2019 Ford Raptor new car reviews

Photos courtesy of Ford

For decades, OEMs and their in-house tuning firms have been turning pedestrian cars into chart-topping performers. BMW’s M division gave us the M3, Abarth gave us fast Fiats, and AMG gave us, well, a faster version of nearly every Mercedes ever built.

We’d argue that there’s a much less exotic brand that’s given us far more special cars, though: Ford. From the Shelby Mustangs of yore, through a myriad of SVT-badged vehicles like the Lightning, Contour and Focus, to the Cobra R, Ford has consistently let its engineers call the shots, with often-impressive results.

And when the original Raptor debuted, Ford proved to the automotive world at large that they were serious about their new truck. Gone were the days of simply slapping extra stickers and chrome wheels onto a truck and calling it a day. And thankfully for us, our 2019 Raptor shows us that Ford was not willing to simply rest on the laurels of the original: the 6.2 V8 has been swapped for a High-Output 3.5 Liter V6 delivering 450 hp. and 510 ft. lbs. of torque—both healthy increases over the V8. The new Raptor also has four more forward gears, bringing the total to 10. Fuel economy—should that be a concern in your high-performance off-road truck—is 15 city and 18 highway, which is frankly astonishing. Pricing for the 2019 Raptor starts at $55,840, with our SuperCrew tester coming in at a not-insignificant $73,735.

Watch our video review:

 

Other staff views

J.G. Pasterjak JG Pasterjak
Production/Art Director

In perusing other reviews of the Ford F-150 Raptor on line, I keep coming across a similar complaint: It doesn’t sound great.

Fine, what else ya got?

If a wheezy exhaust is enough to make you kick a 450hp, off-road-capable Kaiju out of bed for eating crackers, I suggest you realign your priorities.

Sure, the exhaust leaves a bit to be desired, but the rest of the truck is pure excessive overkill, which we all know is the best kind of kill. Like the GT350 that shares floor space in Ford dealerships with the Raptor, or the Camaro SS 1LE across the street at the Chevy dealership, the Raptor is built by a department within a large car company that understands that people are going to use this vehicle as a recreational device, not merely as a functional machine.

And as a recreational device it excels, too. The electronically-controlled Fox shocks and 13-plus inches of suspension travel at both ends of the truck soak up high-frequency bumps, or low-frequency whoops without you ever having to worry about spilling your Big Gulp inside. Seven different performance modes—from on road performance and comfort, to off-road high-speed cruising or rock crawling and mudding—adjust the truck’s electronic controls to perfectly match the situation.

Possibly most impressive is how “small” the Raptor drives. For a vehicle that weighs nearly 6000lbs and is so wide it requires supplementary big-rig style grille lighting, the Raptor is exceptionally easy to place in limited traction conditions. It’s easy to control the attitude of the truck with steering, throttle, brakes or a combination of those systems based on what the conditions warrant. These traits are something we’re used to experiencing in 3000lb sports cars, where managing attitude through superior control of dynamic weight distribution is part of the promise. But it’s not something we’re accustomed to in a half-ton pickup, or something we even knew if was okay to ask for.

If there’s a downside, it’s that a well-equipped Raptor is $73,000-plus. That’s a lot of scratch for a truck, but when you realize it’s easy to equip “regular”  pickups into the $60,000 or higher range these days it doesn’t seem so crazy.

David S. Wallens David S. Wallens
Editorial Director

It’s the one that you want, right? Call it the off-road equivalent of the Type R, Z06 and GT3 RS, all wrapped up in one turnkey package.

I kept this one on-road during my time with it. Impressions? Perhaps the reality doesn’t match the dream, at least on pavement.

The Raptor is rough and tumble–and maybe not in a great way. That super-awesome suspension delivers a jiggly ride on anything but smooth pavement. And the truck itself is big–long, yes, but also wide. Glad the truck offers 360-degree cameras. And it’s tall, too, obviously.

Pluses: Those heated and air-conditioned seats feel comfortable, though. And acceleration is quick.

My biggest gripe, perhaps? Like zero exhaust note. You can say that all turbo engines sounded bland, but even a Civic Si offers a more engaging exhaust note. The latest AMG-Benzes, also turbocharged, sound great.

While the Raptor is quick, it’s not that engaging on pavement. There it just becomes another big truck.

