What happens when you take the world’s best-selling pickup truck, give it a Baja-ready makeover and finish it off with a powerful twin-turbo engine developed for the Ford GT supercar? You get the 2018 Ford F-150 Raptor!
Although the 2018 model is a carryover from last year, a lot has changed in the world of factory-built off-road trucks since we first tested the second-gen Raptor. The 2018 Ford F-150 Raptor is still a beast in its segment, but off-road enthusiasts now have a wider variety of options including the new Jeep JL Wrangler Rubicon and Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Bison. We strapped into a Lightning Blue 2018 Ford F-150 Raptor SuperCab, and drove in on, through and over every terrain we could find!
2018 Ford F-150 Raptor Exterior
The 2018 Ford F-150 Raptor was designed with off-road racing in mind, so Ford developed this truck with a purposefully wide body to accommodate the upgraded suspension and wheels. And while the Raptor is all about off-roading, Ford still made sure this truck looked distinctive and mean in the process. This truck is more than six inches wider than a standard F-150, and with a width of 86.3 inches, it’s wider than it is tall (and boy is this truck tall!). The extreme width required the Raptor’s signature front and rear clearance lights that has become a popular design trend on other pickup trucks as well as including faux-Raptor F-150s thanks to aftermarket accessories.
The Raptor is available with two body configurations: the four-door SuperCrew or, in the case of this tester, the extended SuperCab. Both cab configurations come with the same 5.5-foot bed, which makes the dimensions of the Raptor SuperCab exclusive to any other F-150 with its 134.2-inch wheelbase paired with the F-150’s short bed (non-Raptor SuperCab models are only offered with bed lengths of 6.5 feet or eight feet). Speaking of the cargo bed, this tester added options such as the $495 spray-in bed liner and $375 tailgate step to make the Raptor as functional as any other F-150. For maximum off-road capabilities, Ford also designed the wheel openings and bumpers to maximize suspension travel and allow for better approach and departure angles than the standard F-150.
2018 Ford F-150 Raptor Interior
Despite the outward appearance of a trophy truck, the interior of the 2018 Ford F-150 Raptor is all business – just like any other F-150. Sure, there are a handful of Raptor-specific touches (including the gauges, steering wheel and embossed seats), but Ford left the F-150’s functional cabin alone as much as possible. The Raptor’s cabin is still very truck-like with big knobs, a deep, wide center and durable finishes, but some of the more unique elements of the cabin include the real metal paddle shifters and overhead aux switches.
This tester came loaded to the gills with the $9,770 Equipment Group 802A that brings enough added features to make off-roading in the Raptor a more luxurious affair. This includes the perforated leather seats, eight-inch touch screen navigation system, SYNC3 infotainment, B&O Play premium audio, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a power-sliding rear window and much more.
2018 Ford F-150 Raptor Powertrain
While first-gen Raptors were powered by big, thirsty V-8s, the 2018 Ford F-150 Raptor uses a high-output 3.5-liter EcoBoost twin-turbo V-6. Sure it’s “only a V-6” but its output of 450 horsepower and 510 lb-ft of torque exceeds the previous 5.4-liter and 6.2-liter V-8s, while also delivering improved EPA-rated fuel economy estimates of 15 mpg in the city and 18 mpg on the highway**. In addition to the more advanced engine, the added efficiency is also aided by the 10-speed automatic transmission and the aluminum body that helped reduce curb weight by around 500 pounds. Note: If you want this powertrain without the Raptor’s beefier styling, check out the 2019 F-150 Limited.
Most of our time spent with this 2018 Ford F-150 Raptor was in typical on-road driving including a 200-mile interstate jaunt. Like the trails, the massive width of this truck is obvious in urban driving, but what was surprising is just how smooth, quiet and controllable it is at higher speeds even with off-road setup and meaty BF Goodrich KO2 tires. Whether you’re on asphalt or dirt, the twin-turbo V-6 proves its worth acceleration from 0-60 mph in around six seconds backed up with a deep exhaust note and plenty of turbocharger whooshing.
Bred with off-roading in mind, the Raptor is most enjoyable in just about any off-road terrain you can find with 11.5 inches of ground clearance and suspension travel of 13 inches in the front and 13.9 inches at the rear. I pushed this Raptor as far as I felt doing comfortably, and the truck handled it all without even a hint of weakness. The deep-water crossings and steep rock crawling were slow and technical, but the most fun is doing what this truck does best: jumping. The intense suspension travel and Fox Racing shock setup mean that the 2018 Ford F-150 Raptor absorbed jumps at 60 mph better than some cars handle highway expansion joints at the same speed. The suspension has so much travel that it took a lot of work to get all four wheels off the ground, but the landing was extremely controlled. The rock-crawling potential is equally impressive with enough power – and clearance – to make it up a 25-degree rock incline!
2018 Ford F-150 Raptor Safety
The Raptor has not been crash tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, but a 2018 Ford F-150 SuperCab 4×4 does come with a four-star overall rating, which includes a five-star side impact rating. This truck added extra safety features through the $1,950 Raptor Technology Package (Lane-Keeping System, Lane Departure Warning, Adaptive Cruise Control with Collision Mitigation, Rain-Sensing Wipers and Auto High Beam) as well as the aforementioned Equipment Group 802A (which also brings Blinds Spot Information System (BLIS) with tow monitoring, Pro Trailer Backup Assist and an integrated trailer brake controller).
2018 Ford F-150 Raptor Overall
Hands down, the 2018 Ford F-150 Raptor is one of the most enjoyable trucks to drive (whether you’re on dirt or pavement), and it is by far the meanest-looking truck out there! The second-gen Raptor has been over-engineered with off-roading capability than most owners will ever be able to max out, which is what makes this truck so special for enthusiasts. Considering what you get, the 2018 Ford F-150 Raptor is an absolute steal with a starting price of $50,765*, and even with this truck’s as-tested price of $64,100, you’re still getting a lot of truck for your buck.
Make sure to visit your local AutoNation Ford dealership and test drive the Ford F-150 Raptor today!
*MSRP excludes tax, license, registration, destination charge and options. Dealer prices may vary.
**Based on 2018 EPA mileage ratings. Your mileage will vary depending on specific vehicle trim, how you drive and maintain your vehicle, driving conditions, and other factors.