The Ford F-150 Raptor may be the progenitor of high-performance production off-road trucks, but the outgoing 2020 model was no match for Ram’s hugely impressive 1500-series TRX. As we await the arrival of a new Raptor R model with TRX-rivaling levels of V-8 power, the standard 2021 Raptor gains several off-road-oriented enhancements that make it both more entertaining and controllable when blasting through the desert at 100 mph.
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The updated 2021 F-150 Raptor is distinguished by some subtle exterior revisions and a more prominent headlight signature. Its massive front skid plate also is a touch wider than before, and new off-road fog and driving lights are available.
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Another giveaway is the new Raptor’s optional 37-inch BFGoodrich tires, the tallest rubber ever fitted to a half-ton production pickup. However, that upgrade over the standard 35-inch rubber is bundled with numerous other extras and costs a dizzying $13,650.
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The 2021 Raptor’s most significant enhancement is a new coil-spring rear suspension, which brings better packaging, more suspension travel, and better control than the previous leaf-spring arrangement.
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Along with a revised independent front suspension, the Raptor’s 35-inch tires now cycle through 14.0 inches of travel in front and 15.0 inches at the rear. Opting for the 37-inch rubber cuts about an inch from those figures, but they look better and roll over obstacles more easily.
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Power for the 2021 Raptor continues to come from a twin-turbo 3.5-liter V-6 making 450 horses and 510 pound-feet of torque. However, both the engine and 10-speed automatic transmission have been retuned for a better power delivery. The truck’s high-tech four-wheel-drive system carries over.
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Perhaps the Raptor’s most enjoyable enhancement is its new active dual-exhaust system, which offers four settings (Quiet, Normal, Sport, and Baja) and lends the truck the aggressive voice that it’s needed since the second-generation model went to V-6 power.
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All 2021 Raptors gain an additional 200 pounds of payload and towing capacity.
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The more efficient packaging of the new Raptor’s rear suspension allows enough room for even a 37-inch spare tire to fit beneath the cargo bed.
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Ford has discontinued the Raptor smaller SuperCab model for 2021, with the standard SuperCrew now starting at $65,840—a $7705 increase over the base price of the 2020 version.
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As with all 2021 F-150s, the Raptor’s interior has been handsomely refreshed with richer materials and more technology, including a new 12.0-inch central touchscreen interface.
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