Tom Suddard Tom Suddard
Director of Marketing & Digital Assets

I'm a sucker for big dumb off-road trucks, so I made sure to swipe the Raptor's key for an afternoon of fun during its time here. No--I didn't take it to see Avengers: Endgame--I took it out to the middle of nowhere, searching for horrible roads. I'll agree with David: On the street, the Raptor is mediocre at best. Not in a bad way, but in the same way that a car on really stiff springs and slicks is a mediocre street car. Yeah, it's fun, but it's also objectively bad at the task. The Raptor wallows and shakes and groans (thanks, exhaust note) on pavement, but it does so in a telling way–it's obvious it has capabilities far beyond what a normal person would ever need. Thoughts like "I bet it wouldn't even notice if I hopped that curb!" and "Was that a speed bump or a Civic?" danced through my head while the radar-assisted cruise control, air-conditioned seats, bangin' stereo™ and shockingly-quiet cabin shepherded me down the highway.

Then my exit arrived. My destination? The middle of nowhere, where a vague sandy trail wound its way through Florida swamp. I twisted the Raptor's terrain knob to "Baja" mode, waited for the four-wheel-drive shift to complete, and stabbed the throttle.

I think I made it about 300 feet before I felt the front wheels leave the ground for the first time. Let me be abundantly clear: I was doing things that would have broken a normal pickup truck. I was doing things that no road-going vehicle offered with a warranty should be capable of doing. The Raptor was eating two-foot-deep holes at speed. It was sliding around corners like a rallycross car. It was skimming whoops like a dirtbike.

And while all of that was surely impressive, lots of vehicles can do it. Look at any truck commercial, and you'll see jumps and slides and all sorts of stuff. But those action shots take their toll, and they're followed up by dealer visits to find and fix the likely damage. What truly impressed me about the Raptor wasn't that it could do amazing things, since almost any vehicle you don't own can do amazing things off road. It was how effortlessly it could do them. I never felt like I was abusing it, and I never felt uncomfortable or unsafe. I didn't even knock over my water bottle in the cupholder.

After an hour of using every single inch of suspension travel, I pulled back onto the highway, set the cruise again, and drove the Raptor to dinner with my wife. Was it the easiest thing to park downtown? Not quite, but it was no less quiet and comfortable than it had been before the thrashing, and it's hands-down the nicest interior that I've ever flown in.

Would I buy one? I wouldn't, since the Raptor isn't particularly good at being a truck. It doesn't have the payload or towing capacity to justify the price in my mind, nor do I need its off-road chops every day. I'd go straight to Ram dealer and buy a Ram 1500 Rebel, which is less of an off-road animal and more of a normal truck playing dress-up to look better in the mall parking lot.

For somebody with a better ratio of disposable income to self-control, though, the Raptor has no competitors and no equals. If you want the best stock truck for high-speed off-roading on the planet, you're going to buy a Raptor.

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Comments
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Vigo
Vigo UltimaDork
5/7/19 1:50 p.m.

I consider the Raptor to be one of the most impressive enthusiast vehicles on offer today. 

I know people bemoan the Lightning but in 2019 you can get a 4-door Raptor that can haul your family/friends, do everything it does off road, and still be just fast through a 1/4 mile on 35" all terrain tires as the last Lightning was. This a far more compelling and impressive total effort than any Lightning has ever been.

Jordan Rimpela
Jordan Rimpela Digital Editor
5/7/19 3:58 p.m.

I think that says a lot about the new Raptor. The Lightning was cool in an early 2000s kind of way, but the Raptor has its lunch. Of course, if SVT were to create a new Lightning...

 

Surely they'll create a Ranger Raptor before that, though.

captdownshift
captdownshift PowerDork
5/7/19 7:09 p.m.

In reply to Jordan Rimpela :

I don't know that we'll see a ranger based raptor, the massive size of the F150 based raptor gives it stability at pace over terrain, a ranger based variant would lack this advantage. However a RWD V6 Ecoboost based ranger with a 6 SPD and limited slip would be very Lightening badge worthy, and do so using parts bin bits while managing to not use an engine offered in the mustang. 

alfadriver
alfadriver MegaDork
5/7/19 7:30 p.m.
Vigo said:

I consider the Raptor to be one of the most impressive enthusiast vehicles on offer today. 

I know people bemoan the Lightning but in 2019 you can get a 4-door Raptor that can haul your family/friends, do everything it does off road, and still be just fast through a 1/4 mile on 35" all terrain tires as the last Lightning was. This a far more compelling and impressive total effort than any Lightning has ever been.

Who will be the first to make an ON ROAD specific package for the Raptor.  Make a Raptor into a Lightning.

AnthonyGS
AnthonyGS HalfDork
5/8/19 12:29 a.m.

If money and parking / storage space were not real problems for me........

docwyte
docwyte UltraDork
5/8/19 8:50 a.m.

If I could fit one in my garage, I'd buy it.  Unfortunately it's way too long to fit, it's not even close!

