Second Drive: 2010 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor 6.2

Photos by Sam VarnHagen/Ford Motor Co.

Yeah, we're a bit obsessed. We've never covered a specific truck as in-depth as we have the remarkable Ford F-150 SVT Raptor off-road pickup. It's unlike any rig that's come before it, and Ford continues a steady cadence of adding new features to the truck. We recently road and dyno tested the new 411-horsepower, 6.2-liter V-8 truck with 434 pounds-feet of torque, and Ford has (finally) confirmed a SuperCrew version is on the way for 2011.

Nearly all of our extreme excursions behind the Raptor's wheel have been in California's Mojave Desert, where it was born to excel on sandy trails at high speeds. We've never pushed the Raptor to its limits in wet, muddy terrain, which at first seemed more than a few ticks outside of the Raptor's comfort zone.

Ford invited us to its Michigan Proving Grounds, north of Detroit to thrash the Raptor 6.2 across MPG's secluded woodlands; we paid the cost of our travel and lodging. We expected a day of challenges at lower speeds than usual, but what wasn't anticipated was how nasty the weather conditions would be. Under a steady downpour most of the day, we hit some of the greasiest, snottiest and muddiest single tracks and fields that we've dared to drive on, but we were comfortable with the knowledge that if we got stuck help was only a few hundred yards away.

Our navigator and adviser for the day was Gene Martindale, Ford SVT lead test driver. Martindale has played a critical role developing and refining the Raptor's off-road driving dynamics and knows the truck's limits and capabilities about as well as anyone on the planet.


We drove the Raptor looking for its boundaries.

One of the only compromises that Ford had to make developing the Raptor was the tire choice. The Raptor ships wearing BFGoodrich All Terrain T/A 315/70R17 tires with massive sidewalls and deep tread for maximum traction on sand or rocks and ride comfort on the road, but they're not the optimal choice for rain-soaked trail conditions.

"We thought about mud tires for the Raptor," Martindale said. "They work awesome in mud, but they sucked at the trade-offs. They were horrible in grass. They were horrible in sand. They were horrible on the pavement. They were horrible in snow. They only worked in the mud, whereas the BFG All Terrain worked everywhere, though it's biggest weakness was mud. It's kind of a bummer but for those who use the Raptor in the mud, they'll put on MTs."

The 6.2 Raptor we drove was bone stock with the standard BFG ATs. They weren't the best choice for the drive but they didn't cripple the truck, and Martindale shared some driving tips that we can pass along if you ever decide to drive a Raptor in similar conditions.

Rule No. 1: Wheeling in thick muck seems counterintuitive at first, but it can mean the difference between crossing a challenge successfully and calling for help. The trick is to keep your foot in the throttle instead of trying to gingerly crawl through a sticky spot.


We were in the lead truck snaking up and down tight trails and water had pooled in almost every trough we crossed. The downhill portions of most troughs were slick from nonstop runoff, so the Raptor slid, even with the brakes clamped down. At the bottom, the mud tried to suck the truck down to its rims. Climbing out meant fighting gravity, suction and a distinct lack of friction. Our only hope was to modulate the throttle between 60 to 80 percent of max pedal travel, using wheel spin to clear slimy debris as quickly as possible from the AT's tightly packed treads and dig down into the mud to find clay or sand for grip below the soupy surface layers.

The 6.2-liter V-8 shines as the power engine for the Raptor. Where the base 5.4-liter V-8 tops out at only 310 hp (on regular unleaded) to move the Raptor's three-tons, we took full advantage of the 6.2's 411 hp (on premium unleaded and 401 hp on regular gas) and broad torque curve to variably grab as much assist as we needed to gain traction. What might have required wide-open throttle from the 5.4 in certain spots -- to ensure we wouldn't slide backward -- could be dialed in with variable application of the accelerator that provided a margin for extra power to keep momentum up and the ability to ramp down when it seemed we might mow down a tree or three. Still, there were instances where we'd fully roll our foot and could feel and hear the engine bear down, yet we'd only traveled inches forward in the mud as the Raptor clawed for traction.

In one nasty gully that I couldn't find an escape route through, Martindale showed me just how well he knew the Raptor as he rapidly modulated the throttle and shifted between forward and Reverse to gain traction with the barest availability of grip.


The Raptor’s second rule of mudding was to cut corners much earlier than usual on virgin trails, especially when entering turns at high speeds. Instead of using wheel spin to clean out the tires, we scrubbed speed from the truck by easing off the accelerator and allowing the mud to suck the truck down. Turning the wheel didn't immediately turn the truck, which proceeded along a straight path until the tires stopped hydroplaning and dug in. There were instances where it seemed to take up to 2 or 3 seconds before the Raptor would move along the path the front wheels were trying to steer it on.

