2019 Ford F-150 Raptor first drive review: Smarter, faster, still king Page 2

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The electronics

For 2019, the F-150 Raptor ditches its hill-descent control for a new Trail Control system (which is set to spread throughout the F-150 lineup in short order, according to Ford). In short, it’s cruise control for off-roading, both uphill and down, just like the system in a Range Rover.

Hit the Trail Control button and the throttle and brake are handled automatically as the driver sets the speed between 1 mph and 20 mph via steering wheel-mounted cruise control speed buttons.

I found the system to be just as capable as what’s found in the latest Range Rover products, and without the lurching you get with the system in the Toyota TRD Pro products.

2019 Ford F-150 Raptor

2019 Ford F-150 Raptor

During my run, Trail Control used engine torque and applied individual brakes to help the Raptor go up and down rocky hills at a consistent pace. Sensors detected hurdles such as rocks and ruts and increased or decreased engine torque to clear the obstructions, but still kept the steady pace.

Trail Control will make the adventure far easier and less stressful for Raptor buyers without off-road experience. It takes a lot of the guesswork out of the equation and lets the driver focus on steering inputs to place the truck in the right spot.

Experienced off-roaders might find it handy in certain situations, like when full attention to wheel placement is key, but they may also feel it removes some the need for off-roading skill. That also eliminates some of the fun and work out of the off-road adventure. It’s autonomy for off-roading.

READ: 2019 Ford F-150 Raptor $2,180 pricier than a year ago

2019 Ford F-150 Raptor

2019 Ford F-150 Raptor

2019 Ford F-150 Raptor

2019 Ford F-150 Raptor

2019 Ford F-150 Raptor

2019 Ford F-150 Raptor

2019 Ford F-150 Raptor

2019 Ford F-150 Raptor

Other bits

One look at the 2019 Raptor and it’s not immediately clear that it’s been updated, but a keen eye will spot the updated design of the standard 17-inch wheels. Same goes for the optional bead-lock-capable wheels).

The optional exterior exterior graphics package has been redesigned, and the lovely Recaro seats, with a smidge of extra bolstering to help keep those inside from being tossed around on the trail, are part of the Blue Interior Color Accent Package for $2,395. Velocity Blue and Performance Blue have replaced Lightning Blue, while Shadow Black has been replaced by Agate Black that gets some metallic flake. Likely to be most overlooked, the engine cover has been redesigned to look similar to the functional heat extractor on top of the hood.

2019 Ford F-150 Raptor

2019 Ford F-150 Raptor

Still king

When the Raptor launched in 2010, many wondered why Ford created an high-speed off-road truck instead of another F-150 Lightning. Fast forward to 2018 and the Raptor clearly started a movement.

Chevrolet has the Colorado ZR2, Toyota the Tacoma TRD Pro and Tundra TRD Pro, and Ram the 1500 Rebel.

The Colorado ZR2 and Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro are the closest competitors as they can handle both trails and high-speed desert running, but they’re not full-size pickups and they don’t have performance powertrains.

Nine years later, the Ford F-150 Raptor is still king of the off-road pickup trucks. It costs $54,350, which is $2,180 more than 2018, but with the updates for 2019 it’s now smarter, faster, and more capable than ever.

Want proof? On my third and final jump in the 2019 Ford F-150 Raptor the speedometer read 58 mph—8 mph over the instructed launch speed—as the truck went airborne. I sent it, and it went flying. The truck didn’t care, and neither did Ford.

Ford provided travel and lodging to Internet Brands Automotive to bring you this firsthand report.


 
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