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2021 Ford F-150 Raptor Fights For Off-Road Supremacy

2021 Raptor Brings More Truck, More Tire, More Tech, & Unanswered Questions

2021 Ford F-150 Raptor

The original factory go-fast off-road truck was first introduced all the way back in 2009. Now it’s revamped in its 3rd-generation form. The 2021 Ford F-150 Raptor will be available this summer and come in a SuperCrew with a 5.5-foot bed format. It gives consumers a choice of 35 or 37-inch tires and an updated Twin-turbo 3.5L V6 EcoBoost H.O. engine. There is also still hope for the return of a V8 in the Raptor, with the announcement that we’ll get a Raptor R in 2022.

2021 Raptor grilleWhile we now know a lot about this new and improved Raptor, there is still much that Ford has not revealed. We do not yet know 2021 Ford Raptor pricing, horsepower, torque, 0-60, top speed, weight, or fuel economy figures.

Let’s dive into what we do know.

2021 Ford F-150 Raptor2021 Ford Raptor Quick Highlights:

  • 35-inch standard and 37-inch optional tires on 17-inch wheels (beadlock capable options available)
  • New 5-link coil rear suspension with Live Valve electronically controlled internal bypass 3.1 Fox shocks
  • Lots of new tech: over-the-air updates, 12-inch infotainment touchscreen, cloud-connected SYNC 4, FordPass mobile app, and more
  • Expected 500+ mile range (36-gallon tank)
  • Active valve equal length dual exhaust = more twin-turbo V6 growl
  • We will get a 2022 Ford “Raptor R”

Proven Raptor Sales

Ford claims that the “F-150 Raptor has eclipsed the sales of other well-known performance icons. Over the last four years, the previous-generation Raptor cumulatively outsold Porsche’s entire lineup of sports cars and also outsold Chevrolet’s Corvette.” While we couldn’t verify the Raptor sales numbers, we did find that there were 83,484 Corvette’s sold in the last 4 years. If true, that means there are a lot of go-fast off-road F-150 roaming the planet’s roads!

We expect this latest 2021 Ford Raptor to only accelerate sales, especially in these times of low gas prices.

Big Truck With Big Tires

2021 Ford F-150 RaptorOf course, size matters, and the 2021 Raptor is even larger in all dimensions. The new Raptor is 86.6-inches wide and 232.6-inches long with a 145-inch wheelbase. That is .3-inches wider, 12.6-inches longer, and a 12-inch longer wheelbase than the gen-2 Raptor. As you can imagine, the 2021 Raptor will have considerably more interior room for all passengers.

2021 Raptor 37-inch BFG tiresAs with the gen-2 Raptor, the standard tire and wheel combo is a 35-inch BFG AT KO2 wrapped on a 17-inch wheel. The exciting news for the 2021 Raptor is the factory option of a 37-inch tire and 3 different 17-inch wheel choices, two that are beadlock capable.

2021 Raptor 37-inch BFG tiresFor comparison, the RAM TRX is 1.4-inches wider, .3-inches longer, and has a .1-inch longer wheelbase, so in essence, is the same size. It rides on 35-inch tires and 18-inch wheels, but 37s aren’t a factory option, yet. The Raptor wins here by offering a bigger factory tire option, and a taller tire sidewall when rolling on 35s.

2021 F-150 Raptor Suspension

The latest Fox Racing Shox technology has been packed into the new Raptor, with the next generation of the Live Valve tech introduced in 2019. The 2021 Raptor gets “gas-pressurized, electronically controlled, continuously variable compression damping FOX Racing Shox with 3.1-inch damper” at all four corners. Ford says that these new shocks will respond “at the same speed the human brain processes visual information.” What this equates to is a super smooth ride over incredibly rough terrain as the shocks change their damping rates 500 times per second independently at each corner of the truck.

Up front you get the same independent double-wishbone coil-over setup the current Raptor has, but the big news is out back. Gone are the leaf springs, replaced by a 5-link coil-sprung rear suspension. A massive 24-inch coil helps provide impressive suspension travel.

If this setup sounds familiar, it should. It is essentially the same 5-link used on the RAM TRX, with less than a half-inch longer rear coil.

2021 Raptor Off-Road Numbers

2021 Ford Raptor flex from rearThe important numbers for an off-road vehicle are the wheel travel, ground clearance, entry, departure, and breakover angles. The new Raptor offers up some numbers that should prove quite off-road capable.

With 35-inch tires, the 2021 Ford Raptor gets 14-inches at the front and 15-inches at the rear of wheel travel. It also has 12-inches of ground clearance, a 31-degree entry angle, a 23.9-degree departure angle, and a 22.7 degree breakover angle. These numbers are mild improvements over the outgoing Raptor and near-identical to the RAM TRX, with a slight advantage in ground clearance and wheel travel.