But the second rule changed as we looped back and forth along the same trails with our large group of Raptors. As each truck followed the line of the truck in front of it, deep ruts were quickly carved into the soil. Soon enough, we weren't floating over the mud like ice skaters. Instead, we were locked into our path like a freight train and one wrong flick of the wheel at speeds up to 50 mph could have thrown us out of the ditch and onto our backs. Sometimes, you're just along for the ride.

The final rule was that wheeling the Raptor in mud was more fun that we thought it could be. In the second half of the day, we were able to run a high-speed loop over open ground at speeds up to 70 mph on trails etched in soggy fields, kicking up thick, brown rooster tails behind us and caking the truck in mud until we almost couldn't see any of its bright white paint.

After completing our turn steering the Raptor, we were treated to a hot lap with Martindale at the wheel in a Raptor equipped with Mud Terrain tires. The difference in performance was amazing with a race-experience driver in the left seat and rolling stock that shed mud like water at low speeds. If we owned a Raptor in the Midwest, we'd keep a set of MTs on hand to swap them out like summer and winter tires.

Photo by Mike Levine

Of course, there were also unique technological helpers that made driving the Raptor in these tough conditions easier. The Raptor's unique off-road mode doesn't just change the six-speed automatic transmission's shift points so the truck performs like a desert racer; it also changes the antilock braking system's performance to allow the wheels to lock up at lower speeds and gain traction from the ground instead of firing the calipers until the truck stops, potentially allowing it to skate off a trail. In the stickiest spots, we called upon the rear electronic locking differential to provide extra traction assist. In another exercise, we simply steered the truck down a 45 percent concrete grade as the Raptor's hill descent control automatically braked the truck to hold its speed downhill.

Now that we've pushed the 6.2-liter Raptor hard in the desert and wet woodlands, what would we change? We've got a few minor nits to pick.

When the rain was at its worst and mud splashed up over the hood and onto the windshield, we'd have liked the windshield wipers to cycle faster than their fastest setting. There was more than one occasion where we were flying blind for a second of two longer than we felt comfortable until the front glass could be cleared.

As we took advantage of all of the Raptor's unique off-road settings, the same chime sounded to activate or deactivate hill descent control and off-road mode. We'd like unique chimes so you can tell by ear if you've accidentally enabled or disabled a mode. When you're adrenalin is going, visual cues can be overlooked.

Photo by Mike Levine

We've said it once before, but we think the 6.2-liter Raptors need a badge of some type to differentiate them from the 5.4-liter trucks. At one point one of the 6.2 trucks had to be swapped for another and the only way we could locate a replacement truck from a mixed group of trucks was to pop the hoods and see which engines they had.

Just a bit further out, Ford has promised that the next evolution of its awesome Sync infotainment system, called MyFordTouch, will feature custom apps that you'll be able to download, which is similar to the apps for an Apple iPhone. We'd like someone to create a "booby trap" app, so when you're traveling with a pack of Raptors one press of a button on a lead truck can wirelessly tell those behind what to avoid -- just like the navigation systems used in the Baja 1000.

Overall, the 6.2 Raptor, which starts at $41,995, is just about as perfect as it can be for its job. It's well worth the $3,000 premium over the 5.4 Raptor. There is nothing that has changed our mind that this would be our next truck if we were shopping for the best cross between fun and capability in a full-size pickup.

And now we know that the Ford F-150 SVT Raptor isn't just a good desert racer, it's also one bad mudder of a pickup.



Wow, I must admit, that is one cool truck.

Looks like you guyz had fun!

Gotta admit that Ford is really stepping up with their off road machines and now with a worthy powerplant in the 6.2.

This website worships Furd. If Furd took a crap, would come out with an article titled " First Drive: The 2010 Ford Crap-pile".

If other manufacturers produced a similar vehicle, PUTC would have the story. Till then, seems Ford keeps introducing and producing trucks that fit a multitude of capabilities.

The better question would be, where are the other manufacturer's trucks that compete?

Per IDK's comments:
This site is very even keeled. These guys that write for report on what the industry is doing. Ford is the only company willing to take a risk and produce a truck that is worth talking about. Once Chevy or Dodge come out with something street legal and this awesom then will cover it. So per your comment, there isn't that much going on and these guys have a fan base to keep happy. So if your not happy with these guys are reporting on, then find some other source to get your news from.

Awesome Truck!


Well said.

Too many guys were saying the Raptor was just a specialized desert rig.
Good suspension works anywhere.
Nothing a set of mud tires can't fix.


I agree, PUTC does a good job covering the industry. Ford has just done a great job with the truck and has marketed it very well. I don't see Dodge doing these kind of PR stunts with the PowerWagon.

