Considering a Truck? Check out the Ford Raptor!

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Considering a Truck? Check out the Ford Raptor!

April 18, 2012

As many of you know, I test drive and review Ford vehicles.

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of driving Ford’s top of the line F-150 once again.  I’m not sure who was more excited to go for another ride in the Raptor – my husband or my 3.5 year old daughter!  It was perfect timing to drive the truck as we had planned an Easter weekend skiing getaway, so we put just over 1000 km’s on the truck and really got to know it!  We also got a dump of snow the day I picked it up, so it was great to try it on snow and on dry pavement.

(Photo Note: you can see if this pictures how much larger the Raptor is than my Tahoe next to it!)

As I mentioned in my last Raptor review; this is not your typical truck.  Ford originally made the F-150 Lightning as a street light racer/Mustang chaser with a truck bed…this version now named The RAPTOR is everything you could possibly want out of a truck into one large and in charge package.  You certainly get a lot of looks in this vehicle; and if you are a woman driving it – it seems to catch the eye of truck loving men of all ages!

The Ford F-150 has been the best selling truck for 33 years running, so Ford already has the truck market nailed down, however Ford always continues to strive towards improving their products.  The RAPTOR is proof that Ford designers want to ensure the F-150 is always evolving and has the full range of available options to meet the needs of a large diverse demographic of people and families.

My very first impression was that the handling was a bit off when I first picked up the truck – or so I thought.  As it turned out, it was in 4 wheel high and between that setting and the off-road ready tires; it was a bit tough to maneuver on dry roads.  Once it was in 2 wheel drive, it was much easier to drive in the spring/dry road conditions. For whatever reason, I found the 2011 RAPTOR to be more management to drive in every day traffic and I also found it a lot smoother during highway driving.

As with last year’s model; it was definitely fast! 6.2 Litre V8 with 411 horsepower and 434 lb feet of torque.  This truck has all the power you need (and then some) to drive around town or merge onto the freeway.  On our road trip to Banff, AB, we tested this out when we had to make a quick pit stop on the side of the road for our little girl and then had to quickly get back on the busy highway.

If you are a truck lover, or has a partner who is, these vehicles can DEFINATELY be kid friendly.  The back seats are better than any SUV or mini-van that I have seen.  There is room for mom or dad to be able to climb right in to buckle car seats, or even for an adult to sit between 2 car seats very comfortably.  I don’t recall this with the 2011 Raptor, but our  Britax car seat was more difficult to install in the 2012 Raptor and we had a lot of difficulty tethering the seat.  I am currently driving the F150 Harley truck and found the roominess the same, but the car seat anchoring was very easy (more to come on that in my Harley review next week!)

The ride might not be as smooth on a road trip, as with other vehicles, but it was very comfortable and roomy to travel with.  We skied on our weekend away, so of course we had tons of stuff packed for the short 3 day trip.  We were able to get everything inside the vehicle by taking advantage of the 60/40 seat split with the car seat on one side and the remaining 60 percent of the back seat flipped up; skis, boots, bags and coolers included!  We didn’t have to worry about tying anything down in the bed of the truck, nor the security of our items when the truck was parked.

The front seat areas are well organized with lots of great places to stick the usual road trip fair – Kleenex, gum, iphones, snacks, drinks and more.  Within my first couple of kilometers, I found the instrumentation cluster and the “TV” sized screen really user friendly.  The steering wheel controls are fairly standard in all vehicles, but the center radio controls and “TV” screen were extremely easy to use.  The large screen had 3 quadrants of information.  Half of the screen displayed navigation and the other half was divided into the radio and climate information which was a nice alternative to the standard full screen navigation.

This Vehicle is for you if…

 

If you love trucks and want to get noticed on the road!  If you are looking for luxury comfort, sports car power, full size SUV cabin room, off-road capabilities and the ability to tow your boat or camping trailer with ease.  If you are looking for a performance truck that still has room for the whole family, this would be a great option!

 

This Vehicle is Not for you if…

You have limited parking availability.  If parking is at a premium then you will be challenged as this vehicle will not fit in your standard home garage or downtown parking structure and you will need a lot of room on the street or in a parking lot.  I found a few challenges in busy parking lots, but overall didn’t mind regular busy city driving and was surprised at maneuverability in such a large vehicle.

If keeping your vehicle clean in the winter time is important.  Ford does not want the RAPTOR going through a commercial car wash and warns against aiming a high pressure spray wand at the stick-on graphics, although lately I have seen RAPTOR’s without all the graphics.  I felt this was worth noting as most wand washes would probably be fine if you were careful, however keeping the Raptor clean could be a problem for owners in winter climates.

If you are on a budget, this will most likely not be a vehicle to consider for your truck purchase.  I say you get what you pay for, however a nicely equipped F-150 may be more reasonable for most families in terms of pricing.

 

 

 

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