The all-new 2021 Ford F-150 Raptor has just been unveiled almost a year after the all-new standard F-150 came out. Ford’s new super truck has undergone a major overhaul as a way to remain competitive amid the new and highly-capable Ram 1500 TRX with its supercharged V8 engine. Because of this Ford also announced that a V8-powered Raptor R is coming out next year.
“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.”
Ford is also proud to showcase that over the past four years, the F-150 Raptor has outsold well-known performance icons, including Porsche’s entire sportscar lineup and the Chevrolet Corvette.
On the outside, the 2021 Ford F-150 Raptor features an evolutionary redesign. It has a rugged, aggressive exterior that features a power dome hood with blacked-out grille and headlights that stretch fender to fender. The hood has a new heat extractor and functional side vents at the top trailing edge of the fender, which Ford says is inspired by the intakes of the F-22 Raptor fighter jet.
For added durability, the front and rear bumpers are made out of steel, with the rear bumper retaining the high-clearance design that tucks the dual exhaust tips high up against the truck. A wider front skid plate offers greater coverage side-to-side and extends protection forward.
Ford is offering optional Rigid off-road lights as an option, with these lights being integrated into the front bumper. For an even more aggressive look, buyers can opt for an optional tailgate graphic.
Right out of the factory, Ford is offering the F-150 Raptor with either 35- or 37-inch tires. These are the largest factory-fitted tires ever fitted to a production light-duty full-size pickup. With the 37-inch tires, ground clearance is at 332.7 mm, along with 33.1 degrees of approach angle, a maximum 24.9 degrees of departure angle, and 24.4 degrees of breakover angle. With the 35-inch tires, ground clearance is at 304.8 mm, with the approach angle at 31 degrees, departure angle at 23.9 degrees, and breakover angle at 22.7 degrees. On the flip side, selecting the “smaller” 35-inch tires improves wheel travel when going through tricky terrain.
Ford has also significantly strengthened the boxed high-strength steel frame through reinforcements in the front shock towers, trailing arm brackets, just to name a few. Also new for the 2021 F-150 Raptor is a Raptor-specific five-link coil spring set up that’s meant for better control. The new rear suspension features extra-long trailing arms, a Panhard rod and 24-inch coil springs, which are the longest in any light-duty full-size pickup.
Just like the all-new 14th-generation F-150, the interior features a plethora of high-tech features such as a fully-digital gauge cluster and Ford’s new SYNC4 infotainment system. There’s also an optional 18-speaker B&O Unleashed sound system by Bang & Olufsen. A new steering wheel features a laser-etched logo, top centering mark and aluminum paddle shifters. Seats with large bolsters keep occupants in place, while even more aggressive optional Recaro buckets are also available. Standard aluminum or optional carbon fiber interior packages line the doors, instrument panel and center console.
Most of the new technology of the F-150 Raptor, however, is for improved performance. New for 2021 is Trail 1-Pedal Drive, which combines both acceleration and braking in the throttle pedal. Press down to move forward, release to brake and slow down. Basically, it’s similar to the Nissan Leaf’s e-Pedal system.
Also new for the 2021 F-150 Raptor is a new Terrain Management System with seven modes: Slippery, Tow/Haul, Sport, Normal, Off Road, Baja and Rock Crawl. This system adjusts the steering, throttle, stability control, active valve exhaust, suspension, transmission, transfer case behavior, just to name a few.
Making the F-150 Raptor even more capable in making huge jumps are the Fox Live Valve internal bypass shocks with state-of-the-art electronic control technology. The F-150 Raptor’s largest-ever shocks are designed to better resist heat buildup and to react even faster to terrain changes for greater confidence over extended desert running. The larger 3.1-inch-diameter anodized aluminum shock bodies are filled with all-new low-friction shock fluid specially designed to decrease frictional losses inside the damper for improved off and on-road comfort. New electronically controlled base valves feature an upgraded design enabling upward of 1,000 pounds of damping per corner at desert speeds.
Ford says that the suspension height sensors and other sensors around the truck have the ability to change damping rates independently at each corner 500 times per second, with the shocks responding at the same speed the human brain processes visual information. The truck responds by the time the driver even registers a terrain change.
So, what’s handling all of the significantly-improved hardware? Under its hood is a revised version of the previous F-150 Raptor’s twin-turbo 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 engine. Ford has not revealed its power figures, though they said it will remain relatively the same as the previous model. This means it should still produce 450 hp and 691 Nm of torque. Ford says its revisions enable it to deliver “torque low in the rev range right where it counts.” This engine is mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission.
Not convinced with that EcoBoost V6? Ford confirmed that a V8-powered Raptor R is coming out next year. This will be Ford’s answer to the Ram 1500 TRX, which is taking the super truck segment by storm in the United States. The Ram 1500 TRX uses the Hellcat 6.2-liter supercharged V8 engine that produces 702 hp and 880 Nm of torque. Ford could possibly use the Mustang Shelby GT500’s 760-hp supercharged V8 engine, but at a slightly detuned state. Ford did not confirm any further details apart from the fact that it’s coming out next year.