Until GM and Dodge produce an equally capable truck your going to see Ford showing this truck off as much as they can

that thing must be an absolute beast with the 6.2
i drove the 5.4 version for one day around the street and that thing was one feat of engineering
another question mike
How much space is under the hood with the 6.2 compared to the 5.4?
it seemed like there was a vast quantity of space under the hood of the one my dealer let me drive for one day
it would be sweet if the 4.4 liter diesel was put in there too.
keep up the good work


I second that!

It has nothing to do with this site playing favorites.
Ford has a very effective PR department, and Ford seems to be the most "active" company when it comes to new products.
The Raptor is a great truck for performance and Public Relations.

@ Mike - any videos? playing in the mud looks like more fun than playing in a sand box ;)

All the current Chevys were reviewed back when they were new in 2007 :) No point in reviewing them again other than pure nostalgia.

It's not the site's fault the other trucks cannot compete with Ford – America’s best-selling truck for 33 years in a row and best-selling vehicle (car or truck) for 28 years in row! The bottom line is Ford’s plan is working: keep product fresh and new, lead in quality, fuel efficiency, safety, smart technologies and value.

We sell tons of tires at the dealer ship I pull wrenches at. We sell alot of the BFG AT`s and when customers come back for new tires NOBODY puts a new set of BFG ATs. I`ve personally experienced them off roading in my father in-laws F-250, they were pretty useless.

Not sure why there is a 2nd drive, actually the 3rd counting the pre-production Raptor with the 6.2, actually the 4th counting the comparo with the PowerWagon. Nice truck, but for me its starting to become overexposed and I getting tired of hearing about it.

Isn't the PowerWagon just as capable, if not more, with its payload and towing numbers? No 2nd, 3rd, or 4th drive for it?

Great writeup Mike.

The article told it like it is with the ATs. The ATs that come stock on the Raptor are amazing. No studs necessary in the winter, they work great. I will be replacing the stock tires with a new set of the stock tires because they are so amazing in winter conditions. The Raptor's stock tires are different than off the shelf ATs.

I whole heartedly agree though, in the mud, one needs mud tires. If I were to truly go for mud in the Raptor, I'd go straight past the mud terrains and go for something more aggressive.

For the haters: There's no competition, quitcherwhinin'. You sound like a bunch of prious driving globalwhiners.

Sounds like ford really has done their suspension homework. A commendable off-road performer. One big question about the 6.2, what is fords predictions on it's durabilty? 3,000 hrs.? 5,000? forever? Hope it isn't plagued with short threaded plugs, like all their early triton OHC. u know the ones that blow out at 5000 rpm.
I hope they didn't study their 3.5l turbo's track record for a year in the new taurus and then just make it bigger and call it the "all-new" 6.2 heavy duty workhorse engine. I mean just on the basis that the 3.5 appears was designed for taurus',fusions' and escapes would make me doubt that it's designed for a working p/u. A free way commuter? maybe.

Raptor needs to compete in the next Dakar at the end of the year. No US Pickup has really shone in that event. There is a modified stock class that would suit it beautifully.

I have seen a Raptor the other day,and to tell you the truth it looks cartoonish !!

Sorry, but I thought you would tell us more about the driveability of the 6.2 instead of all those stories about tires and behaviour in mud...nothing new to me :-(

@Matthew: See our in-depth review of the 6.2 here:

Sweet truck!

@Patrick - the Power Wagon hasn't recieved any changes.
I bet that they would test it if Dodge made one with a Cummins in it.

Whoever said IFS trucks are bad mudders?

A properly built IFS truck can do anything a solid axle front can do off-road with one exception: the IFS truck can handle higher speeds off-road!

Can you please reframe from calling the wheels 'rims'? That is what my teenage sister would call them becasue she doesn't know any better, and it killed your credibility. I'm just saying, think about it.

@Mike : Thank you :-)
Didn´t know about this review...

I can see another reason for a 2nd test.
The Raptor is being praised and razed for being a desert specialist. A narrow focus truck.
This test shows that it works well everywhere.


actually your wrong about them calling the wheel rims. what they mean is the tires were stuck in mud the height of the side wall, or from where the tire touches the ground to the rim. nothing wrong with their credibility. btw talk about nit picking

@ IDK can you show us something that GM or Dodge is doing in this area. I see alot of HD talk lately for Ford, Dodge, and Gm. Ford is the only one doing anything in the half ton market and nobody else makes anything like this. Good job PUTC

Have a good chunk of you forgot about the Ram Runner from Dodge as a 1500 option??? Tho not a factory option its still every bit as capable as the Raptor in a much better looking pkg! With that said Give me a Power Wagon any day! For my use and abuse of a truck the Raptor and it CV front axle assembly would never hold up just like in GM HD trucks!

ok i give ford credit for the pr and stay ahead of the market, oh heres the but the 5.4 raptor is much slower then the pw thats a fact the 6.2 isnt much faster there the pw. and has anyone one heard of kore racing a solid axle can do more then ifs

A Solid axle at high speeds is not better than IFS. Sorry fellas. When was the last time you say a Trophy truck or a desert buggy with a SFA?? Long travel IFS is the way to go in this application. Rock crawling where you need better articulation or HD applications definitly are better with a SFA.

