Are There Places a Ford F-150 Raptor Shouldn't Go?

By Aaron Bragman

By now, everyone's heard of Ford's latest brute, the 2017 F-150 Raptor pickup truck, the off-road Baja 1000 racer disguised (lightly) as your average, everyday F-Series on steroids. Most folks are familiar with what it does — it's the ultimate off-road pickup, able to fly over rough terrain and backcountry at speeds more akin to a racing truck and it comes right from the showroom floor.

But are there limits to the Raptor's prowess? Places that the Raptor just doesn't do well, or areas for which it's just not suited? Turns out, the answer is yes.

The Raptor is most in its element over slightly uneven terrain that's still mostly flat. Switch the drive mode to Baja and you can hit ridiculous speeds across desert terrain or sand dunes, and jumps and bumps are absolutely no problem — the suspension adapts instantly, and with the supersoft Fox shocks it handles that terrain without letting much disturbance into the cabin. Washboard dirt roads are similarly smoothed out, and between the fantastic grip of the BFGoodrich K02 All-Terrain 35-inch tires and the race-ready suspension, it feels like there's nowhere the Raptor can't go.


But this is not the case. I recently took a new Raptor out to Bundy Hill Off-Road Park in Jerome, Mich., about two hours west of Detroit. And it was here that I discovered what riding a bull in a china shop feels like. The Raptor may be great at blasting cross-country, but it's not at all comfortable through narrow or forested trails. Once or twice I stopped myself from going down a path that looked too narrow. The Raptor's extra-wide body and fender flares meant to accommodate the 6-inch wider track and huge tires are not meant for squeezing into tight spaces.

It's also heavy. Despite weighing 600 pounds less than the previous-generation, Raptor it's still a brute of a truck, so navigating obstacles at slower speeds can also be a challenge. The Raptor's electronic locking rear differential is helpful, as are the meaty tires, underbody plates/shielding and the Rock Crawl setting in the Terrain Management System. But trail crawling in a Raptor feels like a professional wrestler trying his hand at free climbing — maybe he can do it, but it's not what he was built to do. The size and heft of the truck makes it too unwieldy to confidently navigate through tight passages without worry of damaging it.

So, keep that Raptor where it's most comfortable — at top speed across desert washes or jumping desolate sand dunes. If you're looking for something to tackle lower-speed obstacles with panache and skill, a physically smaller truck such as a Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro or Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 might be more your speed.

17Ford_F-150_Raptor_ES_31 photos by Evan Sears


Now that's more like it!!. better than the COLORADO CUV LIKE. FORD RAPTOR IS A BEAST. GO FORD!!!!

question: Are There Places a Ford F-150 Raptor Shouldn't Go?

answer: My driveway?

papajim: I'm calling your bluff.


You don't know me.

I grew up in a family of true-blue Ford men. My brother married into a family of Ford dealers.

I have owned half ton trucks from all of the big 3 and my Fords have been mostly unexceptional. The Chevys are plain and less interesting technically, but very reliable.

The Chrysler products were either great (or crap) depending.

I owned only one Ford in my life that really surpassed expectations, a mid 1990s Ranger that never leaked, smoked or left me stranded. The rest were not impressive.

That is not even a proper question to ask!

I have been on many trails over the years where a raptor would not only sink and get stuck due to its massive weight but get all busted up by trees and branches because it is too wide!

Pulling out big and heavy full-size trucks is no easy task, best advise, leave them home or at the campsite to pull the REAL off-roaders to the trails!

"Are There Places a Ford F-150 Raptor Shouldn't Go?"

Rubicon Trail?


"Are There Places a Ford F-150 Raptor Shouldn't Go?"

Look at the 2nd photo above.
See the exposed thin axle shaft and multiple rubber-booted CV joints?

How long would either last going down a forest service trail filled with protruding stumps, old logs, broken-off limbs, and sharp-edged rock outcroppings? (In other words: the type of OR we have around here...)

Blasting through desert sand is clean and neat by comparison.


Stupid post. Raptor isn't just for high speed. Raptor dominates the TRD on the trails in every PUTC test. I guess since they bashed the Power Wagon in the last post where Bragman threw his motherinlaw under the bus in a classless post, they have to bash the Raptor and this is Bragman's idea of fair and balanced. Lose some weight and maybe you'll feel more comfortable behind the wheel.

Real off roaders? Most people I know use there trucks for work off road. Firefighting, farming, ranching, logging and the like. A half ton is bare minimum for size. To me that is "real" off roading.
Trails are for teenagers with Tacomas that tow 20,000lbs, go 180 mph and get 45 mpg (or so they claim).

Useless truck unless you live near a desert. In other words it's just a rich man's toy.For the real world you need a Chevrolet Colorado ZR2

Ford Craptors are a joke! ZR2 on order, trading my 2016 z71 in on it, oh and its the 2.8 Duramax too.

Saturn V, the baddest machine ever created, had it'd limitations also. Once my ship comes in, I'll be driving the second baddest machine ever created, The Raptor.

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It shouldn't go in my driveway with that awful sounding Mark Fields ecodouche V6. Anyone else at Ford that thought a V6 Raptor was a good idea needs to go to Nissan, where not knowing your customer is a mastered art.


Are there places a Raptor shouldn't go?

Yeah, it shouldn't go to the lumber yard to pick up anything heavy or large because it can't handle either.

