Anyone who has driven the first generation Ford F-150 Raptor in years ago would have never believed the latest and greatest one yet would have a V6 under its hood and that it would be a good thing, but that is exactly what Ford may have pulled off with the 2017 Raptor.
Building upon the new platform F-150 with its all light weighted aluminum body and stronger steel frame, Ford ditched the heavy old 6.2 liter V8 for an also much lighter high output version of the second-generation 3.5 liter twin-turbocharged EcoBoost V6.
While the high-output 3.5 liter EcoBoost is much the same as the one that tops the engine list in garden variety F-150’s, it has a number of key differences that set it apart, give it more power and enable it to last longer being driven hard and put away wet.
It has the same dual fuel-injection system as the standard 3.5 with both direct and port fuel-injection, new for 2017. It also has the lighter forged crankshaft and revised valvetrain, and new heads that came with the second generation EcoBoost 3.5.
Key differences on the high-output version are more aggressive turbocharger units that create a higher boost level, managed by electronically controlled waste gates. They’re bolted to cast stainless steel exhaust manifolds that can take more heat too. Downstream is a full high flow dual exhaust system.
All of this allows for a more aggressive tune that lets the boost go to higher levels, the fuel mixture get more thick and ultimately belt out more power at 450 horsepower at 5,000 rpm and 510 pound-feet of torque at 3,500 rpm.
That’s a bump of 75 horsepower and 40 pound-feet of torque from the standard 3.5 EcoBoost in other F-150’s this year.
Looking around the engine compartment things are virtually identical visually to the standard F-150 however. The biggest thing you notice is the Ford Performance logo on the foam engine cover. With the cover off, things look identical at first glance. Only close inspection of some components reveals some part number differences.
In my first driving impressions I found it to feel much faster than the last generation Raptor with the 6.2 V8 and very much free of turbo lag. The power comes on strong off the line, the torque right on demand, and the sound inside the cab music to the ears. It’s outside that the sound is off-putting to some who prefer the old V8 grumble associated with large trucks like this.
The 10-speed automatic transmission is always on tap to have the engine revving in just the right spot for immediate power delivery, one of the benefits of all those gears – the sweet spot is always closer and therefore the sensation of turbo lag further reduced.
EPA estimated fuel economy for the 2017 F-150 is 15 mpg city, 18 mpg highway and 16 mpg combined. In my time with it I achieved 16 mpg exactly as promised, about the same as I got in the 2017 F-150 Platinum EcoBoost 3.5 I tested just last week.
We’ll have a full test drive review of the 2017 Ford F-150 Raptor soon when we get more time behind the wheel.