The 2012 F-150 SVT Raptor was previewed to the media at the Texas State Fair Auto Show this past week. At first look, we think the 2012 version is set to deliver a new level of the no-compromise off-road performance and, with a variety of new technologies and interior and exterior updates, it won’t disappoint.
“A major element of the SVT Raptor program is our work to continuously expand the capabilities it offers to customers. We want to cover all dimensions of off-roading – from desert running to rock climbing,” said Raj Sarkar, Ford F-150 Marketing manager. “We always aim to keep the product fresh and exciting, and all of our changes for 2012 reflect that.”
Additional off-road performance capability for the 2012 F-150 SVT Raptor comes from a new Torsen front differential. The system increases grip significantly for the front end of the truck and allows it to pull itself over obstacles and up steep grades, even when the traction is split between the front tires.
An internal helical gearset is used to help force torque from the wheel that is losing traction to the wheel with traction. The system is set with a torque bias ratio of 2.5:1 to help multiply torque from wheel to wheel and the preload is set to zero to help minimize steering feedback.
“This system is essential for letting Raptor customers tackle new ground in their truck,” said Kerry Baldori, Ford SVT Global Performance Vehicle chief functional engineer. “Its extreme capability lends itself well to rock climbing situations.”
SVT and Torsen worked with the traction control team to further enhance the brake traction control system to improve the Torsen’s capabilities. It was put to the test both in Ford’s powertrain labs and in real vehicle durability testing, where it had no issues coping with SVT’s unique off-road 1,000-mile torture test.
Always looking to deliver innovation to performance products, Ford introduces a new class-exclusive and patent-pending off-road front camera system on the 2012 F-150 SVT Raptor, giving customers a new and unique view of what’s happening in front of their truck. Activated through the 4.2-inch LCD productivity screen, the system uses the 8-inch navigation display and helps drivers see what’s directly in front of the vehicle, even when their view from the driver’s seat might be blocked.
“It’s a surprise and delight feature that works during low-speed crawling, and it’s particularly useful for seeing in front of the vehicle when tackling large inclines,” said Jamal Hameedi, Ford SVT chief engineer. “We found the system particularly useful for avoiding large rocks or placing a tire on a rock. It can even take the place of the spotter at times, which is a great feature when the truck is in one foot of mud.”
The front camera can be ordered with the Navigation System and is designed to aid at speeds of less than 15 mph in challenging off-road environments. The display from the camera will appear on the navigation screen on the center stack and includes dynamic and static overlays to help drivers determine where their wheels will go. The camera is mounted in the front grille and includes a dedicated washer function that is activated by pressing a lever on the left steering column stalk when off-roading in muddy or severe dust environments.
Fresh exterior bodyside graphics offers 2012 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor owners new ways to add a customized touch to their truck. Similar to the hood graphic, it now features the distinctive Raptor logo. The graphic is based around two diagonal stripes, with jagged lines and shapes that give it both a racing and off-road feel. The graphic uses gloss, matte and textured black finishes to give it a one-of-a-kind look. The textured finish complements the other black-grained exterior parts, such as the hood vents, fender air extractors and running boards.
Additionally, a new matte anodized blue interior color accent package will replace the existing one, which will be available with every paint color except for the newly offered Race Red. (Orange has been discontinued for 2012, replaced with the Race Red) The package includes accent leather-trimmed front seats with unique leather inserts and accents on the center stack, rear seat inserts and door panels. Aluminum trim also is used on the instrument panel and flow-through center console.
Also new for 2012 is the addition of cooled seats to the optional luxury package and a new Euroflange wheel, which has weights on the inside to better protect from off-road debris and obstacles.
Performance of the F-150 SVT Raptor is enhanced by being 7 inches wider than a base F-150 to make room for the additional suspension components that give Raptor its unparalleled off-road abilities. The wider stance also gives the truck it’s aggressive appearance. Internal triple-bypass shocks by FOX Racing Shox – the first on a production truck – provide position-sensitive damping and extra suspension travel for extreme off-roading and a smooth ride on the road.
Raptor also has unique cast-aluminum front control arms and SVT-tuned 35-inch BFGoodrich®
All-Terrain TA/KO 315/70-17 tires. These components give Raptor 11.2 inches of front suspension travel and 12.1 inches of rear suspension travel on either SuperCab or SuperCrew.
The 145-inch-wheelbase SuperCrew adds to the extensive list of F-150 SVT Raptor features. While contributing additional space and flexibility for the customer, the SuperCrew still delivers outstanding performance as well.
The standard 6.2-liter V8 engine, which produces 411 horsepower and 434 lb.-ft. of torque, makes F-150 SVT Raptor the most powerful half-ton pickup on the market.
We reviewed a 2011 model earlier this year and found it to be indeed a class leader in this category of off road capable half ton trucks. We are looking forward to driving the 2012 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor in late October at the Texas Auto Writers Association annual Truck Rodeo near San Antonio to confirm our “first look” impression that this truck is a winner.