If someone asked you if you wanted to drive a Ford Raptor, the only right answers is “yes, please” and hold your hand out for the keys.
It doesn’t matter which generation of this truck you choose to drive; they are both pretty awesome. Ford aptly named this truck and gave it the off-road speed and performance that makes us squeal with joy, even if we won’t admit it, when heading out to cross the sand dunes or on a wilderness trail. That said, let’s highlight some of the distinctions between the first and second generations of this truck.
The Raptor is a Relatively New Truck
In the automotive world, it seems like everything is new. Thankfully, we have some longstanding names such as the Jeep Wrangler, Ford F-150, and Chevy Suburban to keep us grounded. Even though the F-150 has been part of the market for decades, the Raptor has not. In fact, the first generation of this high-performance off-road truck came to the market in 2010 and left after 2014. The second generation didn’t begin until 2017 and continues on today.
Between the two generations, Hennessey felt compelled to offer us their version, which was called the VelociRaptor. We’re not looking at the Hennessey model today, but it’s interesting to realize the tuner company chose to fill the void for Ford.
What’s the Difference Between SVT and Ford Performance?
The first generation of the Ford Raptor was labeled with the SVT name. The Ford Special Vehicle Team (SVT) was responsible for this truck, along with other Ford models such as the SVT F-150 Lightning. Eventually, SVT became part of Ford Performance, which has SVT and Ford Racing under its purview. This is somewhat akin to all thumbs being fingers but not all fingers being thumbs.
How Did the Difference in SVT vs Ford Performance Impact the Raptor?
Because the first generation of the Raptor was developed and delivered by SVT, there were fewer of them and it was viewed as more exclusive. The second generation model fell under the Ford Performance umbrella, which has a much wider reach. The early models of this truck wore SVT badging and parts while the second-generation does not display the Ford Performance badging.
The Second-Generation Raptor is Much More Powerful than the First
Engine development has come a long way in only a few years. The first-gen model had a 6.2-liter V8 engine that produced 411 horsepower and 434 lb-ft of torque. This bigger engine produced and incredible sound but doesn’t touch the lighter build and increased power of the second-generation version. For the second-generation of the Ford Raptor, we see a high-output 3.5-liter twin-turbocharged EcoBoost V6 engine mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission. This powertrain is good for 450 horsepower and 510 lb-ft of torque.
The naturally aspirated V8 might make an incredible sound, the EcoBoost is lighter and more powerful, giving the latest version of the Raptor a performance edge.
Which Model is Better On the Trails?
If you want the Raptor with the most suspension travel and higher ground clearance, you’ve got to go with the second-generation model. The first gen Ford wasn’t a slouch by any standard. This truck offered front suspension travel of 11.2 inches, rear suspension travel of 12.1 inches, and 9.5 inches of ground clearance. Of course, being the second-generation model, the latest Raptor offers 13.0 inches of front suspension travel, 13.9 inches in the rear, and 11.5 inches of ground clearance.
In addition to the direct physical attributes that make off-roading easier, the Fox 3.0 internal-bypass shocks of the latest Ford Raptor are better than the Fox 2.5 models from the original truck. These new shocks have Live Valve Technology. This feature instantly and automatically adjusts to the changing conditions with continuously variable compression damping. This makes them much more advanced than what was found on the first generation of the Raptor.
These Two Ford Trucks Don’t Look Much Alike
You can thank the team at Ford for the differences in appearance of the Raptors. The earlier generation of this truck was narrower, which meant the fender flares appeared to bulge out much more than the flares on the latest version of the Raptor. These two trucks have differences in the headlight and grille designs that make them easy to tell apar. The original SVT Raptor has a smoother and rounded nose while the latest version is blockier and much meaner looking. The second-gen model also features a large central hood vent while the first-gen version had a pair of hood vents, another distinguishing feature.
The Latest Version of the Raptor Has Several Interior Packages
Trucks have become much more comfortable, even over the course of just a few years. the second-generation of the Ford Raptor has a few packages to upgrade the interior how you want. These packages are called the Carbon Fiber Package and the Blue Interior Accent Package. The Blue Interior Accent Package gives you Recaro Sport Seats and perforated Rhapsody Blue Alcantara inserts.
The SVT Raptor offered a Special Edition Ford Raptor Package that gave it special wheels, a brick red interior color, unique graphics, and Special Edition Ruby Red Metallic paint.
The Tech Advantage Goes to the Latest Raptor
You can’t reach back several years in the tech world and think you’ll come up with anything that compares to what we see today. The tech limitations of the original Raptor didn’t keep it from being an advanced model for its time, but it doesn’t hold a candle the current Ford Raptor truck. The latest version of the Raptor offers a lockable/remote opening tailgate, large panoramic sunroof, push-button starting, electric power-assisted steering, Pro Trailer Backup Assist, 360-degree camera, adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assist, rain-sensing wipers, and blind-spot monitoring. None of these features were available for the first generation of the Raptor.
Its amazing to see the changes from one generation to the next of a single truck. The Ford Raptor is an incredible pickup to drive, regardless of model year or generation. That said, if you’re driving one of the first- generation versions, keep in mind the limitations of the time and enjoy the ride.
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