2021 Ford Raptor Gets High-Output 3.5-Liter Ecoboost, New Suspension and 37-Inch Tires
When Ford debuted the Raptor pickup truck in 2009 it brought a lot of excitement to the pickup truck enthusiasts. A pickup truck that could handle itself over any terrain and also jump and catch air was exciting.
Today, Ford revealed the third-generation Ford Raptor. It’s a great time for Ford to show off their “OG Desert Predator.” In the middle of launching the 14th generation F-150 and also slowly building and promoting the Ford Bronco, the excitement, zest and enthusiasm for trucks that can do anything is incredibly high.
The 2021 Ford Raptor will be available this summer, according to Ford.
And of course one of Ford’s biggest rivals, the Ram TRX has blatantly shown off its prowess including featuring the image of a T-Rex eating a smaller velociraptor on the engine bay. This is a not-so-veiled reference to the TRX being more capable and faster than the Raptor.
Ford did not release horsepower or torque for the new 2021 Raptor, which seems problematic and advantageous for Ram. However, we do know that the Raptor will have a 3.5-liter High Output EcoBoost engine. Ford says the upgraded, twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 features upgraded turbos, a high-pressure exhaust gas recirculation system and 10.5:1 compression ratio. It delivers its torque lower in the rev range compared to the previous-generation Raptor, giving customers more power out of the gate. And the high-output 3.5-liter EcoBoost engine delivers better low-end torque, enables greater maximum towing and increased maximum payload capability, a 500-mile-plus range, plus class-first active valve dual exhaust offers throatier engine sound.
According to Ford, the 2021 Raptor takes the mechanical and technical brilliance and precision of Raptor and infuses it with enhanced connected technology that means the experience of owning one will only improve over time.
“Raptor is the original desert truck. We just took it to another level,” said Ali Jammoul, Ford Performance vehicle program director. “The all-new Raptor splices high-speed off-road performance muscle with advanced technology and connectivity that comes together in a unique Built Ford Tough way.”
New Suspension And 37-Inch Tires Change Raptor’s Dynamics
F-150 Raptor debuts with completely redesigned running gear. It is reengineered with an all-new five-link rear suspension developed specifically for Raptor, designed to deliver more control and power to the ground with greater confidence over rough terrain at high speeds.
“Raptor is rooted in Baja 1000 racing, and its suspension advances our capability and performance – a five link rear setup with more wheel travel than any Raptor before it,” said Carl Widman, Ford Performance chief engineer. “And like a trophy truck, every aspect of Raptor has been engineered to deliver precision capability when your foot is flat on the floor, way out in the middle of nowhere roaring across the desert.”
According to Ford, the five-link rear suspension features extra-long trailing arms to better maintain axle position on rough terrain, a Panhard rod and 24-inch coil springs – the longest in the class. The suspension design combined with more sophisticated engine management software means the truck can put more torque to the rear wheels for quicker starts off the line, faster acceleration and better throttle responsiveness while simultaneously delivering comfort, stability, handling, control and traction at speed.
For the first time, Raptor is available with either 35-inch or 37-inch tires – the largest factory- fittedto a production light-duty full-size pickup. These specially designed BF Goodrich all-terrain T/A KO2 tires offer maximum traction and handling. Wearing 35-inch tires, Raptor clears 12-inch obstacles with an approach angle of 31 degrees, maximum departure angle of 23.9 degrees and breakoverangle of 22.7 degrees. Raptor with 37-inch tires features 13.1 inches of running clearance, 33.1degrees of approach angle, a maximum 24.9 degrees of departure angle and 24.4 degrees of breakover angle. Desert runners and rock crawlers alike will appreciate the outstanding wheel travel with 35-inch tires, reaching 14 inches at the front and 15 inches at the rear – 25 percent more travel than the first-generation Raptor.
