We knew that Ford would have a response for Ram’s 1500 TRX off-road performance truck; and with the F-150 fresh off a complete redesign we also knew it wouldn’t take long.  Well, the 2021 Ford F-150 Raptor will hit the streets this summer, but it looks like the TRX won’t have anything to worry about; at least initially, as far as for what’s under the hood.  

Many Ford fans were not pleased when the last generation Raptor made the switch to EcoBoost V6 power, and for the time being, they’ll find that same 3.5-liter twin-turbo under the hood, albeit with a slight power increase. We don’t have the exact number yet, but it’s a pretty good bet it won’t come close to the TRX’s 702 horsepower. Although, keep in mind, a V8-powered Raptor R is in the works. 

So while this Raptor doesn’t have a V8, a new active exhaust system, with 4-different modes, will help it at least sound like one.  

Same 10-speed automatic transmission too, along with 2-Speed Torque-On-Demand 4-wheel-drive and locking rear differential.  

Brian Robinson: “While Ford has a long history of high performance trucks going back at least to the SVT Lightning days, they really started something unique when they brought the Raptor out in 2010; and they’ve really had no serious competition at all until recently with the TRX.  And while the new Raptor’s power numbers aren’t at TRX levels just yet, when it comes to the total package for off-road performance, it’s more than competitive.”

That’s because other hardware news is much more significant, and will definitely give the TRX a run for its money.  

It starts with an all-new 5-link rear suspension design, with 15-inches of travel.  The front suspension keeps the same basic F-150 architecture, but all parts are upgraded, providing 14-inches of travel up front.  

35-inch tires are standard, but 37s are available, and come with unique Fox Shocks.  

There is of course lots of structural bracing added to the frame, shock towers, and suspension mounts; as well as a host of electronic driving aids specific to off-roading, through the 7-settings of the Terrain Management system, Trail Control, and even Offroad Assist in SYNC 4.  And yes, the F-150’s onboard generator is available, though it is the smaller 2.0-kW system for non-hybrid trucks.  

The new Raptor sits 6-inches wider than a standard F-150, and not just courtesy of some fender flares; the whole front end is wider with a unique grille, and of course LED lighting.  Flow through ventilation on the fenders and hood helps keep the mechanicals from overheating.   

Just about everything you see, feel, and touch inside has been updated with new materials; all encompassed in 3 different themes.  In addition, there’s a new steering wheel with large paddle shifters, an overhead console with accessory switches, and a unique digital instrument panel.  

Jessica Ray: “Now, I’m not a huge fan of graphics on trucks but I have to say I really like how subtle the graphics are on this new Raptor. Ford built this truck to be able to rip through the sands of Baja so it’s only fitting that these graphics are desert inspired. But I really think Ford really hit the mark here on styling, taking that bold look from the original Raptor in 2010 and modernizing it for 2021.”

Stay tuned for more info on the 2021 Ford F-150 Raptor, as well as the Raptor R, here on MotorWeek.