There are certain things you just don’t outgrow. You never stop being your parents’ child. There are some people who still remember your childhood nickname – and at least one of them never lets you forget what it was.
For some, a fascination with dinosaurs is another one of those things they’ve never outgrown. They used to doodle sketches of them in their elementary school notebooks, saw “Jurassic Park” when it first hit theaters, and in the years since have learned interesting facts about the giants that once roamed the planet.
We still love dinosaurs, especially one particular breed: Raptor, as in the 2017 Ford F-150 Raptor. Earlier this year, we experienced first-hand what the SuperCrew version of the off-road monster could do on the streets and sands of El Paso, Texas. We used the Terrain Management System’s Normal setting to make the trip from Austin to the west Texas town and back. During a short rain storm, we engaged the traction-focused Weather mode. We used Sport mode to get one of our friends to the church for his wedding in record time – and with a smile on his face. We blasted up, down, and across the dunes of the Red Sands area of El Paso in TMS’s Sand/Mud and Baja settings.
After more than 1,500 miles behind the wheel of that Raptor, we still wanted more. We also wanted to see how the Raptor performed when its TMS was set to Rock Crawl mode. Luckily, Ford had a Raptor SuperCab available in time for us to take it to Yokohoma’s Climb the Falls event at Hidden Falls Adventure Park in Marble Falls, Texas. Conquering the terrain out there made us realize there’s something else we’ll never outgrow: the enjoyment of getting trucks dirty off road.
2017 Ford F-150 Raptor Exterior
The big, bold letters of the Raptor’s grille set it apart from other F-150s. The extreme angles of the front bumper’s end caps allowed us to get an eyeful of the front suspension hardware and tread pattern of the BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A K02s.
We enjoyed the presence of the Raptor SuperCrew, but the Raptor SuperCab’s profile looked fantastic, too. Ford’s designers nailed its proportions. The gleaming Ingot Silver paint and the dark fender flares coordinated well with the two-tone 17-inch cast aluminum wheels.
In the rear, the soft-drop tailgate was filled with the convenient optional tailgate assist step and bar setup. That kept stuff in the 5.5-foot bed while a pair of black exhaust tips let the high-output 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6’s sound out.
2017 Ford F-150 Raptor Interior
Our test vehicle’s black leather-lined cabin was loaded with a variety of convenience features. The 10-way power heated and cooled front seats and adjustable pedals allowed us to get into the perfect driving position. Through the steering wheel, we were able to set the speed and distance of the adaptive cruise control, change the volume of the Sony audio system, and switch the steering from Normal to Comfort to Sport. To the right of that, two similarly sized knobs controlled two totally different functions. The one on top managed the four-wheel drive system; the knob below it was connected to the Pro Trailer Backup Assist.
When we wanted to change the satellite radio channel we were listening to, all we had to do was tap on the 8-inch center touchscreen of the SYNC 3 infotainment system. That also gave us the ability to change a variety of vehicle settings and enter a destination into the navigation system.
The back seat proved a little short on legroom for yours truly (5’10”), but slight adjustments to the front seats would’ve easily freed up some extra space in the second row.
2017 Ford F-150 Raptor Performance
When we got to Hidden Falls, we already knew the Raptor’s tweaked 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 generated 450 horsepower and 510 lbft of torque. We were aware it had an approach angle of 30.2 degrees, a breakover angle of 22.9 degrees, and a departure angle of 23.1 degrees. We started down the main trail road behind a convoy of off-road-ready SUVs with the knowledge that the 2017 Raptor SuperCab has 11.5 inches of ground clearance. What we didn’t know was how the truck would perform on the miles of rock that flowed through the surface of the off-highway vehicle park’s trails. We aired the tires down a little to improve their grip, put the Raptor into Rock Crawl mode to lock in 4L, and prepared to find out.
A trail guide told us that everyone driving full-size trucks would come to a point on the trail that would frighten them with the possibility of bottoming out and scraping the bottoms of their rigs on the pitiless terrain. We can’t remember where that spot was because the Raptor never dragged its belly. It rolled over every obstacle we drove it toward. With the press of a button, we instantly engaged hill descent control, which managed the throttle and brakes for us as we made our way down steep declines. The Raptor sailed effortlessly up jagged grades. The people in our group were already in love with its bold and aggressive design. After watching it in action, they became fans of its performance. We know why. We lived why.
2017 Ford F-150 Raptor Safety
Despite all the things we made the Raptor do, we managed to keep it on all four tires and off of its roof. Had things taken a turn for the worst on or off the road, the Raptor would’ve protected us with front, front seat-mounted side-impact, and Safety Canopy airbags. Curve Control combined the powers of the anti-lock brakes, AdvanceTrac, and Roll Stability Control to scrub off speed and keep us from going into twisties too quickly. Once we got off the trails, we started airing the K02s back up; the tire pressure monitoring system told us when we’d inflated them to the correct PSI. The 360-degree camera setup kept us from bumping into people, poles, and rocky protrusions.
2017 Ford F-150 Raptor Overall
Prices for the 2017 Ford F-150 Raptor SuperCab start at $49,265.* The well-equipped model Ford loaned us had an as-tested price of $61,685. You can find the one that’s perfect for you at an AutoNation Ford dealership. Even if you’ve outgrown your childhood love of dinosaurs, you’ll find it hard to outgrow the 2017 Ford F-150 Raptor’s off-road capabilities.
*MSRP excluding tax, license, registration, destination charge and options. Dealer prices may vary.