2021 Ford Raptor Gets Newest Technology
The 2021 Raptor will get some of the newest technology that Ford has revealed in their latest vehicles including over-the-air updates, Sync 4, 1-Pedal Driving, and Pro On Board Generator. Ford says the new Raptor will be the most technologically advanced Raptor ever.
Here’s some of the technology features offered in the third-generation Raptor.
Over-the air updates offer the potential for an even smarter Raptor with more capabilities in thefuture; possible upgrades like trail maps plus Trail Turn Assist could add even more off-road capability.
Customers can control their Raptor with FordPass – a mobile app that can lock orunlock their vehicle from almost anywhere, check tire pressure and fuel level, and allow control of new truck-focused features like Zone Lighting, Trailer Theft Alert, Trailer Light Check and available Pro Power Onboard. Over-the-air updates could evolve FordPass to include unique functionality for trips into the wild.
Ford’s Pro Onboard generator that has debuted in the 2021 Ford F-150 will be an option in the 2021 Raptor. I will have an extensive story and review of the generator in the PowerBoost hybrid F-150. But Raptor can be ordered with an available 2.0 kilowatts of exportable output to run power tools, camp lights and other equipment, providing more exportable power than any light-duty full-size pickup competitor.
The Terrain Management System’s seven selectable drive modes allow customers to choose the setting best suited to driving conditions, including Slippery, Tow/Haul, Sport, Normal, Off- Road,Baja and Rock Crawl. Drive modes adjust steering feel, transfer case behavior, stability control, active valve exhaust, active damping system, throttle mapping and transmission shift points, aswell as the display on the digital gauge cluster.
Standard Trail 1-Pedal Drive helps make extreme off-road driving like rock crawling easier. In harsh trail situations, a driver typically must use both pedals, modulating throttle and brake simultaneously to advance the truck. Trail 1-Pedal Drive simplifies all that, combining those operations into activating just the throttle – press to move forward, release to brake. The truckapplies the brakes proportionally as the driver lifts from the accelerator.
F-150 Raptor also comes with standard Trail Control, which operates like cruise control for off -road use. Drivers simply select a set speed and the truck manages throttle and braking to allow them to focus on steering through challenging off-road conditions.
The Raptor will also have Ford’s new Sync 4 system which includes wireless Apple CarPlay. Be sure to check out my story on this new system as I review it in the 2021 Ford F-150.
Initial Thoughts On 2021 Ford Raptor
I have not been shy about my love the second-generation Raptor. Even without a V8, I felt it was the best truck I’ve ever driven. I do think Ford will take some PR hits by not releasing the horsepower or torque of the High-Output EcoBoost engine of this new Raptor.
And of course the “trucks must have a V8” crowd will be vocal and the Moparians will scream the TRX is better because of its monster horsepower. Anyone who drives knows that a vehicle’s performance is not all about the horsepower and torque. There are many more factors to consider and it seems Ford has given thought to that with a new suspension and new wheels.
As for it being loaded with technology, I’m always a big fan of new technology. I’m not sure Raptor consumers care as much. Also, playing up additional towing and payload might work for a standard F-150, but I’m curious how important that is for the Raptor consumer.
So, let’s hear your thoughts. I’m waiting for the disappointment to be voiced regarding the lack of a V8. Many of us thought for sure there would be a V8 now. We will have to wait until 2022 for the Raptor R. Sadly, this is the world of the auto industry now as we head toward a greener, cleaner industry. Like it or not, it’s coming.
Jimmy Dinsmore has been an automotive journalist for more than a decade and been a writer since the high school. His Driver’s Side column features new car reviews and runs in several newspapers throughout the country. He is also co-author of the book “Mustang by Design” and “Ford Trucks: A Unique Look at the Technical History of America’s Most Popular Truck”. Also, Jimmy works in the social media marketing world for a Canadian automotive training aid manufacturing company. Follow Jimmy on Facebook, Twitter, at his special Ford F-150 coverage on Twitter and LinkedIn. You can read the most of Jimmy's stories by searching Torque News Ford for daily Ford vehicle report.