2021 Ford F-150 Raptor is not made with Paris in mind

By Casey Williams

Two of my dearest friends came to visit from Paris this week.  One of them was a marketing manager for Peugeot Citroen in Paris for years, so when he saw the redesigned Ford F-150 Raptor, he clearly knew he wasn’t in France anymore.  But, he was impressed with all of the changes made to Ford’s big bad desert runner (and to more rational F-150s) for 2021.  Think of it as a brute that’s spent some time in finishing school.

Neither Peugeot nor Citroen ever built a clawed beast like this.  I mean, look at its jacked up ground clearance, wide black grille with FORD in block letters, and giant finned air extractor in the hood.  Military grade aluminum panels are protected by ample black plastic around the wheels, across the rear, and wedged between the front fenders and doors.  The long four-door Crew Cab body promises an expansive cabin and looks especially fetching in orange paint with black decals.  Nobody could miss seeing it on hunting grounds – or your favorite stomping grounds.

Big changes include the F-150’s new widescreen infotainment system, flatscreen gauges, and B&O audio system.  Deeply bolstered sport seats are supportive and comfortable with suede/leather upholstery and heat/ventilation up front.  A thick heated leather-wrapped steering wheel, dual-zone automatic climate control, and carbon fiber package further dress the cabin.  Power-stow the gear selector, flip open the center work surface, plug into the household outlet, and connect to 4G Wi-Fi to work on the go. Providing wake around this ship are adaptive cruise, automatic emergency braking, 360-degree camera, lane keep assist, and rear cross path detection.

In context of fuel-efficient French compacts, the Raptor’s powertrain is comical…but serious.  Nestled beneath the snarling hood is a 3.5-liter twin-turbo V6 bellowing 450 horsepower and 510 lb.-ft. of torque, routed to the four-wheel-drive system through a 10-speed automatic transmission.  Feel free to configure the Terrain Management System for modes like Slippery, Sport, Tow/Haul, and Baja.  Fuel economy, of course, is horrendous at 15/18-MPG city/highway.  The new V8 option for 2022 is sure to make it even more disgusting.  Sounds good to me.

More than deep lungs, a bird of prey needs tools to kill.  This one rides with a five-link rear suspension and protects its delicate bits with skid plates.  Active shock damping provides a comfortable pavement ride and can transform to knock the clips off of rough trails.  Off-road tires cuddling 17” wheels are a soft cushion no matter the driving surface.  Especially on city streets, the truck’s size is apparent, but it turns sharp and is bolstered by a full array of cameras and lane keeping tech.  It doesn’t even fit in American parking spaces well, but it’s not difficult to drive…provided you aren’t smashing up Renaults on the side streets in Paris.

As you could have guessed, the sticker price is more appropriate for a Lincoln than Peugeot.  Raptors start at $64,145, but came to a desert-churning $78,545 as tested.  Competitors include the equally angry Chevy Silverado ZR2 and Ram TRX.

Storm Forward!

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2021 Ford F-150 Raptor
5-passengers, 4WD Pickup
Powertrain: 3.5-L TTV8, 10-spd

Output: 450 hp/510 lb.-ft. 
Suspension f/r: Elect Ind/Ind

Wheels f/r: 17”/17” alloy
Brakes f/r: disc/disc
Must-have features: Style, Capability
Fuel economy: 15/18-MPG city/hwy
Assembly: Dearborn, MI
Base/as-tested price: $64,145/78,545