First Drive Review: 2011 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor SuperCrew 6.2


Crew cab pickups with four full-size doors have exploded in popularity over the past decade because they have space to fit a family and can still be called upon to do a job. But most crew cabs aren’t exactly vehicles that sizzle with style and performance – until now.

The 2011 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor SuperCrew is the truck your kids want to play with in the sandbox and the rig that can carry your whole family when that sandbox is the Mojave Desert. Or the frozen forests of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, as we found out last week during our first drive of the latest version of Ford’s adrenaline-pumping go-fast off-road pickup.

We spent a day exploring the Raptor SuperCrew’s limits at Smithers Winter Test Center in Raco, Mich., just outside Sault Ste. Marie, and cruising and bruising around Michigan’s snow-plowed rural roads near the frozen shores of Lake Superior.

Before it became a vehicle test center, Smithers was a U.S. air base and missile site. Now its runways and open tracts of land have been turned into a cold-climate proving ground used by various automakers. The first time we drove the Raptor, it was over 100 degrees in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park near San Diego. This time, the mercury didn’t move above 15 degrees.

Ford paired us up with an engineer and had us try out the Raptor SuperCrew in three exercises around Smithers to test the new truck’s off-road chops.


One of the biggest challenges facing new Raptor owners is figuring out all of truck’s different hardware and software tools so it can run hard over virtually any off-road terrain.

There’s conventional four-wheel drive plus an electronic locking rear differential to improve traction at all four corners. An 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 becomes linear throughout the power band instead of weighted toward the low end during normal driving. Hill descent control automatically modulates the brakes so the truck can crawl down steep inclines while allowing the driver to focus on steering. And Advance-Trac stability control can be left on, set to Sport mode or turned off entirely, depending on how confident the driver feels drifting the truck at high speed. All of these tools can be used in just about any combination.

It’s a shame there isn’t a driving school for new Raptor owners because pushing the Raptor to its limits around a facility like Smithers (with just-in-time expert advice from a co-pilot and nothing nearby to hit) is one of the best ways to learn the handling limits of the truck and how all the tools work together and individually.

Substituting for personal support is a brand-new truck app that’s unique to the Raptor’s standard 4.2-inch trip computer display housed in the instrument panel. A screen called “Raptor Mode” tells you the status of the truck’s critical off-road systems. Consider it situational awareness of how angry the truck is.

The new "Raptor Mode" app in the F-150's productivity screen

Skid Pad Test

A 300-foot circular skid pad test was up first. Split into two rings, the doughnut-shaped track’s outer ring was coated in a layer of powdery snow while the inner was a sheet of ice as well-groomed as an NHL hockey rink. We stuck to the snow because beneath it was a layer of ice, so we had the best of both surfaces.

Three laps wasn’t enough time to get a consistent rhythm going with the Raptor SuperCrew, but by the last lap we were able play with the truck’s control settings and had built up enough feel for its 145-inch wheelbase (compared with 133 inches in the SuperCab) that in the final lap we were yawing the truck hard around the circle with its nose pointed inside as the truck slid around the ring following the motion of its center axis.

In January, we tested a SuperCab Raptor in similar icy conditions outside Detroit. We quickly learned it was best to turn off almost all of the electronic nannies and leave the truck in two-wheel drive. We repeated almost the same approach with the SuperCrew, except we used four-wheel drive because the doughnuts we were doing were much larger in circumference and we could get our speed higher.

As you’d probably expect, when pushed hard to break traction, the Raptor SuperCrew felt like it was skidding around the icy ring in slow motion compared with the SuperCab. Handling was more predictable and laid back, but once the truck started to slide, it was also harder to recover. In the SuperCrew, it takes more forethought in low-traction situations to anticipate where you’ll lose grip than in the SuperCab. And once control is lost, it’s really lost — though the truck communicated incredibly well through the steering and suspension to let us know when that was about to happen.

