As cool as the Raptor was when it debuted last year, there wasn't a whole lot to appreciate under the hood. Massive suspension modifications were enough to make the Raptor a hit among the niche set of off-roaders that wants to go fast in the sand but doesn't really want to build their own trucks. If you've never experienced a lifted truck with a properly dialed-in suspension, the Raptor is probably the most amazing truck in the world. But it came with a boat anchor for an engine.
A year later the same truck has an all-new 6.2-liter V-8 rated at 411 hp, an impressive 101 hp increase over the 5.4-liter V-8 offered before. One would imagine this increase in power totally transforms the truck, but that's not quite the case. With a 3-ton curb weight to overcome, the 6.2-liter engine still feels lackadaisical when you floor the gas pedal. Is it better than the 5.4? Certainly. But the 5.4-liter was not very good to start with, and the 6.2 doesn't significantly raise the performance bar for $3000.
Ford has made huge strides with its powertrain offerings in the past few years, in vehicles like the Fusion Hybrid and anything with an EcoBoost V-6. Hopefully the performance vehicles will be treated to worthwhile, modern powerplants soon. I'd love a Raptor that had the engine performance to match its aggressive looks.
- Phil Floraday, Senior Web Editor