet Truck

October 26, 2010

My kid goes to school in a relatively affluent beach town, so there's no shortage of Mercedes and BMW SUVs clogging up the elementary's drive-thru drop-off circle.

Even the fifth-grade student valets have become a little jaded, barely lifting their eyes when a cool car pulls in.

But this morning I got 'em with the Raptor.

"Sweet truck," I heard one valet mumble to my daughter as he helped her drag her backpack out of the big Ford's rear seat.

She shrugged shyly, tucking her chin into her jacket as she scurried away.

Kelly Toepke, News Editor @ 10,424 miles

Our Favorite Caption

October 29, 2010

Thanks to gooney911 for this week's favorite caption. And thanks to Mark for his artwork.

So many to choose from. I really had to cut out a lot of good ones to get the list down to a reasonable level.

Here are the others that made us wheeze:

Juke, I am your father. (f1jay)
The Ford is strong with this one. (ergsum)
Let the Ford be with you. (sreed1)
Apology accepted, Admiral Takahashi. (technetium99)
Don't underestimate the power of the Ford. (technetium99)
I have altered the grill. Pray I don't alter it any further. (technetium99)
Luke, I ran over your father. (fushigi)
The Ford is with you, young F-150. But you are not a Raptor yet. (tatermctatums)
You are unwise to lower your suspension! (aleclance)
And inside you'll find a pasty old white man. (wshuff)
Just for once, let me look at your face with my own headlights. (zoomzoomn)
He is more Truck then Appliance now. (hybris)
The bumper sticker reads: R2D2 is my co-pilot (eidolways)
These are not the mods you are looking for. (eidolways)
I see you have a Buick LeSabre. A Jedi's car, much like your father's. (ergsum)
Warranty droid where prohibited. (ergsum)
I brake for Ewoks (gooney911)
Aren't you a little short for a crossover? (sherief)
Raptors drive in single file - to hide their numbers. (hybris)
Uuuuuse the torque, Luuuuke! (felonious)
I'd just as soon kiss an Aztek. (estreka)

What was your favorite?

To the winner:
You can select one of these three prizes:

- Top Gear Season 13 DVD
- Luke Skywalker spinning top (kind of wobbly)
- red fuzzy dice

Send your choice and your address to dderosa (at)

Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor

You Write the Caption (Halloween Edition)

October 29, 2010

Associate Editor Mark Takahashi sent me this photo of Darth Raptor. We're two of the leading Star Wars geeks in the office in case you haven't noticed.

We offer "The Force Is Strong With This One."

What's your caption?

We'll post our favorite this afternoon. And don't forget, we have exciting prizes.

Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor

No Raptor Parking in Beverly Hills

November 01, 2010

The only thing worse than trying to park in Beverly HIlls is when your lazy butler forgets to wash your sock garters and they're still covered with schmutz! But if you're in a 2010 Ford Raptor, it's even harder.

Embiggen the image and you'll see that the lower garage has a height limit of 6'6". Well, that's not going to work. The Raptor is listed at 6'6" but the antenna scrapes on 7' ceilings and, well, even if you do bend the radio thing, 6'6" is not enough clearance on a 6'6" truck. Whatever, the upper garage has a clearance of 8'2" that'll work.

Except that it has a 5,000-lb weight rating. The Raptor weighs 6,080 without passengers. D'oh!

Mike Magrath, Associate Editor, Inside Line @ 10,996 miles


November 03, 2010

Yes, that's a real, full-size 1966 Mustang parked along side our 2010 Raptor. Early Mustangs were never large cars, but seriously. I should also mention the Raptor stuck out of the garage by about 18 inches.

Other than the price, you're looking at the biggest (ha!) reason why I wouldn't buy a Raptor - it simply doesn't fit in my garage. Here's to hoping the next Ranger has a Raptor-esque version.

Kurt Niebuhr, Photo Editor @ 11,017 miles

More Cultural References

November 05, 2010

Maybe we should call our 2010 F-150 SVT Raptor a muse. Photographer Scott Jacobs compared the Raptor to the Macho Man. Editor Paul Seredynski wrote that it reminds him of "Pepe" the truck in the Romancing the Stone movie. And for a recent caption contest we stuck a Darth Vader mask on it. Now I've got three other cultural references that often pop into my head when I'm driving the thing.

Sgt. Apone from Aliens. Not so much for him but for one of his lines in the movie: "Absolute bad-##@@#!"

Metallica. Specifically, the point in the Enter Sandman video when the black semi-truck runs into the mattress. Boom!

These guys. Sorta obvious, I guess.

Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor

Worst MPG Ever

November 08, 2010

It's a dubious title to be sure, but our SVT Raptor is on its way to earning the worst fuel economy of the long-term fleet since we started keeping track of them on this blog almost five years ago. Based on our last update, the Raptor is averaging 12.7 mpg. And that's with a lot of long-distance driving in the mix. I've been driving around the past few days with the trip computer set to display average economy. It hasn't gone any higher than 12.1 mpg.

I suppose there shouldn't be any surprise. Our other full-size trucks didn't do much better. Officially, the 2007 Sliverado got 13.3 mpg, the 2009 Ram got 14.0 mpg and the 2007 Tundra got 15.1 mpg. Purely on numbers, 12.7 isn't very far from 13.3. But somehow the Raptor's figure seems worse to me than it really is. Maybe it's because the Raptor is just that much closer to getting to single-digit fuel economy. And when you're getting single digits, you know you're really doing the oil-producing countries of the world a really big favor.

Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor @ 11,363 miles

In Search of Edison

November 11, 2010

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?

When we got to the trail, it was indeed wet and muddy (woo hoo!) in places, but nothing the SVT Raptor couldn't handle. It also ended up pretty ideal; wide enough to avoid "pinstriping" the Raptor's ample flanks on trees and bushes and smooth enough to match the Raptor's high-speed-oriented off-road suspension. Of course, it was still a mountain trail with lots of trail-side trees, cliff faces and drop-offs; there'd be no high-speed Baja action like in our Raptor full-test. I had the truck in four-wheel-high for most of it and never needed low-range gearing or the rear locker.

The Raptor performed admirably and seemed very much at home in the high country. The only thing I really found fault with was the truck's slow and somewhat heavy steering; after multiple hours of tight trail driving, it got old sawing at the wheel. A quicker ratio would be appreciated.

photo courtesy of Victor Gonzalez

Shock photo courtesy of Victor Gonzalez. Exhaust: Gets really dirty being right behind the rear wheel. Apple iPhone: No need for a map. Until the battery dies, that is.

Some info on the history of the Big Creek project here and here.

Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor

The Warranty

November 12, 2010

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

Black Ops Edition

November 15, 2010

I'm snapping a pic of the Raptor at a Shell station — figured I'd mention the joy of racking up $85 worth of 91 premium on the Inside Line fuel card — when another gas station patron wanders up to me. He's standing around as his buddy fills his second-generation Integra (going classy with a primered front end, aftermarket wheels in back and black steel wheels in front).

"Hey, what kind of truck is that?" he asks. He's got a skullcap hat and a T-shirt that reads "That's What She Said."

"It's a Ford Raptor," I say.

"Huh. Cool. It looks like a black-ops truck. Or something from G.I. Joe," he says. Long pause. "Does it have any guns in it?" he asks. Hmm. Does he mean hidden machine guns and rockets or "guns" like personal firearms? Either way I'm not really inclined to find out. "Ha ha, no," I say. Time to go.

Still, he's right. Maybe Activision could put a Raptor into Call of Duty: Black Ops in addition to the Wrangler Black Ops.

Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor @ 11,786 miles

Intemittent Bluetooth Failure

November 16, 2010

"Bluetooth Media Stream?" Not so much, really. More like a Bluetooth Media Waterfall — one in which the "water" is periodically interrupted by an unknown and unpredictable communication problem. This happened to me several times last night as I listened to music and attempted to answer phone calls while my phone was paired to the Raptor. As a result I ended up using the earpieces and USB cable.

It's a problem I've never before experienced with Ford's otherwise-stellar SYNC system, which recognizes my phone and pairs it immediately upon starting the truck.

I'm planning to spend time in the Raptor during two of the next three weekends. Stay tuned for a follow-up post.

Josh Jacquot, Senior editor

Great Seats

November 17, 2010

My commute home and back in the Raptor was pretty unremarkable, really. But sitting there in the truck, with nothing better to do, I dialed in the seats to the exact position I like to be in. These things are incredibly comfortable. The only issue I have with them is the fact the heavy side bolstering reminds me I'm rapidly approaching 40.

Scott Jacobs, Senior Photographer

White Faces Gone For '11

November 18, 2010

I came across a 2011 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor a couple days ago and noticed that the gauge cluster had been updated. The white-face gauges are gone, replaced by regular color gauges. I'm a little disappointed in that; white-face gauges have been a SVT trademark going back, at least as my memory goes, to the SVT Contour.

On the plus side, though, the F-150's new-for-2011 cluster-mounted LCD display screen (photographed below) looks great. I couldn't turn it on for the photo, but it's customizable and high resolution (no more Ford blue dot-matrix!). There's also an in-gear indicator, which our Raptor lacks.

Other 2011 Raptor changes include the 6.2-liter V8 being standard, the availability of a Raptor crew cab, manual shift control for the transmission (also noticably lacking on our truck), a few more extra standard features and a new optional matte black hood graphic.

Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor

Our Favorite Caption

November 19, 2010

Thanks to lowmilelude for this week's favorite caption.

There were so many good ones. Here are the others that made us jump for joy:

I think 4WL should work. (ergsum)
Built Fjord Tough? (ergsum)
If that orange Charger could make it, then I sure can. (jlacourt)
Today is a good day to fly (leescott)
Hey, it's just like Beggar's Canyon back home . . . (wshuff)
Don't you see? The bridge will exist in 1985. (aleclance)
Roman messed with the raptor fences and now they're out in the wild. We're all doomed. (old_volvo)
The Fall Guy (jacton)
The Roman decline was precipitated with the breaching of Hadrian's wall by raptors. (old_volvo)
There was no way the wife was getting the truck in the divorce... (herrstreet)
Who would have thought that dinosaurs would play a part in the fall of Roman's empire? (technetium99)
That's right, you skeptics, I jumped this in REVERSE! (vt8919)
I could really use those frog balls about now. (snipenet)
Sincerely, Idiot. (rayray633)
Photo taken right before "Bent" Romans got his new nickname. (ergsum)
How hard can it be? (sherief)
When in roam, do as the Romans do. (rayray633)
This was the Raptor's last ditch effort. (ergsum)
Give me a chain, I need to pull the Earth closer. (jughandle)
OH MAN, this is going to be the best Long Term blog post EVER! (vt8919)
Man v. Ford (chirsch3)

What was your favorite?

To the winner:
You can select one of these three prizes:

- Audi jump drive
- set of mini cones (for your own autocross)
- Mitsubishi Lancer model car

Send your choice and your address to dderosa (at)

Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor

You Write the Caption

November 19, 2010

Our Ford Raptor is getting to be a popular caption contest subject. Senior Automotive Editor Brent Romans sent me this picture of our Raptor on the edge.

What is your caption?

We'll post our favorite this afternoon. And don't forget, we have prizes.

Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor

Over Thought, Under Planned

November 23, 2010

When I signed up for the Raptor this past weekend, I did so thinking I might get up into the Mojave and do a little Quail hunting. But right after I grabbed the keys there were two things I remembered that sabotaged my plans.

1) I promised my lady I'd go to the Harry Potter premier with her friends

2) I promised my lady I'd go to her friends b-day party the next night.

Crap. Complete opposite to my plans. Not every weekend goes like you may have thought.

I got selfishly giddy at the prospect of taking the Raptor up to the ol' stomping grounds in the western Mojave. But it the end, it didn't matter. The weather was terrible and it's more important to spend time with my girl (save the petty comments dear readers). Just 'cuz I was home bound on her plans doesn't mean I didn't get to enjoy the Raptor.

Tricked out Civics at the stoplight? Saw them in my rear view mirror. This truck has got juice. Stomp that gas and it growls something mean. Big puddles let by the rain were a favorite target this past weekend. Ok so they aren't sand dunes, but they were the most truck like fun I could have in the Raptor while romping in suburbia.

Using the Raptor for errands was a mixed bag, however. It has excellent road manners and is very comfortable to drive, but finding a garage or a parking space it'll fit into can be a royal pain. I dread the holiday season in the Raptor.

Looking at the Raptor in my driveway Monday morning is worth 1/2 cup of coffee in terms of getting me going. Still need another 2 cups as I'm a caffeine junkie. There will be another weekend when I can get up to the Mojave or far north on CA-395, the most beautiful stretch of non-coastal highway in California. A weekend where I can use the full capabilities of the Raptor. This past one just might have been overkill.

Scott Jacobs, Senior Photographer

Reserved Parking at the Bank

November 24, 2010

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.

Scott Oldham, Editor in Chief

Which Would You Choose?

November 25, 2010

Green vs. Mean.

Which would you choose and why?

Me? Let me put it this way: Today, I am thankful I have the freedom to buy a vehicle like the Ford SVT Raptor should I desire such a machine. It's a freedom worth fighting for.

Scott Oldham, Editor in Chief

Power Rear Windows...Cool

November 26, 2010

Our Raptor isn't the new crew cab bodystyle, but that doesn't mean it has fixed rear side glass. That's right, the small windows in those small rear doors go up and down with the push of a button. Cool touch Ford.

Scott Oldham, Editor in Chief

Tackled Another Road Trip With Ease - and Lots of Gas

November 29, 2010

Took the Raptor on yet another motorcycle track day adventure over the weekend. Last time, fellow editor Josh Jacquot and I headed north to Buttonwillow Raceway Park with our bikes squished firmly in the bed of the Raptor.

This time, we headed east to Chuckwalla Valley Raceway, a new track midway between L.A. and Phoenix. But instead of hauling the bikes in the bed, we rented a trailer instead. Why?

Well, the Raptor's ground clearance might help it in the dirt, but it's a pain when you're trying to hoist 400 pounds of motorcycle into the bed. Ramps get real steep when they're perched on the tailgate of a Raptor. The low-lying trailer made loading bikes much easier and saved the Raptor's bed for random stuff like an EZ-up and a cooler — two things you can't do without when you're hanging out in the middle of nowhere for a whole day.

Oh, by the way, the Raptor still gets terrible mileage. I didn't calculate the numbers just yet, but a quick at the stats says the Raptor got around 10 or 11 mpg for the trip. Gotta pay to play when it comes to this truck.

Ed Hellwig, Editor, Inside Line

Gratuitous Web Hoonage

November 30, 2010

Ford's Raptor is a self fulfilling prophesy. It's like all-wheel drive turbocharged cars were in 90s (anyone remember the Mitsubishi Eclipse and 3000GT?). Give Americans a car with all-wheel drive and turbocharged power delivery and we'll try and do burnouts. Give us a truck with Fox dampers, huge tires and lots of suspension stroke and we'll try and jump it.

Although the above launch is probably the best of my YouTube tour, there are other creative, painful, abusive and downright dangerous variations on the theme after the — wait for it...jump.

God bless America.

Pure genius, this:

And especially this:

Wow, That's a Big One

December 03, 2010

A big center console, that is. I mean just look at that thing. It easily swallows the fuel log notebook, tire gauge, sunglasses and — what's that? — a Magic 8 Ball?

Is this a good center console? As I see it, yes.

Josh Jacquot, Senior editor

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.

Scott Oldham, Editor in Chief

Mule Duty

December 07, 2010

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

Up On Saddleback

December 12, 2010

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.

Left to right: Palos Verdes, Santa Monica, Malibu, Point Mugu. (Point Mugu is actually farther left than Malibu, but it is farther north up the coast. The offshore island is Catalina.

The trail is easy, but it's sometimes narrow and sporadically rocky. Ground clearance and approach angle are more important the 4-wheel drive, and only because of the numerous water bars. Low-range isn't necessary for anything other than engine braking downhill, but the Raptor's hill descent control made that tactic unnecessary. I kept it in 4-high or 2wd.

The trail is only one lane wide most of the way. There are a few turnouts, but mostly the two opposing trucks would sort it out by squeezing up against the cliff of backing up to a wider spot. The Raptor is considerably wider than a Jeep, so there was a bit more of this than usual.

Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing @ 14,473 miles

Will it Fit? Who Cares?

December 14, 2010

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

St. Nicks New Sleigh

December 15, 2010

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

"Fueling" the Pain

December 15, 2010

I knew this fill-up was going to hurt as I pulled into a 76 Station with our Long-Term 2010 Ford SVT Raptor's fuel warning message blaring at me. The thing's got a monster tank to go with its monster performance — and thirst.

Just short of $80 later the Raptor was quenched, but I could swear the fuel card felt hot and brittle.

It's worth noting I put in regular fuel, not premium. That saved me $.20 a gallon, or $4.80 on this tank of gas. Why did I cheap out? Because spending close to $5 for 10 extra horsepower in a 6,000-pound truck seems like a waste of money.

BTW, I think it was running premium before I filled up, yet damned if I couldn't tell any difference in performance. Go figure.

Karl Brauer, Editor at Large

Big Outer Mirrors not so Big

December 16, 2010

Our long-term 2010 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor has large outer mirrors, of course.
You'll need them because you can't see much in your blindspots, especially at your 4 o'clock.

Funny thing is, with a vehicle this massive, I was expecting even bigger mirrors — like those on a Super Duty.

And if you miss a vehicle in your outer mirror before you make that lane change you probably needn't worry. What — are they not going to let you in?

Albert Austria, Senior VE Engineer @ 14,600 miles

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

From our First Drive of the 2010 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor.

Caroline Pardilla, Deputy Managing Editor

Our Favorite Caption

December 17, 2010

Thanks to snipenet for this week's favorite caption.

Here are the others that made us roar:

My iPhone 4 reception is SVEEET from HERE!!!! (bkapps)
Over 1.21 jiggawatts of horsepower! (hybris)
Close Encounters of the Dirt Kind (ergsum)
Star Truck (ergsum)
Ok, let's find out which tower is beaming "Jersey Shore" and run it the hell over. (robert4380)
The Towering Inferno. (vt8919)
IT'S A TRAPTOR! (lowmilelude)
Ford SVT Raptor: Audio Review (vt8919)
Transforders (ergsum)
What's the Frequency, Kenneth? (zoomzoomn)
To boldly go where no truck has gone before. (cjgt)
No, I still can't hear you. (aleclance)
Now there's a truck that can dish it out... (mfigge2)
Unidentified Hooning Object (sherief)
Truck Rogers in the 25th Century (ergsum)
I have a collect call from Emperor Palpatine to Lord Vader, will you accept the charges? (deagle13)
See! I can pull 4G's in the Raptor. (bp240)
District 6.2 (sherief)
Martian bait. (cuthgood130)
Hz rental fleet! (snipenet)
The Spaceballs Rally (ergsum)
Don't you hate when someone leaves their signal on? (ergsum)

What was your favorite?

To the winner:
You can select one of these three prizes:

- Kia desk clock
- children's "I am the Stig" t-shirt
- set of mini cones (for your own autocross)

Send your choice and your address to dderosa (at)

Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor

You Write the Caption

December 17, 2010

Our Raptor has taken over for the Ford Flex as our caption contest star. Speaking of stars, Dan Edmunds sent me this photo that makes the Raptor look like it works for SETI and is searching for extraterrestrial life.

We suggest "SVT Phone Home"

What is your caption? We have prizes.

Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor

Rained Out

December 20, 2010

I had a plan this weekend. The idea was to go back up into the Cleveland National Forest above Silverado Canyon for a little more in-depth exploring in our 2010 Ford Raptor. There was a little rain in the forecast, but those forecasters are always wrong, right?. Weather Channel field reporters around here are always zooming in for a tight shot of some trickle in a gutter in an attempt to make it look like a raging torrent.

I was right: the weatherman was very wrong. It poured. And poured. And poured. Non-stop, all weekend. It's still raining right now and it will likely continue for a couple more days. A foot of rain has fallen up on Santiago Peak since I was last there.

"Great," you say. "Mud bogging supreme."

How about, no? Forest officials lock the gates when it rains to keep the narrow dirt fire roads from getting rutted, to prevent vehicles from getting stuck or, worse yet, to keep folks from sliding off the greasy tracks and over the side of the mountain.

That's OK. I'm all for "Tread Lightly." I'll get another chance when the weather is clear and the views are amazing. Until then I'm recycling a picture I took last weekend.

Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing @ 14,683 miles

15,000 Miles

December 23, 2010

We just rolled 15,000 miles in our 2010 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor. So far we've spent $90 on regular maintenance and nothing more. No days out of service. The cost-to-fun ratio is definitely working in our favor. Now let's hope this post doesn't jinx us all.

Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Manager @ 15,016 miles

Transmission Troubles?

December 28, 2010

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, @ 15,307 miles

Should We Buy This for the LTRTB?

December 28, 2010

I've always wanted one of these. It's a Land Rover Defender 90. And it's the right color. It also has a manual transmission, which can be more trouble than its worth in one of these.

So, what do you think? Would this be a cool addition to our fleet?

Scott Oldham, Editor in Chief

No Parking Allowed

December 30, 2010

Post after post on this blog raves about how much we like our 2010 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor. I can't disagree that this truck is a heck of a lot of fun to drive. But when it comes time to park the Raptor just plain sucks.

James mentioned awhile back that the front doors need more detents. What he forgot to mention was the rear suicide doors make accessing the rear seat nearly impossible. The clamshell design does not work if the Raptor is parked beside another car. Its doors are just too big.

See the line for the parking stall? We edged the Raptor as far from the neighboring white truck as possible and there is still no access to the cab with both doors open. It may not have the visual appeal of the current door, but in situations like this the Raptor could benefit from a standard, front-hinged rear door.

Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Manager @ 15,183 miles

Feed Me, Seymour

January 07, 2011

While waiting for the Raptor to refuel, I decided to check the oil. I didn't realize that the hood and the grille would both rise from the bumper. The resultant opening is cavernous! I mean, really, quite massive. I think a Prius fell out.

