Quick Drive: 2011 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor SuperCab 6.2-liter V-8

Raptor-5-560

The Ford F-150 SVT Raptor and roostertails go together like bacon and everything. Since it was introduced, we’ve kicked up dirt, mud and rocks with both the original 5.4-liter and new 6.2-liter V-8 versions, but we’ve never carved a Raptor through snow and ice, until now.

Several weeks ago, we headed to Detroit for the 2011 North American International Auto Show. With temperatures hovering in the teens and 20s and sporadic snow showers, the climate could hardly have been more different from our backyard stomping grounds in Southern California’s Mojave Desert.

After spending two days hunting relentlessly for truck news inside Detroit’s Cobo Hall Convention Center from before sunrise until after sunset, we needed a break.

Weather that looked cold and bleak outside while eating shrimp with supermodels — really cold, soggy sandwiches and stale brownies in the company of grumpy, over-caffeinated journalists — turned into a playground for us and our friends from Jalopnik to take a Raptor for a spin (actually, dozens) in the snow.

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On our last day in Michigan, we exited downtown Detroit and piloted a 2011 Raptor SuperCab 6.2 to a lonely parking lot near a Ford plant on the outskirts of Detroit, where several inches of snow had fallen the night before. Only we couldn’t tell it was a parking lot as we stared out from the cockpit of our Tuxedo Black Raptor at acres of virgin white powder that covered the icy pavement beneath.

In past off-road excursions, we naturally shifted the Raptor into four-wheel drive for maximum traction and activated its unique “off-road mode.”

Off-road mode changes the truck’s power delivery and shift points so it performs like a desert racer. Gears are held longer, and throttle response is linear throughout the power band instead of weighted toward the low end during normal driving.

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This time, we deliberately ignored four-wheel drive. Instead, we took advantage of the parking lot’s wide-open space, emptiness and icy conditions and left the truck in two-wheel drive, so all 411 ponies from its 6.2-liter V-8 were sent to the rear wheels.

We didn’t stop with two-wheel drive. We also disengaged the Raptor’s stability, traction and rollover controls and changed the antilock brake calibrations to their mildest settings by pushing and holding the AdvanceTrac (sliding car) button on the dash for 5 seconds.

With the electronic nannies off, it was playtime. The 6.2 quickly revved high into the RPM range as the Raptor’s meaty LT315/70R17 BFGoodrich A/Ts tires sought out the least bit of friction to get the truck moving. Several times, the truck cut throttle at redline like it was on a dyno because its traction control system was sleeping and the ABS was comfortably numb.

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We chucked and skidded the Raptor from one end of the lot to the other as we explored the Raptor’s winter boundaries. We made ice-glazed doughnuts so perfect that Krispy Kreme’s chefs would have had coronaries for their recipe, and we conjured up icy roostertails that floated around the truck as we drifted on the pavement’s slick, black ice like a crazed Zamboni machine re-imagined by Ed "Big Daddy" Roth. By the end of it, we were laughing and smiling as much as school kids sledding on a snow day.

Soon enough, though, we had to call it a day and head to the airport.

As much as we enjoyed playing with the Raptor in the snow and ice, we didn’t come close to exploring how it performs in true off-road conditions in low temperatures. We’re very curious to see how its Fox Racing long-travel suspension — the heart of the Raptor — performs as the thermometer drops. We expect that testing will come later this winter.

For now, we accomplished our mission to create icy roostertails. And we found out the Raptor also sizzles like bacon, even in the snow.

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Comments

Ha ha sounds like you guys had a blast! Can't wait for that cold temperature review! Finally we'll see if it can handle both extremes!

I just dont like the looks of the new Ford F-150 trucks,I tried to like them but I just think they dont look tough,it looks bloated and toy like.This comes from a Ford F-350 owner,and in the market for a half ton daily family ride,and I just am not a fan of the f-150's.They are priced right,I got the best rate around from Ford for my F-350,but I am going to buy from another brand,i like tough looking trucks,not bloated toy looking trucks !

I just think the side view looks like a bloated Nissan Frontier,and its a toyish type truck.I think the Dodge looks the meanest,why cant Ford build a half ton that looks tough ?

I know die hard Ford guys will knock me,but I am right,and owned 12 Ford trucks in the past since the 1997 restyle the F-150's look like a womans truck,though it worked for Ford as women make the largest majority of vehicle decisions.They need a man F-150,not a girly looking F-150,The Raptor looks lame,though its tough but it looks bloated and soft !

Remember this is a Ford guy,so look in the mirror and be honest with yourself !

