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Review: 2012 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor

2012 Ford F-150 Raptor cvr

First, a disclaimer: I am not a truck person. I have lived in big cities (or very close to them) my whole life. I have never had a need for pickup truck, I never owned one, and I know few that did. My only experience with pickups was while working for a construction company during college where we had mid-80s Dodge trucks that had an L for first gear, which was never used anyway.

That said, I loved the idea of the Ford Raptor. By now, we all know what the Raptor is so I’ll skip the nitty-gritty (and if you don’t, hit jump and watch the video). Of all the vehicles in Ford’s lineup, the Raptor was the one I wanted to drive the most. Unfortunately, when I finally got around to it, at least at first, I was hugely disappointed.

2012 Ford F-150 Raptor rear

The problem is the size of the Raptor – it’s HUGE. Because we are used to seeing current full-size pickups around, the Raptor does not stick out as much and it’s not until you get into it and sit behind the wheel do you realize its true size. It’s a mile wide and twice as long. It weights in at several tons, too. Typically these dimensions do not yield good performance, and the Raptor is no exception.

Please send all hate mail to Jeff@Hooniverse.com.

Around the city its huge proportions will make you pay more attention to the traffic ahead. Road line markings are damn close to each side of the Raptor too. Garages will have you to praying to the automotive Gods for clearance. Parking spots will require multiple maneuvers, assuming you can fit the whole vehicle into one spot. It’s huge!

2012 Ford F-150 Raptor details

It’s huge inside too, and that’s a good thing. Surprisingly all three women I have taken for a ride in this monster loved it, but expressed no interest in driving it, except my five year old daughter – she was ready to hoon it. There is lots of space for everything, except there is nowhere to put your cell phone. Rear seat easily accommodates three kids’ car-seats and the legroom is generous too.

Ford’s infotainment center is a love/hate thing. In the case of the F-150 it works because there are a lot other means of controlling things besides the touch-screen, unlike on the Taurus for instance. It connected well with my phone too, streamed music not only off my phone but also off my apps such as Pandora and SiriusXM. Unfortunately the system did not connect with my phone all the time and on two occasions my iPhone4 completely froze after being plugged into the USB post. Similar thing has happened to me in the Lincoln MKT sometime ago.  

2012 Ford F-150 Raptor exterior details

But the Raptor is not your typical vehicle and comparing it to anything else would be insane. It’s a purpose-made vehicle and its purpose is to be a toy. Allow me to explain – the chart below illustrates the differences between two very similarly priced trucks. The Platinum comes loaded, and a Raptor with the same features would cost about the same. I chose Crew Cab models only for the purpose of comparison:

 

Ford F-150 Raptor SuperCrew

Ford F-250 4WD Crew Cab Platinum 6.2

Base Price:

$46,870

$53,950

Max Payload

1090 lbs.

3198 lbs.

Max Trailer Weight

8000 lbs.

12000 lbs.

Cargo Box Length

67″

82″

Cargo Box Width

60″

69″

Cargo Box Volume

55 cf

64 cf

From the above we can see that anyone who wants to buy a proper truck will choose the F-250. While Raptor’s figures are impressive, as are most quarter-ton pickups’ these days, the F-250 is clearly better for any kind of professional work. That said, the Raptor will happily haul your Spec Miata in an enclosed trailer to the track, and it will bring your new washing machine home too.

2012 Ford F-150 Raptor interior

But the Raptor was designed first as a desert racer, and that’s where it shines. The softly sprung suspension allows for exceptional travel and axle articulation. Thirty-five-inch BFGoodrich All-Terrains will put that power down easily, anywhere. Helping to put that power down are limited slipped this, low-range that, electronic off-road modes, and almost everything else that has ever been designed to keep vehicles going where there is no road. On the road, the Raptor is superbly smooth and comfortable. This is the result of a suspension system designed to absorb hits at speed and off-pavement, but still remain solid and predictable.

Magically, like many BMWs for instance, once at highway speeds the Raptor feels nimble, as if it shrank in size. With time, more so with the Raptor than with any other vehicle I’ve ever driven, it wins you over with its power and agility. For me that was the time when the Raptor went from being a disappointing toy to being simply awesome. Learning to live with the Raptor was like taming a wild horse; sacrifices have to be on behalf of the beast and its master but the end result is spectacular. Make no mistake, this is as awesome of a vehicle as you think it is, and I want one as my toy… in the city.