The oil level was just fine, though there was a coating of brown dust over everything in the engine bay (just as any true off-roader should have). Closing the hood wasn't nearly as easy as opening, though. I'm not short, but I had to reach for the bottom of the grille on the tips of my toes. I'm guessing shorter folks will need to step onto the bumper, hold onto the grille and jump.

Mark Takahashi, Associate Editor

Transmission Surgery

January 21, 2011

Awhile back we noted the transmission of our 2010 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor was acting up. The hard-shift symptoms persisted so we did what we knew had to be done. We dropped the Raptor off at the local dealership.

So far the dealer is dragging its feet. We are told the pan is being pulled today and that we can slip over to take some pictures once the tranny's been surgically removed. From there, it's time to diagnose the problem. When we know more, you'll know more.

Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Manager @ 15,630 miles

Transmission Update

January 24, 2011

This morning we learned a little more from Ford of Santa Monica regarding the transmission in our 2010 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor.

Originally, our advisor said the dealership would need to pull the pan to diagnose the hard-shift problem. But today on the phone he explained there was a "misunderstanding" between he and his tech. This work was not done. Instead, the tranny needed a software update. And the delay in completing the work (now 6 days) was due to the computers in the shop being down.

He went on to tell us, "We will complete the update this morning and should have your truck back to you around noon." At noon our phone lit up: 1 new voicemail. On the recording was our advisor, "We completed the reflash. Then Ford technical support called my technician. They want us to change the transmission solenoid and are shipping a new one out. We'll take the pan off tomorrow and replace the part when it arrives."

So that's the latest.

Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Manager @ 15,630 miles

It's Back!

February 06, 2011

17 days. That's how long it took to get the transmission in our 2010 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor repaired.

"We completed the reflash. Then Ford technical support called my technician. They want us to change the transmission solenoid and are shipping a new one out. We'll take the pan off tomorrow and replace the part when it arrives." That was on January 24. The part — an automatic transmission main control valve body — arrived on Feb 2 or 3 and was installed and ready for pick up by 1 on Friday afternoon.

The process also required new transmission fluid and new transmission gasket and lubrication of the splines of the "driveshaft slip yok[sic]."

This was all covered under warranty. The oil change, however, was not...

We paid $87.24 (no discount or comp for delayed service) for an oil change on our Raptor which included a new filter, tire rotation and full synthetic oil. Materials ran $57.45 and labor was $29.31. Tax was 0.48. Brakes were good with more than 5mm of pad left and, shocker, the tires were good with more than 6mm of tread left.

We'll have a report on how the trans feels shortly.

Mike Magrath, Associate Editor, Inside Line @ 15,635 miles

Transmission is Fine, Antenna Not So Good

February 07, 2011

After two weeks at the dealer, our Raptor now feels cured of its odd transmission problem. Over the weekend, I sensed no instances where the truck felt like it was trying to forcefully dislodge the transmission like a piece of half-chewed T-bone. We'll wait a week or so to make sure the problem doesn't return.

In the meantime, it looks like we'll have to attend to a different problem. As you can see, the antenna for the satellite radio is not quite working. It was coming in and out all weekend, but it eventually settled into the not working status by this morning. Hopefully this doesn't take two weeks to fix.

Ed Hellwig, Editor, Inside Line


February 07, 2011

So that's where all the money went.

James Riswick, Automotive Editor

Handy Dandy MP3 Player Mount

February 08, 2011

This, I'm sure, is standard F-150 stuff. But it's also handy stuff. On the bottom of the center console lid there are places to store an MP3 player, a cell phone and two pens. Of course, I couldn't get my iPhone to play through Sync's USB interface last night so I wasn't able to use this mount on my commute. That's a first.

Also, I love these giant switches. Even though they don't do anything on a stock Raptor, they're fun to have around. Sometimes I flip them on just to pretend I'm Mike McCarthy in his Baja 1,000 prepped Raptor.

Josh Jacquot, Senior editor

Man Step

February 14, 2011

I was sick of looking at nasty weeds and baked clay soil in a 25x1 foot strip on my side yard, so I decided to fill it with small rocks. Well, the little project actually turned out to be bigger than I planned. Thankfully I had the Raptor for my Home Depot run.

I loaded ten bags of rocks into the bed and drove home. Because they were unsecured, they shifted towards the cabin. I dug out 2" of surface from that strip and I was beat. Having the ability to step up to the bed to get the rocks by the cab was a welcome feature for out of shape guys like me.

Howie Long may have derided Ford for this feature in the Silverado series of t.v. ads, but I think it's pretty dang useful. I guess Howie is suggesting I'm not as manly by doing things the easy way? Oh well, I guess I don't care.

Scott Jacobs, Senior Photographer

Soothes Road Rage

February 15, 2011

This is not where the Raptor wants to be. Creeping, braking, lurching through the backup of a highway accident. Our recently-repaired transmission handled it pretty well, though. A couple of slight shudders, but overall very well-behaved.

This is pure Valentine's Day misanthropy. And it started back at the office, our building bordered by four streets, all choked and frenzied with the rush to dates at restaurants and movies and Starbucks. Damn - who are all these people? Did all of coupled Los Angeles come out to the Westside tonight? Don't they have kids? A booming night for baby-sitters, no doubt. Now in a grizzled mood — and hungry — as my own return home is delayed.

By quittin' time, I have the keys to Raptor in hand and am ready to rain some creeping death on any Prius, Beetle or CNG Civic idling between me and dinner.

Raptor. Ride The Lightning. Barking stomach. Like mixing recreational poisons, this is a combination best avoided. Within minutes of entering the freeway, the Raptor inspires a heady belligerence. You really gotta check yourself in this machine. Of our current long-term fleet, only the Infiniti M56, which allows you to method-act as an Osaka crime boss, delivers the same sort of imperial swagger.

But wow, the Raptor is a nice ride. Soft and serene. You can really lay out in this cabin. Papa Crown Vic aesthetic, minus the front bench. A front bench in the Raptor would be awesome. Until you want to jump it, I suppose. As it is, the seats wrap themselves around you with firm, comforting bolsters. In its on-road mode, the Raptor's suspension neutralizes the lumps of highway life. They simply don't make it past the FOX shocks. Sure, you feel some motion and sway, but not the jolts of impact.

And except for the Z06, there's no other car in our long-term fleet that makes tailpipe music as sweet as the Raptor's. Good thing too, as the stock audio system is thoroughly mediocre: muddy, flat and lacking definition. I haven't driven the Mustang GT yet, but some of the fellas say its open-throttle song is also very pretty.

Once home, I've averaged 12.0 MPG. Managed 12.2 MPG on the return trip to the office this morning. I wonder if a small oil derrick exceeds the Raptor's towing capacity; it's gonna need its own. When the polar bears and rainforests rise up to reclaim the Earth, I don't want to be driving the Raptor. My 100-mile lap on the 405 freeway has set me back a couple of rungs on the Karmic Resource ladder, and I will need their mercy.

Dan Frio, Automotive Editor

Get a Grip

February 15, 2011

The steering wheel in our Raptor is probably one of the best I've ever laid my hands on. Yes, a truck has one of the best steering wheels I've ever used.

The 3 and 9 o'clock position is perfectly suited to my hands. The race contoured rim is fairly hefty and It has such a positive, in-control grip that I feel like I'm at the control wheel of a jet.

You know what it reminds me of?

In my imagination, this is the kind of grip KITT's steering wheel would be like.

If the Raptor had KITT's Turbo Boost, those jumps off of sand dunes would be that much cooler.

Desert Snow

February 21, 2011

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.

Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing @ 16,822 miles

Suspension Art

February 21, 2011

I call this shot, "Trying To Take an Interior Photo of the Raptor While Crossing a Large Speed Bump."

Not much of a long-term pic, but it would look pretty cool on my wall.

Kelly Toepke, News Editor

Approaching 100 Bucks Per Tank

February 22, 2011

No car or truck in our fleet feels the rising cost of fuel more than our 2010 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor. James got all excited when his recent fill came in at $88, but my recent desert excursion nearly resulted in a triple-digit fill up.

I should also point out that this tank was burned away at a rate of 10.9 mpg.

Yeah, I did opt for premium, which is recommended for "best performance". It would have cost an even $90 to fill the Raptor with 87 octane, the minimum requirement. Still, with prices inching back up as they are, I'm fully expecting to see a $100 refill this summer, even on cheaper 87 octane.

You've gotta pay to play. If you want a Raptor, this sort of thing had better not bother you.

Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing @ 16,884 miles

Help, I Can't See

February 25, 2011

Maybe I'm having as much fun as Darren Skilton and my friend Sue Mead had while winning their class in a Ford F-150 SVT Raptor at the 2011 Dakar Rally, but I'm not really sure.

That's because I can't really see where I'm going.

This might be an asset while carving up muddy trails, rocky desert hardpan or narrow mountain tracks in South America, but it's not a good thing when you're driving through traffic in Los Angeles. Any day now I'm expecting to turn up in my driveway with a Smart Fortwo rolled up into one of the Raptor's fender wells like some oversize insect from Argentina.

I wish I could blame the Raptor's nose-up attitude, a signature of desert racing machinery because it maximizes front suspension travel when you plow headlong into one of those inevitable whoop-de-doos. This is what you want in desert racing, of course, since you're speeding across the dirt and you fear the next bump far ahead of you since it's too late to fear the bump that's already under your tires. The F-150 has a pretty high, bluff nose anyway, and there's not much hope of keeping track of the terrain when the horizon line is somewhere in the middle distance.

And yet it's not the Raptor's nose-high trim that bothers me. Instead it's the cabin itself and where you sit in relation to the A-pillar and the dashboard. Somehow I always feel too far back, as if I'm peering over the dashboard of a Ford sedan from the 1970s. It's not like I'm sitting with the seat on the floor in the full Dale Earnhardt driving position, either.

Maybe I need some kind of booster seat or a couple of pillows. Dodge pickups sure seem like they offer a better driving position than this, though. I still remember crawling rocks in Moab a couple years ago with a heavy-duty Ram 2500 Power Wagon without a problem.

Maybe I remember pickups of the bad old past when the dash was right there in front of you and the rear glass of the cabin was right behind you. Things were perfect then. Of course, if you hit a bump at any kind of speed, you first would get a bloody nose from banging the steering wheel, and then you'd slam your head against the glass behind you. And then you wouldn't have any problems seeing anymore, since you'd be unconscious.

Apparently Sue Mead is way tougher than I am.

Michael Jordan, Executive Editor,

Tough Details

February 25, 2011

Check out the various dials on the center stack. I dig the machine gear-like look. Even the small details make the Raptor even tougher.

Scott Jacobs, Sr. Mgr. Photography @ 16,922 miles

Kill Switch

March 23, 2011

A loooong time ago, Associate Editor Mike Magrath asked what to link the aux switches in our Raptor to. Machine guns, rockets, the imagination could run wild with it.

But I think I have the needed option to add to our Raptor:

A cell phone kill switch. The kind that would zap the cars in your immediate vicinity and render them useless. I'm not a violent man, I wouldn't to rig up a Ma Deuce to the switches. I just want to get home safely and peacefully.

In the last few days, I have been nearly side swiped, t-boned, and rear ended by people texting and or talking on their cell phones while driving. It hit my peak frustration last night with a dude driving down the 405. I thought he was an old drunk by the way he was driving very slow, randomly hitting his brake, and wandering from side to side in his lane.