A 2021 Ford F-150 Raptor on 37-inch tires gets 13-inches at the front and 14.1-inches at the rear of wheel travel. It has 13.1 inches of ground clearance. It also offers 33.1 degrees of approach angle, a maximum 24.9 degrees of departure angle, and 24.4 degrees of breakover angle.

Louder Sound & Looks

2021 F-150 RaptorEven the exhaust note on the new Raptor is configurable. You can choose between four sound level modes; Quiet, Normal, Sport, or Baja. These can be changed on the fly through new exhaust active valves. The exhaust should sound pretty good, as it is a 3-inch equal-length setup with a new X-pipe.

The 2021 Raptor is a bigger truck and looks the part. It has a wider front skid plate, power dome hood, super-wide headlights, and even more aggressive wide fenders. You get high-clearance steel bumpers at both ends of the truck, and even functional side vents at the back of the front fenders.

2021 F-150 Raptor rear bumper2021 Ford Raptor Pro Power Electrical System

One of the hot optional features on the latest generation F-150 is the Pro Power Onboard system. This system allows you to use your truck as a mobile generator. The 2-kilowatt output allows you to power up everything from camp lights to power tools. This optional feature will for sure attract some buyers to the 2021 Ford F-150 Raptor.

More Capacity

More of everything is the name of the game with the new Raptor. You get more payload and more towing capacity, both up 200-pounds over the outgoing truck. This gets the maximum payload to 1,400-pounds and maximum towing to 8,200-pounds. While we’d love to see even more of both, these numbers are workable for a high-speed desert runner style truck.

More Tech

2021 Ford Raptor driver cockpitAs with all modern vehicles, each is loaded with the very latest tech features. The big ones of note on the 2021 Raptor are the new 12-inch digital gauge cluster and 12-inch touchscreen infotainment system, both standard. The new infotainment screen allows for a split-screen mode to simultaneously show and use navigation, music, or the truck’s features. This system uses the latest cloud-connected SYNC 4, which of course includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

The FordPass mobile app functionality is also now standard on the 2021 Raptor. The app offers a ton of functionality. You can check fuel and tire pressure levels, control the Pro Power Onboard system, monitor an attached trailer, lock and unlock the truck, and more. Expect the apps functionality options to improve alongside over-air updates to the truck.

Ford hasn’t forgotten to include the latest off-road computer aids as well. You get a Terrain Management System with seven selectable modes, Trail 1-Pedal Drive, and the off-road cruise control of Trail Control. Possibly even more useful than all those features is the available 360-degree camera package with real-time tire overlay and a dash hard button to summon the camera views at any time.

2021 Raptor Interior

2021 Raptor interiorThe interior of the Raptor has received an update in line with the clean updated styling of the latest generation F-150. In the Raptor, you’ll feel a bit more sporty though, with orange accents and aluminum or available carbon-fiber trim.

The front seats are more highly bolstered, to keep you from moving around when bouncing down rough trails at high speeds. Even more sporty and aggressive Recaro buckets are available. In the back passengers get a ton of legroom while the extra space also offers up impressive cargo room. Lockable fold-flat storage under the rear seats is available, and perfect for securing and providing easy access to off-road recovery gear.

2021 Ford Raptor jumping2021 Ford F-150 Raptor Drive Train

There isn’t a ton to talk about, yet, with the drive train of the new Raptor. It is still based on a twin-turbo 3.5L EcoBoost high output (HO) engine backed by a 10-speed automatic with paddle shifters. While we don’t know output numbers just yet, we’re sure it will be more than the outgoing truck’s 450 hp and 510 lb.-ft. of torque and considerably less than the RAM TRX’s 702 hp and 650 lb.-ft. of torque.

Under the 2021 F-150 Raptor are 4:10 gears and a standard rear e-locker and an optional Torsen front limited-slip differential. This setup should prove very capable off-road.

2021 Raptor rear2022 Ford Raptor R

We now know for sure that we’re going to get something called the “Raptor R” next year. Our best guess is that this will be the V8 powered high horsepower Raptor aimed squarely at taking down the TRX’s power supremacy. We’ll probably see a detuned supercharged 5.2L Predator V8, which is currently found in the Ford Mustang Shelby GT500, which should put out a bit less than 760 hp.

No matter V6 or V8, we’re ready to get behind the wheel of the 2021 Ford F-150 Raptor and smash the skinny pedal!

Bryon Dorr
About Bryon Dorr

AutoWise Editor-in-Chief Bryon Dorr has been a lifelong automotive enthusiast. From the supercar posters on his childhood walls to the massive Hot Wheels/Matchbox collection, Bryon has been dreaming about automotive adventures his entire life. For the past decade+ Bryon has pursued a career in automotive photography and journalism. He's worked for a wide range of the top outlets in the overland, off-road, adventure motorcycle, and general automotive media. His current household automotive quiver includes a custom overland 2013 GX460, a 2020 Ioniq Electric, and a 2006 KTM 950 Adv. He recently sold his 996TT, and is on the hunt for a new performance car.