The 2011 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor - as aggressive on ice as Tonya Harding

Another tool that became one of the most valuable assets the entire day was the Raptor’s 411-horsepower, 6.2-liter V-8 making 434 pounds-feet of torque.

In the desert, if you’re sliding the Raptor hard around a dry wash, approaching sweeping turns you can let off the accelerator and expect the sand to suck the truck down to help shed momentum without using the brakes. On low-friction ice, if you let off the accelerator, the truck wants to keep going straight like a hockey puck. Part of the learning curve doing doughnuts on snow and ice was figuring out how to modulate the throttle to reduce the amount of understeer and to keep applying throttle to dig the rear wheels in the snow and ice to find the least bit of traction to allow the truck to keep making circuits without spinning out or sliding off the outside. In the case of the 6.2, throttle was our friend.

Slalom Course

The next exercise was a slalom course over an icy runway to see how fast we could push the Raptor, threading it between sets of cones.

To compensate and mask the SuperCrew’s longer wheelbase and longer moment of inertia, Ford’s engineers have given the bigger four-door a quicker turning ratio (16:1 vs. 20:1 in the SuperCab) so the steering feels similar to the shorter SuperCab’s when pushed hard. In practice, we still had to remember we were pushing 300 pounds more mass in the SuperCrew plus its extra wheelbase.

The slalom also made us realize how well the Raptor’s meaty LT315/70R17 BFGoodrich All-Terrain tires performed in such low-temperature conditions. For rolling stock optimized for the desert, they provided very good lateral grip as we slalomed through the cones. According to the Ford engineer riding shotgun with us, Ford and BFGoodrich made a last-minute change before the original 2010 F-150 SVT Raptor 5.4 went into production to change the tires’ compound for improved handling on snow and ice.

Road Course


The last test at Smithers was a three-lap road course. It featured 90-degree and 180-degree single and S-turns, plus a lengthy straightaway to push the Raptor hard over snow and ice-covered grass and dirt. After the first two laps — again, to build a feel for the truck’s limits and to pre-run the course —we engaged the Raptor’s electronic locking rear differential to provide maximum traction at the back wheels through the slick turns. Combined with aggressive throttle use and rapid left-right steering-wheel movements, the rear locker quickly straightened the truck out after we pushed hard through the turns with the strong 6.2.

Hitting the straightaway, we loved how much torque the 6.2 had on demand. Ford has tweaked the six-speed transmission with a new one-way clutch. It allows for higher speed 2-1 and 3-1 downshifts at wide-open throttle than the gearbox previously allowed and can even handle a 4-1 downshift at wide-open throttle if you need speed in a hurry.

Surprisingly to us, the SuperCrew Raptor exhibited less body roll than we think the SuperCab Raptor would have on the same course. Ford’s suspension engineers did their job well. Front and rear spring stiffness has been increased by about 8 percent to keep the ride frequency (the rate at which the suspension oscillates up and down) the same as the SuperCab. The triple internal bypass Fox Racing shocks – which are the heart of the Raptor’s special long-travel suspension – have also been retuned to provide increased damping and to match the new spring rates. It’s possible the cold temperatures– no higher than 15 degrees – also played a role increasing the viscosity of the shock oil to help tamp down roll.

On the Open Roads

After tackling the different tracks at Smithers, we hit the road for several hours of driving around Michigan’s Upper Peninsula on public roads. A major difference between the SuperCrew and SuperCab is driving range. The SuperCab is only available with a 26-gallon gas tank while the SuperCrew has a standard 36-gallon fuel reservoir. That should come in handy exploring the backcountry or towing a trailer that weighs up to 8,000 pounds (compared with 6,000- pounds for the SuperCab). During our brief drive, we averaged 13.7 mpg, according to the Raptor’s trip computer.


