The last remaining unknown of the redesigned 2021 Ford F-150 lineup is no more. Today the Blue Oval took the wraps off the 2021 F-150 Raptor, displaying an evolved variant of the coveted off-roading beast. This update includes a fresh appearance and some very serious hardware improvements.
At first pass, this new Raptor looks very light in terms of updates. Such assessment is accurate in a couple areas, including the exterior design and the base engine option. The exterior design is very evolutionary from the first two generations of Raptor, keeping with Ford’s play-it-safe approach to F-150 design. This means Raptor maintains its beefy, wide stance while a new fascia is some how even more menacing than today’s version.
Resting behind the massive new grille design is the same 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6. This boosted V-6 has powered the Raptor since 2019. Unfortunately, Ford declined to offer any specifications on the Raptor engine today. The current version of this engine produces 450 horsepower in the Raptor, so we assume the 2021 model will be in the same ballpark.
While many changes appear minor to the naked eye, it’s the hardware that Ford really changed up for 2021.
The new Raptor uses the same frame as the max payload F-150, but that’s where the similarities end. For 2021 Ford is migrating the Raptor’s rear suspension to a new coil-sprung, five-link setup. This arrangement has led to a re-engineering of the frame to accommodate a coil-sprung setup. The setup leverages extra-long trailing arms and a Panhard rod along with Fox Live Valve internal-bypass shocks. All in, this arrangement offers double the damping of today’s Raptor suspension and increases travel time in front to 14 inches, 15 inches in the rear with 35 inch tires. This setup will likely significantly enhance Raptor’s on-road feel, in addition to greater off-road abilities.
Raptor is also the first light-duty pickup to offer optional, factory-installed 37 inch tires. This option will reduce that suspension travel time by about one-inch in both front and back.
Naturally, the new hardware has improved the Raptor’s off-road capability. Ford says the Raptor is good for 12 inches of ground clearance, an approach angle of 31 degrees, departure angle of 23.9 degrees and a breakover angle of 22.7 degrees when equipped with the standard 35’s. Upping to the 37’s increases ground clearance to 13.1 inches, while offering a notable 1.4 degree improvement in breakover angle. The added rubber also sees modest increases in approach and departure angles.
These new hardware bits are merging with some carryover items as well. Raptor will continue to offer standard four-wheel drive with a limited slip rear differential. An optional limited slip front differential also remains. Ford’s 10-speed automatic transmission is also carryover, though it will now offer a one-pedal driving option, similar to EV’s.
Other updates to the Raptor are being ported over from the 2021 F-150. For the first time Raptor buyers can add Ford’s Pro Power onboard generator. This option provides 2.0-kilowatts of power to outlets in the bed. Raptor buyers will also enjoy the same working surface and Ford’s new SYNC 4 infotainment system.
Much like the exterior, changes to the interior are on par with previous Raptor’s. There’s a unique steering wheel design, trims and color options. Raptor also retains its unique seats with thicker side bolsters, hence why massaging front seats is one F-150 option you won’t find on Raptor.
Ford says the 2021 F-150 Raptor will begin production sometime in the second quarter. Deliveries are expected to start in late summer.