YeeHa! It’s the all-new flying Ford F-150 Raptor

2021 Ford F-150 Raptor

All-new running gear for the new Ford Raptor means it should be even better at jumps.

If you’ve seen our latest Ranger Raptor video review you’ll know we’re a big fan of that thing because of how good it is at jumps. Well, the all-new F-150 Raptor has just arrived and Ford reckons it’s the best it’s ever built when it comes to how the thing handles “giant whoops and landings”. We’d love to have a crack.

The engine is carried over from the current truck, but the running gear is all new. So, let’s talk about that then. Ford has binned the old Raptor’s leaf-sprung bum for a new five-link setup featuring extra-long trailing arms to better maintain axle position on rough terrain, a Panhard rod and 24-inch coil springs. And the next-generation FOX Live Valve internal bypass shocks boast a larger 3.1-inch diameter shock body which are quicker than before and the electronic base valves are able to offer more than 1000 pounds of damping per corner and can adjust damping rates 500 times a second. “The truck responds by the time the driver even registers a terrain change,” Ford said.

2021 Ford F-150 Raptor

For the first time, Raptor is available with either 35-inch or 37-inch tyres (specially designed BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A KO2s). Wearing 35s, Raptor clears 12-inch obstacles with an approach angle of 31 degrees, maximum departure angle of 23.9 degrees and breakover angle of 22.7 degrees. Raptor with 37-inch tires boasts 13.1 inches of running clearance, 33.1 degrees of approach angle, a maximum 24.9 degrees of departure angle and 24.4 degrees of breakover angle. On 35-inch tyres you’ll get more wheel travel, reaching 14 inches at the front and 15 inches at the rear – 25 percent more travel than the first-generation Raptor.

“Raptor is the original desert truck. We just took it to another level,” said Ali Jammoul, Ford Performance vehicle program director. “The all-new Raptor splices high-speed off-road performance muscle with advanced technology and connectivity that comes together in a unique Built Ford Tough way.”

2021 Ford F-150 Raptor

“Raptor is rooted in Baja 1000 racing, and its suspension advances our capability and performance – a five-link rear setup with more wheel travel than any Raptor before it,” said Carl Widmann, Ford Performance chief engineer. “And like a trophy truck, every aspect of Raptor has been engineered to deliver precision capability when your foot is flat on the floor, way out in the middle of nowhere roaring across the desert.”

2021 Ford F-150 Raptor

As we mentioned, the engine is the carry-over 3.5-litre twin-turbo V6 but that doesn’t mean we can’t expect a power and torque increase. Although Ford hasn’t said anything about that yet. But if it’s power you want, you’ll need to wait for the Raptor R next year which, rumour has it, will run the supercharged V8 from the Shelby GT500.

Power runs through a 10-speed automatic via a new torque-on-demand transfer case. A standard electronic locking rear differential and cost-optional TORSEN front limited-slip differential are fitted with 4:10 final drive ratios.

2021 Ford F-150 Raptor

Thanks to something called, Power Onboard Raptor can be ordered with an available 2.0 kilowatts of exportable output to run power tools, camp lights and other equipment. Nice.

A new three-inch equal-length exhaust system features a “built-in X-pipe, unique “trombone loop” and first-for-Raptor active valves”. You can configure four sound level modes – Quiet, Normal, Sport and Baja.

The Terrain Management System offers seven selectable drive modes, including Slippery, Tow/Haul, Sport, Normal, Off-Road, Baja and Rock Crawl. Drive modes adjust steering feel, transfer case behavior, stability control, active valve exhaust, active damping system, throttle mapping and transmission shift points, as well as the display on the digital gauge cluster.

2021 Ford F-150 Raptor

To make off-roading a little easier Ford is introducing its Standard Trail 1-Pedal Drive  to Raptor which does away with the need to use both the throttle and the brake. Once activated you only need to use the throttle. Press it to go, release it to stop and the Raptor will automatically apply the brakes proportionally.

F-150 Raptor also comes with standard Trail Control, which operates like cruise control for off-road use. Drivers simply select a set speed and the truck manages throttle and braking to allow them to focus on steering through challenging off-road conditions.

On the inside of the thing there are some new surfaces and new, more aggressive Recaro seats are available as a cost option with the bolsters on standard seats beefed up. Beyond that, it’s all largely the same as the old Raptor which was none too shabby in the interior appointments department.

2021 Ford F-150 Raptor

On the outside there’s a new look front end, with a power dome bonnet and blacked out grille. It’s all a little Bronco-esque. New bonnet vents are said to have been inspired by the intakes of the F-22 Raptor fighter jet. And “Aggressive front fenders emulate the windswept look of dust billowing off the top of the tyres at high speed,” said Ford.

The new Raptor goes on sale very soon, with the we-can’t-wait-for-it, Raptor R coming next year. So, Internet, what do we think?

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Isaac Bober has been writing about cars and 4x4s for more than 20 years, has worked on some of the country's biggest motoring magazines (remember what they were?), and launched Practical Motoring. Now he's back, back again... to share dad jokes and much more.