It’s no secret that a second generation of the F-150 Raptor, Ford’s rugged off-road bandido, is on the horizon. The company revealed the SuperCab version a year ago.

Nevertheless, Ford added to Raptor anticipation at the Detroit show, revealing the SuperCrew model that will round out the Raptor revue when these big dirt devils reach showrooms next fall as 2017 models.

As with the first generation, the new Raptor is an adaptation of the regular F-150, with lots of ground clearance, lots of under body armor, and long-travel suspension with Fox off-road shock absorbers.

The difference for Raptor number two is that it’s based on the latest aluminum-intensive F-150, which Ford claims will bring curb weights down by as much as 500 pounds. These trucks have never been wraiths, but paring that much mass from the SuperCrew should result in a Raptor that weighs well below the three tons of its predecessor.

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Power to weight

All things being equal, reduced weight translates as increased performance. But just how much it will be altered is a matter of speculation. Ford has made this much official: a 3.5-liter Ecoboost V-6 will replace the naturally aspirated 6.2-liter V-8 that propelled the previous Raptor, and it will produce more power. With 411 horsepower and 434 pound-feet of torque, the big V8 was capable of propelling three tons of truck to 60 mph in less than 7 seconds.

Guesses regarding output of the Raptorized 3.5 have run as high as 550 hp. However, informed truck-watchers anticipate something on the order of 450 hp, as well as EPA ratings higher than the 13 mpg city/16 highway of the V8.Also contributing to fuel economy, as well as performance, is a new 10-speed automatic transmission, replacing the previous 6-speed, and a new dual exhaust system.

Multi-mode

Other mechanical updates include a revised four-wheel drive system with torque on demand; 17-inch forged alloy wheels with beadlock rims, wearing 35-inch BFG off-road tires; and a terrain response system that includes six operating modes: Normal, Street, Weather, Mud/Sand, Baja, and Rock.

Footnotes: Baja mode can be engaged without going south of the U.S. border; Rock refers to terrain, not to music; and the distinction between Normal and Street is murky. Another popular mechanical option is the Torsen limited-slip front differential.

The sum of all the Raptor’s equipment is a truck that’s at its best when the pavement ends. It’s obviously street legal, but the design intent is for optimal playing in the dirt, and in that milieu it has no real rival among production pickups—although a challenge may soon emerge from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ Ram truck division.

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Room with zoom

Raptor or regular F-150, the advantage of the SuperCrew is interior volume. Riding a 145-inch wheelbase, 12 inches longer than the SuperCab, the SuperCrew’s bigger dimensions translate as a much roomier rear cabin area. Front-hinged rear doors make for easier access than the SuperCab’s rear-hinged access panels.

Predictably, the SuperCrew Raptor rubber stamps the butch styling previewed by the SuperCab a year ago, and inspired by desert racing trophy trucks, with a huge Ford logo that spreads across the entire grille. Ford won’t be ready to discuss pricing until the end of summer. The previous Raptor started at about $45,000.


 

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