Ford has recently come out with a very welcome announcement for off-road enthusiasts and performance truck fans in Houston: the Ford Raptor performance pickup will be returning for the 2017 model year. Although it will not carry the SVT badge that previous versions proudly displayed, this is only due to the fact that Ford’s Special Vehicle Team has merged into Ford Performance. The new Raptor will be joining Ford Performance’s growing stable, which includes the upcoming Ford GT and the highly anticipated Focus RS.
The new 2017 Raptor will be built in the same vein as the 2015 F-150, but with an all-terrain twist. The rolled-steel frame and lightweight aluminum body boosts its durability while weighing more than 500 pounds lighter than the previous Raptor. Raptor fans will welcome the return of its robust Fox Racing suspension, which has been upgraded over previous generations. The highlight of this redesigned off-road beast, however, is without a doubt Ford’s ferocious new 3.5L V6 EcoBoost engine. Equipped with twin turbochargers and mated to a revolutionary 10-speed automatic transmission, the new V6 will leave the 6.2L V8 present in the older Raptors in the dust. Ford has yet to release the exact numbers for the V6 EcoBoost, but those in the know have said that it will turn out around 450 horsepower, which is a significant boost over the V8 it is replacing.
Additional features include paddle shifters mounted to the steering wheel and a Terrain Management System with numerous drive modes, which reportedly include Normal, Street, Weather, Mud, Baja, and Rock. Ford has been somewhat tight-lipped about other features, as they have been with the V6’s specifications, but more information will come to light as we get closer to the Raptor’s projected release in the fall of 2016. Until then, off-roaders, mudders, and truck lovers in Houston will just have to wait patiently, but the payoff will be all the sweeter. When that wonderful day does arrive, come by Randall Reed’s Planet Ford in Humble, TX and find out what it really means to be “Built Ford Tough.”