April 18, 2024
Wheels

Everything about F-150 Raptor is big, powerful, and in your face

Ford sets the bar for off-road prowess in pickup segment

The 2024 Ford F-150 Raptor is off-road ready with its 37-inch tires.

The 2024 Ford F-150 Raptor is a formidable opponent to any pickup laying claim to an unmatched combination of power and agility. As far as an outright unique experience driving a pickup – only my recent testing of the EV Ford F-150 Lightning even comes close to the level of thrills. There just isn’t anything close to a Raptor.

Yep, 37-inch tires

The exterior design of the Raptor is a bold statement that speaks directly to its capability. The in-your-face signature FORD grille, aggressive lines, and muscular stance project confidence and dominance. My tester was sitting on 37-inch x 12.5R17 BSW all-terrain tires wrapped around glistening 17-inch forged aluminum rims. Other than a construction site, you won’t see anything like it.

When it comes to the Raptor and its $75,775 base price, the one commodity it’s dealing in is attitude. For that price, you get an awful lot – plus some. The only thing rivaling those huge 37-inch tires is the 36-gallon fuel tank (trust me, you’ll need it) on the Raptor R, the larger (V8) of the two variants (also a V6). The Raptor stands tall and menacing. Helping you to access the cabin more easily are large running boards providing a sure-footed step and accent lighting to find them in any dark setting.

Optional exterior packages offer plenty of customization, allowing buyers to tailor the Raptor to their preferences. The huge RAPTOR name in 12-inch tall letters on both sides of the rear quarters announces to everyone that this is the Raptor that everyone’s been talking about. My tester was ablaze with its Code Orange Metallic hue with black and white accents.

Performance

At the heart of the 2024 Ford F-150 Raptor lies a 450-hp twin-turbo 3.5-liter V6 powertrain that defines its performance capabilities. This high-output version of the 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 engine should not be considered second to any – though it is second to my tester, its big brother featuring a 5.2-liter V8 delivering 720 hp and 640 lb-ft torque.

Mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission, my Raptor tester’s V8 loudly grumbled to attention whenever I demanded it conjure up the power to move the 145-inch wheelbase in any direction I pointed it. With 4-wheel drive, the Raptor can go wherever it wants with no concern for terrain or maintaining thrust. At 15 city/18 highway/16 combined, fuel economy is not the selling point here.

The suspension system has undergone significant enhancements, featuring state-of-the-art Fox Racing shocks that adapt to various terrains, ensuring a smooth ride even in the most challenging conditions. The Terrain Management System allows drivers to tailor the vehicle’s performance to different landscapes, providing optimal control and confidence in any driving scenario. It also offers a maximum towing capacity of 8,200 pounds.

True to its Raptor lineage, the 2024 model excels in off-road scenarios. The upgraded suspension, coupled with an intelligent four-wheel-drive system, makes conquering rough terrain an exhilarating experience. The inclusion of off-road driving modes and a robust skid plate system further solidify the Raptor’s position as a top choice for off-road enthusiasts.

Safety

Ford has left no stone unturned in prioritizing safety. The 2024 Raptor is equipped with a comprehensive suite of safety features, including adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assist, automatic emergency braking, and a 360-degree camera system. These features not only enhance on-road safety but also contribute to off-road confidence.

Cabin

Inside the cabin, you immediately feel the change in atmospheric pressure as the seating position is higher than anything you have probably driven before. I was impressed by the attention to detail up front, the Raptor uses ample high-quality materials, and the soft-touch surfaces.

Separating the two huge front-row chairs is an equally huge center console. Power adjustments get you situated to drive, with heated and cooled leather seating, power mirrors, power pedals, and a cutting-edge infotainment system. The wireless charging pad is just one of several conveniences built into the console. Look for advanced driver-assistance features, and connectivity options that keep the Raptor in line with every expectation.

The rear bench seats easily flip up with one hand, providing access to a surprising amount of floor space and a structured storage unit on the floor. With both rear seats flipped to the upright position, there’s an extraordinary amount of secure storage.

The 2024 Ford F-150 Raptor is a force to be reckoned with in the pickup truck market. It successfully marries power, performance and cutting-edge technology, catering to the needs of both thrill-seekers and power-hungry pickup enthusiasts.

With its off-road prowess, striking design and a host of innovative features, the 2024 F-150 Raptor establishes itself as a top contender in the fiercely competitive pickup segment. My Raptor R Super Crew had a base of $75,775, but climbed to $109,740 with the addition of the spray-in bedliner ($595) and Equipment Group (802A-$31,575).

Yep, it’s a lot of cash, a lot of power, performance and attitude. I got more looks in a week driving this Raptor than any luxury or sports car in the last five years. Put a price on that and you might just decide it’s worth it. Not many go for the whole Raptor experience given there’s the less pricey V6 option.

John Stein is a freelance journalist based in Chicago. He has more than 25 years of experience driving, testing and writing about the automotive industry, its latest innovations and new vehicles.