Ford continues to raise the bar in off road performance with their 2012 F-150 SVT Raptor.
The 2012 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor was named by the Texas Auto Writers Association (TAWA) as the 2011 Full Size Pick up Truck of Texas in the Texas Truck Rodeo just completed.
The 2012 Raptor was one of the F-150 trucks entered by Ford in the Truck of Texas competition and was a key factor in many of the TAWA journalists decision to award the overall 2011 Truck of Texas trophy to the Ford F-150.
First shown at the recent Texas State Fair and then driven at the Texas Auto Writers Association (TAWA) Texas Truck Rodeo this past week, this latest version of Raptor exceeded my expectations as I took it through the challenging off road course at Knibbe Ranch.
The F-150 SVT Raptor SuperCrew for 2012 in Race Red (new color) has several new features that I found improve measurably the off road capability and add to driver ease, comfort and confidence in handling off road driving.
Overall, the 2012 F-150 SVT Raptor has enhancements that include a new Raptor Logo bodyside graphic. It uses gloss, matte and textured black finishes complementing other grained exterior parts like the hood vents, fender air extractors and running boards. The new Euroflange wheels (luxury package option) give the Raptor a new look while protecting wheel weights from debris and obstacles by placing them on the inside. The Raptor is 7 inches wider than the standard F-150 and when adding the SVT-tuned 35-inch BFGoodrich™ All-Terrain TA/KO 315/70-17 tires to the Euroflange wheels, Raptor has added aggressive appearance.
Ford also concentrated on enhancing the chassis and suspension for 2012. In addition to being wider, Raptor has unique cast aluminum front control arms and internal triple-bypass FOX Racing Shox (first on a production truck) to provide position-sensitive dampening and extra suspension travel for extreme off road plus a smooth ride on the road.
The new Torsen front axle (differential) increases grip significantly in the front end allowing Raptor to pull itself over obstacles and up steep grades even when traction is split between the front wheels. An internal system forces torque from the wheel losing traction to the one that has traction to maintain vehicle traction. The system is set to minimize steering feedback in the process.
The 2012 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor is powered by a 6.2 liter V8 producing 411 hp at 5,500 rpm with 434 lb.-ft of torque. The transmission is a six speed automatic overdrive with tow haul mode. The 2012 Ford SVT Ford Raptor ran with ease across the range land and handled every obstacle on the off road course with confidence and ease.
Inside, the 2012 Ford F-150 Raptor has new accent leather trimmed front seats with unique leather inserts and accents on the center, rear seats and door panels. The aluminum trims on instrument panel and flow through center console. And, for those who need or want it, Raptor now offers cooled front seats in the luxury package which are very nice when running a demanding course in a hot environment.
The 2012 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor now has a new class exclusive and patent pending front camera system to enhance the off road experience while adding safety and control for the driver. This was, for me, a fun and very effective tool in being able to maximize the performance of the Raptor with good safety margin. The camera is placed in the grill and allows the driver to see what’s ahead when the view is blocked by the hood or hampered by the constantly changing terrain. The camera comes as part of the Navigation System option and operates only when in off road mode at speeds under 15 mph. Activated through the 4.2 inch LCD productivity screen, the system displays the forward view on the 8 inch navigation display in the instrument panel face. The road track is shown very similar to a back up camera display with a moving curve track to show where the current angle of the front tires is going to take you.
“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”, said Jamal Hameedi, Ford SVT Chief Engineer.
I can tell you this was a real “wow” for me in running up steep inclines, over the edges at the top of hills and avoiding large rocks and holes while placing wheels where they got me the best and fastest traction. And, it has its own dedicated lens washer system activated by pressing a lever on left steering column.
This new front camera system was so well received by the media, that it finished a close second to the EcoBoost engine technology as the 2011 Outstanding Feature in the Truck Rodeo.