Ford and its specialists at SVT clearly spent a lot of time and money transforming the workaday F-150 into this insane, desert-darting monster. It's got new body panels, lights, interior trim, and, last but not least, suspension and tire upgrades that couldn't have been cheap. And neither is the Raptor itself, at $39K. Regardless, this is one of the coolest factory-built trucks in history, along with the F-150 Lightning, the Dodge Ram SRT10, the Dodge Li'l Red Express, the GMC Typhoon and Syclone, and, arguably, the Chevy SSR.
I can't see actually owning a Raptor unless I had somewhere to drive it, ideally the desert. Like Joe, I see the mondo F-150's width as a negative: it's the only vehicle I've driven that's short enough (just barely) to fit in our parking structure but wider than the painted parking spaces. It's an absolute shame to drive the Raptor on paved roads at posted speeds, too. That said, I flew down some bumpy dirt roads on my evening with the Raptor, and the truck was incredible; at 75 mph, it was as smooth as 75 would be on a glasslike interstate.
I agree that the Raptor's audience is small, but Ford should have no problem moving the small number - 1500 --that it plans to build for the 2010 model year, as David Zenlea noted in our first drive of the Raptor.
Rusty Blackwell, Copy Editor