Update: This story was updated to include information about the 2021 Ford F-150 Raptor.
The Ford F-150 Raptor pickup feels like a long-running staple, but there have only been two of them (with Ford only recently revealing the new third-gen model). The original was introduced for 2010 and lasted through 2014 before being replaced by the second-generation model in 2017. Both are hugely upgraded F-150s with awesome suspension modifications, muscular flared fenders, and big-horsepower engines for bashing around off-road at high speeds. So, what are the differences between the first- and second-generation Ford F-150 Raptors? Plenty.
For the sake of clarity, we’ll contrast a 2014 Raptor (the final model year for the first generation, with its bigger engine) with a 2020 Ford F-150 Raptor, the latest second-generation model. Many of the changes are F-150-specific rather than Raptor-specific, basically meaning that the biggest contributors to Raptor changes between 2014 and 2020 are technological advancements and aesthetic tweaks to the underlying F-150. Therefore, the goal is not to label one as “good” and the other as “bad”—we’d drive and own either—and if we were rich, both. Instead, we’re just serving up talking points for your next friendly argument with friends over the pros and cons of each.
What Makes a Ford Raptor Special? SVT vs. Ford Performance
Sure, it’s a technicality, but to some, it matters. The 2010-2014 F-150 Raptors are SVT Raptors, while second-generation Raptors are branded Ford Performance Raptors. The Ford Special Vehicle Team (SVT) launched during the 1992 Chicago Auto Show, creating high-performance halo vehicles for the Ford lineup under the core values of performance, substance, exclusivity, and value and acting like a sub-brand similar to BMW M or Mercedes-AMG. Before turning its attention to the F-150 Raptor, the SVT team also developed the F-150 SVT Lightning (1993–1995, and 1999–2004) and cars such as the Contour SVT and Focus SVT, plus a Mustang or two. Ford Performance, which basically absorbed SVT and Ford Racing under a single umbrella in 2014, was therefore responsible for the second-generation Raptor.
The SVT Raptors could be viewed as more exclusive since there were fewer of them made per model year than the Ford Performance Raptors. SVT Raptor owners like to point out all the interior and exterior SVT badging on their trucks and hang on to SVT truck parts. The second-gen Raptors don’t display an abundance of Ford Performance branding, but, then again, neither truck really needs special badging to stand out.
What Are the Engine Differences Between the F-150 Raptors?
One of the biggest dividers between the old Raptor and the new can be found under their hoods. It’s the most talked-about difference, in fact, and a deal-breaker to some. The earliest Raptors came with a weaker 5.4-liter V-8 that was later phased out. The 2014 first-generation SVT Raptor came with a 6.2-liter V-8 that produces 411-hp and 434 lb-ft of torque. Its output isn’t drastically different from the second-generation Raptor’s “EcoBoost” V-6, but it has the naturally-aspirated response and badass sound of a big V-8. In terms of fuel economy, the 3.5-liter EcoBoost is better on paper (15 mpg city, 18 mpg highway versus 11/16 mpg city/highway), but in reality, no one buying a Raptor is likely hinging that decision on fuel economy performance.
Today’s Raptor, the second-generation model, is powered by Ford’s “high-output” twin-turbo 3.5-liter V-6 good for 450-hp and 510 lb-ft of torque. The 10R 10-speed automatic can be manually shifted via paddles on the steering wheel. We should also mention that the V-6 features automatic stop-start tech, which shuts it down when the vehicle is stopped at red lights (it can be turned off). The intercoolers can also interfere with an aftermarket front-end winch mount. The V-6 is strong and torque-rich, but its (artificially enhanced) sound is merely so-so, at least compared to the engines offered in the first-generation Raptor.
How Much Suspension Travel Does a Ford Raptor have?
What makes a Raptor, well, a Raptor? The suspension mods, of course. Both trucks get Fox internal-bypass shock absorbers, beefier suspension components, and lots and lots of suspension travel for soaking up big bumps and—yes—even jumps.
The second-generation Raptor’s suspension has about two more inches of front and rear travel than the first-generation truck’s (for 13.0 inches total at the front, and 13.9 inches rear, versus 11.2 inches front, 12.1 inches rear in the first-gen). It also has about 2 more inches of ground clearance (11.5 inches versus 9.5 inches) overall. The Fox 3.0 internal-bypass shock absorbers on today’s Raptor have Live Valve Technology that instantaneously and automatically adjusts to changing road conditions with continuously variable compression damping; they’re more technologically advanced than the first-generation Raptor’s Fox 2.5 internal-bypass shock setup.
Do First-Gen and Second-Gen Raptors Look the Same?
No, even though generally they both benefit from similar enhancements over their pedestrian F-150 siblings. In terms of looks, the first-gen Raptor’s slightly narrower cab makes for bulgier, more pronounced-appearing front and rear fender flares. The second-gen 2020 Raptor’s cab is wider, so the fender flares don’t appear to bulge out quite as much.
The detailing on the trucks are starkly different, with distinct headlight and grille designs that are sure to help bystanders tell the two apart. The first-gen Raptor’s nose and hood are smoother-appearing and somewhat rounded, with flush headlights. (In fact, the grille on this generation is integral with the hood, meaning when you pop the hood, the grille comes with it—not the case on the newer truck.) On the second-gen Raptor, the headlights are recessed, blocky elements that more sculpturally integrate into a bluffer, boxier front end. It also has a large central hood vent, versus the original’s twin hood vents. Taillight designs differ between the two generations, as well.