By the time I was able to get beside him, I glanced over to see that it was a guy texting with BOTH HANDS while driving with his knees. He mouth was agape like a moron and he never, and I mean never, looked up at the traffic in front of him.

As I safely moved pass him I flicked the switch a couple of times, hoping that my imaginary electromagnetic pulse generator would kick to life. Just one little zap, that's all I want for Christmas. Maybe next Christmas.

Scott Jacobs, Sr. Mgr. Photography

Dog Leaps in a Single Bound

March 29, 2011

This weekend editor JayKav and I had to head up to Infineon Raceway in Sears Point for the 24 Hours of Lemons race. This time we were bringing my 6-year-old pit bull, Mya. In any case, after only having her for a month I had no idea of her jumping abilities. So when it came time to get her in the Raptor's backseat, I worried for a bit. The footwells were packed with Jay's gear and the passenger side was walled up with luggage. Do I try and lift a squirmy 60-pound dog into the backseat? After all it's about 3 feet total for her to jump. I figured worst-case scenario there'd be some scrambling.

Fortunately, Mya has some mad jumping skills. She got it on the first try. And I suspect she could kick this Chevy Traverse-jumping dog's ass in a high jump contest.

By the way, I bought a seat harness for her so she was safely seatbelted in for the long road trip.

Caroline Pardilla, Deputy Managing Editor

Bump In the Night

March 30, 2011

I love the clearance lights. Turning them on is like a donning a monster costume for Halloween. Just. Plain. Mean.

Scott Jacobs, Sr. Mgr, Photography

Towing Duty

March 30, 2011

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

Bluetooth Audio Saves the Road Trip

March 31, 2011

Since our subscription for satellite radio expired in our 2010 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor, the long road trip to Infineon Raceway from Santa Monica seemed doomed. As the passenger/DJ I got tired of changing the radio stations every time things got static-y and grew impatient cycling through my iPod music for songs that editor JayKav wouldn't mind listening to. "What do you mean you don't like '80s music?"

But then I remembered this truck has Bluetooth Audio. We had to wait til we were stopped to connect JayKav's iPhone but once we did it was cake. Sure, we had to "Select Source" every time we got back in the truck but no biggy. And we didn't experience the same intermittent Bluetooth failure that Josh Jacquot blogged about. Well, maybe once, but that was it.

And yes, I guess it would have been fine if we just plugged in JayKav's iPhone via the charger but it was just nice to not have to deal with the cord getting in the way or having to hide it every time we parked. By the way, JayKav's iPhone didn't run out of charge noticeably faster than usual and the sound/volume was fine.

Caroline Pardilla, Deputy Managing Editor

Enough Of This

March 31, 2011

Dear Ford,

Can I vent for a bit? Great. Here goes: plasti-chrome needs to stop. There is no excuse — none — for obnoxiously reflective surfaces like these to be present in a vehicle's interior. Forget for a moment that plasti-chrome looks chintzy. I'm talking about function.

It's hard to convey in photos, but our longterm 2010 Ford Raptor's PRNDL lever, the surround and the cupholders are all ringed with highly reflective surfaces that can leave you with spots in your vision. The door pulls are covered in plasti-chrome too.

What's only slightly less bad are the adjacent flat surfaces covered with the dot-matrixed silver. They don't dazzle but they do reflect.

At one point during the weekend I rounded a corner and exited the shade and had blinding relfections in my eyes from six locations. Sunglasses didn't help; these reflections came from under the bottom edge of the lenses.

Plasti-chrome (hell, any brightwork) is especially egregious in a truck. Two reasons:

1. It's a truck. Functional. Purposeful. No BS. And yet somebody in your styling department felt the need to stick little mirrors all over the cabin. Fail. Find them another line of work, please. Maybe somewhere alongside your personnel responsible for the cruise control interface, whom are also inept.

2. Trucks have large expanses of window glass. Far more than do cars. Windows, it turns out, allow light into the cabin. You can see where I'm going with this.

Please end the silly obsession with this nonsense.


People Who Drive Where The Sun Actually Shines From Time To Time

Towing Fuel Consumption

April 01, 2011

Winner. $100 fill in our Raptor, right here.

It happened over the weekend when I used our longterm 2010 Ford F-150 Raptor to tow my LeMons car from Los Angeles county to Sears Point Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, CA.

Over the course of that 1,023-mile trek, 90% of which involved towing about 4000 pounds, the Raptor averaged exactly 13.0 mpg.

Jason Kavanagh, Engineering Editor @ 19,421 miles

Real Fuel Economy Numbers

April 02, 2011

Didn't seem like many people noticed but for the eagle-eye among you, yes, the fuel economy numbers that I listed for our 2010 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor in our Big List of Fuel Economy: March 2011 were, indeed, incorrect. Only on April 1 would the Raptor achieve 18.8 mpg. Picked on the Raptor for that reason. I figured you guys would catch it anyway, but nothing like making someone look twice.

Anyway, here are the real numbers:

2010 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor 16.8 10.1 12.8

Basically the same as last month, save for the 0.1 improvement in the average.

Caroline Pardilla, Deputy Managing Editor


April 04, 2011

Another interesting weekend is in the books, thanks in part to our 2010 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor. No snow this time. No jumps, either. Just a lot of cool back roads, a bit of gravel and nice spring weather.

Too bad all I had for a camera was my phone.

I love this truck.

Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing @ 19,771 miles

Get Smart

April 05, 2011

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

2010 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor OR Mopar Ram Runner

April 07, 2011

That right there will be, after the Moab Easter Safari, a Mopar Ram Runner. It's available as a kit for owners of 2009 - 2011 Dodge Ram 1500s and costs about $17,900 excluding the paint and wheels.

Edmunds TMV for a 2009 Dodge Ram Crew Cab 1500 is $20,153. The Raptor is about $40.

Which one will you have?

Mike Magrath, Associate Editor, Inside Line

Already At 20,000 Miles

April 08, 2011

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

A Range Extender I Can Get Behind

April 11, 2011

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

A Monster of an Engine

April 15, 2011

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

Turn That Frown Upside Down

April 19, 2011

photo credit: iStock

While driving down the 10 freeway, I slowly passed a smashed up car being hooked up to a two truck in the opposite lane. The dejected guy was sitting in his car. He looked up at the Raptor, smiled, and gave a thumbs up.

Driving the Raptor makes me happy too, buddy.

Scott Jacobs, Sr. Mgr, Photography

Radio Antenna Replaced

April 20, 2011

It's been awhile since we reported the satellite radio antenna fault on our 2010 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor. The truck was busy towing this and towing that. Quite honestly, we grew so accustomed to the AM/FM bands we forgot for a time that the Raptor even had satellite radio.

We finally got our act in gear this week and called Ford of Santa Monica. A replacement antenna was shipped out in a day and installed hours after arrival. There was nothing obviously wrong with the old black dome thing so we couldn't determine cause. But the new black dome thing solved our problem.

Total Cost: None

Days out of service: None

Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Manager @ 20,658 miles

Take Your Pick

April 25, 2011

I came outside to this guy parked in front of our 2010 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor. Pretty cool. If you had to choose, which one of these would you rather have?

Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Manager

Would I Put Up With This?

May 02, 2011

This is the price of driving a Raptor in L.A., as least it is for now. As I watched the numbers climb I asked myself, "Would I be willing to pay this much to drive this truck?"

After deep contemplation, and half a Snickers bar I found in the glovebox, I came to the conclusion that yes, yes I would.

Granted, it's a big expense, but the Raptor is worth it. I enjoy driving it no matter what I'm doing. Obviously, it's hugely entertaining on a fire road, but it's just as enjoyable hauling down the 405. If I had a long commute I'd probably reconsider, but I don't. It's not a truck for everybody, but I would find a way to make it mine.

Ed Hellwig, Editor, Inside Line

The Men That Make The Truck

May 04, 2011

This year, for the second year in a row, we honored the Ford F-150 SVT Raptor with an Inside Line Editors Most Wanted Award. And recently I had the privilege of handing off the trophy to the team of car guys that make Raptors for a living. These are the guys responsible for designing, engineering and marketing the coolest pickup truck of all time.

And they are, from left to right:

Hermann Salenbauch: Director, Advanced Product Creation and Special Vehicle Team
Jost Capito: Director, Global Performance Vehicles and Motorsport Business Development Just Me
Jamal Hameedi: SVT chief nameplate engineer
Doug Scott: Ford truck group marketing manager
Brian Bell: F-150 product marketing manager
Raj Sarkar: F-150 marketing manager
Marc Lapine: F-150 consumer marketing manager

It was a fun few hours. Over lunch we talked trucks, off road racing, Mustangs (mostly GT500 and Boss 302), motorcycles and burnouts. These guys love burnouts.

I congratulate them all on a job well done. And I look forward to their next masterpiece.

Scott Oldham, Editor in Chief

Showing Its Age? Hardly.

May 06, 2011

Come along with me for a tour of the Raptor's most often-touched interior bits to see how it's fairing inside. It is, after all, a truck, which we occassionally actually use as a truck.

First, there's the seatbottom bolster — a device which for 21,909 miles has endured the unloving rub of editors' butts. And, trust me, when one enters the Raptor, thanks to its height, there's some butt rubbing happening. It's nice to see the leather and stitching blowing off butt-rub duty with complete indifference. It's fairing much better than some far more luxurious vehicles we've had (which also had far fewer miles).

The seatback is equally indifferent:

These seats remain, in my mind, the best in any current production truck. they're as comfortable as they are supportive. And, apparently, durable, too.

Then there's the steering wheel. It's wrapped in perforated leather which is also enduring truck duty well. Looks nearly new.

The door pull, switches and shifter — all items we touch every time we're driving this beast, show no wear.

Maybe we should be getting it dirty more often. I'll see if I can take care of that this weekend.

Josh Jacquot, Senior editor at 21,909 miles

Transmission Problems Return?

May 09, 2011

You might remember the problems we had with the Raptor's transmission back in January and February. Back then, the transmission was agressively engaging second and third gear when it was cold. The dealer solution was a solenoid replacement and a reflash.

Well, guess what?

...It's baaaaack.

Over the weekend I fired the Raptor up early several mornings in a row and experienced what I'm imagining is the same problem (I only discussed it with others the first time, never actually witnessed it myself). Here are the symptoms this go 'round: Drop the truck in drive, roll into the throttle and the tranny initially slips the torque converter and hardly moves forward — almost like it's in third or fourth gear. Next, with elevated revs, it slams into a lower gear (probably first) with authority and jumps forward. The next gear usually engages rough as well.

Then, the first few times you slow down from more than 30 mph, the tranny tries to grab a lower gear than it should while still decelerating. This is initially accompanied by a bunch of torque converter slip and then heavy engine braking once the gear finally engages. Once the fluids reach operating temperature, these symptoms seem to disappear.

If this continues, it looks like another dealer visit is inevitable.

Josh Jacquot, Senior editor

Electric Smart Hop-Up

May 11, 2011

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...

Oh, wait. This is a Raptor post. I should probably talk about the truck.

