What's the saying? If it ain't broke, don't fix it? Surely this cliché holds true of most things, but the men and women at Ford SVT managed to pull off the improbable: taking the impressive SVT Raptor pickup and making it an even meaner off-road machine. How? With more power, from a brand-new engine.
The newly optional 6.2-liter SOHC V-8 produces 411 hp and 434 lb-ft of torque. That's an improvement of 91 hp and 44 lb-ft of torque over the Raptor's 5.4-liter base engine. The 6.2-liter features all aluminum heads with two valves per cylinder and a cast iron block. Opting for the 6.2-liter engine will tack on an additional $3000, pushing the base price to $41,995.
On our mud-bogged flog through rain-soaked trails at Ford's Romeo, Michigan proving grounds, the 6.2 was very impressive. It exhibited awesome power and sound while pulling out of the toughest of jams, including mowing down a sizeable tree that just so happened to find itself in the way. "The six-two took down a tree!" echoed over the two-way radios. Aiding the Raptor in its off-road fury are meaty BF Goodrich tires that grip tenaciously even in the wet muck. The suspension and the skid plate got a workout as the Raptor tackled obstacles that looked impassable.
Perhaps the best part about the SVT Raptor is not its off-road prowess, but its surprising capability as an everyday work truck on the road. As aggressive as it may look, the Raptor is actually a really comfortable highway cruiser. The tires don't buzz, the engine is quieter than most passenger cars', and the steering feedback is near perfect. The only compromise is the limited passenger space, but that will be addressed later this year when a Crew Cab Raptor is launched as a 2011 model.
The SVT Raptor has been a success, as proven by the more than 4000 units already sold in 2010. And there are over 3000 orders for the 6.2-liter truck. Ford claims that no Raptor has sat on a dealer lot longer than 30 days. At this pace, the Raptor in its first year looks like it will beat the best-ever sales year of the Lightning, SVT's other F-150 effort.