Why the Fierce Ford F-150 Raptor Is Monstrously Popular [Video]

The truck shares similar pedigree and history with Ford’s GT supercar.

A raptor is a bird of prey – or for those with an imagination, a small-to-medium-sized predatory dinosaur. Not warm. Not fuzzy. And certainly not fun for those it predates. The Latin root word of raptor is “plunderer,” and that’s exactly what Ford engineers did, raiding their EcoBoost V-6 engine parts bin to power the GT and the F-150 Raptor high-performance off-road pickup truck.

Raj Nair, Ford executive vice president of Product Development and chief technical officer, says the truck engine shares almost 60 percent of its parts with the Ford GT’s engine. While testing the GT prototype, the race crankshafts repeatedly failed, and so for expediency, the pre-production F-150 Raptor crankshaft was substituted. The GT prototype won its first race at Sebring with that vital component.

Whichever engine application came first, there is no doubt the EcoBoost V-6 powering the F-150 Raptor makes the truck an awesome way to roll. As comfortable as a luxury SUV but without pretense, frills, or froufrou, it might be the perfect vehicle for doing urban battle or rural roughhousing, and as with any predator, it will be regarded with trepidation by those around it.

Inside the capacious cabin, one sits high, and – like an eagle – enjoys a better view of the landscape than even from most SUVs. With 450 hp and 510 ft lbs of torque, power comes on hard. But forget about “truck” feel; this thing has the handling chops, the Fox Racing suspension and all-time four-wheel drive to tackle smooth highways and off-road terrain with equal competence. Not a bad all-in-one vehicle for the daily grind, it seats five, hauls loads of stuff, and goes places that no SUV-gone-to-finishing-school would set foot. At $49,785 MSPR and around $70,000 fully loaded, it’s easy to justify having one—even if it’s not real warm and fuzzy.

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