Ford raises performance level of F-150 Raptor for 2018

By Paul Borden

(February 5, 2018) Zero-to-60 mph times are not usually something to be concerned about when dealing with pickup trucks. Towing and hauling capacity, endurance, technology, maybe fuel mileage and/or range mostly come ahead of getting from one spot to another as quickly as possible. But then the 2018 Ford F-150 Raptor is not your usual pickup truck.

Added to the popular F-150 portfolio for 2010 joining other “special trim” models like the Harley-Davidson, Lariat, King Ranch, and Platinum, the second-generation 2018 F-150 Raptor takes truck performance to a new level with zero-to-60 clockings of 5.1 and/or 5.3 seconds depending on who is handling the stopwatch.

That’s at least a second or two quicker than any other pickup and challenging sport sedans for the honors.

The surprising thing is that the Raptor is putting out this kind of performance not with the largest engine in the Ford F-150 fleet — that would a 5.0-liter V8 — but a 3.5-liter, high-output Ecoboost V6, a turbocharged beauty rated at 450 horsepower at 5,000 rpm and a whooping 510 pound-feet of torque at 3,500 rpm.

That’s roughly 55 hp and 110 lb.-ft. more than the V8 and a boost of 40/80, respectively, over the previous Raptor.

You should check your pulse if you’re not impressed with the get-up-and-go the new Raptor delivers.

That power gets to the rear wheels via a 10-speed automatic transmission that is shiftable via steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters, resulting in EPA mileage figures of 15 mpg city, 18 highway, and 16 combined. Not impressive but hey! You’ve got to sacrifice something to get that power. Towing capacity is listed as 13,200 pounds.

Wrapped around this drivetrain is a really nice truck, bold and aggressive in appearance, starting with the unique front grille, but with a sense of decorum on the inside. You can enjoy the muscle car-like sound that emits from the dual exhausts, or you can be slightly less vigorous in pushing the gas pedal and relish the more quiet, dignified response and ride.

It is more than off-road capable with its 4X4, shift-on-fly system and hill descent control, yet comfortable on city streets and highways as well. There aren’t the bumpy ride you can experience in many pickups.

Standard equipment on the Raptor includes Ford’s Boxlink system to aid in cargo handling, a unique Raptor front bumper, auto LED headlamps, running boards, trailer sway control and trailer tow package, manual climate control, leather-wrapped steering wheel, a unique Raptor center stack, paddle shifters, and 17-inch wheels. You get that with the base MSRP of $49,520 (including the $1,195 destination and delivery charge).

Add such available items as an equipment group package that includes a 360-surround view camera (well worth it considering the size of the vehicle), SYNC Connect, and remote start plus a technology package that adds adaptive cruise control, rain-sensing wipers, and lane-keeping assist and the total cost comes to $61,685.

Yes, that’s a lot for a Ford F-150, but the Raptor is a special vehicle.

What I liked about the 2018 Ford F-150 Raptor: The power at your disposal is impressive and makes for a great driving experience when cruising on the highway. The looks are impressive as well, and the cabin is roomy and comfortable. It’s not luxury, but it’s not spartan either. The Sync 3 system is great for operating infotainment functions

What I didn’t like about the 2018 Ford F-150 Raptor: Driving in city settings — i.e., parking lots — is not easy. The Raptor is wide, almost 97 inches including the mirrors and still 83.5 inches with them folded, and it can get uncomfortable in tight situations.

Would I buy the 2018 Ford F-150 Raptor? Well, $60,000 is a lot for a pickup, and even the base price is close to touching $50,000. If I had the opportunity to do a lot of off-roading and the budget permitted, I’d give it a close look.