Cheers !

That nice jj, i guess since you don't like it they should just stop building them!

You are right?

No, you have an opinion. Opinions aren't worth spit.

Bye bye troll.

@Mike

Great Write Up!

Glad to hear that Ford has left the nannies pretty much fully defeatable.

I have a Question though, I read one of your response's to someone last week that said you would be posting a full review of a 2011 5.0L V8 powered F-150 soon? Just curious, how's that comming along? I look forward to reading it!

Anyway thanks for the great truck news, I check this site daily now.

@ Mike,

Sometimes it is just fun to be a kid again.

Blacked out raptor in the snow, looks amazing! Around here, cops would go into freak mode if you chirped the tires for even a second.

@jj,
I dunno mn I think you may be the one with the less manly problem. If you need a truck to boost your manhood then maybe you need to look at yourself. As for the Raptor I will take KBB's opinion that no production truck should look this mean from the factory.

Steve

Come up to Idaho! Perfect place for an off-road snow test of the Raptor! Off-road trails covered with snow and ice dirt rocks or mud underneath! Steep climbs, a few deep drifts......that's what I want to see. If I only had a raptor to lend you guys for the day. I'd like to see if it could make it down the "test road" through our farm.

This Raptor worship has to stop .

i too would love to see the writeup/review on the 5.0. I have been trying to find someone that has covered it for a while now with no luck. I'm actually looking to buy one sometime this week.

Lol@Taylor.


Great story Mike Levine, as always. Tuxedo Black is a great color.


Yummy, Krispy Kreme!!!

I would suspect the Raptor would ride more "stiff" in cold weather until the shock oil heated up.

I have gotten used to the traction control system on my 2010 F150. It is not as intrusive as I initially suspected it would be.
I find it does not kick in unless the back end is hopping sideways or in oversteer (kicks in immediately) or I am badly spinning the tires in a straight line. It does limit driving like a teenager unless you shut it off ;)
I do like the fact that it is programmed to provide the driver some room for their own input.

I parked up against a snow bank to stay off the road while clearing my driveway and got semi-stuck. I had snow up to the headlights on the right side. I tried to gently rock back and forth to get out. The traction control system did not kick in until I applied a heavy foot. Once I did that it applied the brakes to the tractionless wheels and I crawled out. It threw me off at first since I was always taught to be gentle as possible with the gas.
It is a great system. It would be cool to try a Raptor where you could adjust the system to your own preference. Ford should consider passing on that technology to the rest of their pickup line.

What about the Tacoma? Oxi has years of off-road experience and experience in actual desert races. He doesn't like the Raptor. Oxi will take the Tacoma hands down! The Tacoma is much smaller and better off-road vehicle to build upon for LESS MONEY. If you want to believe what a tester said after spending just a few moments with a Raptor in a parking lot, you are sheep! LOL.

B.O.- That is too funny!

Nice story. It makes me jealous.

Daddy, I want a Ford F-150 S.V.T.Raptor and I want it NOW!

@ mike L you can bring one to North Dakota it is presently 10 below and a bunch of snow on the ground, Ill even help you find the real fun spots

@Mike
Any clue for us who want to know where you will be testing the Raptor in snow and the cold? I'm glad you had fun in Detroit playing around in an empty lot. Good to feel like a teenager again if only for a brief moment. Lol!
I always hate not seeing 4X4's not being tested in snow in the truck magazines. For those of us who live where we get winters it is good to know how these trucks hold up in winter weather. I always find it best to weigh down the back end with some bags of sand. It sure helps with traction in the winter and helps keep the back end more stable.
So how about a winter shoot out for us? I'd love to see one done.

Tacoma vs Raptor shootout.

Make it happen.

Mike Levine, Question: Whats the differents in the Fx4 n the 4x4, I know they are off road, is it just the decals? Just like Chevy Z71 n a 4x4??? Thanks...

@Tacoman,

Only if the Tacoma can do it in mid-air.

Ya, i agree with mattF, where are all the F150 5.0 reviews??? Its not like everyday the f150 get a brand new motor.

Based on everything released on the Ford Raptor I really thought I was going to be jonesing one, but my local dealership has one out front and I gotta say...its not doing it for me yet. Didnt drive it yet, but on looks alone another Tacoma win in my book.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/carlover2120/5222439088/

A winter shootout would be cool (pardon the pun).
It would give you the best idea as to who's traction control system, differential locker system, trailer sway system was the best.
The biggest issue would be variation due to stock tires. The way around that would be to put the same winter tires on all of the trucks.
I have to deal with the heater being on much more often than the AC.
How well do wipers, heaters, and mirror defrosters work in the cold?
The fancy stuff like retractable side steps can freeze in place. Backup cameras get coated in snow. Even brakes can freeze. Same goes for doors and locks.
I'd love to see a winter shootout.

