Ford’s burly, go-anywhere F-150 SVT Raptor will receive a handful of upgrades for the 2012 model year. Some are aimed at making the truck even more capable off-road, while others are merely tweaks to visual and equipment packages.
The big news for rock-crawling aficionados is the addition of a Torsen limited-slip front differential. It helps the truck when scrambling up obstacles or steep inclines by making sure that torque is apportioned to the front wheel with the most traction. Ford’s Special Vehicle Team worked with Torsen to match the new differential with the Raptor’s brake-based traction-control system, and to specially modify the differential housing to cope with the prodigious torque requirements of the Raptor. The new differential was tested over SVT’s special 1000-mile “torture test” off-road course.
Also new is an optional front-facing camera mounted in the truck’s grille, which allows drivers to get a clearer view of obstacles ahead that might be obscured by the truck’s big hood. When activated via the instrument-cluster menus at speeds below 15 mph, the camera transmits images to the F-150’s navigation system screen. The camera even has a dedicated washer nozzle to keep it clear of dust and grime while out on the trail.
“We found the system particularly useful for avoiding large rocks or placing a tire on a rock,” SVT chief engineer Jamal Hameedi said in a statement. “It can even take the place of the spotter at times.”
Visual updates include a new bodyside graphic featuring the same Raptor logo already available as a hood graphic. Gloss, matte, and textured finishes combined with jagged shapes make for a “racing and off-road feel.” Inside, a new matte anodized blue accent package comprises blue accents on the leather seats, as well as blue accent plastic on the center stack and door panels. There also are new aluminum trim pieces for the instrument cluster and center console.
Finally, cooled seats join the F-150 Raptor’s Luxury package, and a new Euroflange wheel design is available.
Otherwise, the Raptor is unchanged for 2012. It continues to be offered in both SuperCab and SuperCrew bodystyles, with the latter accounting for about 80 percent of sales. The 6.2-liter V-8 engine, rated for 411 hp and 434 lb-ft of torque, remains the standard means for sending the truck barreling over all sorts of terrain.