In terms of the interiors and packages, the 2020 Raptor has a much-improved cabin and offers a Carbon Fiber package and a Blue Interior Accent package that features Recaro Sport Seats with perforated Rhapsody Blue Alcantara inserts. There was a 2014 Special Edition Ford Raptor package, featuring special wheels, a brick red interior, unique graphics, and Special Edition Ruby Red Metallic exterior paint (or Tuxedo Black from 2010).
What Are the Second-Gen Raptor’s Other Tech Advantages?
You have to keep in mind that with a second-generation Raptor, you get all of the general technological advancements of a brand-new F-150, which is a big deal. Remember, a 2020 Ford pickup is very different from a 2010 Ford pickup—there are, as you’d expect, more available niceties in the newer F-150.
Stuff not available or included on the 2014 Raptor that is on the 2020 model include: A lockable/remotely opening hydraulic soft-drop tailgate; a huge panoramic sunroof; pushbutton ignition; electric power-assisted steering with new steering modes and Pro Trailer Backup Assist capability; a 360-degree camera; adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go; a lane-keeping system; rain-sensing windshield wipers; blind-spot monitoring with cross-traffic alert and trailer coverage; and newer Sync 3 infotainment. Oh, and the latest F-150’s all-aluminum body (it still uses a steel frame) carries over to the second-gen Raptor, netting about 500 pounds of weight savings relative to the old truck’s steel body. Equipment differences narrow the weight gap between the new truck and the old, however.
The second-generation Ford F-150 Raptor also has a “Terrain Management System” with six driver-selectable modes (Normal, Sport, Slippery, Tow/Haul, Deep Snow/Sand, Baja, and Rock Crawl). It has Trail Control technology that manages throttle and braking at low speeds, too. Those interested in uplifting their trucks with extra power-drawing accessories will enjoy the second-gen pickup’s six auxiliary switches in the cab (two more than the original offered). And the newer truck gets a Raptor-specific frame and a new Torque-On-Demand transfer case. The first-gen gets a brownie point, however, for its any-speed, 2WD/4WD rear locker versus the second-gen model, which has parameters around the speed. And not that it’s a big deal, but BFGoodrich KO2 tires replaced the old truck’s previous-generation KO tires.
What Colors Are Available on the New and Old Ford Raptors?
A 2014 Raptor could be smothered in Oxford White, Tuxedo Black Metallic; Blue Flame Metallic, Ingot Silver Metallic, Race Red, Terrain, and Ruby Red.
A 2020 version can be optioned in Agate Black, Lead Foot, Velocity Blue, Rapid Red, Oxford White, Ford Performance Blue, Race Red, and Magnetic.
The only overlap between the two trucks is Oxford White.
How Much Does a Ford Raptor Cost?
The cost of a scratch-free, brand-spankin’ new factory-warrantied 2020 Ford F-150 Raptor SuperCrew starts at $58,135, but it’s easy to option one above $80,000. The stubbier, more desert-racer-lookin’ SuperCab model starts at $55,150, but you sacrifice some rear-seat space. You’re not only getting a Raptor, but you’re also getting a brand-new F-150. Would you be willing to thrash on a brand-new Raptor in the desert? That’s for you to decide.
A used first-gen 2014 Ford F-150 Raptor tends to run between $37,000 and $42,000, which is quite a chunk of change for a six-year-old truck likely to have seen hard use. Perhaps that’s the premium you must pay to get a Raptor with a proper V-8 engine if that’s your thing. How do you know if a used first-gen F-150 Raptor has seen miles off-road? A keen eye can spot a few giveaways: A bent rear frame, dented cab corners where the bed and cab have hit, dented skidplates, body scratches, excessive undercarriage grime, engine bay dirt, and mods facilitating off-roading. Or, you know, mud in strange corners of the interior. Given how much money these used examples still command, it behooves you to spend the time to seek out a really good one.
Should I Buy a New Ford F-150 Raptor or a Used One?
It all comes down to your budget and preferences. With either Ford F-150 Raptor generation, you’ll be getting a hugely capable off-road pickup to scamper off to the dunes and do stupid fun things with. Or maybe you’re just into the look and the comfy ride—did we mention that these trucks’ Fox shocks and their special valving give them improved on-road ride quality? (The shocks give easily over soft impacts but firm up with sharp ones like potholes.) Both trucks are Raptors, and yes, friends with different Raptors can still play nicely together.
Update: Wait, There’s a Third-Gen 2021 Ford Raptor?
Model year 2021 introduces a new wrench in the first-gen (2010-2014) versus second-gen (2017-2020) Raptor debate in the form of the third-gen 2021 Ford Raptor (also powered by the 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6). Ford’s latest iteration of its off-road icon packs all the goodness of a 2021 Ford F-150 with Raptor-specific upgrades like optional 37-inch tires, unique frames, improved Fox Live Valve dampers, a new exhaust system with active exhaust valves, and a five-link rear suspension. With 14 inches of wheel travel in the front and 15 inches in the rear, suspension travel gets a bump over the second-gen—as do most aspects of the truck that include a number. It looks different than the second-gen, and in fact, arguably more resembles a first-gen visually. There’s rumor of a 2022 Ford Raptor R, a V-8 Raptor variant that’s poised to oppose the Ram TRX. Will the third-gen Raptor tank the value of the second-gen, or will demand remain strong across the board?
This story was originally published on April 9, 2020.
The post Ford F-150 Raptors Compared: Which Generation Is Right for You? appeared first on MotorTrend.