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Ford Launches F-150 SVT Raptor Off a Sand Dune

...Off a Sand Dune!

Michelle Naranjo
by Michelle Naranjo
August 17, 2009

As Ford prepares to commence sales of the redesigned 2009 F-150, the company had a trick up its sleeve for the annual Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) trade show. With the annual Baja 1000 race in mind, Ford introduced an off-road version of the F-150, the 2010 F-150 Raptor. With factory-enhancements from Ford Racing and Special Vehicle Team (SVT), its in-house tuning brand, the F-150 Raptor is one of the most extreme off-road vehicles ever offered from a manufacturer (with the exception of the HUMMER H1).

Somewhere along the line, as gas prices were reaching new record highs every day, Ford engineers thought a purpose-built off-road pickup truck would be a good idea. We’re not too sure how big the market will be for one of these when it’s launched next year (or how many Ford is planning to produce), but with its menacing looks and off-road skills, the new SVT Raptor has been built to handle just about any road condition the driver can put in front of it. A lightly modified version of this truck, the SVT Raptor R, will go up against the harshest conditions imaginable for a truck when it takes on the legendary Baja 1000 race.

Sitting a full seven-inches wider than base F-150s, the 2010 SVT Raptor has an imposing stance and a menacing look. The front and rear fenders are noticeably wider than stock vehicles and a unique appliqué package intensifies the Raptor’s look. Of all the new components Ford uses to give the SVT Raptor the look of a customized off-road race truck, is the ostentatious grille and bumper design. The grille proudly displays Ford’s name in large lettering across the middle (replacing the standard blue oval display), while also housing marker lights, which are usually mounted atop the cab, for an even more menacing presence.

From its looks and stance, the SVT Raptor is a capable off roader, but the true heart of this beast is what it packs underneath the hood and behind the wheels. Two engines will be available for the SVT Raptor. Upon launch, Ford will only offer the 320-horsepower, 5.4-liter Triton V-8 as the sole engine option. After launch, a bigger and more powerful 6.2-liter V-8 will be offered, but no performance figures are available for this engine yet.

Only a few specific details of the Raptor’s modified suspension were released ahead of its SEMA debut. With a new front axle, electronic locking differentials and an exclusive front suspension setup, the SVT Raptor will be capable of impressive suspension travel, 11.2 inches up front and 13.4 inches from the rear suspension. The 2010 SVT Raptor will also mark the first use of internal bypass shocks on a street truck. The shocks, manufactured by Fox Racing Shox, provide increased off-road handling by preventing the Raptor from bottoming out, but Ford says the Raptor still offers adequate on-road ride comfort. Finishing off the suspension are some meaty 35-inch tires – BF Goodrich All-Terrain TA/KO 315/70-17 to be exact – mounted to 17-inch cast aluminum wheels.

Since Ford expects the F-150 Raptor to be more of a play truck than a work truck, it made sure to equip the Raptor with essential standard safety features including AdvanceTrac® with RSC (roll stability control), trailer sway control, integrated trailer brake controller and hill descent control. In addition to all of the other enhancements, Ford equipped the Raptor with two electronically controlled driving modes to optimize off-road driving. The Sport mode allows for better off-road cornering by shutting off the traction control, and the Full Off-Road mode shuts off all electronic stability control programs as well as the ABS for optimal off-road performance.


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