Interior:Black Leather Bucket Seats
The 2019 Ford F-150 Raptor is, inside and out, almost identical to the previous version. It has the same 3.5L twin-turbo V6, same BF Goodrich KO2 tires, makes the same 450 horsepower and 510 lb-ft of torque, and has the same bloated price tag. It’s also still unabashedly fun, and, in the case of this specific tester, ridiculously good-looking in Velocity Blue. Almost nothing about this truck has changed.
New Recaro seats offer more support than the previous version. Ordinarily, I find Recaros to be constricting and uncomfortable, and I’m not a big guy. Not the case here. Like everything else in this truck, the seats are oversized but enjoyable, whether off-road or just cruising on the highway.
Adding to the comfort is the addition of new Fox shocks. These updated units allow for the same amount of travel as the outgoing model, 13 inches in the front and 13.9 inches in the rear. The biggest difference is the addition of Live Valve technology, which allows the Fox 3.0 internal bypass shocks to electronically adjust to changes in terrain in real-time. The previous truck used to be a bit soft on the pavement, but thanks to these new shocks, the Raptor now handles the hairpin turns of a mountain pass not only with ease but with precision not found in trucks this size.
After driving around town, I headed off the pavement onto some snow and ice-covered mountain backroads, where the Raptor felt a bit more at home. The 2019 truck has the same two-speed transfer case and six Terrain Management modes as the prior truck, but it now comes with Trail Control, which Ford describes as cruise control for off-roading. With this you can set your speed between 1-20 miles per hour and the truck will maintain it, even adjusting the power to each wheel in order to maintain maximum traction. For me taking the challenge out of off-roading also removes the fun, but I can see some of the features coming in handy for novice 4×4 enthusiasts, including an option that will help you get unstuck if you should find yourself buried in the sand.
Speaking of trails, if off-roading through the mountains on forestry roads is your preferred outdoor experience, this truck isn’t for you. Sure, it is capable enough to handle mud and rocks, but the sheer size of the Raptor will prevent you from accessing many of the trails out there (the last time I took the smaller Tacoma TRD Pro through the woods it emerged a pinstriped mess). This truck is more of a desert off-roader, happy at home on dunes and wide-open rock formations, places where trees are few and very far between.
I like to be critical of the size, but deep down, I love it. Sure, it may be the king of the wastelands, but it’s the king of the road too. Driving it down the street, it turns heads. People get out of your way. It is the closest thing you can get to a monster truck from the factory. And yet, pull into a downtown parking lot and all of that power disappears. I had to back out of entire lots because not only was the Raptor too big for the spaces, it was too big for the tight aisles.
The F-150 features Ford’s Sync 3 infotainment system, which is average amongst its competitive set. Its graphics are monotone but clearly laid out, its response times are acceptable, and it offers a fair number of connectivity options. Missing are extras such as wireless phone charging, but you do get plenty of 12-volt outlets and one 110-volt paired with a 400-watt inverter. This particular Raptor doesn’t come with navigation, but Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility come to the rescue when directions are needed.
One thing we ding nearly all Fords for is the way their optional features are packaged. There are a few large option packages, but many of the most desirable options are sold individually, which lends to the feeling of being nickel and dimed when you’re spec’ing out your dream truck.