2021 Ford F-150 Raptor: Specs & Details
For the last decade, the Ford F-150 Raptor has dominated the landscape of purpose-built Baja inspired performance factory trucks. Since 2010, Ford has pushed the envelope on what can be possible for a purpose-built off-road truck. Unlike any other vehicles before the Raptor, nothing could come close to what Ford had developed. Using decades of off-racing experience and engineering, SVT began the process before 2010 to create a truck that any off-road enthusiast could buy off the showroom floor and take straight to the desert floor or any trail across America. Since then, Ford engineers have continued pushing the boundaries on America’s favorite off-road truck, whether it is better suspension, tires, drivetrain, or technology.
Unlike any of the Raptor's competitors from Chevrolet and Mopar, the Raptor is specifically designed to conquer any terrain, mountain, or desert. Leading into 2017, Ford Performance was hard at work to create the second-generation Raptor, which would change course in terms of engine choice from a big American 6.2L V8 to a 3.5L EcoBoost Twin Turbo, which was a dramatic change for hardcore purists in the off-road community. The second-generation Raptor furthered to push the envelope on what is capable in a Baja ready pickup. Using lessons learned from the original Raptor, Ford Performance took their time to perfect and upgrade the suspension by adding revised triple bypass Fox Shocks, beefier lower control arms, stiffer leaf springs, and a better terrain management calibration. Among enthusiasts, the biggest downfall to the second-generation Raptor is the EcoBoost engine.
Luckily there is hope for purest enthusiasts who love an all-American V8 under your right foot. After years of waiting and the 2021 F-150 introduced to the public, we finally have confirmation (thanks to Mike Levine at Ford) that the V8 will be returning to the Raptor in 2022! For now, however, a more powerful 3.5L EcoBoost V6 was dropped into the 3rd-generation 2021 F-150 Raptor, along with many interior and exterior changes. Let’s dive in, shall we?
2021 F-150 Raptor: Video Overview
2021 F-150 Raptor: Exterior Changes
Without a doubt, Ford did an amazing job at refreshing the exterior skin of the new 3rd-gen Raptor while keeping the essence of the Raptor’s lineage since its debut in 2010. This is quite distinct on the front fascia of the 2021 Raptor. Much like the standard 2021 F-150, you’ll see those 90-degree daytime running lights surrounding the blacked out headlights. However, they’re amber for the Raptor which gives it such a menacing look. Tie that in with the LED headlights and new available LED fog lights from Rigid in the lower bumper, and you have all the light output you need to take on the unknown. Not enough light? Pick up an LED Light Bar and wire it in to one of the many auxiliary switches in the overhead console inside the truck.
Keeping eyes on the front of the new Raptor, you’ll see the revised heat extractor in the center of the hood. This was modeled after the F-22 Raptor fighter jet alongside the functional fender side vents as well. Also included is a wider front skid plate and more rectangular center amber running lights.
Moving to the rear, you’ll see blacked-out taillights and an available matte/satin black tailgate applique that really sets this truck apart from the rest of the F-150 lineup. Additionally, you have three different 17-inch wheel options with standard 35” tires and first-ever optional 37” tires for jumping those dunes!
2021 F-150 Raptor: Interior Changes
The theme around the new 2021 F-150 was that it was the most productive F-150 ever. When it came to the Raptor, much of that new tech made it over to this model as well. Perhaps the most prominent thing you see when sitting in the driver’s seat is the new 12-inch digital instrument cluster. Much like what we found in our review of the Bronco Sport, the font used across the menus and center stack is all branded to the Raptor. These kinds of touches are what remind you just how much attention Ford pays in designing these vehicles.
To power through that 10-Speed 10R80 Automatic Transmission, you’ll get aluminum paddle shifters, just like what you see in the new Shelby GT500. Additionally, you’ll get a large center infotainment screen that houses the newer, faster SYNC 4 and powers that available 18-speaker B&O Unleashed sound system. One of our favorite things about the newer F-150, and many of Ford’s recently released vehicles, are the materials used in the interior. Just glancing at the dashboard, you’re seeing hints of carbon fiber, suede, alcantara, and brushed aluminum. All of these touchpoints are important to a customer paying the tall price tag a Raptor begs; they need to be reminded why they spent that money. Luxury on the inside, menacing looks on the outside, and performance at your right foot.
