- The Ford F-150 Raptor is now in its third generation, and as always, it comes loaded with tons of off-road equipment.
- It’s now equipped with a coil-spring rear suspension setup—the last two generations had leaf-spring setups in the rear.
- The 2021 F-150 Raptor will be available in the summer, and a higher-performance Raptor R, likely with a 700-plus-hp supercharged V-8, will arrive next year.
After years of being the apex predator in the off-road-truck realm, 2020 ushered in newfound competition for Ford’s flying F-150 Raptor, but with competition comes improvement, and with improvement comes success. Judging by the all-new 2021 Ford F-150 Raptor, success seems inevitable, especially when you consider all of the meaningful off-road upgrades to this legendary desert runner—and an even higher-performance Raptor R is on the way. Here’s a roundup of the off-road equipment available on the third-generation Raptor:
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From Leaf to Link
Arguably the most notable of all the updates to the Raptor is the switch from leaf springs to a coil-spring setup in the rear. Like the Ram TRX, the new Raptor utilizes two beefy trailing arms, a Panhard rod, and coil springs. In the Raptor, however, the coil springs are 24 inches in length, a gain of 0.4 inch over the Ram TRX. This change allows the rear wheels to travel farther, up to 15 inches of travel in the rear, in addition to offering better wheel articulation and axle control. The front wheels also have more travel, up to 14 inches when equipped with the 35-inch tires.
The Latest from Fox
Working in concert with the new five-link suspension is the all-new Fox Live Valve internal bypass damper. These dampers are the largest ever fitted to the Raptor, with a 3.1-inch-diameter aluminum body, and feature a new shock fluid specially designed to decrease frictional losses inside the damper; it’s also much more resistant to heat soak that can come from sustained desert running. Additionally, the damper is able to adjust damping electronically as many as 500 times per second and should help improve ride quality both on- and off-road. The front dampers feature a one-inch diameter shaft for better control and durability, especially during harsh impacts.
Titanic Tires, If You Want Them
The 2021 Raptor will be available with 35-inch or 37-inch BFGoodrich K02 all-terrain tires, the latter of which is a production first for a light-duty truck. Opting for the 35-inch tires only seems like a concession in the presence of optional 37-inch tires. Yet the standard 35-inchers still net you 12 inches of ground clearance (0.2 more than the TRX), an approach angle of 31 degrees (0.8 degrees over the TRX), and departure angle of 23.5 degrees (identical to the TRX). Even the lowliest Raptor now bests the mighty Ram. Step up to the 37-inch tires and the already impressive numbers grow to 13.1 inches of ground clearance, an approach angle of 33.1 inches, a departure angle of 24.9 degrees, and a breakover angle of 24.4 degrees. At launch, the Raptor will have three available 17-inch wheel options, and two of them will be beadlock capable.
Off-Road Cruise Control
We’re not sure how many seasoned off-roaders will be into the idea of letting the truck control itself, but this feature operates just the way it sounds. Set a speed on Trail Control and the Raptor will take over the throttle so that you can focus on putting the tires exactly where you want them to go. In addition to off-road cruise, Ford is offering Trail One-Pedal Drive for tough situations where modulating two pedals is too much. The system allows you to modulate the gas by pressing down on the accelerator and the brake by lifting.
Rigid Off-Road LED lights
Whether you are looking to spice up the truck’s aesthetics, better illuminate a remote two-track at night, or some combination of the two, Ford will offer bumper-mounted Rigid LED off-road lights that can be installed from the factory.
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