Ford's New F-150 SVT Raptor

Ford’s F-150 Raptor is the closest thing to a stock, off-road racing truck ever to come out of Detroit and the first of its kind from any major automaker.

Designed by the automaker’s Special Vehicle Team (SVT), which is better known for developing the Shelby Mustang, the F-150 Raptor was designed to make child’s play of off-roading.

The Raptor flies in the face of contemporary auto making conventions that have become hyper-focused on fuel efficiency and alternative fuel usage.

The Raptor rolls off of the same assembly line as Ford’s popular F-150 line but is fitted with a special, high performance suspension system and upgraded electrical components.

Size-wise the Raptor is eight inches wider than the standard F-150 and features large, composite front fenders. The rear fenders are made of steel and protrude from the sides of the truck bed. To meet legal requirements, the Raptor’s front grill includes marker lights not found on the standard edition model.

To handle the demands of off-road driving, the Raptor’s suspension has 11.2 inches of front-wheel, and over 12 inches of rear-wheel travel.

Ford has fitted this off-road warrior with custom Fox shock absorbers that stiffen as the dampers are compressed. This allows them to take a substantial jolt without bottoming out. They’ve also provided the Raptor with an electronic locking rear differential and limited the vehicle’s top speed to 100 miles per hour.

The Raptor features a manually selectable off-road mode that modifies the way the anti-lock brakes function. In this mode, the brakes actually do lock up slightly to allow the tires to dig in more on loose driving surfaces.

Like its F-150 cousin, the Raptor features a 6-speed automatic transmission and a 310 hp 5.4 liter V-8 engine. The engine is a flex-fuel design that operates on E85. This boosts the engine’s power output to a full 320 hp and increases torque from 365 lb-ft to an impressive 390 lb-ft. Ford plans to release a 400 hp 6.2 liter V-8 in 2010.

Ford has equipped the Raptor with AdvanceTrac® with Roll Stability Control

to improve stability. Ford’s Roll Stability Control

technology utilizes a gyroscope to prevent rollovers by automatically engaging the AdvanceTrac® system and keeping all four wheels on the ground.

The cabin is flush with creature comforts. Cloth-trimmed leather seats add additional comfort to the already smooth ride. The Raptor also features Ford’s voice activated Sync technology, a navigation system, four auxiliary switches and Sony satellite audio.

The 2010 F-150 SVT Raptor is available now with a starting MSRP of $38,020.

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