Speaking of your right foot, a new standard feature on the 2021 F-150 includes 1-Pedal Drive which makes extreme off-roading and rock crawling much easier. In many situations when you’re navigating rough terrain, the driver would be using both feet to power both the brake and accelerator simultaneously. This is where 1-Pedal Drive comes in to allow the driver to use just the accelerator to either move forward or slow down the truck. Pressing down on the gas pedal accelerates the vehicle, and lifting up will apply the brakes.
2021 F-150 Raptor: Engine Changes
What everyone was waiting for… the V8. Unfortunately, you’re not going to get it for the 2021 model year. However, Ford has confirmed that the V8 is coming back to the Raptor in 2022 - in the form of the Raptor R. What kind of V8, we’re not sure. We’re certainly hoping for either that rumored 6.8L V8, or even better, the 5.2L Supercharged V8 out of the GT500.
For this year, however, you can expect a slightly upgraded twin-turbo 3.5L EcoBoost V6 under the hood. Compression was bumped from 10.0:1 in the Gen 2 Raptor to 10.5:1 in the Gen 3. Between that and the upgraded turbochargers, you can definitely expect bumped power and torque numbers out of this new Raptor… which are still unannounced, unfortunately.
We’re curious to see what’s on the horizon for the other engine option on the Raptor, though! Part of us was hoping to potentially see some variation of the PowerBoost in the Raptor, as 570 lb-ft of instant torque in the standard F-150 is certainly no slouch. Regardless, we’ll be sure to keep you posted on what’s next!
2021 F-150 Raptor: Suspension & Chassis Changes
When it comes to the suspension and chassis of the 3rd-gen Raptor, there is no shortage of changes to address. First and foremost, we’re most excited about the available BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A KO2 tires in 37-inch form. This is a huge win for the Raptor, especially in comparison to the recently-released Hellcat-powered RAM TRX. Additionally, the 2021 Raptor features first-in-class Active Valve Exhaust with multiple modes including Quiet, Normal, Sport and Baja. Let’s be honest… we know you’re going to keep it in Baja mode, right?
When it comes to exhaust, the Ford engineers noticed at the balks of enthusiasts when the 6.2L V8 went by the wayside for the Gen 2 Raptor’s EcoBoost V6. The EcoBoost performs better literally in every way, except for that signature V8 rumble you expect out of a performance truck. The Ford team took notice of this and incorporated a new design into their free-flowing 3-inch exhaust system including a built-in patent pending x-pipe and mid-pipe “trombone” loop to create equal-length exhaust -- all in an effort to provide a throatier exhaust note. But, if that’s not enough for you… just wait for the Raptor R!
In terms of suspension, the highlight of the new Raptor definitely has to be the 5-link rear suspension. This is a huge step up in comparison to leaf springs. It not only provides a better ride on the street, but also off-road where it counts most. You’ll also get extra-long trailing arms, a panhard bar and longest-in-class 24-inch coil springs in the rear suspension as well. Ready to take on the dunes is next-generation Fox Live Valve internal bypass shocks with a larger 3.1” diameter anodized aluminum shock body filled with low-friction shock fluid decreasing the frictional losses inside each shock. Between that and the electronic control technology, this revised Fox suspension is capable of changing the damping rates at each corner of your Raptor 500 times per second!
Gen 2 Raptor vs Gen 3 Raptor Differences
2021 F-150 Raptor: Performance Parts
When it comes to the 3rd-generation F-150 Raptor, the Ford and Ford Performance teams certainly left no rock unturned in designing this impressive off-road machine. And we’re even more excited when they drop the new 2022 F-150 Raptor R! However, if you’re looking for the best in performance parts for your Raptor, new or old, then look no further than Steeda for your needs!
Image Credit: Ford | Ford Performance