2012 Ford F-150 Raptor dirty

Post Script: I had this Raptor for a weekend during a snow storm. Because the snow was rather high, about eighteen inches on the ground total, I used common sense and did not venture too far off road. However, Ezra Dyer of Yahoo! Autos, who also is kind of a yahoo, had the exact same Raptor a week after me and managed to do some off-roading, coincidentally not too far from where I took my pictures. Enjoy his little video:

Some random observations:

  • This truck looked much better dirty than clean, which is how it appears in pictures.
  • 12mpg is all I managed to get in my mixed driving.
  • While driving after the storm the windshield got dirty really quickly, which was quite surprising given how high off the ground it is. I had to use the washer on every other wiper wipe.
  • The rear window got dirty even faster, and there was no cleaning it.
  • Little running boards are useless for tall people, you end just scraping your boot or pant-leg on them.
  • Engine noise is great, but it could use a little flap which would make it louder at WOT like many sports cars.
  • There is no conventional trunk space at all. I had to put my groceries on seats.
  • Got three thumbs-up and two people stopped to talk about the truck over three days. A record!
  • Make mine a SuperCrew in black, without those weird graphics, please.
  • Huh, the towing capacity is better on this than I thought. Then again, I have seen Eyesore Racing tow their LeMons car (coincidentally a Miata) to the track with one already.

    I wonder what the towing capacity on a new standard F-150 with the same body/powertrain is? My '00 F-150 5.4 is rated to tow nearly 9000 lbs, but with my E30 on a flat bed trailer behind it, and a full bed of parts/tools, it struggles getting up some hills.

    • SSurfer321

      Unfortunately, it's not an easy comparison due to axle ratios, bed lengths, max tow options, etc. but suffice it to say 11,000 lbs. for a crew cab F150 with the 6.2L http://www.ford.com/trucks/f150/specifications/to

      • Yeah, I was looking for a ballpark based on engine and body style. My truck happens to have the highest capacity of all models in its model year. Some versions (V6 5-speed) were limited to like 5,000 lbs.

      • And based on your link, it looks like the Raptor that Kamil reviewed (Supercab, not Supercrew) can actually tow only 6,000 lbs. That's not great, but then again it's not what this truck was designed for.

        • OA5599

          I'm sure the limitation is the softer suspension, not anything engine-related.

          • SSurfer321

            I'm sure there are some that would argue frame strength
            /trolling

  • Bill

    That truck has made the rounds. I remember the BangShift guys reviewed the Raptor and looked at the license plates…same truck. Poor thing has had a rough life with your journalists. LOL — Neat truck, they liked it, too. Those guys must have had it during the fall or something because there's no signs of the snow you talked about.
    http://bangshift.com/blog/bangshift-test-drive-th

    • OA5599

      That one was a 2013 model. Kamil's headline says he drove a '12.

      • I double-checked, it was a 2012, and yes, it has been around the press peeps for a while.
        It held up well.

        I don't know where the bangshift people are, don't think they're local to me.

        • Brian Lohnes

          Hey Kamil, this is Brian from BangShift. I got an email from a reader that said you guys had run around in a Raptor, too. Pretty gnarly truck! I had it in the fall and was able to take it to the drags, run it around a motorcross course, and flog it in a sand pit. Since the glaciers have closed in around here, you were short on options!

          From reading your stuff previously, I think you live in Cambridge. I live in Abington, about 25 minutes south of you.

          Good stuff!

          Brian

          • Hey Brian!
            I'm in downtown Boston, close.

            I need to find out where that place is, email me: kamilAThooniverse.com

  • njhoon

    I can attest to the 'parking where others can't'. I live in Philly, South Philly to be exact, home of legal double parking, no rules parking (PPA be dammed). During large larger snow storms my neighbors and I create 4×4 parking only spots for ourselves, it works like a champ.
    On the size thing, you get used to trucks in the city pretty quickly. Mine isn't huge (it is a Nissan Frontier) but it is larger than most cars and I can parallel park that thing like no ones business. A friend with a crew cab F250 can do the same. I really would like a Raptor crew cab….

    • pj134

      There are rules, they're just dynamic and unwritten.

      "Sir, you're parked within two blocks of a building with a taupe colored door that has paint peeling off of it's upper left quadrant. That will be a $500 fine and you may face charges of treason."

