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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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.
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.