Drive Time: Ford Raptor returns, with twin-turbo V-6
April 28, 2017
No sooner had I lauded the Ram Rebel 1500 pickup in this past Saturday's Tribune than showing up out front of my home was a competitor from Ford, the revived 2017 F-150 Raptor.
To say the Ford boys take their truck business seriously is a serious understatement. Soon after the F-link word (F-series) was first uttered in 1948, trucks became the foundation of Ford's success. "The American Big Three build great trucks, and we're No. 1," Ford people like to say.
The Raptor SuperCab is the second muscle-bound Ford I've received in the past three weeks; previously was the King Ranch edition of the F-250 Super Duty 4X4 with turbodiesel.
In addition to the Ram Rebel last week, I've also driven recently the Ram 3500 Crew Cab 4X4 dually with turbodiesel and the Ram Power Wagon. And I've been told that GMC is soon sending my way a Sierra Denali 1500 pickup.
These truly are truck days, and northern Colorado is truck country.
The Raptor was produced from 2010 through 2014 as an extreme off-road pickup with V-8 power. On its return as a '17 model, it performs with a 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6 engine and 10-speed automatic transmission. Six cylinders and 10 speeds mean lots of downshifting and upshifting. I found myself occasionally attempting to track where the Ford was on the gear scale. Paddle shifters allow better control, including a lighted 1-through-10 ladder-type indicator on the instrument panel.
Ford's twin-turbo V-6 is rated at 450 horsepower and 510 lb.-ft. of torque, a step above the Ram Rebel's 395 horsepower and 410 lb.-ft. of torque for its Hemi V-8 and 8-speed automatic.
Four hundred fifty horses are amazing output for a V-6 and the Raptor offers the driver a choice of terrain setting — normal, sport, weather, mud/sand, Baja or rock/crawl — by simply pushing a button on the steering wheel.
The Raptor has a 7-inch wide running board on each side; Jan said it is too high, though. I measured it at 17 inches, rather high. I called Dale and Sandy Wells, vacationing in Scottsdale with their new Ram Rebel, asked what the rail-step height is for their pickup. With the air suspension lowered, it is only 12 inches, Dale said, and with the Rebel raised to highest level, the rail is 18 inches from the ground.
Pricing for the Raptor SuperCab 4X4 begins a bit above $50,000; the loaded-up review model carries a sticker price of $63,245.
The Raptor is aluminum-bodied, as F-150s have been the past two years. Its overall fuel mileage was just above 17 miles per gallon.
My drive of the Ford F250 Super Duty King Ranch Crew Cab was through the foothills near Masonville and over some of the Green Ridge roads north of the Big Thompson Canyon in Larimer County.
As big as it is, and its wheelbase is nearly 160 inches, it is a nimble performer. It, too, is aluminum-bodied, an intended improvement made for this model year in the heavier-duty pickups.
The turbodiesel with the 6-speed automatic transmission is a strong hill-climber in the lower gears. It will cruise a rolling highway at 18 miles per gallon of diesel fuel (34-gallon tank); in the city and up and down hills, the average will fall noticeably. My overall average with the truck was 15.9 mpg.
Base price on the Crew Cab King Ranch is $57,455. Add the turbodiesel at $8,595 and other options, such as chrome package, 20-inch aluminum wheels, lane-keeping alert and spray-in bedliner, and the sticker price reaches $76,275.
Bud Wells, a native of Wray, is a former Page 1 editor of the Denver Post and has reviewed automobiles for the past 40 years. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.