Also helping with towing duty is a more powerful 800-watt fan (it’s 600 watts in the SuperCab) to draw more air through the radiator. The radiator also has a lower cooling fin density to encourage greater airflow. The optional Raptor Luxury Package adds spotter mirrors on both sides of the truck instead of just the driver’s side like other Ford trucks, which helps with both towing and off-road visibility to help eliminate blind spots.

Some of the same traits we noticed while flinging the Raptor around Smithers were also noticeable when we were only in high-range four-wheel drive with all of the stability control systems enabled. The SuperCrew again showed virtually none of the fore-aft body motion that we’ve noticed several times in the SuperCab coming to a stop. We also didn’t notice any strange driveline noises or binding that we noticed during our first Raptor drive in Anza-Borrego and most recently in the SuperCab we tested in January.

The only strange nuances picked up on were probably related to the cold temperatures. There was some chain lash noise from the four-wheel-drive system, and in two different trucks we heard what sounded like fuel injector impulses. We’ve not heard that in SuperCab Raptors.

We played around more with the Raptor’s handling on the park roads leading to Tahquamenon Falls State Park. There were lots of twists and turns on the plowed roads with ice, snow, elevation changes and 2- to 3-foot snow banks.

Without the ability to pre-run the road like we had at each course at Smithers, we learned the hard way that the Raptor still can’t overcome physics when pushed too hard. Twice we left our mark on the soft snow banks by the sides of the road when we hit an unexpected patch of ice or took a blind turn too aggressively.


Even though we were running the frozen roads hard, the Raptor’s ergonomics were a big help. Its heavily bolstered seats kept us from becoming fatigued as we piled on the miles while fighting the slick conditions.

Throughout the day, we took turns with another journalist at the wheel, trying out both the front and rear passenger seats. The front passenger seat was just as comfortable as the driver’s seat while the back of the Raptor SuperCrew offered ridiculous amounts of legroom that can only be considered limo-like. You could easily fit three kids in the back plus luggage in front of them when you have a big road trip.

This brings us back to why Ford is making such a hard-core off-road crew cab pickup truck. Ever since the Raptor SuperCab was rumored, Ford received inquiries asking about the possibility of a long-wheelbase truck. In our brief drive of the truck – without having jumped it (yet) – the SuperCrew Raptor lives up to the stellar reputation the SuperCab has managed to create.

Ford isn’t the first to make a highly capable full-size crew cab off-road pickup in recent years – that honor belongs to the Ram Power Wagon – but with its wide stance, muscular looks and daring high-speed capability, this is the truck we think adventuresome parents looking to haul their kids and family gear will choose.

Point Iroquois Lighthouse on the shores of Lake Superior


Great report.

Great story! With stories like this... I keep loving the Ford F-150 S.V.T. Raptor even more!!!

It is great fun steering with the trottle.
That is one thing that is true with long wheel base vehicles - it often is much harder to loose it, but once you do, big , big trouble.
I'd love a Raptor - I do hope that Ford eventually offers it as an option in all of their trim packages.
15 F - that's T shirt weather. LOL

Yawn...this truck is the poster child for a JC Whitney catalog...or the import aisle at Advanced Auto Parts.

Cheap, mediocre and ugly are the only goals Ford has been able to hit with the product they have introduced in the past 5 years...and this one is no different.

@P, P71, The Realist,

Hater always hating on good $hit.

We need people like you around, you know to keep hating.

Great write up!

Which one would you personally go for? SuperCab or SuperCrew?

Don't use price or parking or the size of your garage as a reason.

@Danny: I'd get the SuperCab Raptor. I've been looking for a used one.

I'm diggin the silver color and graphics. It looks like it's made for the snow.

@ "P" - You must of really, really been traumatized by that Crown Victoria.

I sat in a Blue Raptor SuperCrew a week ago, nice truck. I couldn't talk the salesman into a solo test drive. It didn't help having my 9 year old saying that we should take it somewhere to jump it. LOL.
It would be fun to get a chance to run one hard like you guys get to do.

Drive it like you stole it.

