'); doc.close(); })();
You reached our US 4WP resources center on The Dirt. We will be launching a Canada specific resources center in the future.
01 2021 Ford Raptor 37

2021 Ford Raptor First Look – The Raptor Is Back!

The OG Factory Baja Runner Gets More Wheel Travel, Tech and Fun

Photos Courtesy of Ford

This summer, Ford fans will finally be able to tackle desert terrain with even more speed. The all-new 2021 Ford Raptor promises to elevate the blue oval’s impressive desert-runner to a new level of capability. And judging by the exterior design and chassis specs alone—we really like what we see.

02 2021 Ford Raptor Red and Black

But let’s get this out of the way right now. It was speculated that the Raptor would have an optional V8 engine to match the horsepower and torque of the Ram 1500 TRX. That won’t happen—yet. The 2021 Raptor still uses the 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6. However, Ford did confirm that a Raptor R is coming. Could that model get the supercharged V8 we all want? Possibly. Until we know for sure, let’s dive into the facts about the 2021 Raptor.

Quick Specs:

  • 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 gains torque
  • Five-link Rear suspension
  • 14-inches of front suspension travel, 15-inches in the rear
  • Optional 37-inch tires
  • More extreme 2022 Raptor R coming
03 2021 Ford Raptor Desert Whoops

Beefed-Up Chassis

The focal point for the 2021 Ford Raptor is the chassis. Ford took the frame from the new F-150 and modified it for Raptor duty. Ford says it’s more differentiated from the F-150 than any Raptor before it.

04 2021 Ford Raptor Fox Live Valve Front Shocks

Up front there are taller and stronger shock towers as well as a new lower control arm pivot location. The front diff is lower too to accommodate more wheel travel. Ford upgraded the front suspension with new springs and dampers, control arms, knuckles, wheel bearings, ball joints and new inner CV joints too. The front suspension geometry changes from that of the standard F-150 and that combined with all those unique parts contribute to the Raptor’s 14-inches of wheel travel.

05 2021 Ford Raptor Rear Suspension Trailing Arm Five Link

Out back, there’s stronger bracketry for shock and spring attachments along with a Raptor-specific trailer hitch. To gain improved control and performance on and off the road, Ford developed an all-new five-link rear suspension. Ford says the new design improves the lateral stability of the axle and dramatically improves traction. That means more torque can be put to the trail. The suspension uses long trailing arms, a panhard bar and tall 24-inch, triple-rate coil springs. It all gives the Raptor a full 15-inches of wheel travel—even more than Ram’s beastly TRX. And Ford makes a point to say that the trailing arms and bolt-in spring seats provide the opportunity for customization in the aftermarket. Translation? It shouldn’t be too hard to deliver more lift with even more wheel travel. Overall the Raptor has 15 percent more wheel travel than the first generation that debuted back in 2009.

06 2021 Ford Raptor Drive Modes Sand Baja

Ford once again turned to Fox to supply the dampers. The new units are next-generation Fox Live Valve internal bypass dampers with a 3.1-inch body. The shocks offer 9-zone damping and use a new fluid too to decrease friction losses and deliver a more comfortable ride. Ford says that the shocks can command damper rates at up to 500 times per second and thanks to the electronically controlled base valves, the shocks can provide up to 1000 pounds of damping force at each corner when running the Raptor at higher speeds. And of course, these dampers are tied into the truck’s drive modes, so they can be optimized for any terrain.

07 2021 Ford Raptor 37 inch BFGoodrich KO2 Tires

The Raptor’s suspension and new fender designs allow for a standard 35-inch tire (315/70 R17 BFG All-Terrains) on a choice of two 17X8.5-inch wheel designs. But the big news is the 37-inch tire (37×12.50R17LT BFG All-Terrains) option. Up front, these 37-inch tire Raptors receive their own version of the Fox dampers with a larger rod diameter to move more fluid, increased ride height thanks to a new spring perch position, there’s specific alignment calibration and the wheel offset is unique. In the rear, there are taller spring perches to raise the ride height and specialized jounce bumpers to go with them. Despite these modifications, the 37-inch tire trucks also loose 1-inch of suspension travel with 13-inches of travel up front and 14.1-inches at the rear.  

08 2021 Ford Raptor Side Profile

Raptors with 35-inch rubber have a foot of clearance and an approach angle of 31 degrees, departure angle of 23.9 degrees and a breakover angle of 22.7 degrees. All those measurements are slightly better than the Ram 1500 TRX.

The 37-inch tires boost those numbers with just over 13-inches of ground clearance, a 33.1-degree approach angle, 24.9-degree departure angle and a breakover angle of 24.4 degrees. So, a Raptor with 37-inch tires should be able to take on more extreme slow-speed terrain than it ever could before. And that 37-inch spare tire is mounted under the bed in the conventional location.

09 2021 Ford Raptor Front

Muscled-up Exterior

The Raptor’s aggressive new look took inspiration from another Raptor—the F-22 fighter jet. The Raptor is six inches wider than a standard F-150 but designers have made the truck look even wider. There’s a beefy power dome hood with functional and cool-looking heat extractors on the fenders. The wider Raptor grill extends across the truck with thicker, stretched-out F-O-R-D lettering. We particularly like the amber LED lights that frame the headlamps.

