Photos by Zerin Dube/Emily Price, Video by Matt Hardigree/Adrian Melendez
Here at Speed:Sport:Life, we have a nasty habit of coming up with answers to questions nobody had bothered to ask. Whether we’re autocrossing an Accord Crosstour or comparing a Ferrari to a Mustang, we inevitably find a way to alienate anyone with a lick of common sense.
This time however, we performed a comparison test that on the surface seems completely ludicrous. But a deeper look at this comparison reveals that this is the question that everyone buying these vehicles should be asking: How do $100k+ luxury hot-rod off-roaders actually perform, well, off-road?
Faithful Ford truckers often fall into a dichotomy. Lightning enthusiasts crave quick rigs to gain cred at the track. Bronco fans miss muddy rockcrawlers meant for trails. Ford’s Special Vehicle Team could’ve easily built a truck for either purpose, but as guardians of automotive culture, it’s not their duty to take a safe route. SVT rethought “speed truck” ethic entirely. Instead of engineering a tire-shredder, SVT focused on sustaining high speed off-road in a way that no stock vehicle has before. The 2010 Ford SVT F-150 Raptor tackles both asphalt and desert sands so masterfully that it is instantly deserving of supercar status. The Raptor’s victories in design, safety, navitainment and ergonomics mean that it isn’t just a great truck — it’s a great vehicle. Children will mount posters of this desert bandit on their walls. In an era of lowest-common-denominator commodity cars, that’s indicative praise indeed.
If you weren’t able to follow my Tweets from the introduction, this video preview of the 5.4-liter V8-equipped model should tide you over until this winter, when Ford will begin shipping faster Raptors equipped with a new 6.2-liter V8. You can expect a full review from Speed:Sport:Life then.