New Truck

7 things on the 2021 Ford Raptor you should be really excited about

The Ford Raptor has been redesigned for the 2021 model year.

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

The 2021 Ford Raptor is here, and like the rest of the 2021 F-150 lineup, it has new technology and new capability. Since I like to go off-roading at high speeds – especially when it's not my truck – I'm excited to see what changes Ford made to its desert pre-runner. After giving the specs a look, talking to some folks at Ford, and eyeing up the photography, I can safely say these are 7 things you should really be excited about for the 2021 Ford Raptor.

Goodbye, leaf springs

One of the biggest functional changes to the 2021 Ford Raptor is also one of the biggest changes overall to the truck. To improve the off-road capability at speed, Ford made the decision to remove the leaf springs from the rear and replace them with a 5-link coil setup. While not surprising – the prototypes running around were obviously running the new setup – it is a big change for Ford in the United States.

Ford uses leaf springs while Ram goes full link coil because the company claims it's better for towing and payload. However, what is good for payload isn't as good for desert dune running. In fact, in global markets, the Ranger Raptor has a link coil setup, while the other Ranger models still use leaf springs.

Fundamentally this should improve ride quality both on and off the road and should improve handling and grip off road.

Available 37-inch tires

The second thing buyers should get excited about is the optional factory 37-inch tires. The BFGoodrich K02s are available in the larger size, improving ground clearance as well as approach and departure angles. The stock 37-inch setup also comes with a beefier Fox front suspension to handle the additional mass of the larger tires. The 37-inch wheels are also bead lock capable.

Updated Fox Racing Shox

Speaking of those Fox Racing Shox, they are updated for the 2021 truck. They come in a 3.1-inch damper up front, with a 1-inch rod diameter on the 37-inch wheel package. In the rear they are 3.1-inch dampers with 0.875-inch rod diameter (which is the same as the front on non-37 trucks).

The software for the continuous dampening has been updated to make the system even more responsive. It can change the dampening rates per corner at 500 times per second. Ford says that is as fast as the human brain can recognize the changes.

The new suspension setup also improves suspension travel. On standard wheel and tire trucks, Raptor gets an impressive 14-inch travel up front and a monstrous 15-inches of travel in the rear. That's 1 more inch front and rear than Ram's TRX. Opting for the 37-inch tires does reduce that to 13 and 14.1-inches, respectively.

Pro Power Onboard generator

2021 Ford F-150 Raptor generator truck bed

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

In addition to the go faster goodies off road, the Raptor has new technology from the 2021 F-150 lineup. For those who take their Raptors camping, a two-kilowatt Pro Power Onboard generator is there to power your campsite. That's enough to power an AC unit for a camper, or a TV and accessories for a tailgate, or really whatever you need. Powered by the truck itself, the generator is a fantastic addition to the F-150 lineup.

New exhaust note

Because one of Raptor's weak points is the sound, Ford changed out the exhaust. While the old truck with the 3.5-liter EcoBoost sounded more like a Focus RS than a trophy truck, an updated active exhaust with a built-in X-pipe and "trombone loop" enhances the sound. Ford provided us with a sound clip (listen above), but we look forward to hearing it in person.

Ford is quite adamant that they were on the right track with the active exhaust when they first sent prototypes out into the wild and discovered that spy photographers thought the truck had a V8. The exhaust has a Quiet, Normal, Sport, and Baja mode.

Driver assist tech

Because many Raptor drivers drive their trucks every day – and some never go off-road – Ford is including a variety of new standard and available driver's assist tech. It's worth getting excited about the prep for Active Drive Assist. When equipped with the software update that's coming, the Raptor will be able to drive on approved, digitally mapped highways without the driver having to keep their hands on the steering wheel. It's tech similar to Cadillac's Super Cruise and has active driver monitoring making it safer than Tesla's own "Full Self-Driving" software.

New graphics packages

2021 Ford F-150 Raptor stickers graphics

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

Lastly, worth mentioning, is the 37-inch graphics package for the Raptor. Instead of just offering one set of graphics like in the past, Raptor has several to choose from. The one featured on the orange hero truck has the 37-inch package that includes the number 37 and trail maps on the fenders. If you're into graphics, it's cool to see the variety.