As you might expect, the toughest part for the Raptor is the 0-30 mph portion of the run, the part we look at to judge the launch. Without a trailer, our 6,000-pound Raptor gets up to that speed in 2.8 seconds, but it takes 4.3 seconds to get going when towing the electric smart.

I didn't measure the weight of the loaded trailer combination, but the rugged U-Haul Auto Transport rental I used is all steel and built like a tank. According to U-Haul's website it weighs in at 2,210 pounds. The electric Smart's 2,082-pound curb weight comes in slightly LOWER than that and brings the total towed weight up to 4,292 pounds.

2010 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor 0-60 1/4-mile
All By Itself 7.2 15.3 @ 91.4
Towing An Electric Smart 11.9 19.0 @ 75.3

This isn't a lot of weight in the overall scheme of F-150 tow ratings, but the Raptor is only rated to tow 6,000 pounds owing to soft, long-travel suspension and those large off-road tires that make the overall final drive ratio at the pavement less aggressive (and less tow-friendly) than the 4.10-to-1 differential ratio suggests.

Out in the real world, the world of moderate acceleration, speed limits and other cars, the Raptor has no trouble at all keeping up with traffic, merging or getting around slowpokes. I'm not doomed to run with the dump trucks because I've got no reserves.

In fact, it's easy to forget I'm towing anything at all — until I glance up at the mirror and catch a glimpse of that goofy-looking Smart roofline tailgating right behind me.

Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing

The Penalty Seat?

May 17, 2011

Have tow hitch, will schlep clapped-out race car. Last weekend, our longterm 2010 Ford F-150 Raptor SVT hauled not only the car but also two other teammates to Reno-Fernley raceway for a 24 Hours of LeMons race.

If you're paying attention, you see that our Raptor is an extended cab and not a crew cab, which means that a real, actual person spent many, many hours in a rather small backseat.

How'd she fare? Hit the jump.

This is Sara. Sara's a good sport. Sara rode in this very spot in the Raptor for roughly twenty hours round trip from Los Angeles, CA, to Fernley, NV and back. In between, she raced that crappy Miata in the lead shot in two 2-hour stints and had very little sleep besides. This photo was taken near the end of our trip and, against all odds, she's still smiling.

Turns out it's not too bad back there. She said the Raptor's backseat is a bit too upright but has decent comfort. She's 5'8", so she's not exactly a midget, either. However, she'd have liked to have been able to cross her legs to help with a tailbone problem she's had most of her life, but that wasn't happening. Oh, and the front seat is about far forward as mutual comfort would allow.

The ride quality, too, is quite compliant in the Raptor, whether towing or not.

I will say that Sara's fairly tolerant overall, which is surely a factor here. I sure as hell wouldn't want to spend twenty hours back there.

So, yes, it is possible for an adult to do a long trip in the backseat of the Raptor. But it helps if that person is not a Grumpy McSnivelpants.

Jason Kavanagh, Engineering Editor

Packing It In

May 17, 2011

There's a lot of space in our longterm 2010 Ford F-150 Raptor, but it helps to use soft-sided bags and avoid smash-unfriendly items when you're trying to cover all the contingencies of racing a $500 car for 24 straight hours. Three people, their driving suits, safety equipment, helmets, clothes for all weather conditions, assorted tools, food, drink, winnings, hats, shoes — all of it fit in the cab of the Raptor.

We'd have put some of this stuff in the bed, except....

... it was sorta occupied. That, and we experienced plenty of weather on the way. The items in the cab either weren't weather-compatible or would be too vulnerable to five-finger discount.

By the way, I'm a fan of the Raptor's tailgate step. Super handy since the Raptor's so high off the ground.

Jason Kavanagh, Engineering Editor

Emphatic Alert

May 18, 2011

At some point during my 1200-mile roadtrip in our longterm 2010 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor, an oil change alert lit up. It read: "Change engine oil soon."

A couple hundred miles later, it switched to the more forceful and urgent wording you see above. There's no missing that alert.

As for the transmission, it performed quite well. Only once did it exhibit the peculiar rev-up-then-blam gear selection that we've been noticing immediately following a cold start. It doesn't appear any worse now than before it spent all those miles towing 4500 pounds over hill and dale. Incidentally, it averaged 12.3 mpg over the entire towing trip. Not bad, I'd say.

We're having the transmission checked out at the dealer, and they'll be changing the oil too. When we know more, so will you.

Jason Kavanagh, Engineering Editor

Maintenance Summary

May 18, 2011

We bought a 2010 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor 9 months and 23,000 miles ago. Many long-term cars struggle to reach 20k. So when the truck recently requested another round of service it made me wonder. How many times has this truck been in for service so far?

8,266 miles
Routine maintenance: oil and filter change, tire rotation ($87)

15,630 miles
Routine maintenance: oil and filter change, tire rotation ($87)

15,630 miles
Transmission shifting hard: replace main control valve body, clean and lubircate driveshaft slip yolk splines, replace associated gaskets from tran-pan removal (warranty); 17 days out of service

20,658 miles
Satellite radio antenna inop: replace antenna (warranty); 1 day out of service

23,508 miles
Routine maintenance: oil and filter change, tire rotation, air filter replaced ($136)

Not bad. We've spent just over $300 to date. Would DIY maintenance have saved a lot of dough? Definitely. Doing so would make the ownership experience that much more attractive. But that just wasn't the route we took with this truck.

Concerns remain about the transmission. The previously noted hard shift when cold is back. It is far less dramatic and more sporadic than before, but certainly present. During our last visit the dealer checked for error codes and found none. We are going to monitor the issue closely for now. If it progresses we'll send it back to the dealer.

Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Manager @ 23,510 miles

Stig Drives a Supercharged Raptor

May 19, 2011

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.

I like it...but I wouldn't lick it, whatever that means.

Caroline Pardilla, Deputy Managing Editor

Air Filther

May 19, 2011

This is why you change your engine air filter regularly. Here is the one we removed from our 2010 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor. Try breathing through that.

Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Manager @ 23,549 miles

2010 Ford Raptor Surviving the

May 23, 2011

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

Angle of Approach

May 27, 2011

We all know the Raptor is one badass monster of a truck, super-capable off-road but still plenty fun driving around town. It makes all the right V8 noises and looks the part of a desert racer.

And I love the fact that every time I come to a stop, it rocks back and forth a few times on its cush suspension. But there is a downside to all that Fox suspension travel...

Such as the fact it sits pretty dang high off the ground.

Looks like me and the wife are gonna have quite the fun time tonight pushing the old sportbike up into the back of the Raptor before we head off for a track day at Thunderhill this weekend.

Anyone wanna come over and help?

Mike Monticello, Road Test Editor @ 24,053 miles.

Thunderhill or Bust

May 31, 2011

With a few complaints lodged recently about the Raptor's transmission acting up, there was no guarantee we'd actually make it to northern California's Thunderhill Raceway for a motorcycle track day.

Luckily, the transmission worked just fine, with only some minor abruptness at low speed when cold. Other than that, the Raptor was awesome. It comes pre-wired for ballsiness, especially with the 6.2-liter V8 that's never at a loss for power, even when hauling two sportbikes, leathers, helmets, boots, tools, fuel and luggage.

So myself, The Wife and our friends JonE and OLI (names have been changed to protect the guilty) were off, ready to spend the majority of our Memorial Day weekend driving Ford pickups and riding sportbikes. And that was okay with us.

Both The Wife and JonE found the front seats to be surprisingly comfy, and the wife even found the rear seat adequate enough that she fell asleep for a short stint when we had three people in the truck (usually JonE rode with OLI in his truck).

Loading my bike into the Raptor's way-tall bed at home was aided greatly by our house-of-a-neighbor, Tony. Always good to have a neighbor like Tony at your disposal. Thanks, man.

The Raptor averaged 13.0 mpg during the 1,000-mile-plus round trip (12.0 worst, 14.7 best).

For a photo essay of the trip, follow the jump. If you don't care, don't follow it.

Loaded up and ready to hit the road.

Yep, gas is expensive these days.

Eight hours later and we made it to Thunderhill, and JonE's excited. And why not? It's a fantastic track, with plenty of flowing, high-speed turns and a great surface. Easily one of the best tracks on the west coast.

Riders crest a hill then head down an off-camber right-hander at Thunderhill, while the Raptor looks on.

That's a lot of crap. We had four bikes and five riders in our group, if you include The Wife riding on the back with me in two sessions.

For some reason, the battery in OLI's truck couldn't handle running his stereo for a half hour. Raptor to the rescue.

Track day is over, now we're heading home.

On the way home, the Raptor hit the 25,000 mile mark. Turns out it's hard to take a sharp photo of the odometer while you're driving. At least for us.

We parted ways with our friend, OLI, in SoCal. Which meant things got a little more crowded in the bed of the Raptor, which is pretty small; good thing for the extender.

And inside the cab as well.

All in all, a great trip. We just might have to make this an annual thing. Too bad we won't still have the Raptor next year.

Mike Monticello, Road Test Editor @ 25,210 miles.

Mileage Milestone

June 02, 2011

Yeah, it's not the greatest photo ever, but that's what happens when you try to work a camera while driving.

But the point here is that our Raptor, with the Big Daddy 6.2-liter V8, has passed the 25,000 mile mark. This occurred while hauling two sportbikes to and from Thunderhill Raceway in northern California this past weekend, a task at which it excelled exceedingly.

Mike Monticello, Road Test Editor @ 25,000.3 miles.

What Caused That?

June 09, 2011

Our 2010 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor has it's first door ding. I saw it while at the gas station this weekend. It isn't much to brag about but you have to start someplace.

Let's pretend it wasn't caused by something sissy like an abnormally tall shopping cart. It has to be something cool. This is a Raptor. Was it a ricochet from target practice with that .50 cal Desert Eagle? Help me out so we have our stories straight.

What do you think dented the Raptor?

Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Manager @ 25,555 miles


June 10, 2011

Sound waves are tricky buggers, especially when they're coming out of speakers. The thing is, the sound doesn't really like to go through things so much as it likes to bounce around off of hard things (like glass) and get absorbed by soft things (like legs and carpets and sets) getting all muddled along the way.

This is a huge problem with our 2010 Ford SVT Raptor. My left leg is so close to the left speaker — the door panel is way close and if you drive hard, be prepared for a bruise — that it blocks most of the sound. Not that it really matters as the speaker appears to be aimed directly at my calf. The passenger-side speaker, however, is in direct line-of-sight to my ear. The end result is that there's virtually no sound from the left side, and the right side sound waves smash directly into my face. It's unpleasant and acoustically awkward. This is why IASCA SQ dorks spend so much time with dummy heads and laser pointers.

There's no time-alignment possible from the stock head unit, the only real workaround here is to fade the system some 80% to the left side to overboost it while diluting the ear pollution from the right side. Which sucks.

If I owned one, I'd have to redo the entire thing and put the speakers in the kick-panels. I need a stereo that plays to my ears, not my legs.

Mike Magrath, Associate Editor, Inside Line @ 25,595 miles

OG Gauges are Better

June 13, 2011

Just last week I wrote about the gauge setup in our '85 911. The sheer number of dials makes it feel like a true cockpit, not to mention relaying quite a bit of information. The Raptor may not have the old timey look, but its collection of dials does an equally thorough job.

