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Next-Gen Ford F-150 SVT Raptor Spied: Changes Ahead?

If there's one vehicle name implies big off-roading capability, it's Raptor. With the all-new 2015 Ford F-150 starting production this summer, our spy photographers brought us our first look at the next-gen Ford F-150 SVT Raptor, and we're hoping whatever changes are ahead won't compromise the truck's no-nonsense reputation.

This Ford F-150 SVT Raptor looks to be based on the new aluminum body from the 2015 Ford F-150, but with several tweaks for off-road use. By and large, the visible updates we can make out are unsurprising. The mule we spotted was disguised to obscure a new grille and hood design, while new fender flares, wheels, and heavy-duty tires speak to the car's Raptor bones underneath.

We did get a solid look at the rear wheel wells, where there are no longer blue Fox Racing shock absorbers as in the current Ford F-150 SVT Raptor. These shocks do look to be upgraded from those on the standard 2015 Ford F-150, so it's possible SVT just changed suppliers, or that these are early test examples without the cool paint.

The biggest question mark concerns, of course, what's under the hood. Our spy shooters said that when the driver of the prototype saw he was caught, he gunned the throttle and the resulting noise sounded more like an EcoBoost V-6 than a V-8 engine. The Ford F-150 SVT Raptor currently uses the top-trim 6.2-liter V-8 delivering 410 hp and 434 lb-ft of torque. Ford's twin-turbo EcoBoost V-6 delivers fewer horsepower but similar torque, at 365 hp and 420 lb-ft of torque. That said, given that the new 2015 Ford F-150 is said to shed as much as 700 pounds compared to the old model, a new Raptor should go on a similar diet and thus might not need as much horsepower to motivate it over desert trails.

In addition to the available EcoBoost V-6, the 2015 Ford F-150 also features an available 2.7-liter EcoBoost V-6. At the bottom of the engine lineup lives the 302-hp naturally aspirated V-6, while the 360-hp, 5.0-liter V-8 can be found further up the ladder. While we doubt the 2.7-liter engine would be used in a new Raptor, it's not inconceivable we'd see the V-8 used.

Few cars deliver on their mission the way the outgoing Ford F-150 SVT Raptor does, and we found that out first hand on a trip across Utah off-road in one last year. "It can make a driver feel invincible," we said after surviving the tough trip unscathed. "It took us places we otherwise never would have experienced and rescued us from a couple of places we didn't want to be."

Let us know in the comments what you'd like to see from the upcoming next-gen Ford F-150 SVT Raptor, and check back regularly for more details on the next addition to the 2015 Ford F-150 family.