2018 Ford F 150 Raptor SuperCab First Drive: Dakar Truck For The Family

 

And yet, inside is all eight-way electrically adjustable seats, cruise control, reverse parking cameras and the same Sync 3 infotainment system you’d find in a Ford Focus family car. There are roof-mounted switches to allow customers to install a variety of extra-light bars and fog lamps for off-roading; and as you’d expect for a life on the road, there is plenty of storage including an armrest-cum-coolbox that is the size of a miniature beer fridge.

 

Want more proof that this is a genuine, pre-eminent dune basher? A completely stock version of this car finished 49th in the gruelling Baja 1000 off-road endurance race. If that’s not putting your money where your mouth is, we don’t know what is…

How does it drive?

Like somebody tackling snow drifts in Alaska ended up taking a very wrong turn to Andover. It also feels incredibly fun, like Ford wanted to create the best possible BMX bike for grown-ups. Before we get all giddy with off-roading excitement, we need to address the sheer size of the thing. The Raptor may be the smallest model in the F-Series range, but in the land where Jack Russell terriers look big, an all-American truck that measures 5.6m long and 2.5m wide is somewhat lost in translation.

 

Merely climbing on board elicits the same feeling of vertigo as scaling a stepladder to clean your bedroom windows. Once you’re in the armchair of a driving seat and have acclimatised to the reduced oxygen levels at this altitude, you’ll be struck by the oversized nature of the controls and how relatively compact the cabin feels. Much like the Land Rover Defender, a boxy, huge exterior doesn’t mean a spacious cabin and although the Raptor features a pair of coach doors to improve access, the second row of seats are barely acceptable for children. More attention, it seems, has been laboured on the truck bed, which features plenty of integrated hooks and latches, plus the optional spray-in liner and integrated tailgate step.

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2018 Ford F-150 Raptor

The Raptor’s sheer bulk makes driving through sleepy English towns quite stressful, like being on permanent red alert. Multi-storeys are out, you’re constantly being jiggled around at low speed, you’re fixated on not creating huge road blocks and even city cars cause you to elicit involuntary intakes of air as they squeeze past you. We’re not sure you’d notice if you hit them anyway…  

 

Yet all is forgiven for that performance. It’s almost good enough to convince you to move to the desert, or at least turn off the main road. Flatten the right pedal on any road or muddy track and after a brief pause from the 10-speed automatic gearbox, the colossal tyres scrabble for grip and the Raptor barrels to 60mph in 5.3 seconds, before continuing with the unstoppable force of a German Shepherd that's spotted a steak on the floor. The steering is woolly and vague on the road, but it makes more sense when the surface is broken and the path unclear.

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2018 Ford F-150 Raptor

There are five driving modes to play with: Normal gives you 2WD for the day to day, Weather for when it gets damp, self-explanatory Rock Crawl or Mud & Sand and the full fat Baja mode, which relaxes the traction- and stability-control systems. The Raptor possesses an unfeasible amount of agility in Baja mode, engaging the vehicle in high-range four-wheel drive, and preparing the transmission to upshift as infrequently as possible. Not only can it perform muddy donuts with a single input of the steering, it'll do big yumps, too - the top spec hydraulic bump stops offering some essential suspension cushion. It’s hugely addictive fun, until you realise you’re ripping up a field in a 2.5-tonne truck and you’re getting 11mpg.

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2018 Ford F-150 Raptor

Should I buy one?

On the right road, preferably one that is fast, empty, accommodating to wider, heavier machinery and doesn’t even look like a road, the Raptor is magical. On the wrong road, it’s basically a very impractical bus. And here’s a UK-specific rub: unlike other models in the Ford Performance folio, the F-150 Raptor has no global remit and isn’t offered for official sale in Britain.

 

Prices for the SuperCab model we tested start from $49,520 in the USA, or less than £36,000. Unfortunately, after considering shipping fees, import duties and type approval, an independent import specialist would have to charge nearer £80,000 for the same vehicle. And that’s for a Raptor still in wrong-hand drive.  For that price and that much effort, you’d have to really want one.

 

2018 Ford F-150 Raptor Supercab Base Price£85,000 (via independent import specialist) Engine3.5-litre twin turbo V6 petrol Transmission10-speed automatic Drive TypeFour-wheel drive Output444bhp at 5000rpm; 510lb ft at 3500rpm 0-62 MPH5.3 secs Fuel Economy16mpg Seating Capacity4 Cargo Volume1495-litres

Source : https://uk.news.yahoo.com/2018-ford-f-150-raptor-072537644.html

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