Ford's F-series trucks have a long history of winning awards. Those awards translate into sales, so Ford, as other manufacturers, compete for a lot of the major awards. One of these is being named Truck of Texas by the Texas Auto Writers Association. This award is a large silver 'traveling' trophy, along with bragging rights for a year.
The Ford F-150 SVT Raptor is a tremendously capable off-road vehicle and has previously won the overall title as Truck of Texas. For 2013, the 2014 Raptor was entered in the Off-Road Truck category. Also competing in this group was the 2014 Ford F-250 Super Duty Platinum, 2014 Toyota Tundra 4x4 Crew Max, and the 2014 Chevy Silverado 1500 4WD Crew Cab. The media voters chose the 2014 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor as their choice for Off-Road category winner.
The Raptor was first introduced by Ford in 2009 and was entered into the Texas Truck Rodeo. That first entry, it won the overall title as Truck of Texas. Since then, it has been honored every year by the Texas Auto Writers group.
Ford turned out a large number of their PR folks as well as directors and engineers from Detroit. In fact, most of the major automakers did the same thing to support their entries. The event was held at the historic Knibbe Ranch near Bulverde, Texas, between San Antonio and Austin. The location includes a large portion of the famed Guadalupe River and the Hill Country.
“Members of Texas Auto Writers pushed Raptor to the limit on one of the most rugged off-road courses in Texas,” said Doug Scott, Ford truck group marketing manager. “Raptor again showed why it’s the most capable off-road pickup in America, as well as America’s favorite.”
The Raptor has always been designed for off-roading and has continously been upgraded and improved each year. The 2014 Raptor offers a new Special Edition that adds a lot of interior and exterior upgrades so as to appeal to those truck buyers who want a little more luxury without compromising off-road performance.
Several items of note about the Raptor is that it is seven inches wider than the base F-150 pickup. That allows additional suspension components that enhance the off-road capabilities. Internal triple-bypass shocks allow 11.2 inches of front suspension travel and 12.1 inches at the rear. This allows the Raptor to handle more challenging and rough terrain at high speeds without the need to slow to a crawl. If the rock crawl is needed, there is an electronic locking rear differential and limited-slip front differential.
The SVT Raptor is powered by a 6.2-liter V8 engine that spits out 411 horsepower. The engine is matched with an electronic six-speed SelectShift automatic transmission that includes tow-haul mode.
I was privileged to take the 2014 Ford Raptor over the complete off-road course at the Truck Rodeo, although some journalists cut back on the driving time for each of the vehicles. My personal experience with the Raptor is that it will easily tackle anything, whether mud, sand, water, rocks, ice, or snow. It forded through streams with ease. It climbed over severe rock formations without a whimper. On the smoother roadways, it is comfortable and relaxing to drive.
The 2014 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor deserves the title of Off-Road Truck of Texas that it earned at the 2013 TAWA Truck Rodeo.