It's tough to blend in when you're driving a Molten Orange F-150 riding on 35-inch tires with the widened stance that come with Raptor-ization. Everywhere I took this truck people were pointing, commenting on it, or just staring at it. I bought a new chest freezer from a home improvement warehouse that had dozens and dozens of pickups in the parking lot. Some of them were modified, some were pulling big trailers, but only one of them drew a crowd and it was the SVT Raptor. Most people didn't know the Raptor rolled off the assembly line looking exactly like it did in that parking lot (save the freezer in the bed) but they all knew it was awesome.
If you think the Raptor is too expensive, you haven't priced out an F-150 lately. If you're looking for the 6.2-liter V-8 that's standard (and your only engine choice) in the Raptor, you'd need at least a Lariat trim level, which, equipped with a crew cab and 4wd, will start at $44,125 with destination. By comparison, the Raptor is $45,290 when equipped with a comparable bed and cab. That's a mere $1165 for the SVT suspension and tire upgrades. I understand that the Lariat comes with more luxury features, but the amount of engineering effort that went into the Raptor is an incredible bargain.
I'd jettison every option on this test truck except the Raptor plus package that includes a trailer brake controller and rearview camera for $595. Then I could have the ultimate half-ton pickup for $45,885. It isn't cheap, but the only Ford vehicle that even comes close to being this exciting is the Mustang Boss 302. Call me crazy, but I say it's worth the extra money to have the ability to cross any terrain you can find, at highway speeds. Heck, the Raptor just might be the ultimate vehicle, provided you don't spend much time in urban environments.
Phil Floraday, Senior Web Editor