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