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2021 Ford F-150 Raptor First Drive: The Original Baja-Ready Pickup Returns

The Ford F-150 Raptor enters its third generation for 2021 with much the same muscled-up, off-road-ready full-size pickup recipe it has deployed to much effect—and, until the recent introduction of Ram’s 1500 TRX, without any competition since 2011.

Continuity isn’t the same as stasis, however. The latest Raptor gets an all-new five-link rear suspension, next-generation Fox shocks, and optional 37-inch factory tires. Other significant changes include an equal-length active exhaust system featuring a new “trombone loop” design that promises angrier engine sounds, a revised front suspension, and updated frame rails capable of straddling a 37-inch spare tire.

A harsh desert environment is, naturally, where we undertook the business of evaluating the new Raptor. Ford staged our drive from downtown Las Vegas to the easygoing town of Pahrump, Nevada, where we were set loose on the Dumont Dunes in the Mojave Desert. What, you thought we’d drive the F-150 Raptor to Trader Joe’s?

Still powered by a 3.5-liter twin-turbo EcoBoost V-6 producing 450 hp and 510 lb-ft of torque, the big Ford easily loafs along on the freeway on our way to the dunes. During our drive, we settled comfortably into the La-Z-Boy-style seats included in the available Raptor 37 Performance package. This $7,500 option adds those roomy Recaro bucket seats, exterior graphics, 37-inch BFGoodrich All-Terrain tires, and retuned shock absorbers. For the full story, check out this article from Motor Trend.

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