10 2021 Ford Raptor Rigid Industries LED Lights

The beefy front skidplate underneath is wider than before. It covers more of the nose of the truck and along with the steel front bumper, offers more protection. Ford will offer optional Rigid off-road lights for the front bumper. The rear bumper, also steel, has a high clearance design. And there will be two graphics packages for the bedsides.

11 2021 Ford Raptor Interior

Inside Story

On the inside, the Raptor has its own unique materials and finishes. And there are three trims, Base, High and Accent. There’s a new steering wheel too flanked by two aluminum paddle shifters. The seats have been upgraded with meatier bolsters and there’s even a Recaro seat option for those that want even sportier thrones. But oddly, those seats only come in blue.

12 2021 Ford Raptor Overhead Console Auxiliary Switches

There’s a Raptor-specific overhead console as well as Raptor graphics on the 12.4-inch instrument cluster. The Raptor is equipped with Ford’s most advanced Sync4 system. This infotainment set up not only offers more natural voice control, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as well as an available 18-speaker B&O audio system. Sync4 also has the ability to offer shareable digital trail maps thanks to the cloud connected navigation system.

The Raptor can handle over-the-air technology updates too so if there’s an electronic fix or upgrade, you won’t need to visit the dealer.

13 2021 Ford Raptor Dash

And the Raptor comes standard with Ford’s Co-Pilot 360 suite of safety tech, including pre-collision assist, automatic emergency braking, a blind spot information system with cross traffic alert, post impact braking and more. There’s also a new optional Intersection assist which detects oncoming traffic as you attempt to make a turn. Active drive assist is coming too as an option which will allow for hands free driving on certain roads.

14 2021 Ford Raptor Power Dome Hood Heat Extractor

EcoBoost Powertrain

Under the hood of the Raptor will be a version of Ford’s EcoBoost V6. The current truck delivers 450 hp at 5,000 rpm and 510 lb-ft at 3,500 rpm. Ford hasn’t mentioned any horsepower or torque figures quite yet except to say the new-gen V6 is carrying a slightly higher 10.5:1 compression ratio (vs. 10:1 on the current truck) and will deliver increased low-end torque. And they say that helps enable a bump in payload and towing capacity. Payload is up by 200 pounds to 1,400 lbs. and the Raptor can now tow 8,200 lbs.

15 2021 Ford Raptor Active Exhaust Modes

The lack of V8 is disappointing. But the V6 does offer a more menacing exhaust note.  The engineering team developed an all-new active exhaust system with a mid-exhaust “trombone” loop to create equal-length pipes and “pass through” muffler at the rear followed by a new X-pipe. The result is a four mode (Quiet, Normal, Sport and Baja) exhaust system that has the potential to sound way throatier.

16 2021 Ford Raptor Desert Action

Ford will once again pair the EcoBoost to its 10R80 10-speed automatic with a 4.69:1 First gear and overdrive ratios in the top three gears. Power will be split to the axles with a two-speed transfer case with a 2.64:1 low range ratio. Front and rear axles and differentials are essentially carried over from the current truck and house 4.10:1 gears. Interestingly, the 37-inch tire trucks don’t use a lower (numerically higher) ring and pinion ratio. The rear axle has an electric locker like before and Ford will once again make the Torsen limited slip differential optional for the front axle.

17 2021 Ford Raptor Desert Action

Off-road Tech

The Raptor’s Terrain Select system offers 7 distinct drive modes (Normal, Sport, Slippery, Off-Road, Baja, Tow/Haul and Rock Crawl) which can coordinate and manipulate settings for the traction control, stability control, throttle mapping, steering feel, dampers, transmission shift points, exhaust, transfer case modes and more to achieve the unique performance parameters for any type of terrain.

Every Raptor once again has Trail Control, an off-road cruise control of sorts that can be engaged up to 20 mph that will apply the throttle and brakes—all the driver has to do is steer. This is one bit of tech we could leave behind. After all, if you own a Raptor, don’t you actually want to be the one doing the driving?

Ford’s One Pedal Drive is new and far more useful combining the functions of the accelerator and brake into the throttle pedal. This eliminates the need for the driver to cover the brake pedal in slow speed four wheeling, mimicking the engine braking one might find on a vehicle with extremely low gearing.

18 2021 Ford Raptor On Board 2KW Generator

The new F-150 is available with several on-board charging solutions. The F-150 Hybrid has 7.2 kW on exportable power. But the smaller 2kW generator is available here. So, you don’t need to take along a portable power source when you go camping or need to run tools in a remote location.

19 2021 Ford Raptor Rear Suspension

What’s Next?

The suspension upgrades to the new Raptor are certainly impressive. And we can’t wait to feel how that extra wheel travel combined with the new five-link rear end performs in the dirt. However, unless the as-yet unspecified horsepower and torque numbers in the Raptor’s EcoBoost V6 jump dramatically—Ram’s 1500 TRX will show its taillights to the Ford at every stoplight. And that’s a problem. Ford has hinted that a Raptor R model is coming. One can only imagine that a more powerful engine will be a part of the package. Our bet? The supercharged V8 from the Mustang Shelby GT500 will find its way under the hood. In the Mustang the 5.2-liter V8 makes 760 hp and 625 lb-ft of torque. Even detuned slightly, it might be enough to out-muscle the big Ram. Stay tuned.

20 2021 Ford Raptor