It takes an astonishing amount of work and constant improvement to become the best at anything. The F-150 Raptor was first revealed in 2009, right in the middle of the recession. Nevertheless, over the years to come, this high-speed off-road monster managed to pull podium after podium in Dakar, SCORE Baja 1000, Mint 400 and other off-road events happening in between.
The first generation F-150 Raptor won the Pickup Truck of the Year award in 2011, the second generation won the award in 2017. Now, Ford did it again with the 2022 F-150 Raptor. The 3rd generation came with a full refresh and Ford engineers and designers worked hard to get the pickup in line for its 3rd award.
Brutal, Yet Not Overkill
Yes, everyone was grumpy for not having a V8 option available with the second generation F-150 Raptor. Even more protests were heard once Ford announced the V6 EcoBoost from the 2nd generation was to be carried over to the 3rd gen Raptor. Even though there’s 500 lb-ft of torque available from the 3.5-liter V6 EcoBoost alongside 450 hp, there was still a lot of love to be missed for the lack of two extra cylinders in the block. At the expense of 10 lb-ft, the new iteration of the V6 EcoBoost now manages to develop 500 lb-ft @ 3000 RPM, compared to the previous 3500 RPM.
Putting it on the tarmac, the 2022 F-150 Raptor now gets to 60 mph in 6.2 seconds and flies past the quarter mile mark after 14.9 seconds. Speedtrap shows 93.3 mph at the quarter mile line. In other words, even though it lacks the extra 10 lb-ft of torque, the earlier torque curve makes the 3rd generation Raptor more than half a second quicker to 60 mph and over the 1/4 mile.
Competition Crushing Suspension
There’s no way the F-150 Raptor won so many off-road competitions solely via engine power. In fact, despite the rather impressive acceleration times, it’s the suspension that catches the spotlight. So much effort and hardware has gone into the development of the 3rd generation F-150 Raptor suspension, it leaves the competitors into dust.
Once you’re off the asphalt, the F-150 Raptor starts feeling at home. Switch into Baja suspension mode and put a pair of skilled hands on the wheel. Press the throttle and you get the 2022 F-150 Raptor to attack bumps, trails and desert roads at 3-digit speeds without even a hint of worry.
How’s this possible? It happens thanks to the 5-link independent suspension setup, completely redesigned on the rear, standard 35-inch tires and an optional Torsen front limited slip differential. There’s a huge 12-inch gap acting as ground clearance and insane 31-degrees of approach angle. Thankfully, steps come standard so you will grunt less when getting into or out of the pickup truck.
Surprisingly Luxurious Interior
On the outside, the 2022 F-150 Raptor looks and feels big. The same design cues are pulled to the inside of the cabin. Just as with previous versions, the interior is upscale and comfortable, with large door openings and plenty of head space and legroom.
There is a sheer abundance of information coming from the digital driver screen and Sync 4 infotainment system. If you’re looking to seriously upgrade the comfort and interior look of your Raptor, the optional Recaro front-seats with rhapsody blue accents is an absolute must. The interior looks surprisingly luxurious when you make the upgrade.
A Veritable Winner
There is no foul play here. The 2022 Ford F-150 Raptor benefits from more than a decade of improvements, trial and error. It delivers decent performance on the road, proving to be a trusty workhorse. However, the beast only gets out of the cage once the bulky 35-inch tires bite into the off-road. There, the properly engineered suspension and driving modes show why the F-150 Raptor is an off-road monster.