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A Falcon is a Raptor. This Ain't No Falcon. The 2021 Ford F-150 Raptor

2021 Ford F-150 Raptor front 3/4 view

Raptor (noun): : a carnivorous medium- to large-sized bird...that has a hooked beak and large sharp talons and that feeds wholly or chiefly on meat taken by hunting or on carrion : BIRD OF PREY (definition from Merriam-Webster dictionary).

Just so you know what we are dealing with, the Ford Raptor is named after birds that aren't fooling around.

Ford named one other of its vehicles after a raptor 62 years ago. That turned out a little different.

1960 Ford Falcon print ad

There's a reason falconers wear gloves. Those are fierce birds with claws and beaks. The 1960 Ford Falcon was a parakeet wearing a muzzle.

2021 Ford F-150 Raptor rear 3/4 view

No, this Raptor is very much its own bird---a serious off-road pickup truck with on-road manners that make it usable for everyday driving. It should be so loaded with compromises as to be diminished at one, the other, or both.

And it's not.

2021 Ford F-150 Raptor hood power bulge

2022 Ford F-150 Raptor hood up

2021 Ford F-150 Raptor engine

Power comes from a 3.6-liter Ecoboost High-Output V6. 450 horsepower, 510 pounds per foot of torque. Zero to 60 runs are in the low fives. Towing capacity of 8,200 pounds, so a small trailer can follow you off-road. A Class IV trailer hitch and sway control are standard, as are three skid plates for the undercarriage. The transmission is a ten-speed automatic. Fuel economy isn't something that makes or breaks a decision to buy a Raptor, but the Ecoboost pays off---the EPA says 15 city/16 highway.

2021 Ford F-150 Raptor tire

Arby's only thinks it has the meats. Raptors ride on standard 35-inch tires. Our tester had the optional 37s. That boosts ground clearance from 12 inches to 13.1. Terrain management modes offer normal, sport, tow-haul, slippery, rock crawl, off-road and Baja. All this sounds like a lot of fun out in the wild and way too much truck for daily use. And it may be on paper, but the Raptor never lets you know it.

2021 Ford F-150 Raptor tailgate down

2021 Ford F-150 Raptor tailgate measure

2021 Ford F-150 Raptor power outlet

No, this is a weekend buddy who wants to come to work with you during the week, with a duralined bed, a built-in measuring device on the tailgate (measure twice, cut once) and a power outlet inside the bed.

2021 Ford F-150 Raptor rear seat

Inside, upscale accommodations and tons of room for passengers.

2021 Ford F-150 Raptor front seats

Yeah, it's a different kind of luxury from an F-150 King Ranch, but that doesn't make it not luxury. And the road manners of the Raptor are such that it's very much like driving any other F-150---just one floor up, with 450 horsepower waiting for the signal from your right foot.

2021 Ford F-150 Raptor instrument panel

The base price of the 2021 Ford F-150 Raptor is $68,675. Our tester came with a window sticker that had no prices, just a big "VEHICLE NOT FOR SALE" emblazoned across it, but using Ford's build tool on its consumer website, we can probably get close.

2021 Ford F-150 Raptor steering wheel and gauge cluster

2021 Ford F-150 Raptor center console

2021 Ford F-150 Raptor center stack

Equipment Group 801A adds an 18-speaker B&O Unleashed audio system, a Torsen suspension package, a front axle with Torsen differential, a convenience package, an interior work surface (that RAPTOR armrest above folds forward---the gearshift folds flat under it), partitioned lockable storage, connected built-in navigation (a 3-year free subscription), a towing technology package, integrated trailer brake controller and a 360-degree camera package. That's $4755. The Raptor 37 Performance Package includes black-tint carbon fiber accents, 17-inch forged aluminum bead-lock capable wheels, sport tuned shock absorbers and 37x12.5 R17 all-terrain tires. It also includes splashy "RAPTOR" rear fender graphics, which can be deleted (and were on our tester). That's $5,250. The ToughBed spray-in bedliner adds $595. And that's it. So with $1,695 destination charge, the as-tested price of the 2021 Ford F-150 Raptor is $80,970.

2021 Ford F-150 Raptor front view

2021 Ford F-150 Raptor side view

Yeah, that's a lot of money. And no, it doesn't buy you the biggest, baddest factory truck on the planet. That honor goes to the RAM 1500 TRX, which costs about nine grand more and has 702 horsepower. Ford will counter with a Raptor R, likely with the Mustang Shelby engine, in 2023. What it does buy is a lot of truck. More than enough truck. An all-rounder that does everything a lot better than you'd expect it to. I don't know what price would be ideal for that, but in context to our automotive world today, 80 grand is actually fair.


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