Brett_Murphy
Brett_Murphy UltimaDork
5/8/19 3:15 p.m.

Do you know something we don't, Alfa?

alfadriver
alfadriver MegaDork
5/8/19 5:19 p.m.

In reply to Brett_Murphy :

No, lol, not at all.  Just a suggestion to someone at SEMA.

Mndsm
Mndsm MegaDork
5/8/19 6:02 p.m.
alfadriver said:
Vigo said:

I consider the Raptor to be one of the most impressive enthusiast vehicles on offer today. 

I know people bemoan the Lightning but in 2019 you can get a 4-door Raptor that can haul your family/friends, do everything it does off road, and still be just fast through a 1/4 mile on 35" all terrain tires as the last Lightning was. This a far more compelling and impressive total effort than any Lightning has ever been.

Who will be the first to make an ON ROAD specific package for the Raptor.  Make a Raptor into a Lightning.

Kinda surprised Hennessy hasnt already. 

 

That being said, an s/c coyote 2wd f150....would be badass. 

A 401 CJ
A 401 CJ Dork
5/9/19 3:35 a.m.

If they sold it as a regular cab with 8’ bed I’d be all over it.  No I wouldn’t.  I’d buy a Power Wagon in Tradesman trim.

z31maniac
z31maniac MegaDork
5/9/19 6:42 a.m.
Mndsm said:
alfadriver said:
Vigo said:

I consider the Raptor to be one of the most impressive enthusiast vehicles on offer today. 

I know people bemoan the Lightning but in 2019 you can get a 4-door Raptor that can haul your family/friends, do everything it does off road, and still be just fast through a 1/4 mile on 35" all terrain tires as the last Lightning was. This a far more compelling and impressive total effort than any Lightning has ever been.

Who will be the first to make an ON ROAD specific package for the Raptor.  Make a Raptor into a Lightning.

Kinda surprised Hennessy hasnt already. 

 

That being said, an s/c coyote 2wd f150....would be badass. 

I bet Lebanon Ford in Ohio would be happy to build you one. 

CobraSpdRH
CobraSpdRH Reader
5/9/19 8:08 a.m.

The Lightning lives on, in somewhat more obscurity at it is a dealer package that has gotten some recent PR:

650HP supercharged V8 RCSB Lightning

chandler
chandler PowerDork
5/9/19 9:14 a.m.

Yummy.

z31maniac
z31maniac MegaDork
5/9/19 10:24 a.m.

That's pretty tasty!

I'd lower it, a lot. And want wider wheels, but otherwise pretty awesome.

DirtyBird222
DirtyBird222 UberDork
5/9/19 11:46 a.m.

One of those "SVT Lightnings" in the color red would be perfect to haul a lot of overnight JDM parts in. 

Furious_E
Furious_E UltraDork
5/9/19 12:17 p.m.
Mndsm said:
alfadriver said:
Vigo said:

I consider the Raptor to be one of the most impressive enthusiast vehicles on offer today. 

I know people bemoan the Lightning but in 2019 you can get a 4-door Raptor that can haul your family/friends, do everything it does off road, and still be just fast through a 1/4 mile on 35" all terrain tires as the last Lightning was. This a far more compelling and impressive total effort than any Lightning has ever been.

Who will be the first to make an ON ROAD specific package for the Raptor.  Make a Raptor into a Lightning.

Kinda surprised Hennessy hasnt already. 

 

That being said, an s/c coyote 2wd f150....would be badass. 

There's a newish RCSB F150 up the road from me with a blower on it. Seems to be an older dude's daily. I'm not the biggest fan of some of his aesthetic modifications, but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't jealous every time I hear that supercharger whine go by. 

poopshovel again
poopshovel again MegaDork
5/9/19 1:47 p.m.

I’m kind of shocked they can no longer move cars but they plan on moving a lot of these(?) Then again, I’m apparently far from the “average car buyer,” so wtf do I know?

pheller
pheller UltimaDork
5/9/19 2:40 p.m.

I recently read some review that said the new Colorado ZR2 might give the Raptor a run for it's money. It's $10,000-$20,000 cheaper, smaller in every dimension but gets far better gas mileage with the 2.8 diesel. 

Bummer is that the crew cab long bed isn't available in ZR2 trim. 

 

I kinda wonder if you couldn't build a Raptor far cheaper by finding an older 2015 Coyote F150 Crew Cab Long Bed. Install a $5,000 long travel kit, some fenders and wheels and a $7,000 supercharger. Lets say it adds up to $15,000. Here's a 2017 Crew Cab for $30,000. 

 

That would give you a 650hp, long travel, Crew Cab Long Bed F150 for well under the price of a new base model Raptor. 

 

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