D57H, No one forgot about the Ram Runner. However it appears Ram did. Show Mike where he can get one to test and I am sure he would. Problem is it appears there is only the one off tRam made as a publicity stunt. Check with a Dodge dealer and see if the kits are even on sale. Betting they are not. FWIW the Ram Runner concept is still a different animal than the Raptor. I personally don't feel like buying a truck just to have to buy more parts for it and tear it apart and rebuild it when I can get a turn key Raptor off the lot that is essentially it's equal. BTW before you go off on MSRP, remember the Raptor is loaded, the Ram Runner can be cheaper but that would be with lesser equipped base Rams as a starting point.


A Publicity stunt???? Chrysler is known for bringing more of its concepts to market than anyone and the Ram Runner can be another one of those concepts to do just that! Chrysler is sitting back and seeing how well the Raptor sells and making its decision from there. IMHO Chrysler can better spend its money elsewhere right now and on more useful products that make more sense for itself and than on something that will loose public interest within a year!

IMHO Chrysler can better spend its money elsewhere right now and on more useful products that make more sense for itself and than on something that will loose public interest within a year!
Like paying back their goverment loan!!!!!!!!!
Something FORD doesnt have to

" Chrysler can better spend its money elsewhere right now and on more useful products that make more sense for itself and than on something that will NOT loose public interest within a year." - D57H

I couldn't agree more. Chrysler at the moment can not produce a Raptor fighter. They need to focus on all their core-brands. First and foremost, they must pay off that loan quicker as they should considering they have no DEBT!!!

You can hype the Ram Runner aftermarket kit all you want, but realize that it is not for sale yet, if ever.

The Raptor on the other hand are flying off dealer lots with a average time on lot of less than 6 days!

I am a GM truck guy. I have driven nothing but chevys for 20 years, but this Raptor is definitely at the top of my next truck list which I hope to be able to purchase come late this year or early next.

The ram runner is a ram shell with a load of mopar parts, the raptor is a truck with an optional navi leather seats and a TON of power and capabilities. If you say that you dont want options you really are just ignorant.. but if you say you dont want a ford that's understandable. The difference between these trucks are unbelievable besides the fact the both are off road trucks and the ford can drive on the street... just saying :/

Chevy has had their "factory baja" truck in the works for a couple years. I don't understand why they aren't moving forward with it, it definitely seems like an attractive and capable truck. The ZR2 comes with a 6.2L 550hp supercharged engine (a derivative of the ZR1 / CTS-V powerplants)

I wish the author was a bit more knowledgeable about 4wd vehicles. He thrice states that the Raptor has a unique off road system and then discusses the "unique technological helpers" such as Hill Decent Control....Land Rover had all of these systems, and more, 7 model years ago in it's LR3/Discover III (which was produced by Ford!). Dozens of vehicles have HDC now. It is common place to find these traction aides in vehicles these days, thankfully.

I live in the mid-west. This truck has an awsome curb appeal! The highway driving is like driving an underpowered ATV with flat tires. The shifting of the transmission was best described as "confused". This was a 2010 5.4 V-8. I would love it in my garage but to drive it......not to-and-from work, unless you plan on cutting across the corn belt.

DH57 - The Ram Runner is not a concept. It is an aftermarket add on mobile. Ram Runner are not coming off any Chrysler production lines, thet are supposed to be built up at dealerships or by the customer using KORE's kit. IIRC that kit is also not covered by the trucks normal warranty. From what has been printed Chrysler has no plans to build Ram Runners, just sell parts kits to make it.

nwoods - The author h as plenty of knowledge. You are not reading what he is saying. To the best of my knowledge the Raptor is the only Ford truck using hill descent control. In fact it may be the only pickup on the market using it. It is unique in it's use in the F150 and in a pickup. All other applications I have seen have been in SUV's like the Landrover you mention. You are nitpicking.

@Keith - is the Ram Runner kit DOT/MOT approved?
I got the impression from the test that it was not street legal.

wow what a shocker the Raptor roars in the mud with Mud Terrains
Jordan must be quite a tire expert thinking nobody buys a second set of BFG ATs I'm on my 10th set, they certainly aren't the cheapest to buy but all around what will touch them???????
just stay out of the mud

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