Oxi is building his 2010 Tacoma and finished Phase I of his BOTT build. He is building it as a military tactical truck like the Marines MTVR (which I served back in the early 90's) where it will have to perform off-road and still carry payload.

Hint: the MTVR is fully independent with coil springs, straight axles are a thing of the past folks!

Oxi will be putting the Tacoma to the limits of a pickup with off-road, larger tires and payload. He may not be pulling the big trailer but his rig will not be built for that, that is why he has the 2.7 liter engine.

That is the reason to choose Toyota over the domestics because of the ability to off-road and you cannot get that with the domestics without spending some $$$.

Bring on the 2011 offroad shootout!

The tacoma could not compete with the raptor, sorry. The tacoma is a stout little truck, don't get me wrong, and you can beat the tar out of them and they just keep going, but it doesn't compare with the raptor when it comes to speed in the desert. That is what the raptor was designed for. The only things a tacoma could out perform the raptor at are, when the trail is too narrow for a raptor, and fuel economy. On every other aspect the Raptor is the better truck.

@lou
Great comment on here. You nailed pretty much everything I can think of. And your right about tires. But the simple fact is most people drive on OEM tires until it's time to replace them. I say test them using the OEM tires then replace them with a popular off road tire say like a BFG or Goodyear tire. Then we can see how much the tires do make a difference. So let's hope more people voice this on here.
So how about it Mike??? Lol!

For those asking about the 5.0-L F-150. It arrived last week but without an integrated trailer brake controller. I talked to Ford and they picked it up to install an ITBC late last week. We're supposed to have the truck back tomorrow (Tuesday) for a 9,000 lbs towing test. Stay tuned. It's coming. I promise.

@supercliffy - I prefer running real winter tires but I couldn't afford any this year after buying a new truck. I have been impressed with the stock Goodyear Wrangler SR-A tires. I doubt they'd be any good in mud.
I've rarely used 4 wheel drive this winter. I prefer 2 wheel drive - keeps me more cautious but it sure is nice to turn the dial and have 4x4.

Mike, what are your impressions of the 6.2? How is the marriage with the drivetrain working out? How does the arrangement compare with Eco-Boost in terms of performance and capability alone?

@UncleBud: I like the 6.2 but not as much as the 6.8-L V-10. It works well with the six-speed. I can't compare it just yet to EcoBoost. I'd love to do a test of both engines pulling identical trailers at low and high altitude. That would reveal a lot.

Winter comments from an arctic Raptor driver:

1. Besides putting it in offroad mode, if you lock the rear locker it tosses around great. In 4wd with the locker on, you can actually get it pirouetting around it's own axis so fast that it'll make you puke. (really)
2. The stock tires are specially formulated for the Raptor for winter conditions. They work almost as well as studs. I've said this over and over to people looking at the Raptor, you do NOT need a second set of winter tires! (good thing, I shudder to think what a set of Nokian Hakaalakakakakapittas cost in 35"!) The SVT team NAILED it for the tires with the exception of real mud use. (they suck for that)
3. The truck works EXTREMELY well in arctic conditions. The heated mirrors, defroster, everything. I only wish my remote start turned the seat heaters and heated mirrors/defroster on.
4. The heater at lower than ten below doesn't work unless you're driving harder to get more load on the engine. It's too cold. A cardboard insert in front of the radiator helps.
5. I can't stress how important the Vortex mud flaps are, period.
6. I actually like to drive it with the traction control off so it'll let me toss the rear end out to steer with the throttle. The traction control is very aggressive and won't let you play so much.
7. I wish the rear view cam had some sort of heating/wiping thing on it. Once you get used to it, it's hard to have gunked over.

The Raptor is an awesome winter truck, straight off the showroom floor. It's EXTREMELY stable in the slick stuff. The only time it gets out of shape is because the driver wants it to or isn't paying attention.

For lou:
No failures of any kind through two solid winters up here in AK. The only sniggle is the back up camera comment. I don't believe that anyone makes a wee wiper for the back up camera do the? :)

"That is the reason to choose Toyota over the domestics because of the ability to off-road and you cannot get that with the domestics without spending some $$$." -Tacoman

I think, from reading reviews, that a Chevrolet S-10 4X4 ZR2, Ford Ranger 4X4 FX4 Level II, and a G.M.C. Sonoma 4X4 Highrider would be a close match to the Tacoma's capabilities? Tacoma's advantage being a selectable rear locker.