      • njhoon

        One of the funniest things I have seen recently with the PPA is when a Police Sargent reamed out a PPA Jackboot for trying to give a ticket to someone who was paying at the kiosk. She looked at us (we were laughing) and said "dam PPA are brutal."

  • SSurfer321

    Kamil, I apologize in advance but as a Ford truck owner I need to set you straight on a few items of your review.

    WHY would you compare a Raptor F-150 vs. F-250? These trucks are like apples to oranges. Would you compare a BMW M3 to a 535i?
    Why are you surprised that your Apple iPhone didn't integrate well with Microsoft's Sync system?
    Why didn't you take it out during the snowstorm? How else could you test the suspension in Boston?
    Why is this review so long? I, or Muthalovin, could have summed it up much quicker. All you had to write is "It's F****** AWESOME"

    • pj134

      1. Price
      2. No it's not surprising, but considering the wide variety of Zunes and windows phones available, it might not be a bad idea for them to broaden their support to everything.
      3. I don't know, if he's in Boston and it was during their bad storms it might have had to do with the snow emergency.
      4. Well, eh.

      The weird thing is that the Raptors all started appearing in my neck of the woods again. It got warm and they're suddenly everywhere again. That means people are using an enormous 4×4 as a SUMMER ONLY vehicle. Ford should have a closest and use check for any prospective buyers to try and thin those types out of their buyer pool.

      "Sir, you own no less then 5 ed hardy shirts. I'm not allowed to sell you this vehicle."

      • BobWellington

        2. It does support the iPod/iPhone first and foremost. It may have glitches, but they still support it.

        • pj134

          My bad, haven't been in a ford for a while and don't want a new one. They smell like hay inside. Also, the fabric they use stains insanely easily and has probably scared me away for life from my days as a rental cleaner.

          <img src="http://i584.photobucket.com/albums/ss288/brightdynamics/Ford%20Escape/100_1597.jpg&quot; width=500>

          That shit would happen regularly from just water. Only on Fords too. No other cars that we got. Mostly Escapes but Fusions also.

          • SSurfer321

            My 05 F150 interior looks similar to that. Ordering Wet Okole seat covers soon.

          • BobWellington

            Weird. I've never noticed any hay smell in the 6 or so Fords my family has owned. Both my mom's 2011 Explorer and previous 2000 Expedition had cloth seats with no weird staining issues like that and both have had plenty spilled on them. My Explorer has leather so I can't comment on it.

            • pj134

              Well, according to this they use "Wheat straw and other plant fiber" reinforcement for their plastic. Maybe I'm picking it up from that.

              Volkswagens from the late 90's to current as far as I can tell smell like old crayola crayons if you don't take care of the plastic. Ford isn't alone in weird smelling interiors.

              • BobWellington

                The only really weird interior smell I've noticed is in the GMT800 Tahoe/Suburban/Yukon/Yukon XLs with leather. It's a hard smell to describe, but it wasn't a pleasant smell. And this was in multiple vehicles.

              • mr. mzs zsm msz esq

                Some one has been thumbing you down needlessly. I make it my mission to find him and steal all his left shoes.

          • craigsu

            I was listening to an album while half-mindedly reading your comment, read "my days as a rental cleaner" as "my days as a rectal cleaner" and couldn't help but hope your next job was a step up from that.

            • pj134

              Just because I didn't talk about that career doesn't mean it didn't happen.

          • TNA_WWE_GUY

            What year is that?

    • 1. Price, and to show that the Raptor isn't a "work truck" per se, despite it's looks. Some may not understand that.
      2. It actually did! When it did connect and/or not killed my phone.
      3. I did took out in the storm. I didn't go down a snow-covered construction site with who-knows-what stuff covered by the snow. It's someone else's truck and I didn't want to F it up under the pretext of "reviewing"
      4. Sorry. 🙂

    • OA5599

      Yes, this review sort of reminded me of when the former editor of [redacted] had his mom write reviews. Those were refreshing to read precisely because they weren't written from the perspective of a fanboy or someone in the pocket of an automaker.

      "From the above we can see that anyone who wants to buy a proper truck will choose the F-250. While Raptor’s figures are impressive, as are most quarter-ton pickups’ these days, the F-250 is clearly better for any kind of professional work."