You're got your oil pressure, water temperature, fuel of course, and hidden behind the steering wheel there's a transmission fluid temperature gauge.That's quite a bit of info packed into a pretty small space yet it doesn't look overcrowded. Ford tried to give the setup an update for 2011, but it doesn't look any better. I still prefer the black on white gauges, it is an SVT truck after all.

Oh, and by the way, I didn't have any trouble with the seatbelt at all this weekend. No idea what Schmidt and company are talking about.

Ed Hellwig, Editor, Inside Line

Seatbelt Sticks

June 13, 2011

I enlisted our 2010 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor to run errands around town. The errands had me climbing in and out of the truck frequently. By the end of the day I was officially annoyed with the drivers seatbelt.

The latch goes in and clicks securely. But a simple button press no longer releases the buckle. It sticks unless you really force it. Add one to the dealer fix-it list.

Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Manager @ 25,555 miles

Unlimited Lives of the Key Fob

June 14, 2011

Halfway through the weekend, the Raptor's key fob quit on me. No honking horn or flashing lights no matter how close I was to it. I resorted to using the key. It worked fine, as they often do, but I did notice there's no key hole on the passenger's side. Whatever.

I figured the battery was dead in the fob, but someone alerted me to the fact that it probably just lost the code for the truck. So I RTFM and sure enough, there's a procedure you can perform to reprogram the fob. It involves turning the ignition switch on and off eight times in rapid fire succession followed by press one of the buttons on the fob itself. It wasn't quite Up-Up-Down-Down-Left-Right...but you get the idea.

I was just glad that the manual actually discussed the procedure. It seemed like one of those things that they would just assume leave to the dealer to take care of. Good on Ford for actually giving the owner a chance to fix something.on their own. And yes, the key fob works just fine now.

Ed Hellwig, Editor, Inside Line

Shiny Side Up

June 15, 2011

There are a couple of smaller details in our Raptor that I find very cool. First is the race inspired rally wheel and it's red stripe. Lets you know which way is up, to keep you upright. Might not be totally necessary for driving through traffic in the morning, but it certain adds a little excitement to the 405.

Second is the large side view mirror. No, it's not the massively over sized towing variety, but it's very handy to see what rocks you're clearing with the rear wheels. As an added bonus for me, I love the flared wheel wells. I get admire them in said side views when I'm just looking for motorcycles in traffic.

Most times people love their vehicles for their capabilities, not necessarily for what they're doing at that moment. Those smaller elements I love about our Raptor bring back the memories of fun off-road times while stuck in the daily grind.

Scott Jacobs, Sr. Mgr, Photography

SYNC Boons and Boos

June 16, 2011

I've sung the praises of Ford's SYNC system before — especially when it comes to pairing a Bluetooth phone. I'll qualify that today by saying that without the large display screen the process is counter intuitive enough that I simply can't remember how to do it from one drive of the truck to another.

This assumes, of course, that SYNC doesn't simply remember my phone and pair it automatically (often the case with as many different drivers as we have here). Sure, I could dig out the manual and figure it out. It would take only five minutes.

But should I have to?

Josh Jacquot, Senior editor

Moving the Miatae

June 22, 2011

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.

And then there is the project car, the high-miles 1991 Miata I bought off a cop for $750 because the rear diff had gone south. When I brought it home it had the grossest interior ever due to a build-up of toenail clippings and stripper calling cards. Needless to say I replaced that carpet post haste.

The engine on the hoist has the more desireable big nose crank, and I upgraded the rear diff to a '99 unit with a larger ring and pinion in anticipation of more horsepower to come. The hoped-for result is a sub-2,000 pound car with 200 horses.

I'm looking forward to the new garage because it's one of those old-school detached ones that sits behind the house. Now when I'm out in the garage I'll also be in the back yard.

Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing @ 26,011 miles

Change of Heart - The Tailgate Step Rules

June 23, 2011

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.

On a related note, how many of those boxes do you think Ford's 5.5-foot short bed will hold in one go? The answer is 20, double stacked with the tailgate closed. It's a nice snug fit, too. No tie-downs required.

Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing @ 26,323 miles

Picking Up Hitchhikers

June 27, 2011

Turns out our 2010 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor makes a pretty good Doom Buggy. Big, black and imposing, the name certainly fits.

More to the point, it's able to pick up all three hitchhiking once.

Left to right the Skeleton (Ezra), the Prisoner (Gus) and the Traveler (Phineas) stand across the backseat of the SuperCab, apparently unfazed. In the end the dear departed trio arrived at our new place undamaged, to the great relief of my wife.

Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing @ 27,019 miles

Yes, That's What It's Called

June 28, 2011

In the midst of loading up the Raptor yesterday a guy came up to me and asked if the truck was really called the "Raptor." I confirmed that yes, the Raptor name was not a figment of my imagination, one that convinced me to have a detailed badge made just to satisfy my fleeting whim.

He just sort of shrugged his shoulders and said, "hmm...that's kind of cool."

And you know what? He was right. Raptor is a pretty cool name for this truck. There aren't very many cool car or truck names left anymore, so I'm glad that SVT decided to give this truck a proper title. Would be nice to see some luxury cars take the same tack instead of the constant stream of alphanumeric soup we get now.

Ed Hellwig, Editor, Edmunds Inside Line

Plastic Bed Extender Clips

July 01, 2011

You know those plastic "living hinges" they use on Igloo ice chests? The retainer clips that hold the bed extender in the stowed position on our 2010 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor are like that.

Correction: were like that. Both living hinges on the Raptor's bed extender are dead. They met there demise a couple of days apart during last weekend's move.

Let's pause for a moment of silence, shall we?

In contrast to those found on an ice chest, the living hinges on these clips aren't being asked to bend near as far and are therefore made of a harder plastic. Further age-hardening due to time and sun exposure no doubt made them harder and even more brittle. What's more, they're shaped to stick out a little so you can thumb them, but that also puts them in a position to get bumped and jostled by stuff in the bed.

Whatever led up to it, both of these broke off in my hand as I was folding the extender back up against the bed sides and latching them into place.

Thing is, I don't really care. The bed extender is a damn useful piece and it still works just fine. It stays stowed and folded as well as I need it to without any clips. In fact, the clipless bed extender is now far easier to deploy and use than it was before. I won't miss them. I'm taking my moment of silence back.

Is this a Ford quality problem? Kinda-sorta, but not reallly. The bed extender is an accessory contracted from outside, though in this case Ford bundles it with the truck as a regular factory option. Accessories are never made as well as the vehicles they are attached to, even factory-distributed ones.

I don't view this failure as an indicator of the quality of the F-150 itself. This is nothing like the failure of our 2012 Fiat 500's plastic seat height adjuster.

As for living hinges, I'm not a fan. I've thrown out more than one ice chest over the same issue. A different sort of retainer — if one is really necessary — is probably something Ford's accessory department could look into.

Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing @ 27,420 miles

Happy Fourth of July

July 04, 2011

Unlike the last place we lived, a city ringed by tinder-dry hillsides, our new hometown allows fireworks. The girls have never experienced anything but city-sponsored displays before, so they didn't quite know what to expect when we all piled into the 2010 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor for a trip to the local fireworks stand.

It didn't take long before they got the idea. In no time we had ourselves a bag full of sparklers, snakes, piccolo Petes, ground bloom flowers and a bunch of other "safe 'n sane" classics. Shelby and Sarah can't wait for night to fall. Neither can I.

Have a happy July 4th everyone.

Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing @ 27,025 miles

Tight Fit

July 06, 2011

I just finished bragging to my kid how we were driving the Ford Raptor today, so we could "go wherever we want, do whatever we want," when I pulled into a small strip mall to park for a quick errand.

My adventurous spirit was quietly squashed as I was forced to shoehorn the Raptor into a standard-sized spot.

Kelly Toepke, News Editor @ 27,713 miles

Is that a Belt Whining or the Truck Whinnying?

July 13, 2011

I finally got to drive the Raptor recently, when it wasn't signed out and I was one of the last editors in the office one evening. And even though the surf was miniscule, I just had to take it on a cruise up the coast — if only to gauge the reaction of the jaded Malibu crew. And I found that my 10-foot longboard fit much better in the Raptor's bed than in our former long-term 2009 Dodge Ram 1500.

My surf buddies complain that I'm notoriously slow getting ready for a session. But I like to take my sweet time making sure I'm prepared with the right stick, wetsuit, wax, a jug of water to rinse off afterwards and maybe some post-session snacks. It sucks when you forget something essential like a towel.

I was methodically getting ready to head to the beach, making my second or third trip to retrieve some surf necessity, when I heard a noise coming from the Raptor's already cranked engine. Since I'd driven our Mustang GT 5.0 earlier in the week, my initial thought was that the Raptor was whinnying because it was raring to go.

But instead it was a slight belt whine, much the same way certain of my surf bros whine with impatience while waiting for me.

You can hear it in the video below, even though someone across the creek decided to crank up a chainsaw right after I hit the record button. Bonus points if you can ID my buddy's beloved truck in the background.

Sounds Good!

July 13, 2011

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

Preparing for Carmageddon

July 14, 2011

Here's a photo from yesterday's pre-Carmageddon commute home. We'll push the hype aside and just call it, Wednesday.

But if this weekend turns out to be as bad as they're saying, the Raptor would be a pretty good place to seek shelter.

Premium comfort and visibility combined with the ability to drive over obstructive medians.

And if things get really hairy: satellite radio.

Kelly Toepke, News Editor @ 28,022 miles

Yup, It Sure Is

July 15, 2011

Some of you might remember this kid who enjoyed breakfast with the Raptor a few months back. Well this morning the pure awesomeness of a funny kid and big truck collided with undeniable charm right in my driveway.

And I have video to prove it.

This is only half staged. The question was completely unsolicited the first time. I simply asked her to repeat it.

Josh Jacquot, Senior editor

Suicide Doors. The Downside.

July 18, 2011

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


July 19, 2011

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

Jump Start

July 20, 2011

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

Does the Mattress Fit?

July 22, 2011

Is there anything that doesn't fit in the bed of our Ford F-150 Raptor?

What would you like to see in the back of our Raptor? I vote for the Fiat 500.

Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor

No Going Back

July 22, 2011

There are things in life that once you experience them, there's just no going back. Who wants an Atari 2600 after playing an NES? Who wants to go back to cassette tapes after CDs? Who wants a tube television after watching a plasma or LCD TV?

As I was driving the Ford F-150 Raptor yesterday — which as you see has no navigation system — I realized that I couldn't go back to owning vehicle that doesn't have nav. I was stuck in traffic and wanted to find an alternate street. Having a navigation system would have let me check if the surrounding streets were a viable option or a dead end. I had my smartphone with me, but I had poor 3G reception and it was taking way too long to bring up the map. It was frustrating and since I was in the Raptor, I wished I could roll over the cars in front of me.

Another benefit of a factory navigation system is a larger, more legible screen that greatly benefits the stereo. It is significantly easier to sort through the categories and see the song titles when you play music from an iPod or listen to satellite radio. Plus, it gives the car a high tech feel.

