March 16, 2021 Volume 17 Issue 11

Designfax weekly eMagazine

Subscribe Today!
image of Designfax newsletter


View Archives


Manufacturing Center
Product Spotlight

Modern Applications News
Metalworking Ideas For
Today's Job Shops

Tooling and Production
Strategies for large
metalworking plants

All-new Ford Raptor 2021: Grown up but still a rebel

The Ford Raptor line hit the scene in 2009 as the ultimate off-road pickup. Like a rebellious, brawny teenager, the high-performance F-150 was brash, fearless, and unapologetic -- ready to jump and to catch some air. Sitting on 35- or 37-in. tires, the all-new 2021 third-gen F-150 Raptor is stronger and can take some more licks with its updated suspension and its twin-turbo 3.5-liter 450-hp (est.) EcoBoost engine, but it's smarter and more sophisticated too.

Raptor has been a popular line. According to Ford, the F-150 Raptor "has eclipsed the sales of other well-known performance icons. Over the last four years, the previous-generation Raptor cumulatively outsold Porsche's entire lineup of sports cars and also Chevrolet's Corvette."

"Raptor is the original desert truck," said Ali Jammoul, Ford Performance vehicle program director. "We just took it to another level. ... The all-new Raptor splices high-speed off-road performance muscle with advanced technology and connectivity that comes together in a unique Built Ford Tough way."

Available in SuperCrew configuration on a 145-in. wheelbase, Raptor features a fully boxed high-strength steel frame with a high-strength, military-grade aluminum alloy and composite body. The more capable suspension; stronger, taller shock towers; and rear control arm mounting points serve to withstand even the most punishing off-road use.

It is equipped with a third-gen twin-turbo 3.5-liter EcoBoost high-output engine that delivers torque low in the rev range -- right where it counts. It features state-of-the-art turbos and 10.5:1 compression ratio as well as new high-power fans built into the cooling system. With its standard 36-gal capacity, Raptor has a projected EPA-estimated range of more than 500 miles on a full tank of gas.

The Ford-built 10-speed automatic transmission has been upgraded with next-gen controls and is bolted to an innovative torque-on-demand transfer case. A standard electronic locking rear differential and available TORSEN front limited-slip differential are fitted with 4:10 final drive ratios. Maximum payload has increased by 200 lb to 1,400 lb, while maximum towing has also increased 200 lb to 8,200 lb.

A new 3-in. equal-length exhaust system features a patent-pending built-in X-pipe, unique "trombone loop," and first-for-Raptor active valves. The system takes advantage of a true pass-through muffler design that improves sound quality. Customers can configure four sound level modes: Quiet, Normal, Sport, and Baja.

But what really makes for a winner in a high-performance off-road pickup is its suspension. The new F-150 Raptor debuts with completely redesigned running gear. It is reengineered with an all-new five-link rear suspension developed specifically for Raptor, designed to deliver more control and power to the ground with greater confidence over rough terrain at high speeds.

"Raptor is rooted in Baja 1000 racing, and its suspension advances our capability and performance -- a five-link rear setup with more wheel travel than any Raptor before it," said Carl Widmann, Ford Performance chief engineer.

The five-link rear suspension features extra-long trailing arms to better maintain axle position on rough terrain, a Panhard rod, and 24-in. coil springs (the longest in the class). The suspension design combined with more sophisticated engine management software means the truck can put more torque to the rear wheels for quicker starts off the line, faster acceleration, and better throttle responsiveness while simultaneously delivering comfort, stability, handling, control, and traction at speed.

The truck also sports next-gen FOX Live Valve internal bypass shocks with state-of-the-art electronic control that offers position-sensitive damping adjustability. Raptor's largest-ever shocks are designed to better resist heat buildup and to react even faster to terrain changes. The 3.1-in.-diameter anodized aluminum shock bodies are filled with all-new low-friction shock fluid specially designed to decrease frictional losses inside the damper for improved off- and on-road comfort. Readings from suspension height sensors and other sensors around the truck change damping rates independently at each corner at an impressive 500 times per sec.

