I totally agree with Phil: The original 5.4-liter-powered Raptor begged for more power, but the optional new 6.2-liter engine just doesn't quite satisfy me. You'd think that 411 hp would make just about anything quick, but that's clearly not the case with a tall, three-ton F-150. I'm not saying that the 6.2-liter is a slouch -- I just expected more oomph. On the plus side, at least the new engine teams with the six-speed automatic for more responsive passing. That alone would be worth the extra $3000 to me, since any 5.4-liter F-150 can be extremely sluggish in its kickdown maneuvers.
No matter the engine, the Raptor is a very wild-looking vehicle. I crossed the U.S./Canada border twice on my evening with the big Ford, and the customs agents on both shores of the Detroit River were curious about the truck, but fortunately not in a "Please step out of the vehicle" kind of way. I went to Windsor to retrieve a hard top for an MGB roadster that our New York bureau chief Jamie Kitman recently bought. The Raptor's box isn't huge, but the hard top slid in with no problems, proving that the Raptor is more than just a statement-maker with some racing credibility. The seller of the top was a retired Ford man who was particularly impressed with the truck's finer details, like LED running lights in the grille, aluminum control arms, and double dampers.
Were it not for the antique hard top in the bed, I would've loved to have blasted down some muddy, rutted back roads in the Raptor. Oh well. At least SVT's new truck drives well enough on-road, as long as you're not in tight quarters with other traffic.
- Rusty Blackwell, Copy Editor