The photo below is from a 2011 Raptor with navigation — a $2,495 add on. It's a pricey option, but if you're paying forty grand for a truck with horrible fuel economy, what's another $2,500? I also prefer the integrated look of a factory nav system. When you combine the LCD screen that's between the gauges (new for 2011 F-150s) with the huge navigation screen, it gives this car a dual personality — like an MMA fighter who is also a scientist.

What are some things you can't do without for your next car?

Ron Montoya, Consumer Advice Associate @ 22,540

Parked In Front Of Stuff

July 25, 2011

A scrap heap, where I dropped of some old brake rotors, the busted red floor jack used in the first suspension walkarounds and a rusted and leaky (and fully drained, and flushed) gas tank from that '57 Ford of mine.

(Let me know if this or any of the following shots of the 2010 Ford SVT Raptor's exploits during my recent move should be submitted to Donna for a caption contest.)

The will-call loading dock at McMaster-Carr, where I bought a zillion moving boxes. The boxes came boxed in a box, which is nice.

My new narrow driveway and hidden 3-car garage, which was filled with project-car stuff before we moved into the house itself.

My new across-the-street neighbors, who happen to be a trio of nuns.

A nearby building that looks more like a nun's home than an actual nun's home.

Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing

Two Trucks Meet on the Freeway

July 27, 2011

While I was driving the Ford Raptor, Joe was piloting his Ark.

Kelly Toepke, News Editor

It's The Little Things

August 05, 2011

This is my favorite detail on the Raptor. Near as I can tell it does nothing but look cool. And that's enough. Honestly, that's what I love about this truck: It's strikes a perfect balance of function and style.

Anyone with an eye for these items can see them in passing without effort. And even those who know nothing seem to take notice.

There are more...

See that external-reservoir Fox damper? Its visibility is no accident. Nor is its function. These are obvious on both ends of these trucks at a quick glance. A closer look reveals the gnarly aluminum lower control arms up front.

Even the exhaust — a double-barrel bologna cut — looks cool from above. Combined, these details are enough to make a non-truck guy into a committed truck guy.

Just ask anyone around here.

Josh Jacquot, Senior editor


August 08, 2011

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?

So we drove it hard. With the idiots. Off-road mode engaged, stability control off. And we fit right in. Even though this is hardly the first time I've driven one of these rigs with vigor, it is the first time I've driven this one that way.

There's something so refreshing about charging through deep washboard at 50 mph. Same with shallow creek crossings. Heck the Raptor doesn't even care if you hit them all crossed up. In fact, the one-wheel-at-a-time thing seems to work best. Most of the time its massive travel even keeps it on the ground.

And when were were done, we at enchiladas. Lots of enchiladas.

With the Raptor a little dirty, I loaded up the family the next day — kids and all.

Wife: "This thing is filthy, what did you do?"

Dirt Jockey: "I drove it in the dirt. It looks like it's supposed to look."

Wife: "That's great. I just don't want it to touch me."

Dirt Jockey: "Success."

And with that, we proceeded to use the Raptor like a minivan the rest of the day. That's the truly great thing about this truck. Knock its gas mileage, its gratuitous styling and its size all you want. You're not going to find yourself sideways at speed through a creek one day and loaded up with the family for church the next in any minivan.

Best of doesn't care. Its alignment is still good. It cruises at 75 without vibration and there's no more road noise now than there has ever been. It's indifferent to this stuff.

I say it's worth it.

Josh Jacquot, Senior editor

Coming Apart?

August 09, 2011

I discovered this trim panel coming off of the Raptor's rear driver's side door yesterday. It's ugly and it makes noise if the truck is driven hard.

It was easy enough to realign the tab and clip and push the two parts back together. But they didn't lock together in any way that gave me confidence that they will actually stay together.

I guess we'll find out.

Josh Jacquot, Senior editor @ 29,108 miles.

The Dashboard Rubber Tray

August 09, 2011

Seriously, what would you use it for? I'm talking about that rubberized storage tray on top of the dashboard of our long-term 2010 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor.

You wouldn't want to put your sunglasses, radar detector, or navi up there as they would probably get fried in the direct sunlight. And if you put your wallet or phone in that shallow tray it would fly around if you ended the pathetic streak and drove at speed on the dirt roads with the idiots.

What about a book? C'mon. Most Raptor drivers are illiterate (that's a joke.)

If that tray was covered with a door it would protect the contents from the sun and from flying around the cabin (although I've never used those, either.) But it's just easier to use the center console storage and the cupholders for your small things instead of any type of top of the dashboard storage.

What would you use that tray (or any of those dashboard trays) for?

Albert Austria, Senior Vehicle Evaluation Engineer @ ~29,000 miles

The End Is Near

August 10, 2011

I got the email on Monday. "Detail the Raptor" it read. "We're going to sell it." So yesterday the coolest truck to ever grace our fleet spent half the day getting babied.

Below is a brief survey of its condition at almost 30,000 miles.

From here the Raptor looks new. It cleans up well. The body is straight with only a few minor imperfections — more from parking lots and hauling than off roading. Even the front skid plate looks nearly new.

The bed, well, it looks like a used truck bed. There's nothing here that's terribly surprising. It look like we used it like a truck for 30,000 miles, which we did. It's certainly the area that shows the most wear

With the exception of one trim panel, this truck's interior is excellent. The leather looks and feels good, the carpets were protected by thick rubber floor mats and the controls still feel new. The only place with some real indication of wear is the back of the center console which is visible from the rear seats.

All in, this truck is in good shape. And I've got nothing to gain in saying this. It's been well maintained, hasn't been driven beyond its intended use and hasn't been treated to our handling tests which would have killed its tires. If I were in the market for a used Raptor, this one is worth considering — and that's something I'm sure buyers can't say about some of them (an issue largely blown out of proportion).

It's a sad day for those of us who have bonded with this truck.

Josh Jacquot, Senior editor

Last Oil Change

August 11, 2011

Our time with the Ford F-150 Raptor is nearing the end. Now that the truck is clean, the next order of business was an oil change. We always take care of any maintenance that is needed before we put our vehicles up for sale. The next scheduled maintenance was the 30K service, which in some vehicles, is considered a major service. We checked the manual and it turned out that the Raptor only needed an oil change and tire rotation. Its major service occurs at 60K, when the transmission fluid and filter need to be replaced.

The dealer experience was pretty straightforward. We weren't upsold any air or cabin filters and the truck was ready in a few hours. Although it had been freshly waxed, the dealer washed it anyway.

Next on our seller's checklist is a trip to Carmax for an appraisal. Feel free to make your wild guesses and predictions in the comments.

Total Cost: $87.22
Days out of service: 0

Ron Montoya, Consumer Advice Associate @ 29,175 miles

The Tour Continues

August 11, 2011

Yesterday we began saying our goodbyes to the Raptor. With those goodbyes comes a survey of the truck's condition — evidence that maybe, just maybe, we don't destroy everything we drive, as some of you contend.

Have at look a the skidplate. Or maybe a more appropriate name would be the non-skidplate.

But wait, there's more...

The tires — both front and rear — show wear, but there's plenty of meat left. The edges are still relatively square, which is important for dirt use as that's what gives them the bite to actually turn the truck in the soft stuff.

There's some grime on the steering wheel's red center stripe. I'm getting over it already.

The center stack still looks new.

And the other bits you touch every time you drive the truck are still holding up quite well. You can't even tell the thing has had grimy editor hands all over it for the last 13 months.

The seats, too, look good — both front and back. I dig this embossed Raptor logo.

Josh Jacquot, Senior editor

There's One Born Every Minute

August 11, 2011

Take a closer look at this image. It was shot from the Raptor on the freeway last week. Study it carefully. Every detail.

And then tell me what you would do if you were driving the Raptor and this guy pulled up next to you and laughed.

Because all I did — after I looked over his rig — was laugh right back.

He must live a hard life.

Josh Jacquot, Senior editor

Room for Improvement

August 12, 2011

I just got back from taking our Ford F-150 Raptor to Carmax and I was a little disappointed by the appraisal. The service was great and I was in and out of there in about 30 minutes, but I was expecting a "strong money," offer like the recently departed Volkswagen GTI.

Carmax offered us $35,000. Congratulations to "theace415" for a spot on prediction. I was expecting $36,000. Here are a few numbers to put things in perspective:

MSRP at the time: $43,300
We paid: $39,992 (plus tax and title)
Trade in TMV: $35,103
Carmax offer: $35,000

Our trade in TMV was very close to the Carmax offer. But if you look at private party Raptor prices, people are asking between $36,000- $41,000, depending on the miles.

Edmunds private party TMV for the Raptor is $37,493. The boss says he's in no rush to sell the truck, so we are going to price it aggressively. After careful consideration, we have decided to list it at $39,900. We have a more desirable color and the 6.2 liter engine (an option at the time) in our favor. Before you hit that comment button, please keep in mind that this is the asking price. We always leave room for negotiation.

How much do you think it'll sell for?

Ron Montoya, Consumer Advice Associate @ 29,245 miles

Cashing out our Black Chip

August 25, 2011

We sold the Ford F-150 Raptor last night after only 12 days — not the two months as dwengier77 predicted. We priced the car aggressively, but knew we would probably have to drop the price during negotiations. Buyers aren't afraid to offer thousands less than the asking price.

After the ad was listed on AutoTrader for $39,900, I got quite a few calls right off the bat. The first people to call were the car flippers. They asked a few basic questions like "Has it ever been in an accident?" and then proceed to make a lowball offer, sight unseen. "I'll give you $36,000 cash!" they'd say, as if we might be desperate to jump at the mere mention of cash. I can't really say if they are real buyers or not, because I never got far with them. These are "take it or leave it" type offers. A real buyer asks you questions like "Has it ever gone off-road? Who drove the car? Has it given you any problems?"

After a few more inquiries I realized that the real Raptor buyers were very savvy. They knew a lot about the car and were more concerned about the high mileage, how it was driven and the price. I was upfront with everyone and let them know it had been driven by multiple people and it went off road a few times. This did scare off one buyer who compared our Raptor to a "rental car," since so many people had driven it.

I received advice from the least likely of sources, a buyer who had offered $35,000 and then changed his mind because, according to him, the more he heard about this car, the less he wanted it. "These aren't regular F-150s that you put a bunch of miles on," he said. "These are toys that you drive on the weekend. You're going to have a hard time selling it with these miles and for this price. If I were you, I would list it at $37,900 and hold firm on that price."

He told me that there were a number of Raptors out there with significantly less miles and being offered at a similar price. These trucks were in other states, but he (and presumably other Raptor buyers) was willing to get the car shipped.

He made a convincing case for dropping the price. I was already going to drop it to $38,900 after a week, but I the more I thought about it the more I realized that it wasn't going to be a significant enough drop. Although our price was competitive with the other Raptors on AutoTrader, our mileage was higher. The next morning, I dropped the price to $37,900 and added "price firm" to the description.

We eventually sold the car to a woman who worked for a casino in Southern California. She was buying the Raptor for her son who was about to graduate from high school. After some discussion, we made a deal at $37,000.

