DETROIT — While many manufacturers are talking up their new fuel efficiency strategies or upgraded electric powertrains, Ford wasn’t ashamed to flex some muscle at its event here at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. The new Ford GT is definitely making the most waves, but if you have more fun racing off-road than on, chances are the new F-150 Raptor is the machine that caught your eye.
It’s a new generation of the company’s off-road monster, basically the closest thing to a CORR truck that you can buy in a dealership. The previous-gen Raptor offered 411 horsepower from a 6.2-liter V-8 and rode on Fox shocks offering 11.2-inches of travel up front and 12.1 in the rear.
The new Raptor loses the V-8 in favor of a 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6. Ford declined to give formal output figures, except to say that it will offer more power than the outgoing V-8. That’s paired with a new, 10-speed automatic transmission and the whole package will ride on upgraded Fox suspension with larger diameter shocks offering even more travel.
Most impressive, however, is the decrease of some 500 pounds from the curb weight of the thing, thanks to the aluminum-construction of the new F-150. Lighter weight should make for an even more capable off-roader. And, if that weren’t enough, a new computerized Terrain Management System will optimize the upgraded transfer case and traction control modes to offer optimal performance regardless of conditions. Yes, there’s a “Baja” mode for those high-speed desert sprints.
The new F-150 Raptor goes into production in late 2016, to be available in the fall. No word on pricing just yet, but hopefully it won’t stray too far from the previous-generation’s $45,000 MSRP.