Ford Tears It Up With the New F-150 Raptor at NAIAS

Posted by at 9:02 am on January 12, 2016

F150 RaptorIt’s not every day you meet a piece of aluminum that’ll go off-road and manage a speed of more than 100 mph. But, that’s an average 24 hours at NAIAS 2016. Ford showed off the new Ford F-150 Raptor as a special Joe Louis Arena event on the opening day of NAIAS 2016 – adapting the automaker’s tougher, faster off-road pickup truck to the base F-150’s aluminum frame.

Ford made big news at last year’s North American International Auto Show in Detroit when they announced the F-150 was transitioning to that aluminum base. The fuss was understandable when you consider Ford’s pickup is far and away the best selling vehicle in its class — and, depending on how you keep score, the best selling vehicle in the world.

By all accounts the aluminum work on the 2016 F-150 was a success, leading to Ford transferring the same body frame to the Raptor variation. However, that aluminum is asked to do a lot more in a truck designed for more rugged, sporty duty like the Raptor. So, it’s reenforced for additional rigidity, beefier suspension and armored with a protective underbody.

The Raptor shown off at NAIAS 2016 is a foot longer than the truck’s original version, allowing for Ford to build in four full-size doors. It’s also 500 pounds lighter. That stripped out weight made it possible for the Raptor to roll with Ford’s preferred use of smaller engines made more powerful via turbocharging. While the original Raptor roared with a V8, the new version puts up its similar performance numbers with a turbocharged V6.

To round out the improvements, this Raptor gets dual exhaust for the first time, 17 inch wheels and tires specially designed for the Raptor’s off-road use. To navigate from pavement to the wilderness, the truck kicks in a four-wheel-drive, “torque-on-demand” mechanism. Finally, onboard driver aids allow the Raptor to snow, sand, hills, etc. Those adjustments are now under the driver’s thumb via new steering wheel controls.

Look for the new Raptor mid-2016, with pricing, fuel efficiency and other numbers inbound soon.

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