Again, I am just going by magazine reviews of all these trucks. I have not driven any of them before.

Oh come on! How many Raptors are there to test!?

It's has to be rough on ford with the 6.2l because of how well the trucks pulled with the 6.8l v10. That was a beast of a motor although I was never a fan of its exhaust note.

@Huck BB62 - I agree with you on the backup camera, once you get used to it, it is annoying when it gets coated in snow or road slime.
I like the heated mirrors - it should be standard on any truck that sees freezing or near freezing weather.
I find the traction control on my F150 kicks in anytime the rear steps out or front end oversteers even a little. I do find I miss driving with throttle induced understeer. A press of a button takes care of that ;)
The retractable side steps on my truck have frozen up when you go from near freezing to freezing weather. No big deal.
I did have one step deploy after plowing through a headlight high snow drift. No damage to the step or truck. LOL.
I'd remove them or get a truck without them if I did any hardcore offroading. I've seen a few retractable side steps torn off of work trucks, but then again - I've seen hundreds of trucks (irregardless of brand) with mangled running boards.
My comments about winter testing was not aimed at the Raptor but any truck out there.
Most of us don't live in SoCal or Florida where snow is only found on Christmas displays.

@PowerWagon - as many as they can get their hands on. LOL

I feel like a rock star with my Raptor, when it's in the parking lot, people can't avoid taking pix on it...it's really a head turner!
I live at northern wisconsin and we tons of snow here, this is one reason why we bought a Raptor and it really do well in snow. We have several american trucks but Raptor is my favorite.
Japanese trucks don't have place in our garage but they do at the junk yard especially the crappy and lame toyotas!

tubol-

Ha-ha-ha... Rock on!

That would be a laugh... Tacoma vs Raptor? Seriously. The Tacoma would need aftermarket parts to even try to keep pace with the Raptor which is a stock machine. And IT IS A MACHINE!!

Can they PLEASE make that skid plate BLACK like everything else. It jumps out and is UGLY on an otherwise really cool looking truck.

Good article. But then people have to chime in. Okay, seriously, a number of these comments are just ... I mean ... wow.

Thank God I got a Raptor before reading and buying into comments like the ones here. While it's certainly not the end-all-be-all of pickups, I have yet to regret the decision to buy one, even when comparing it to other options out there. Now when I'm not out enjoying it, I can sit back and laugh at the nay-sayers.

You know, it's a good thing we have choices. Otherwise, reading some of the posts on here, I get the impression we're all supposed to be insecure, drive Dodge Rams, watch UFC, and eat Hardee's. I'll pass.

BrandHammer-

Good job on your choice of trucks! I am jealous.

Like you said, choices are a good thing. I am a big Ford fan (Ford fanboi?) that bought a Dodge Ram Power Wagon a few years ago. Because Ram took a risk at building such a monster, and Ford not having anything comparable, a bought a Ram as I chose to buy the ultimate 4X4 truck of 2005.

Does the Edge Blackberry Cell Phone Syne with the Raptor, it doesn't in my 2010 F-150

Anybody figured out how to get it to pair?

To the Tacoma fans, you're "T otally O verating Y our O wn T rucks A bility comparing it to the raptor. Tacoma is alright but its no comparison, its laughable. Plus Toyota bites.

@Caveman - follow the Sync manual and make sure you have your BlueTooth enabled on your phone. Does your phone have a "discovery mode"?
Maybe you'll have to try Sync support services.
Here is the link to Sync:
http://www.ford.com/technology/sync/owner/?brand=flm
I bought a new LG and had no problems changing phones over or adding my wife's phone.
Good luck.

gman-

That is good stuff!

I decided to buy a truck a little over a year ago. I did alot of research and alot of visual inspection as well as a few test drives. Yeah, gas economy is important, but not that important. Some of the trucks on the road are a joke including Toyota, Nissan and any other foreign made truck. I am a Yankee and I buy American.
The Silverado is appropriate for my junior in high school since he has some room inthe back for that prom night.
The Dodge Ram...Nah. I hear all about the cost and the drive train and all the talk but...nah. It's just not good enough. Neither is a GMC or some of the others.
The Raptor. Now that's a truck. It is a beast and it looks cool...and I need to look cool. So I bought a 2012 Raptor, black on Black SCAB. I expect to haul some dead animals in that thing. They say the Du-Ha gun storage works but I still need to look into that decision.
The Raptor...it's bad...it's Nation Wide!



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