Ford introduced us to the Utah Motorsports Campus (UMC), house of the Ford Efficiency Racing Workforce, to place the Raptor to the test. That is the place consumers of Raptors, GT350s, and different excessive-efficiency Ford automobiles get their free of charge skilled coaching. Situated close to Salt Lake Metropolis, UMC has quite a lot of paved tracks, excessive- and sluggish-velocity filth programs together with man-made rock crawling obstacles and a cache of close by off-street trails which are actual-world filth testbeds, accessed by highways that gave us an evaluation of on a regular basis driving.
It offered the chance to do an up to date deep dive right into a truck that I do know intimately, having taken the “Driver of Document” Inventory Manufacturing Class win at Dakar in a primary-era mannequin. The truck carried out flawlessly; it stays the one win at Dakar from any workforce from North or South America thus far. I had additionally pushed the second-gen mannequin in its religious residence, situated in one in every of America’s prime off-street desert playgrounds.
Instantly after Ford launched the second-era Raptor, the corporate’s engineers have been on the lookout for methods to enhance it. “Fox was engaged on a totally lively damper which we thought was the best way of the longer term. We have been acquainted with it from sports activities automobiles, however it was new within the off-street area; though we have been skeptical, we began,” stated Chris Paiva, Car Dynamics Engineer, Ford Efficiency. The brand new setup blends class-unique FOX three.zero Inner Bypass shocks with Reside Valve know-how that may adapt to terrain in actual-time to actively maximize dealing with, consolation, and backside-out resistance by studying throttle, brake, steering and terrain enter and adjusting the damping accordingly. Path Management, a driver-help feature, combines with hill descent management for a kind of cruise management for low-velocity, tough and rugged terrain.
We began our drive on the UMC with sluggish-velocity motoring over a person-made impediment course that featured steep sidehills to be able to achieve confidence within the Raptor’s means to crawl at a extreme angle, partaking Path Management and benefitting from the truck’s suspension and aggressive BFG rubber on the 4 corners. Subsequent was a freeway drive to an area off-street trails community that climbed to an elevation of over 7,000 ft, with majestic views of snow-capped mountain ranges in and across the Salt Lake Metropolis bowl. The takeaways? The revised Raptor is extra snug on-street because of the up to date suspension and properly-bolstered sport seats.
Engineer Chris Paiva rode proper seat for my morning drive and defined that Ford Efficiency labored instantly with FOX to develop the all-new electronically-managed Reside Valve know-how that constantly adjusts damping in actual-time, utilizing sensors within the suspension and physique.
As we traveled at excessive velocity over a tough and undulating monitor, Paiva described the three modes:
Leap mode assesses the entrance wheel place and is aware of you are within the air and goes to full stiff; this retains the truck from crashing via a touchdown. Terrain recognition lets the entrance journey peak sensors reply to small excessive frequency modifications and reacts to enhance consolation, when there’s quicker wheel journey over extra extreme terrain. The shock begins to study it and retains the wheel from crashing by way of. Loud Pedal mode seems to be on the throttle pedal enter and, when it is extra aggressive, it learns that and reads it and provides extra damping and extra controls. We’re nonetheless utilizing the place-delicate bypass damper that goes to four hundred further kilos of compression damping, however it’s the first time that lively dampers have been paired with place-delicate damper for off-street—it cements out place on the prime of the mountain.
The brand new reside system enhances the thirteen inches of suspension journey within the entrance and thirteen.9 inches within the rear over giant bumps and uneven terrain, with spectacular management and relative consolation.
My afternoon drive companion was Brandon Cameron, “Function Proprietor” for Path Management, who works on the mixing of this new feature with all the suitable groups at Ford. Activated by a button above the navigation display, velocity settings are engaged utilizing a toggle change on the steering wheel. It is obtainable in any switch case setting and drive mode. From 1-20 mph, it engages in zero.5-mile increments in low range settings, and prompts in 1-10 mph, in 1-mile increments in excessive range. It controls throttle and brakes to climb up and over rocks and tough terrain, monitoring particular person wheel slip and grip, and is an help for steep uphill and downhill gradients.
I’m not new to downhill descent methods; the truth is, I examined Vary Rover’s world-first system in 1997. Since then, virtually all producers of off-street automobiles have methods that modulate downhill velocity and improve traction on steep terrain. Few, nevertheless, have true crawl methods; Vary Rover and Toyota each supply a model. The Raptor’s system replaces its earlier era’s downhill descent management know-how; will probably be an help for each novice and lots of off-street fanatic drivers. As an skilled off-roader who has discovered left-foot braking to enhance traction and smoothness over rocks and boulders, I assumed Path Management labored laudably on downhill grades however was tough in its software of torque and throttle over rocks. I might use it with confidence over terrain that’s slick, with harmful publicity, similar to in Moab, Utah. Like ABS brakes, in that circumstance, the pc would have extra prowess than me. Of observe, Path Management may even be on the brand new Ford Ranger.
However again to the query of why mess with a very good factor, which I posed to Travis Calhoun, consumer advertising supervisor for F-150. He stated, “Steady enchancment is our mantra, as Raptor is our showcase product; we will not share numbers bought, though it is greater than one hundred,000, however we do not actually promote it — we do not actually should, there isn’t any variable advertising.” Calhoun stated the Crew Cab is the preferred configuration.
Truthful sufficient. The upgraded 2019 F-150 Raptor, constructed at Dearborn Truck Plant, will go on sale in late 2018.
– 2019 Ford F-150 Raptor First Drive Review –
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