For the first time, Raptor is available with the largest factory-fitted tires to a production light-duty full-size pickup -- either 35 or 37 inchers. Wearing 35-in. tires, Raptor clears 12-in. obstacles with an approach angle of 31 degrees, maximum departure angle of 23.9 degrees, and breakover angle of 22.7 degrees. Raptor with 37-in. tires features 13.1 in. of running clearance, 33.1 degrees of approach angle, a maximum 24.9 degrees of departure angle, and 24.4 degrees of breakover angle. Three different 17-in. wheels are available; two have beadlock capability.

Desert runners and rock crawlers alike will appreciate the outstanding wheel travel with 35-in. tires, reaching 14 in. at the front and 15 in. at the rear, which is 25% more travel than the first-gen Raptor.

And if you need power on the go, the class-exclusive Pro Power Onboard system means customers can use their truck as a mobile generator. Raptor can be ordered with an available 2 kW of exportable output to run power tools, camp lights, and other equipment.

The exterior has been completely redesigned. It has a distinctive front that emphasizes the truck's width with a "machine-tough" look featuring a power dome hood with blacked-out grille and headlights that stretch fender to fender. The hood has a new heat extractor and functional side vents at the top trailing edge of the fender -- all inspired by the intakes of the F-22 Raptor fighter jet. There are also aggressive front fenders and blacked-out taillights.

There's also a wider front skid plate and durable steel front and rear bumpers that are built for the rigors of off-roading. The rear bumper retains its high-clearance design that tucks the dual exhaust tips high up against the truck. Rigid off-road lighting mounted in the front bumper is also available to help drivers illuminate even the darkest night.

Inside is a high-tech cockpit built for a commanding view in comfort and style. A new standard and customizable 12-in. digital gauge cluster features a large information-on-demand area with Raptor-specific graphics and animations, off-road data, and turn-by-turn navigation. A customizable new 12-in. center screen is standard, allowing owners to split the screen and control multiple functions simultaneously.

The all-new interior features enhanced materials, unique surface finishes, and more storage. A new steering wheel features a laser-etched logo, top centering mark, and aluminum paddle shifters. Seats with large bolsters keep occupants in place, while even more aggressive Recaro buckets are available. Standard aluminum or available carbon fiber interior packages trim the doors, instrument panel, and center console. Lockable, fold-flat rear storage is available.

On the tech side, the Terrain Management System's seven selectable drive modes allow customers to choose the setting best suited to driving conditions, including Slippery, Tow/Haul, Sport, Normal, Off-Road, Baja, and Rock Crawl. Drive modes adjust steering feel, transfer case behavior, stability control, active valve exhaust, active damping system, throttle mapping, and transmission shift points, as well as the display on the digital gauge cluster.

Standard Trail 1-Pedal Drive helps make extreme off-road driving like rock crawling easier. In harsh trail situations, a driver typically must use both pedals, modulating throttle and brake simultaneously, to advance the truck. Trail 1-Pedal Drive simplifies all that, combining those operations into activating just the throttle: press to move forward, release to brake. The truck applies the brakes proportionally as the driver lifts from the accelerator.

Other highlights include standard Trail Control, which operates like cruise control for off-road use, an available 360-degree camera package, and an available 18-speaker B&O Unleashed sound system by Bang & Olufsen.

Over-the-air updates offer the potential for an even smarter Raptor with more capabilities in the future; possible upgrades like trail maps plus Trail Turn Assist could add even more off-road capability. Customers can control their Raptor with FordPass, which is a mobile app that can lock or unlock their vehicle from almost anywhere, check tire pressure and fuel level, and allow control of new truck-focused features like Zone Lighting, Trailer Theft Alert, Trailer Light Check, and available Pro Power Onboard.

Pricing for the all-new 2021 Ford Raptor has not been released, but it should start somewhere just south of $60,000. This truck should be available this summer.

For those customers looking for something even more powerful and extreme, you won't have to wait long. Ford says the new V8-powered Raptor R is coming next year!

Source: Ford Motor Co.

Published March 2021

Rate this article

[All-new Ford Raptor 2021: Grown up but still a rebel]

Very interesting, with information I can use
Interesting, with information I may use
Interesting, but not applicable to my operation
Not interesting or inaccurate

E-mail Address (required):


Type the number:

Copyright © 2021 by Nelson Publishing, Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction Prohibited.
View our terms of use and privacy policy