At this point I handed things off to my colleague, Phil Reed. He lives closer to the woman so it was more convenient for her to meet him at his home rather than mine. Here is his account of how the sale was closed:

"The woman showed up after dark with her son and two other guys. One of them could have been a pro football player with a hand so big it was like trying to shake with a bowling ball. I gave them the keys and when I got out to the truck they were under the hood with flashlights. 'Why are the fender bolts turned?' one of them demanded. This was another way of saying that body work had been done on the truck following an accident. So I said, 'I don't know what you're looking at, but this truck has never been in an accident and wasn't taken to a body shop.' Then the woman said, 'Why is the bed all scratched?' There was no way to answer this than to say, 'Because it's a truck.'

"The big guy was the designated driver and he didn't hesitate to tap into the power. If you're considering buying a used car, it's important to verify the condition. But I think you should wait until you own it to start chirping the tires. I was getting a little tired of all this but I was pretty sure the woman had a check in her purse and we were close to closing this deal. So I let it go. Sure enough, they all decided the truck was a good buy and she turned over the cashier's check for $37,000."

Here are the final numbers:
MSRP: $43,300
We paid: $39,992 ($44,689 after tax, title and license fees)
Current TMV: $37,411
Carmax offer: $35,000
Sold for: $37,000

Ron Montoya and Phil Reed @ 29,573 miles

Goodbye and Hello!

August 31, 2011

I'm sad to see our Raptor go. I miss having an SUV in the fleet. But at the same time it creates excitement as to what we'll get next. I've always been a fan of the Defender, but it doesn't look like a possibility.

I look at the site almost every day. It's basically car porn. It's filled with the bizarre and cool. I find reading the site is similar to being stuck in a multi-hour Wikipedia knowledge quest. By the time you're done, you have 30 tabs open and can't remember where you started. But recently I did see something that grabbed my attention...

A 1979 Jeep Cherokee Golden Eagle. I love the graphics, especially the eagle on the hood. It's currently listed on eBay, auction closing September 2nd. I've always dug the looks of these vehicles, but I've heard they're like bug zappers. Beautiful to look at, but if you get too close they'll burn you. Still, it is tempting to have a project 4x4. Maybe we should look at a classic K5 or similar vehicle?

If you could pull the purse strings, what beast would you summon?

Scott Jacobs, Sr. Mgr, Photography

I Miss the Raptor

September 16, 2011

I, Too, Miss the Raptor

September 22, 2011

Like M. Schmidt, I too miss our dearly departed 2010 Ford SVT Raptor.

Maybe we can replace it with this.

I spotted this bad boy, property of the US Navy, at the 2011 X-Games over the summer.

It's called M-ATV, a Special Forces All Terrain Vehicle with USN markings. This vehicle is used by US Naval Special Warfare Command (NSW) by our top Special Operations sailors.

If you're in the Teams and have actually driven this thing, let me know and I'll post your driving impressions (it's supposed to drive like a dump truck.)

More photos and a brief spec sheet on the jump.

Albert Austria, Senior VE Engineer

Gone But Not Forgotten

September 26, 2011

We're still missing the Raptor around here — me worse than anybody. But today I saw this flat black SuperCrew Raptor cruising down the freeway looking utterly bad ass with black aftermarket wheels. It was like somebody read my mind.

More images after the jump.

I'm sad. That will be all.

Josh Jacquot, Senior editor

Halloween Caption Contest

October 28, 2011

I wouldn't let Halloween go by without a caption contest. These ghosts are hitching a ride in our former long-term Ford F-150 SVT Raptor. Photo provided by Dan Edmunds.

What's your caption?

We'll post our favorite on Monday, Halloween. So sharpen your typing fingers, you have all weekend to think up the winning caption.

Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor

Halloween Caption Contest Winner

October 31, 2011

Thanks to mrryte for the winning Halloween caption.

Here are the others that gave us the chills:

Guy in the middle is having a ball. (blueprint1)
Who says American cars don't have souls? (mrryte)
The ghosts of LT past come back to haunt IL. (blueprint1)
Will the ghouls fit? (blueprint1)
How are the Suicide Doors Working for You? (noburgers)
The Sixth Gear (ergsum)
Which side is the fuel filler door on? (noburgers)
The Grim Raptor (mrryte)
The grateful dead. (kain77)
Which way to the nearest ghast station? (mrryte)
Found On Road un-Dead (mrryte)
Caranormal Activity (ergsum)
Ghouls Just Want To Have Fun (ergsum)
He did it! He did it! He did it! (zoomzoomn)
The Ford Raptor now comes with EctoBoost. (ergsum)
Bumper sticker reads: "My Other Vehicle is a MaliBOO!" (ergsum)

What was your favorite?

To the winner:
You can select one of these three prizes.

- Chevy 100 Years Commemorative Pins
- Kia Soul Model Car
- MOPAR t-shirt (size L)

Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor


October 10, 2011

The 2010 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor is one of the most unique production pickups to come along in years. It represented an all-new direction for the SVT group at Ford. More than just a powerful truck, it was designed to go fast over rough terrain in a way that would destroy most pickups.

From the first day we drove it, we wanted one — and that doesn't happen often. Subsequent test-drives only made us more enthusiastic and it wasn't long before we began plotting our purchase. The first batch of Raptors only offered a 5.4-liter V8, but when a larger 6.2-liter version was announced later we decided to wait for it.

The big 6.2 was rated at 411 horsepower and 434 pound-feet of torque, while the mogul-absorbing suspension setup was something previously unseen in a production truck. On top of all this, the Raptor is the meanest-looking rig on four wheels. It was the easiest purchase we'd made in years.

The First 7,500 Miles
A couple features of our new truck instantly stood out. Inside Line Editor Ed Hellwig proclaimed, "I hereby nominate the Raptor's front seats as some of the best in the business. Yes, a good ol' Ford pick'em-up has done what no Corvette of the last two decades has been able to muster."

Seat comfort wasn't all the Ford had going for it, however, as the ride quality was generally good as well. Director of Vehicle Testing Dan Edmunds wrote, "Any time you emphasize something extreme, like high-speed off-road're going to lose some day-to-day 'normal' performance. The Raptor's ride is generally soft on smooth pavement. It deals gracefully with swells, dips and other low-frequency stuff. But hit a high-frequency crack or bump 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."

We put the Raptor to work in its first few months. Instrumented testing was first. Here the 6,000-pound truck accelerated from zero to 60 mph in 6.8 seconds (with rollout) and completed the quarter-mile in 15.3 seconds at 91.4 mph. After the track it was over to the chassis dyno, which measured peak torque of 372 pound-feet at 4,700 rpm and max power of 361 hp at 5,750 rpm.

Some road trips were next. We meandered through the Sierras and continued up to Oregon. Upon its return home we tucked two motorcycles in the bed and trekked to Buttonwillow Raceway Park, breaking the 7,500-mile landmark en route. It was an uneventful few months for the Raptor, though, as it required nothing more than standard maintenance to keep going.

7,500-15,000 Miles
Just over 8,000 miles the service light illuminated and the Raptor was due for its first scheduled service. With no issues of note, the visit was quick and simple. Ford of Santa Monica replaced the synthetic oil, rotated the tires and performed the usual assortment of safety inspections for $87. Then we were back on the streets.

Suburbia taught us new lessons about the Raptor. Parking structures can be problematic. Features Editor Mike Magrath sighed, "The lower garage has a height limit of 6 feet, 6 inches. The Raptor is listed at 6 feet, 6 inches. Whatever, the upper garage has a clearance of 8 feet, 2 inches so that'll work. Except that it has a 5,000-pound weight rating. The Raptor weighs 6,080 pounds without passengers. D'oh!"

Photographer Scott Jacobs took the Raptor on an extended trip to Lake Tahoe and came back with nothing but praise for the truck, not to mention admiration from bystanders.

"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? Leave now before I take it from you, bro.'"

15,000-22,500 Miles
Engineering Editor Jason Kavanagh noticed the first hint of Raptor mortality during a drive to Central California. Kavanagh wrote, "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." We scheduled a dealer appointment for the 15,000-mile-old Raptor to give it a look.

Ford of Santa Monica had our truck for 17 days to repair the transmission. Originally the dealer said it would need to remove the pan to diagnose the problem. This work was not done. Instead, it determined a transmission software update was needed. Computer issues delayed the reflash a week, at which point Ford technical support instructed them to also replace the transmission main control valve body. Installation fell under warranty, as did fresh lube, gaskets and the reflash. While it was at the dealer, we also had them perform the next scheduled service for $87.

Just 4,000 miles later the satellite radio antenna failed. So we took the Raptor back to the dealer. We waited a day for the part to arrive. It was installed while we waited and covered under warranty.

22,500-30,000 Miles
Things were quiet once the transmission and radio issues were fixed. We braved the $100 fuel fill-up. We towed some stuff. We hauled some stuff. Routine maintenance at 23,000 miles rounded things out. Somewhere between the last service and test end the driver's seatbelt release began to stick and a clip on the plastic bed extender busted. But we did not address either prior to its sale.

Total Body Repair Costs: None
Total Routine Maintenance Costs: $397.54 (over 13 months)
Additional Maintenance Costs: None
Warranty Repairs: Replaced transmission main control valve body, lubed driveshaft slip yolk splines, replaced radio antenna
Non-Warranty Repairs: None
Scheduled Dealer Visits: 4
Unscheduled Dealer Visits: 1 for satellite radio antenna failure
Days Out of Service: 17 for diagnosis and repair of transmission hard-shift issue
Breakdowns Stranding Driver: None
Best Fuel Economy: 15.7 mpg
Worst Fuel Economy: 10.1 mpg
Average Fuel Economy: 12.7 mpg
Average Fuel Economy: 11.7 mpg (towing)
True Market Value at service end: $37,411 (private party)
What it sold for: $37,000
Depreciation: $2,992 (dollars)
Depreciation: 8% (% of original paid price)
Final Odometer Reading: 29,573 miles

Summing Up
Versatility was what set the Raptor apart from the rest of the pack. On the dirt, no other vehicle came close. The heavily modified suspension under the Raptor handled whoops, washboards and off-road obstacles with ease. Equally impressive was the way it handled pavement with the same suspension. The truck eats up miles on the highway with little of the vagueness we expected from a truck with 35-inch tires.

In our world this was a truck first and a Raptor second. We hauled and towed when we weren't kicking out dirt clods. Although it has a limited payload capacity of just 930 pounds, we never found a situation that proved too much for it. The Raptor was quite suitable for lightweight towing duty, and it hauled our cars and carried our motorcycles on a regular basis.

Our total cost to own the Raptor was far less than expected. We won't deny that premium fuel gets expensive for a truck averaging less than 13 mpg. But the overall cost for routine maintenance was about $31 per month for the first year of ownership. That wasn't too bad considering we paid dealership prices and used synthetic oil. Ford warranties paid to restore the transmission to normal operating condition and replace the radio antenna. And when it was time to sell we got $37,000. This equaled depreciation from our paid price of 8 percent, or just $2,992.

Numbers aside, this was a vehicle that many editors said they would consider buying for themselves. It's really that good. It has incredible power, off-the-charts off-road ability and still works as an everyday truck. The fact that it looks and sounds meaner than anything on the road is just an added bonus. If you can afford it, buy it. You won't be disappointed.

Edmunds purchased this vehicle for the purposes of evaluation.