Whatever mad genius inside Ford’s SVT group was ultimately behind the development of the Ford F-150 SVT Raptor, we salute you. No one else could have pulled off the idea of a hot-rod, off-road pickup truck, and sales have been brisk since the truck made its debut back in 2009.
There have been a few well-documented problems along the way, most notably a group of off-road enthusiasts who experienced bent frames after a high-speed desert run. Ford is quick to point out that the trucks were still drivable with a bent frame, but if a rear shock failed or tore loose, that may not have been the case. Despite the type of hoonage depicted in video ads for the Raptor, Ford insists that the truck isn’t bulletproof, and that if you hit something hard, at speed, damage will most likely result.
For 2012, then, Ford is shifting focus away from high-speed pre-running and onto rock crawling, boosting the Raptor’s off-road resume. The truck gets a Torsen front differential, which will better distribute power from a wheel with no traction to the front wheel with traction. This will boost the Raptors rock-crawling ability, but will also help it scale steep grades and get though mud, snow and sand.
There’s an off-road camera system for 2012 as well, designed to let the driver see exactly what’s in front of his truck. It broadcasts live video to the navigation system display, and can serve as backup to having a spotter when the going gets particulrly tough. Ford knows that Raptor owners will be playing in the mud, so the camera system even boasts a dedicated washer function.
Aside from those changes, there’s a new color (Race Red), a new interior trim accent package in blue anodized, new wheels (that have inside-mounted weights for protection from rocks and debris) and new exterior graphics. The graphics now feature a gloss, matte and textured finish, which Ford describes as giving a “racing” and “off road” feel. We love the Raptor, but could do without the graphics; making them even bolder for 2012 just doesn’t do it for us. Of course a few hours with a heat gun would solve the problem entirely, but we wish Ford would give customers the option of “graphics delete.”
Ford hasn’t priced the 2012 Raptors yet, but don’t be surprised if they cost a few dollars more than last year’s models.