Raptor Road Trip - What it's like to drive 1,500 Miles in a 2019 Ford F-150 Raptor

Raptor Road Trip - What it's like to drive 1,500 Miles in a 2019 Ford F-150 Raptor


Saying that Ford Performance's F-150 Raptor is a serious off-road capable machine is nearly a cliché at this point. Aside from a minor amount of competition from Ram's Power Wagon, no other factory pickup comes close to matching the Raptor's trail thrashing bona fides. And while The Truck Formerly Known as Dodge is quite impressive; the Raptor can basically perform 90% of its low-speed feats as well, if not better, than it can. However, the Ram can't even come close to matching the Raptor's high-speed performance. None of this is earth shattering news though. We've all seen and read those stories for nearly a decade now. You know what you don't see a lot of people talking about? - What it's like to have a S-Crew Raptor as a daily driver.


Smoke on the water. A slick boat ramp is no match for a Raptors adrenalized 4WD system.

A couple weeks ago Ford was kind enough to loan us a nearly new 2019 Ruby Red F-150 Raptor for a week. In that time we decided to stretch its legs a bit and go on a road trip from Myrtle Beach, SC to the NMRA Spring Break Shootout in Bradenton, FL. More on the that event later, right now let's focus on the truck. The first thing you're going to notice about a CC Raptor is that it's massive. While it's not any longer than any other similar F-150, it is a good deal wider. So much so in fact that the DOT require additional marker lights on it to warn the drivers you'll be sharing the road with of the girthiness of your new ride.


You're King of the Road when behind the of a Raptor.


The 2019 Raptor is incredibly comfortable and well appointed. I particularly like the use of soft touch materials throughout.

Once you move passed the Raptor's increased width, what you have is an extremely well equipped F-150 with the conveniences you'd expect from a vehicle retailing in the mid-$70k range. Our test truck wasn't completely loaded, but you probably wouldn't know it unless you were comparing it to an order sheet. For 2019 Ford has added lane departure warning, early warning collision avoidance, and a host of other electronic driving aids. While I'm not generally an fan of these systems for myself (I'm still iffy on electronic throttle bodies and traction control), I'm certainly happy they exist to protect me from inattentive drivers. If you've driven around FL in snowbird season you'll know what I mean.


The Raptor is a big truck, and that's readily apparent when you have to wash it.

On the road, you're going to instantly notice a few things while driving a Raptor. First, the ride is amazing. That same highly tuned off-road suspension that soaks up dips and whoops out on the trail simply obliterates potholes and expansion joints out on the road. IMO, the Raptor has the best ride and handling of any F-150 model; and that on/off-road performance was improved for 2019 with the addition of electronically variable valving on the Fox Racing Shock package . Second, if you drove a Gen 1 Raptor for any time at all then you are probably intimately familiar with its abysmal fuel economy. We saw around 13MPG out of the last Gen 1 we tested. The addition of the 450HP 3.5L EcoBoost V6 and 10R80 transmission has done a wonders in the mileage department. We saw over 18MPG a few times in our 2019, and averaged over 17.5MPG during our 1,500 miles in the truck.


My biggest gripe with the Gen 2 Raptor is the sound of its High-Output 3.5L EcoBoost V6. However, besides auditory stimulation; the EcoBoost absolutely crushes the old 6.2L V8 in every other aspect of performance.


A subtle, but very nice, change to the 2019 Raptor's styling is the contrast coloring of the FORD lettering on the tailgate appliqué. In previous years the entire unit was a single color.

The Sync 3 Infotainment system worked flawlessly, and the creature comforts were on-point. The air conditioned seats were particularly appreciated in the FL heat. One thing does take a bit of getting used to is the amount of attention a Raptor garners from the public. The truck was a topic of conversation every time we stopped. Ford's styling team obviously did something right here, because everyone seems to love them some Raptor. Finally, the overall fit and finish of the truck was impeccable. The panel gaps were even, there was no interior rattles, and the Ruby Red Tri-Coat Metallic paint really popped in the sunlight. The team at Dearborn Assembly should be proud, because this 2019 Raptor was the best built new Ford we've seen.


The Live Valve System on the Fox Racing shocks is the biggest change to the 2019 Raptor. They take what was already a great suspension and make it even better.


This taillight contains a radar system that provides information to several of the electronic driver aids. It's not cheap to replace, so try not to bash it against a tree while on the trail.

I could go on for much longer in this article extolling the virtues of this 2019 F-150 Raptor, but I thought it would be fun to try something different. I'm going to call the next few days Raptor Week. We're going to be releasing a new video each day this week covering different aspects of our test truck. We'll update this thread every day, but the best way to stay on top of the releases is to Subscribe to the SVTPerformance YouTube Channel. Let's kick things off with a look at some of the major changes between Gen 1 and Gen 2 Raptors:

For Day 2 of Raptor Week we're taking a look at some of the clever lighting solutions on our 2019 Raptor test truck:

For Day 3 of Raptor Week we consider whether or not the 2019 Raptor would make a good Daily Driver:

For Day 4 of Raptor Week we look at some of the things we really like about the 2019 F-150 Raptor:

Day 5 of of Raptor Week brings a list of minor complaints and grievances:

On Raptor Week Bonus Day we take a look at some of the interesting things under the hood:

After it was all said and done, I have to say that I didn't want to give up the keys. I'm a sucker for awesome Ford trucks (which is why I still have my SVT F-150 Lightning after owning it 15 years) and the Raptor definitely fits that description. I have a sneaking suspicion that I'll end up with a Raptor in my driveway again, but next time I hope it sticks around a bit longer. I have a few experiments under the hood I'd like to perform, but I'm not sure Ford would appreciate me modding one of theirs. They next one is going to have to be mine.


After a week on the road with the 2019 F-150 Raptor I think we earned a cold one. Cheers to the Baddest Off-Road Truck Around.

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