@ Mike - do you need any test drivers.
I bet that offer surfaces a million times a day.

Proof that the Ford F-150 S.V.T. Raptor (SuperCab) is such an awesome machine...Mike Levine, a guy that gets to test every kind of pickup under the sun, is looking to get one of his own.

Way to go Mike L.!

@ Buy American - I had the chance to check out a SuperCrew and a SuperCab Raptor back to back with my 2 boys 7 and 9. ( at least to sit in them)
If you have kids the SuperCrew would be the way to go.

I would get one, but it too expensive at the dealerships. and with gas costing more now, I might as well get a V6 turbo


I have an 8-year old girl and a 3-year old boy. The SuperCrew is the only way I would go. I would want the maximum seating and towing capability. Just in case I decided to take our travel trailer out and I wanted to let my Power Wagon take a break.

Great report! Have you had a chance to test a Power Wagon in the snow yet? And if not can you line up a test and make a comparison between the Raptor and Power Wagon. I'd be interested to see what your opinion would be between the two trucks.

Body graphics are a joke, otherwise those are bad- a$$ trucks.

Awesome Review Mike, Ford makes a dam good truck.

Thank god Bob has not ran his mouth and got this blog closed yet.

Good write up Mike, but for the most part I agree with "P".

I would never buy a vehicle that is less capable then the original.

@ Name - how is this truck less capable than the original?

The Supercab and SuperCrew each have their own strengths but here is why the 2011 SuperCrew could be more capable than the original......

2000 lbs more towing, more payload, bigger 6.2 engine, more hp and more torque, less body roll, no strange drive train noise, no forward or aft roll of the supercab, more interior room for passengers or cargo, productivity screen with Raptor mode, bigger gas tank with more range, higher watt fan, improved radiator, increased spring rate, 110 volt inverter, telescoping wheel, perimeter alarm, transmission has been improved as well with manual shift mode, etc.

@ Lou:

I mean the base F-150. The Raptor has a lot lower numbers in the towing and hauling areas, while getting $hitty FE.

I'll say no thanks to the Raptor, get the base pickup, save $20,000 on price and still be able to do the same things as the Raptor; just slower. All while towing the things that need towing, hauling the things that need hauling, and being able to get from one end of town to the other without filling up.

Why do I believe the Raptor is a retarded vehicle? The Raptor can only do ONE thing well. Why buy a PICKUP, just to pre-run, when it can't do the rest of the things you NEED a PICKUP to do? If you want to go pre-running, save the money and get a Subaru, they have a whole lineup of vehicles that are more fun to drive then a Raptor, and pre-run just as well.

@ Name:

Are you seriously comparing a Subaru to the Raptor for off-roading? LOL Yeah, let's see how the Subie does jumping and generally romping around any terrain that isn't flat. Can you say ground clearance?

Also, you do realize that if you bought a base F-150 and modded it for off-roading, the original towing and payload ratings would no longer apply. And who says the Raptor can't tow or haul? 8k towing covers just about every need of any 1/2 ton owner, and if you're not flogging the truck, its FE will be comparable to most other high geared 4x4s.

Thanks, but try again...

correction, meant low geared 4x4s

Thanks for the link. But I'd still like to see a comparison in the snow between the two trucks. They're both great trucks in my book.

Raptor SuperCrew can tow 8000 lbs.

The base F-150 can tow 5500 lbs.

SuperCrew can haul more cargo and people inside and has the load flat floor.

Not available on base F-150.

It can off-road better.

There's 3 things it can do better.

DAVE DAVE Can you hear me DAVE: 3 things the Raptor can do that the Base F150 can't do tow 8000lbs. has a flat floor? and off road better, well 1 out of 3 is bad. if you load the base truck with the same motor as the Raptor,(and you can DAVE) it would tow more like 11,300lbs, and all the super crew cab come with the flat floor in back DAVE the XL, XLT, FX4, Platinum. THE only thing it can do better is off road in some areas.