There are tons of other new features on Raptor that also come with the updated 2021 F-150. Overall, the truck features a ton more new tech, features and capability.

You should also be excited about the possibilities for 2022. If you're sad about it only having the 3.5-liter EcoBoost under the hood, Ford said that next year a Raptor R is coming. While they aren't providing any details, it'd make sense for that truck to have a V8 so it can go full-on TRX hunting.

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Hardcore off-road SUV

Ford Bronco Raptor is real and on its way in 2022

Ford's video gave up very little on the new SUV.


The long-awaited Ford Bronco went on sale earlier this year and overwhelming demand has many buyers waiting months for the opportunity to own one. Ford isn't resting on that success, however, and is already hitting the gas on the SUV with the tease of a new model. The even longer-awaited Ford Bronco Raptor is coming, though we don't yet have many details to share, but Ford CEO Jim Farley shared a video to Twitter this morning that gives us a little to go on. More importantly, the video confirms that the Bronco Raptor is coming, which is music to our ears.

Ford Bronco Raptor Pause the video at the exact right moment, and you can catch a blurry glimpse of the Bronco Raptor.Ford

Being a tease, it's not surprising that we don't get a big, clear picture of the SUV. We can see that the Bronco Raptor's grille is different, with the Ford name spelled out in bold letters, just like the brand's other Raptor vehicles. We can also see that the Bronco's daytime running lights have shifted to orange.

Ford did not share any other details, but other Raptor models paint an enticing picture for the future hardcore Bronco. The SUV should get upgraded off-road suspension, brawny bodywork, and fat all-terrain tires. One of the biggest questions is what Ford will choose for the Bronco Raptor's powertrain. Two engines are currently offered for the standard Bronco, including a turbo-four and turbo-six. Rumors have pointed to the possibility that the Explorer ST's EcoBoost engine could make an appearance in the Raptor, which would bring up to 400 horsepower to the SUV. There may also be more than one wheel and tire option, which is the case for the upcoming F-150 Raptor, where buyers can choose to upgrade the stock 35-inch tires to 37-inchers.

There's no word on release date or pricing, but it's a safe bet that the Bronco Raptor will outpace its "normal" counterparts by more than a few dollars. Regardless of price, Ford should sell a ton of the SUVs, assuming it can keep up with demand on the production side.

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Highway safety

U.S. roadway fatalities up in 2021

Ford, Microsoft team to use quantum-inspired technology to understand traffic congestion
Photo coursesy of Ford Motor Company

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has just released its estimates on traffic fatalities for the first quarter of 2021 and the numbers aren't promising. In the first quarter of this year alone, 8,730 people died in motor vehicle crashes. Last year's cumulative numbers weren't much better, coming in higher than any year since 2007.

U.S. Roadways Traffic may be going up, but fuel fill ups are down according to the latest research

The grim statistics represent a 10.5 percent increase from the same time period last year, a time when we were already marveling at the numbers. Further data reported by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) indicate that the number of vehicle miles traveled (VMT) decreased by 2.1 percent, which makes the increase in fatalities all the more striking a statistic. Initial projections pegged the number of fatalities per 100 million VMT at 1.12, but it instead climbed to 1.26 fatalities per 100 million VMT.

Regionally, most areas in the United Statessaw an increase, though two did not. The Midwest region, which includes Nebraska, Kansas, Iowa, Missouri, and Arkansas did not change, while the mid-east coast states of North Carolina, Virginia, Delaware, Maryland, Kentucky, and West Virginia actually saw a six percent decline in fatality counts.

Highway 1 big sur Highway 1 near Big Sur includes the Bixby Creek Bridge, a famous landmark. Photo by\u00a0Getty Images

What's behind all of this? Last year, the NHTSA reported that, with fewer people on the roads, those that were driving were engaging in risky behavior. What's more, Automotive News reports, that the number of deaths involving people not wearing seatbelts increased 15 percent last year and speeding deaths climbed 10 percent.

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