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Ford enhances new Raptor for smarter off-roading

Changes include adaptive suspension, off-road cruise control, new seats

Joe Duarte
Published: May 27, 2018, 2:30 AM
Updated: May 31, 2018, 2:23 AM

2019 Ford Raptor

Raptor is perhaps the best-known high-performance off-road pickup nameplate and Ford is making the motorsport-inspired F-150 even better for the coming model year.

2019 Ford Raptor

The most notable addition is class-exclusive adaptive suspension, featuring electronically-controlled FOX 3.0 Internal Bypass shocks with Live-Valve technology

“Raptor’s success is rooted in its incredible suspension, superb vehicle control and the confidence the truck instills in its owners,” said Hermann Salenbauch, Ford’s global director for performance vehicle programs. “Upgrades to the 2019 F-150 Raptor have improved all three to new levels that the competition will have to benchmark – again.”

2019 Ford Raptor wheel

The philosophy is that a performance off-roader requires much more than superior power; it needs superior suspension prowess to make it more capable of clawing away at the terrain in order to use the power supplied by the engine.

Hence, the development of the Fox Live Action electronic technology, which uses sensors in the suspension and vehicle body to adjust damping in real time, improving ride, handling and resistance to bottoming out. The system works with Raptor’s Terrain Management System to work both on-road and off, including high-speed off-road driving.

2019 Ford Raptor suspension

“By automatically varying compression rates, Raptor can now make the most of its suspension travel of (330 mm) at the front and (353 mm) at the rear,” said Salenbauch. “The 2019 Raptor is not just more capable off-road. It’s smarter.

“(For example,) not many trucks need sensors to detect when (they) are midair,” explained Salenbauch. “Raptor sets the dampers to full stiffness to help smooth shock performance as the truck lands.”

2019 Ford Raptor

Low-speed off-road performance is also improved with new Trail Control, which acts like rugged-terrain adaptive cruise control to automatically adjust power delivery and braking at each wheel as dictated by terrain conditions, allowing the driver to concentrate on steering. It works uphill and down at speeds up to 32 km/h.

The other comfort and control enhancement is inside the cabin, where generously-bolstered Recaro sport seats help keep front seat occupants secure during the jostling and buffeting of off-road driving. And they look sharp with blue Alcantara inserts and accent stitching inspired by the Ford GT.

2019 Ford Raptor sport seats

And finally, the outside is adorned in new colours, including Ford Performance Blue, Velocity Blue and Agate Black, and accented with a new rear appliqué. New design beadlock-capable wheels round out the package.

Prices and equipment levels 2019 Ford F-150 Raptor will be revealed closer to the on-sale date, which right now is slated for late 2018.