If you want to read a great story about the Ford F-150 Raptor jumping over a sand dune, or crawling up a rocky hill there are some really great ones out there. Personally, I look more at the real-world benefits of vehicles. Where I live, you are not allowed to even walk on the sand dunes in some places, and you're lucky if mountain bikes are allowed off-road on any decent trails. So, it was a big surprise to me when I discovered one thing the Ford Raptor does in the real world better than any vehicle I have ever tested. It can drive over the worst roads in America without damage.
I once destroyed a tire on a European sport utility vehicle. This particular luxury-performance beast is shown in TV commercials blasting through snowbanks and tearing through woods and streams at full speed. I broke it driving through a small puddle in my condo's parking lot while at a walking pace. The sad truth is, most performance vehicles these days come with tires with sidewalls that cannot hope to handle normal potholes or broken pavement. The Raptor can.
The $64,420 Raptor can do other things that are important to other people besides myself, and I respect that. Sort of. It can launch itself from 0-60 MPH in the mid-five second range. Like a sports sedan can. It can also handle snowy conditions. Like the best Subaru can. However, if you drive on roads so bad they are putting out warning signs, like the ones above in my neighborhood, and having police standing in the slush telling drivers "Local resident only please" because the potholes and frost heaves have reached epic proportions, any normal vehicle is at risk of tire damage. But not the Raptor.
The Raptor has 35-inch tires, but just 17-inch rims. That leaves nine glorious inches of sidewall to tackle ruts, holes and rocks in the off-road truck world. In my world, it means you can drive over roads that would tear the end off of a normal car and just giggle as you roll on.
You want to see some Raptor off-road video, so we attached the one below. Take special note that the reviewer says at time-stamp 9-minutes, "One of the Raptor's most under-appreciated qualities is survivability." That guy nailed it.
Image courtesy of Maximus Jeremy Goreham