The Ford F-150 SVT Raptor pickup truck, in production since 2009, has become an icon for more than just off road enthusiasts providing an off road ready vehicle that can be used every day around town and on the highway giving aggressive performance with lots of comfort and convenience in any situation.
Our impression, following our latest test drive the last two weeks, is that the 2013 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor is the best one yet and, without a doubt, the king of factory built off road pickup trucks.
In fact, it is the only production level pickup truck that comes out of the factory ready for off roading in the desert, along the beaches, over the hills through rock strewn terrain, across creeks and rivers and just about everywhere a Raptor owner (or family) may wish to go.
The 2013 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor has become more popular each year and, for 2012, had its best sales year yet selling well over 13,000 of the Raptors which have a beginning price point of $43,630 and with optional additions, can price well over $50,000 equipped as the buyer likes.
We have spent a considerable amount of drive time during 2012 in the 2013 Ford SVT Raptor both on the highway and off road.
Our most recent Raptor experience was over the Christmas holiday where we drove a factory fresh 2013 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor 4X4 SuperCrew clad in the new Terrain earth-toned exterior color that priced, with delivery, at $53,595.
With the black interior and seats plus the luxury trim touches, this one was a beauty and attracted lots of attention in our travels.
This 2013 F-150 SVT Raptor for this test drive was fitted out as a SuperCrew (SuperCab is still available) with the standard 6.2L V8 engine (most powerful in its class) generating 411 horsepower @ 5,550 rpm and delivering 434 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4,500 rpm through its six-speed SelectShift Automatic transmission with tow haul mode.
The EPA estimated fuel economy for the 2013 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor is 11/16 mpg city/highway. During our two weeks of driving around Austin plus trips out onto local Texas highways beyond Fredericksburg and then down through Luckenbach, Sisterdale on to San Antonio and back, we were able to achieve 14.8 mpg combined over the period.
The Raptor V8 runs on regular unleaded gasoline and with the 36 gallon fuel tank, has an estimated range of almost 500 miles based on an average fuel economy of just over 13 mpg.
The Raptor comes only in a 4X4 configuration with a 4WD electronic shift-on-the-fly capability for the transfer case. The front axle features the Torsen differential (balances traction between both front wheels) with 4.10 to 1 gearing. The rear axle is also 4.10 to 1, with an electronic-locking differential. Equipped with that 4.10 to 1 rear end, the Raptor has tow capacity of 8,000 pounds.
Standard and optional equipment on this Raptor included: locking removable tailgate, running boards, HID projector headlights (new for 2013), tow hooks, spare tire and wheel locks, hill descent control, industry-exclusive internal triple-bypass FOX Racing Shox™ dampers, skid plates, remote start, rear view camera, trailer brake controller, trailer tow package, AdvanceTrak Stability Control and a tire pressure monitoring system.
The Raptor also included heated and cooled leather and cloth trimmed front seats, 10-way power adjustable driver and passenger seating that feature Raptor-specific bolsters to keep the driver and first-row passenger firmly in place, regardless of terrain conditions.
Other features were the dual zone electronic air conditioning, leather wrapped steering wheel, power adjustable pedals and the Ford SYNC with MyFord Touch system that included hands-free voice-activated control of a driver’s mobile device and the truck’s audio system.
The IP cluster featured a (new for 2013) 4.2-inch multifunction LCD screen for the MyFord® driver connect technology plus an 8-inch center stack touch screen with five-way controls mounted on the steering wheel. This system also included the optional voice-activated Navigation System using the 8-inch screen. The imbedded Sony audio system provided CD and USB capability plus HD and SiriusXM radio connectivity.
The 2013 Raptor included the new direct-from-the-factory 17-inch forged-aluminum conventional wheels that had been upgraded to extra-capable beadlocks (new for 2013). The Ford exclusive Beadlock wheels secure the edges of a tire to the wheel between two surfaces so the tire is unlikely to roll off the rim if it’s aired down to very low pressure, providing extra grip on the trail. The tires were LT315/70R17 All Terrain.
And, of course, this Raptor had the front camera off road terrain visibility system installed which features a unique washing system to keep the lens clear when off roading.
The special box side Raptor graphics package completed this 2013 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor 4X4 SuperCrew pickup truck.
With sales increasing and more new Raptor owners aspiring to fully experience their Raptor, Ford announced in October, the Ford Racing Raptor Assault program. Ford Racing Raptor Assault allows the Raptor owner the opportunity to learn how to and then actually experience all of the exciting capability that the Raptor has available on a state-of-the-art off road course and taught by professionals
Ford has made available the Raptor Assault program at Miller Motorsports Park in Utah to allow drivers of all skill levels to get behind the wheel for their own extreme off-road adventure. A variety of terrain, including an eight-acre rock-crawling course, a 22-acre high-speed off-road short course, and a 900-acre desert racing course are available to demonstrate Raptor’s array of off-road capabilities.
Three experiences are offered: a hot laps ride-along program; a three-hour Raptor Assault Experience that includes driving on the rock-crawling course and off-road short course, plus hot laps with a professional driver; and a one-day school that includes driving on all three off-road facilities in addition to hot laps with a professional driver. Special discounted pricing is available for Raptor owners.
As we mentioned, earlier in July 2012, we did a city and highway first drive of the 2013 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor reporting our findings in an article published July 11, 2012.
In October we drove the 2013 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor at the Texas Auto Writers Association (TAWA) annual Truck Rodeo multiple times over the two-wheel and four-wheel off competition road courses. The 2013 Raptor won the Off Road Truck of Texas honors at that event as I reported in an article published Oct. 23, 2012.
Still with no competition in its production off road pickup segment, the Ford F-150 Raptor looks to continue to add fans and owners both on and off the road beyond 2013.