First Drive: 2011 Ford F 150 SVT Raptor trucks reviews ford first drives auto articles
2011 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor. Click image to enlarge

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Ford F-150 SVT Raptor

Manufacturer’s web site
Ford Motor Company of Canada

Review and photos by Jil McIntosh

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2011 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor

Sault Ste Marie, Ontario – If you could bottle “yee-haw,” Ford’s Raptor would be on the label. Get ready, because I’m going to gush. I fell hard for this truck, a riff on the F-150 by Ford’s SVT performance division, when it was introduced for 2010. That’s when I drove it across a California desert floor at 120 km/h while cresting ridges that might have broken other trucks in half. Now it’s back for 2011 with a bigger engine, better transmission control and a new available cab configuration. What’s not to love?

One of the most specialized vehicles Ford has ever built, the Raptor is big, pricey and thirsty, and it’s overkill for the majority of drivers. For those who take their trucks seriously off-road, though, it’s the closest thing you’ll get to a home-built desert racer, and it does it straight out of the box. It has the ability to crawl over pretty much anything, as other four-by-fours can. Where it differs is that it can do it at speed, thanks to its suspension.

First Drive: 2011 Ford F 150 SVT Raptor trucks reviews ford first drives auto articles
First Drive: 2011 Ford F 150 SVT Raptor trucks reviews ford first drives auto articles
2011 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor. Click image to enlarge

For 2010, the Raptor came only as a SuperCab, with small rear-opening rear doors, and with a 5.4-litre V8 that churned out 320 horsepower and 390 lb-ft of torque. For 2011, the SuperCab is joined by a four-door SuperCrew, and both models now come strictly with a 6.2-litre V8 that supplies 411 horses and 434 lb-ft of torque. Insert manly grunt here.

It isn’t cheap. The SuperCab starts at $53,199, while the SuperCrew begins at $55,199, both with a standard luxury package including heated leather seats, dual-zone auto climate control, power-folding mirrors, remote starter and premium audio (but hold your nose when looking south, where a similarly-equipped model from a U.S. dealer goes for about $8,400 less). But you undoubtedly couldn’t build a truck of its ability for the price, and you definitely can’t turn a regular F-150 into a Raptor. The exterior styling is different; the front and rear tracks are wider, as is the body so it will fit; the interior has several unique touches; several suspension parts are Raptor-specific; and the Fox Engineering triple-bypass shocks that give it much of its ability can’t be purchased anywhere unless a Raptor is attached to them.

Ford’s “productivity screen,” an in-dash LCD readout of various functions, is borrowed from the Super Duty, but for this purpose, it includes a special Raptor-only off-road screen that shows the four-wheel settings, vehicle angle and the angle of the front wheels. Even the V8 has been twigged: while the engine is used in a few other F-Series models, the Raptor has a unique firing order to give it a more aggressive sound. And oh, does it ever sound good.

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