      Not everyone who buys a "proper" truck these days uses it to haul a bundle of plywood. Some of us do regularly need to haul a sheet of plywood, or a riding lawnmower, or some greasy engine blocks, or a bundle of PVC pipes, or something else too bulky or messy for most other conventional modes of transportation, and a half-ton truck (I don't think there are any quarter-ton versions left in the US market) is totally adequate for those tasks.

    • In response to the last, like attorneys, we get paid by the word here at Hooniverse.

      • mr. mzs zsm msz esq

        0.00c per word? $0.00 per photo?

        • SSurfer321

          But if a picture is worth a thousand words then…lemme do the math…shit. 🙁

    • SSurfer321

      My apologies to all. Next time I'll make sure to utilize the <sarcasm> font type. I was hoping the last phrase would convey the sarcasm.

      • pj134

        Well, you made your sarcasm too believable by putting muthalovin in there. I could honestly see him writing a review to that effect. But it opened everything up for me to go on a Ford rant after I got a thumbs down.

        • SSurfer321

          wasn't me but I gave you your point back.

          • pj134

            I'm kind of aware of where it came from and I appreciate the gesture. Sometimes it feels good to get the opportunity to rant though.

            Commenting mostly around here makes you start to lose your sharp elbows, I guess.

            • mr. mzs zsm msz esq

              Who? Like I said, I want many many left shoes! He can give himself a peg leg himself if he likes.

              • pj134

                Ah, my Polish defender. As long as Rust and Jeff don't give away your defensive line, everything should be fine.

                • mr. mzs zsm msz esq

                  Yippie I got downvoted, this is fun, weeeeeeeeee! Ooh the ground looks soft here.

                  thump

  • pj134

    One nice thing about most two full rows of seats trucks is that you can fold up the rear seat. One thing that sucks is the rear seat is usually straight up and down for the backrest and that isn't very comfortable. I think your last paragraph pre post script sums up why any full size truck is attractive, to be honest.

    • SSurfer321

      That backseat of my F150 is quite comfortable. I've done 300 miles in one sitting back there and didn't find the seat too erect.
      /innuendo

  • I want to have the Raptor's babies.

  • mr. mzs zsm msz esq

    Wait a minute Kamil, you had 18" of snow and… oh yeah statute of limitations, no prob.

    Seriously now, my dad got an F250 one time as a loaner. It was awesome, I drove it but too scared to get in over my head with any funny business. My oldest son in particular was really taken, driving on grandpa's lap holding the steering wheel that time is something he still remembers to this day and he was just in preschool then.

  • Maymar

    I might be a heathen for saying this, but I really want to see an EcoBoost Raptor – on paper, it would have virtually identical performance, without requiring you to run an oil company. Of course, it'd give up the snarly exhaust.

    Also, Raptor sort of seems like the wrong name for this truck. This is more of a T-Rex (or at least the Jurassic Park depiction of one), mammoth landbeast crushing everything it runs over). Then again, the Campagna T-Rex is more of a Raptor, being all clever and nimble.

    Don't get me wrong, I still want one, even if it's too big. But too big describes every full sized pickup today.

    • Deartháir

      You're not a heathen, but it would be a pretty moot point.

      The advantage of the EcoBoost is that it can get great fuel economy. But if it was being driven in the way the Raptor was designed to be driven, it would probably get even worse fuel economy than the 6.2L. The disadvantage of the EcoBoost engines is that they're a whole screaming hell of a lot of fun, but if you stomp on them, they suck back gas like it's going out of style. Having spent a weekend with both a 6.2L 2013 Lariat and an EcoBoost 2013 Limited, I can tell you that if you're an aggressive driver, the 6.2L will get the better fuel economy.

      • e24tony

        [youtube wYWE11Oo5rg http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wYWE11Oo5rg youtube]

        But TURBOS!

        • Deartháir

          Oh don't get me wrong. I have absolutely nothing bad to say about the EcoBoost. I friggin' love that engine. But having played with all three engines a whole lot, if you've got a heavy foot with that engine, do NOT expect the fuel economy to be all that impressive!

      • Maymar

        Oh, definitely aware of that – I did Ford's demo drive when they brought out the new line of engines, and hooked up to a trailer and driven sedately, it got something like 25L/100kms (of course, the Hemi Ram they brought for comparison got something like 27). I suppose it's just a matter of how often a Raptor might get hooned versus just sitting in traffic.

    • SSurfer321

      I've heard that Ford left room between the banks of the 5.0 Coyote for two small snails to live…





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