The 2014 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor is one of the most ridiculous trucks that you can purchase today, and I love it. Designed to conquer deserts, it is an extremely capable off-road vehicle. I’m not the only one who is a fan; the Texas Auto Writers Association voted for the Raptor again as the Off-Road Truck of Texas. I have sampled the Raptor before, but did not get to seriously off-road like I did on the course available at Knibbe Ranch. Let me tell you, it is even more impressive than I had thought!
The Raptor comes equipped with a 6.2L V8 engine making 411hp and 434lb/ft of torque. Accompanying the engine is a serious off-road setup with Fox Racing shocks, skid plates and monster tires. To make rock crawling easier, the Raptor has a front-mounted camera for improved visibility and fully-locking front and rear differentials.
The Raptor definitely looks the part, and on paper seems to have the right hardware, but is it really that capable off-road adventure? Yes. Yes it is. Whether it was forging the stream at Knibbe or climbing a particularly difficult set of rocks, the Raptor handled it exceptionally well. What is really interesting is that the entire course can be run in 2WD with just the rear differential locked. There are parts of the course that most vehicles needed 4WD to work, yet the Raptor just scoffs and makes it look easy.
The best part about rock climbing the Raptor is how effortless it actually does it. When driving in 2WD, the driver can feel the rear wheels slipping across the rocks, but a steady application of the throttle causes the rear differential to lock up and grip, propelling the SVT forward.
Another joy with off-road driving the Raptor is the suspension. When driving across a pockmarked field, driving the Raptor faster actually makes the experience smoother. Unlike many trucks of old, a small change in steering wheel direction actually causes the truck to change direction.
It’s really no wonder that the first American woman to win at DAKAR, Sue Mead, did it in a Raptor.
Driving a Raptor is truly an engaging experience, and you should experience it for yourself while Ford still produces it. All of the praise for this truck is well-deserved. I would’ve been shocked if the Raptor DIDN’T win at the Rodeo!
Note: Vehicle provided by Ford Motor Company for review.