Friday, January 7, 2011

Ford Raptor pickup a decidedly mean machine

This review originally appeared in the December edition of the Northern & Central California Cruisin’ News published out of Folsom, California – mg

Sacramento, California – We’ve closed the books on 2010, but while the memory remains fresh, I must tell you about my time in the 2010 Ford F-150 4X4 SVT Raptor.

This is a pickup truck like no other. Calling it a pickup is like calling a Ferrari Enzo a commuter car.

A pickup on steroids? Nope, that doesn’t even come close to describing this Raptor. It’s a hulking, roaring, off-road ripping piece of serious meanness. I actually would do a background check on anyone purchasing this vehicle, because yeah, this Raptor has all the earmarks of a road-bound weapon.

How to describe it? Well, for starters, it’s huge. The grille is the approximate size of North Dakota, and the “Ford” type spanning the grille looks to be as big as the Ford logo adorning the automaker’s headquarters in Dearborn, Mich.

Funky sculpting on the hood and a paint scheme on the back that appears to have been slapped on by the hands of Paul Bunyan only add to the look of menace. My truck was “Molten Orange” with black highlights at the tail.

And oh, how it lives up to the look!

My tester had the primo 6.2 V-8 with the roar of Thor and 400-plus horses that come out like a buffalo stampede. On the freeway, I saw neighboring drivers literally sit bolt-upright when I put foot to gas pedal. Nobody cuts you off in this monster.

The Raptor made child’s play of freeway traffic, yet the steering and turning radius were light and compact enough for easy roving on the downtown streets. Ford brags that the Raptor is engineered to do 100 miles per hour in most off-road conditions. I will confess here and now that I did NOT test that claim, as I did not want to end up in jail or get launched into a neighboring county before I found the brake. But just from what I experienced, I’d say Ford’s brag was all fact.

I showed this Raptor to folks whom I consider to be serious truck people, and they were just flat dumbstruck. That you’ve-got-to-be-kidding-me look in their eyes was enough to tell me that they had just glimpsed pickup heaven … or a truck that would charge full-blast into hell.

Yet for all its Muscle Beach manner, the tester was most civilized inside. Engine noise was annoying only when the truck was asked to give its all. Seats were wide and comfortable. Controls were easy to use. The ride was actually pretty sweet, no small thing given the fact that the body was riding about a foot above the tires and the easily seen, monster-load shocks. The only vibration at moderate speed came from the heavily grooved off-road tires.

If you’re pondering a Raptor to dress up your driveway or for that off-road safari you’ve been planning, be advised that there are no fuel economy ratings for this behemoth of a truck. Yes, the size/weight ratings exceed the government’s requirement for those listings, but rest assured that this particular Ford truck is sucking gas pretty hard when it’s doing hard duty.

The starting price on the tester was $38,020, but a long list of extras (including heated front seats, adjustable pedals and electronic automatic temperature control) pushed the bottom line to an eyebrow-raising $48,175.

I’m not sure what a customizer would want to do with this Raptor, because every mad auto scientist thing already has been done to it coming off the assembly line. Sure, you could lower the body down close to the tires and put a blinding row of halogen lights on top of the cabin, but then it’s just another monster truck ready for car-crushing shows at a local arena.

As for me, I’ll confess to being pretty well intimidated by this Raptor. Better move on into 2011 before I get hurt.

No comments:

Post a Comment