When a lot of people think “off-road,” the first thing that probably pops into their heads is “Jeep.” That’s understandable; Jeeps have always been designed and marketed toward people that want to leave the road behind. However, that’s no reason to ignore other amazing off-road vehicles that are on the market, especially if a Jeep isn’t right for you – let’s face it, they have their flaws. With that in mind, consider the 2019 Ford Raptor, which is the off-road trim level for the F-150.
The 2019 Raptor has an excellent engine for going off-road, with plenty of power and torque to tackle just about anything. As a dedicated off-road trim, it also comes with a number of features clearly intended for handling difficult trails including fantastic clearance, a Trail Control system to help improve traction, and FOX shock absorbers. Plus, since it is still an F-150, you get one of the most impressive and bestselling trucks on the road in terms of towing and payload limits.
Still not convinced? Well keep on reading and be sure to stick around until you hear about the upcoming V8 engine…
Reason #1 – Great Clearance
Any decent off-road vehicle needs to have good clearance; after all, your ability to get over obstacles on a trail will often rely on it. Without any kind of aftermarket changes or adjustments necessary, though you could always go for a lift kit if that’s what you’re interested in, the 2019 Ford Raptor has nearly 10 inches of clearance. Along with that, it has an approach angle of over 30 degrees and a departure angle of 23 degrees. That means you’ll be able to handle a lot of obstacles and tough terrain without destroying the underside of your truck.
Reason #2 – Trail Control System
With some trucks out there, they have an off-road trim that too-often seems like the manufacturer gave the regular model a special coat of paint, a few neat decals, and slightly larger tires, then called it a day. One of the features I really like about the 2019 Ford Raptor that proves it is designed to go off-road, however, is the Trail Control system, not found on the standard F-150. This system automatically manages your acceleration and braking, sending power to each individual wheel as needed while you’re on the trail. This lets you focus on the “road” ahead of you and deal with any obstacles you encounter, while your truck maintains traction and handles whatever you throw at it.
Reason #3 – The Shock Absorbers
Speaking of throwing things at your truck, the 2019 Ford Raptor also has impressive shock absorbers so you will feel fewer of those bumps and drops. It features FOX Racing Shox 3.0 internal bypass shock absorbers, to be precise, with electronically controlled Live Value technology. This continually adjusts damping in real-time while you are off-road so that they handle more of an impact, and you feel less of it. You’ll still want to be careful out there on the trail, but these shocks give you a smoother ride than you would expect while off-road.
Reason #4 – Beadlock Capable Wheels
This is one of my favorite features of the 2019 Ford Raptor and one of those things that just makes sense. It’s the kind of thing you don’t always think about; then once you see it, you wonder why they’re not on every off-road vehicle. If you have hit any trails with a lot of rocks, then you know that one of the best ways to improve traction is to reduce the air pressure in your tires so they can grip the rocks more effectively. Of course, the danger in doing that is that the under-inflated tires can come off the wheels of your vehicle, which can be catastrophic.
The available Beadlock capable wheels on the 2019 Ford Raptor, however, can basically lock onto your tires. So you can reduce your tire pressure to a safe level in order to improve performance while off-road, and you don’t have to worry about them coming off your wheels. Aftermarket Beadlock wheels are likely available for other vehicles, but the fact you can get these from Ford on a production model at a dealership is just impressive.
Reason #5 – A Powerful Engine
A good off-road vehicle needs a good engine. Sure you might not be looking for something you would find in a high-performance sports car (though if you are, just keep reading) or a heavy-duty pickup, but you still want good performance. The last thing you want to discover is that you don’t have the torque to push up a steep incline when you’re already out on the trail.
The 2019 Ford Raptor has a High-Output 3.5L EcoBoost engine that gives you up to 450 hp and 510 lb-ft of torque. Not only is that excellent performance for an off-road vehicle, but it is paired with 4WD (of course) and a 10-speed automatic transmission. This is a great engine and transmission for handling difficult trails with steep inclines, plus the automatic lets you focus on the path and navigating terrain, not shifting gear.
Reason #6 – Ford F-150 Towing and Payload
You’re not likely to haul a trailer or camper behind you while navigating a difficult off-road trail; however, you might want to bring your camper to a campsite and then hit the trail. If you like to get to a hard-to-reach campsite by going off-road, then being able to load up with more stuff is always great. Since the 2019 Ford Raptor is an F-150 at its heart, you better believe it offers fantastic towing and payload potential.
Depending on how you configure the Raptor, it can have up to a maximum of 1,200 lbs of payload, which lets you load up a lot of stuff into your vehicle before hitting the trail. The Raptor can also have a maximum tow rating of up to 8,000 lbs. This is the perfect vehicle for taking your boat to the lake, unloading it before hitting the trail for a few hours, and then coming back to spend an evening out on the water. Few other off-road vehicles can boast that kind of power and performance. But what if you want more? What if you want something truly special? Well…
Reason #7 – The Super Raptor with V8 Engine
Full disclosure, at the moment this is still rumor but it’s a rumor with a lot of weight behind it and it would be truly shocking if this didn’t come to pass. The current generation of the Ford F-150 is coming to an end in the next couple of years. Most people are betting on the 2021 model is the start of the next generation. As this current generation is brought to a close, however, there will be a very special, limited edition Raptor to send it out with style.
Called by some the “Super Raptor,” this model will feature a V8 engine. But not just any V8 engine – the 5.2L Supercharged V8 engine found in the Mustang Shelby GT500. While it might not be tuned quite the same when it goes into the Raptor, the Mustang model produces more than 700 hp and will make the Super Raptor one of the most powerful off-road vehicles ever seen.
This special edition will be in short supply, however, so you will probably want to head to your local Ford dealer or auto mall to reserve one if you’re interested. Nothing official has been released, but I would expect to see this Super Raptor sometime in 2020, or early 2021 at the latest. Some might call this overkill, but if you want something truly special for hitting the trail, then this will be an experience unlike any other.