Not really an off road vehicle in Australia . Dune jumping with no payload
Does not cut it

The Ford Raptor is only good at going into dumb people's pockets to get their wallets.

It only has 650 to 1200 lbs of payload, and tows only 6 to 8 thousand pounds depending on configuration.

That means, since you have to have 10 to 20 percent tongue weight, the Raptor has no ability to take a driver or fuel (which it uses a lot of--don't believe the EPA, look at independent testers).

Plus, M.T. says the Raptor high centers a lot because it is too long and heavy.

That diesel ZR2 is looking mighty good because it has a better ratio of payload to towing, much much better mileage and shorter wheelbase and narrower track but still confortabel space to sit in. Maybe do a little mild tune of the motor to give you 450 lb of torque for $500.

The Raptor is smoke and mirros to trap the dumb into buying them.

The ZR2 is for smart people.

Lets be honest. Most of these trucks will never go off road. I like the truck (would rather have a V8), but Raptors are bought by people who want a flashy truck to drive around town in. Not that there is anything wrong with that, but it seems as if the Raptor has become a luxury vehicle that happens to have great off road capability. I've seen used 2017's that are still marked up above 70K-thats insane.

Based on size I'm guessing, maybe a drive through, tight parking lot,down town, or parking garage, to name a few.

@Papa, no really? Your driveway? Do you have a driveway at the old folks home? Just joking, but you didnt to tell us you dont like Ford, we already know you drink the cool aid from GM, like your 2 boys gms and johnny, as usual you dont say whats great about GM just try to bash Ford, but again I would too if I were in that position.

@ Nitro: what's so great about Ford?

@gms, ride, interior, power(speaking the powerstroke) fuel mileage while towing, towing capacity, looks, value, trouble free.

The Raptor, I do not like, and would never buy one (dont see the need)

Quite simply the truck driving industry has spoken over and over. The most reliable lowest maintenance cost most dependable light trucks are the Ford line up. Everything else comes after. GM made some leaps and bounds this year but they still fall behind the Ford line up. Can't argue with facts.

@ Peter J Duffy ,

Actually,Dodge ' RAM has the longest lasting most reliable trucks..

Fords are popular because they are the cheapest trucks to buy and dealers are flooded with them....

Local Governments also buy Fords as they are cheaper,companies buy Fords as they have the cheapest price..And Ford targets Government and Companies with low purchase price or cheap lease rates (i have a business I know)

Just because a vehicle is the best seller,doesn't mean it is the most reliable !

Raptor is not a Bush truck,its a sand truck !

Mark N - - -

I'm a Ram guy for historical reasons, but was told by "D" (here at this site) that the fine print in the Ram claim to be "longest lasting" means they are starting in 1988, before the Ford Power Stroke and Chevy Silverado era.

I suggested that we try to find the "still registered" percentages data starting in 2000, for the 15 years after that, since all American models that exist now existed then (I think: but could be wrong).

In that case, I suspect that GM may hold the longevity title, but who knows...


Mark N,

You give me hope that there are intelligent people on this site. That is EXACTLY why Fords sell so much. Thats why Walmart sells so much. Same deal.

Older than the automobile is the horse. There are places still on this earth that you can probably only get to by horseback or foot.

Local car wash, parking lots, drive throughs.

"Fords are popular because they are the cheapest trucks to buy and dealers are flooded with them...."

Posted by: Mark N | May 24, 2017 9:32:13 AM

Thats why Ford projects have Chevy engines. Cheap. Parts are everywhere.

In a garage to get fix maybe,,,like the rest of the Ford ,,

In a garage to get fix maybe,,,like the rest of the Ford ,,

A silly lame article - anyone who has some common sense & knowledge of going off-road will select the right size 4WD for the paths duh? For example;

Tomorrow is a local public holiday & we're going off-roading in the valley with friends; I'll drive my YJ, wife will take the Ranger with the kids/dirt bikes & BBQ in the bin & another friend is coming in his TJ. But because one friend only has a RAM 2500 TD; we will choose trails where he won't scratch up his fenders...

Lionel - - -

Very sensible comment. And I agree.

The problem comes when a large, long HD truck (like the Ram 2500 I am getting) joins a group of Jeeps, TRD's, old Bronco's, etc., to do trail exploring in less well-known areas, --- and the limitation is not the topography, but clearances between trees, --- especially in turns. Everyone was talking about the challenges of the boulders and stumps, but forgot to talk about the sideways tight stuff!

What can you do? You trust your friends to give an accurate report form past experience, right?

And that unexpected problem is where the Raptor (or my Ram) will run into trouble REALLY fast!


@NMGOM; exactly but our trails in the valley are in thick tropical rain forests so trails are mostly narrow slippery mud-dirt & obstacles are trees/sharp branches/brushes that can do some serious scratches.

So we kind of know all the trails & we won't cross the island as the RAM will not make it. I know it sucks but hey, price you pay to be with friends...:-)


What a dumb premise for a story.

Are there places the Raptor shouldn't go?



If you want a toy, have fun. This thing ain't worth the price of entry.

Did someone say it has a V freaking 6? Fix it Ford!!!

Local car wash, parking lots, drive throughs.

I ride the narrow ATV bush trails in my Nissan Frontier
Try that in a raptor, Tacoma, Colorado and you wont have paint on your doors at the end of the trail.
If you want a girly truck buy the others but if you want a real go anywhere truck the Frontier is the last of the breed,
The rest are fat ugly and will not go where a Frontier will go.

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