First introduced for the 2010 model year, the “Raptor” name was initially applied only to the Ford F-150 and designated a trim developed with high performance and incredible power in mind. Since then, it has primarily remained an F-150 exclusive designation, at least here in the US, but with this coming model year, that’s all set to change. Just two years ago, you’d have found only one Raptor option at your local Ford dealer, but now there will be four different vehicles bearing this name and demonstrating Ford’s commitment to power and topping their competitors when it comes to high performance.
The familiar F-150 Raptor remains, though it’s better than ever and continues to set the standard for what I expect from a high-performance pickup. Joining it is the F-150 Raptor R; you might not think that one extra letter can mean all that much, but you’ll see that it goes far beyond what the standard Raptor brings to the table. The Ford Bronco, which has proven incredibly popular since its return, joins the F-150 with a Bronco Raptor model that boasts massive tires and incredible power. Perhaps best of all, after teasing us for a few years with the Ranger Raptor that’s been available in other countries, it’s finally coming home for a US release.
The Ford Ranger Raptor
We’ll start with the Ranger Raptor (for the record, that’s just fun to say, try it) for one simple reason: there’s not much known about it just yet. This isn’t the first year ever for the Ford Ranger to have a Raptor model, but the previous Raptor that first launched in 2019 was only offered in some other countries, not here in the US or in Canada. In part, this was because Ford didn’t want to have a Ranger Raptor compete with its own F-150 Raptor, despite the fact that it would’ve provided them with clear competition for the Chevy Colorado ZR2.
But starting later this year, we’ll be seeing the second-generation Ranger Raptor (though it’ll be the first gen for us) hit the streets here in the US. Ford hasn’t revealed much officially about what the US Ranger Raptor will offer, but most sources expect it to utilize a 3.0L V6 engine that delivers 392 hp and 430 lb-ft of torque––this is what other markets will be getting. A ten-speed automatic transmission will likely be paired with this engine, and it should have an impressive suspension to allow for monstrous off-road performance––expect 33-inch tires and some serious shocks on this thing.
The Ford Bronco Raptor
The Ford Bronco is already an amazing choice for an off-road SUV, but Ford seems to always look for opportunities to take “amazing” even further. Case in point: the Bronco Raptor could be argued to be an exercise in excess, but you won’t find that argument coming from me. This thing is an absolute beast, and it elevates, arguably, the best off-road SUV on the market into something that other brands can only dream of offering.
For starters, you’ve got the heart of this monster: a 3.0L EcoBoost V6 engine that delivers 418 hp and 440 lb-ft of torque, paired with a ten-speed automatic transmission. This comes with 37-inch All-Terrain tires and the latest HOSS 4.0 Suspension with FOX Live Valve 3.1 Internal Bypass Semi-Active Dampers. In other words, the suspension on this thing is the best that Ford offers, and it can handle pretty much anything you throw at it, with 13 inches of front-wheel travel and 14 inches of rear travel. Added to that is tech like Trail One-Pedal Drive, Trail Control, and Trail Turn Assist to all make navigating off-road a lot easier.
Strangely, the interior of the Bronco Raptor has some fairly underwhelming standard features like vinyl seating, manual front seats, and a basic seven-speaker sound system. In fairness, it does come with a 12-inch infotainment display and a 12-inch LCD Digital Instrument Cluster, plus a Terrain Management System with seven Goes Over Any Type of Terrain Modes that let you adjust performance to road (and off-road) conditions on the fly. Plus, you can take things further with available options like leather-trimmed seating, a ten-way power driver’s seat, and a ten-speaker B&O sound system.
The Ford F-150 Raptor
Despite sharing space with three other models, the original F-150 Raptor is still as impressive as ever and certainly holds its place among the best trucks on the road. For starters, it’s powered by a 3.5L EcoBoost Twin-Turbo High-Output V6 engine that delivers 450 hp and 510 lb-ft of torque. This is paired with a ten-speed automatic, standard 4×4, and a long travel suspension with unique arm controls and tie rods, plus Fox Racing Shox with Live Valve Technology sport-tuned shock absorbers. It also has a number of fantastic off-road features like numerous selectable drive modes and Trail Control with One-Pedal Drive.
The F-150 Raptor has 17-inch wheels wrapped in BFGoodrich All-Terrain tires, giving it fantastic traction and grip in all kinds of driving situations. Inside this Raptor, you’ll find remarkable sophistication, including leather-trimmed seating with ten-way power driver and front-passenger seats. You can take this even further with available Recaro unique leather and Alcantara suede trim. It has a unique, leather-wrapped steering wheel with thumb pads, plus a 12-inch infotainment display and 12-inch Digital Productivity Screen for the driver, along with a huge selection of advanced tech and comfort features. Plus, this one comes with a B&O Unleashed 18-speaker sound system, so I have no complaints here.
The Ford F-150 Raptor R
There was a time when the F-150 Raptor could brag about setting the bar for high-performance off-road trucks, and nothing else could really touch it. Then the Ram 1500 TRX came out a couple of years ago and everything changed as there was suddenly an off-road pickup with a super-powered HEMI V8 engine and 35-inch tires ready to go where no other truck could (both on the trail and on the race track). Of course, Ford was happy to let Ram get all the attention and definitely wasn’t working on developing a competitor for the TRX.
Oh, wait––Ford “clapped back” with its own 700-hp monster in the form of the F-150 Raptor R, and that extra letter makes all the difference. The Raptor R features a 5.2L Supercharged V8 engine that delivers incredible power and 640 lb-ft of torque, aimed squarely at telling Ram, “Anything you can do, we can do better.” Notice I mentioned the 35-inch tires on the Ram 1500 TRX? The Ford F-150 Raptor R features 37-inch all-terrain tires designed to grip anything and everything they come across, giving the driver incredible traction in any condition.
Building on what they’ve learned with other Raptor models, the F-150 Raptor R features a long-travel suspension with FOX Live Valve shocks specially tuned to go with its supercharged engine. It’s been designed with best-in-class ground clearance just to be sure it can go anywhere its driver imagines and climb any obstacle. The exterior is bold and aggressive, the interior is rich and decadent, and everything comes together to make the Raptor R the new king of the F-150 lineup (at least for now).
What Will the Future Bring?
The Ford Raptor lineup has grown by leaps and bounds over the last year or so, and it will be interesting to see if this is a trend that can continue or simply a reflection of what drivers are looking for right now. It’s clear that Ford is committed to making a selection of powerful, niche vehicles that aren’t for everyone but that are designed to make those who want this kind of power incredibly happy. The big question is whether we’ll see something like an all-electric F-150 Lightning Raptor at some point in the future. At the moment, there’s no sign of that, and it could require that the battery and motor tech for the Lightning become lighter in the years ahead first. That being said, an all-electric, high-performance, off-road model would be a thing of beauty (What would Ford call it? The Velociraptor? Lightning Raptor? Thunder Lizard!?). With Ford working to build a larger Raptor lineup beyond the standard F-150, perhaps this fantasy truck could be closer than we think.