FWIW, I've had my SuperCrew Raptor since January 8, 2011. I love almost everything about the truck. My only gripe is the very driveline binding/noise you mentioned seeing in the earlier SuperCab version. I don't know if this problem affects every SuperCrew but, it affects a lot of them and it has been the subject of a great deal of discussions on forums around the web.

Ford did issue an SSM in Jan/Feb but, the lubrication of the slip yoke is at best a temporary resolution. I took my truck in for the SSM service at it's first oil change and the "clunk" is back 1500 miles later. While Ford claims this issue was only a problem on trucks made before 1/7/11, there are numerous reports of the problem since that time and some dealers are actually being told not to service owners' trucks. There are rumors that Ford/SVT engineers are working on a fix and I hope this is true because it would be a shame for Ford, SVT, and the UAW to have managed to screw up one of the great halo vehicles they need to attract people into their showrooms.

Very exciting article, IMO this is something most of us pickup owners dream of trying: having a balls-out truck to romp around in the snow, withing little (if nothing) to crash into and a course built for having fun. I would definitely agree that a regular XLT Crew 6.5' F-150 with an Ecoboost is probably more 'capable' to the average guy, but what about to a guy who tows a couple bikes or ATV's out to the sand dunes with some fuel and wants his truck to be able to have some fun too? What if he doesn't ever care to pull some Jayco 30 footer down the road? Then it sounds to me like the RAPTOR is more capable for that guy. Different f-150's for different guys, I think a lot of the guys who bash this kind of thing are the guys who don't understand it.

If you're going to put a 6.2 in a base truck, then it wouldn't be a base truck. Also you can't get it from the factory that way. Stop comparing apples to oranges, you big dope.


Great article as usual.

Any word from Ford if/when the Eco-Boost engine will be available in this truck?

@Rick that would be pretty impressive, having the ecoboost in the raptor.

Also, not that it matters much, but does anyone know the 1/4 mile time this truck or the supercab puts down? I kinda wonder if an ecoboost f-150 is faster than a 6.2L raptor, but now that I think of it, I think Mike covered the 6.2 vs ecoboost in one of his other articles...

@supercliffy - I haven't seen any tests done in the winter.
All of the editors and testers must be from SoCal. LOL.


What is snow?

Snow blower?

Isn't that Charlie Sheen's nick name?

@ Zach J - agreed.
I'd love a Raptor SuperCrew in a XLT trim. That is my only gripe about the Raptor - availability in a high end package only.
I have thousands of miles of gravel roads on my back door step. If you look at a 120 mile trip to a fishing hole - the Raptor would mean that you probably could safely travel at 40 MPH as opposed to 30 MPH. That would knock one hour off of travelling time (one way).
I am looking at getting a camper trailer in the 5,000 lb range. Hmm - the Raptor SuperCrew can tow that. My 12 aluminum boat can be carried by a Raptor.
A few dirt bikes, or a few kiddie quads can be carried easily by a Raptor.
Most guys who what to tow 11,000 lb trailers buy diesels.

grow up:

Have you ever seen a rally race? I have, and I've never seen a Raptor in them.


They make base model supercrews with bigger engines. Was it really that hard to grasp what I was saying? I guess next time I'll explain my answer a little further for slow people.

"All of the editors and testers must be from SoCal. LOL." Big Lou

The best place to be, come on down.

@ Frank - tempting offer as my kids are tobogganning down the snow banks along my driveway.
Mind you - I doubt you'd ever see a cow moose and 2 calves feeding on the shrubs along my neighbor's carport then casually stroll down the street.

"I'll say no thanks to the Raptor, get the base pickup, save $20,000 on price and still be able to do the same things as the Raptor; just load the base truck with the same motor as the Raptor,(and you can DAVE) it would tow more like 11,300lbs, and all the super crew cab come with the flat floor in back DAVE the XL, XLT, FX4, Platinum." - Name

XL is NOT availalbe in a SuperCrew with any of the big engines (EB or 6.2.)

Base SuperCrew Raptor is $44k.

The cheapest Supercrew with the 6.2 will be the base Lariat which will be $44k in 4x4. Same price.

Platinum will be MORE expensive than the Raptor. Base Platinum with 6.2 is $50k.

XLT is not available with a 6.2 but you can get a SuperCrew 4x4 XLT with EB and Max Tow for around $40k.

FX4 is not available with 6.2 but you can get a SuperCrew EB FX4 with Max Tow for around $42k.

So you're not going to save any $20k with a so called "base models."

You're not even close!!!!

There were 2 Raptors in the Dakar Rally.
The Dakar Rally is actually classified as a "Rally Raid" where there are extended portions of the race that are completely offroad. Vehicles do not need to be street legal production based units.
Sue Mead's FabSchool Raptor was first in its class and the other Raptor DNF'd.

@ Zack J
you asked about 1/4 mile times


Lol, no.

Hi Mike L, any update on what will the 2011.5 update will include?

@ Frank - I'd rather see some long legged blondes walk down my street
The difference is - I'd get in big trouble from the wife if I took a video clip of the latter. LOL


Thanks man. Looks like the ecoboost is the speed king. I'm not a fast and furious pickup truck kinda guy, but i don't mind if my truck is a little faster off the line than a school bus making 40 stops in a mile. I know Mike L said that the ecoboost time was faster than any truck in the 2008 shootout, and that shootout would include the tundra and 6.2L chevy, but I would still love to see a side by side, loaded and unloaded run of all the new pickups. Can you say 2011 Light Duty Shootout?!!!

@Zach J - I'm with you on that.
It would be nice to see a shootout with every engine from every pickup company.
When I bought my truck I wanting to know how the 5.4 stacked up against the 5.3 not 6.2 but there weren't any good truck tests out there.
When I go buy my next truck I'd like to know how a 5.0 would fare against the 3.5 EB, 3.7, and 6.2. that would really help making a proper purchase decision.

that's the one thing I hate about most tests on trucks is they don't include winter conditions in their test. Heck the majority of truck owners use them in all four seasons. So it would be nice to have testing done in that manner.


I do think it's a good test to do all the ford engine's against one another, but I'll be honest, the 6.2L is Lariat and above, plus it's the same engine in the Super Duty. I tend to think it fares similar to that engine's performance but I'll never really consider it, only because of price. 40K is a lot for a truck, but 45K is even worse! the lariat is where I draw the line for 'too much'. Mike's 5.0L test was incredible, I'd love to see a similar test (which he has promised) on the ecoboost. If you're considering the 5.0L and 3.5L, are you really even considering the 3.7L?

@ Zack J - it helps make an informed decision. If in 6 years time I find I do not need a "big" motor in a new truck, it would be nice to see how the 3.7 compares to its bigger brothers.
Realistically - I cannot see wanting anything smaller than a 5.0.

"@ Frank - I'd rather see some long legged blondes walk down my street
The difference is - I'd get in big trouble from the wife if I took a video clip of the latter. LOL" - Lou

Ha! You can look, but don't touch. That's what the wife tells me.

So yeah, pictures wouldn't hurt, right?

First off Sorry Mike that you get to read all these comments from fellow "adults". As a very proud GM fan... I will say that the Ford Raptor and 2011 F150's are very nice in all rights. Thanks for the informative report, and I'm glad to see some momentum growing on the Raptor sales. Maybe this will push GM to offer something more than the sticker and shock package (Z71). Thanks for the awesome website.


Go ahead and buy a base pickup and TRY modifying it to do what a bone stock Raptor can do...and then see what happens to your factory warranty!

@ Frank - how long did it take to get your wife convinced on that one? LOL
That's how you can sell her on the Raptor - tell her you'll be too busy wheeling to look at anything else.

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