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Cars

2019 Ford F-150 Raptor review

Words by Nathan Irvine

Let's get dirty.

It’s as I hurtle over the first sand dune, in what feels like slow-motion, that I fall for the 2019 Ford F-150 Raptor. The shock absorbers soak up the impact and create a cushioned landing before channeling my inner Ken Block and aiming it at another sandy build-up.

There’s nothing quite like it: a pick-up truck that’s as practical as it is stupidly fun to drive.

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Specifications

Engine

3.5l Ecoboost V6 Turbo

Power

450bhp at 5000rpm

Torque

510Nm at 3500rpm

Transmission

10-speed shiftable auto

0-100 kmh

6 seconds

Top Speed

172.2kmh

Price

From AED 215,000

Interior

The inside of the cavernous cockpit has been given a notable upgrade since last year’s model. Soft leather is stitched across the dashboard and seats for a far more premium look. The 2019 Ford F-150 Raptor still maintains its aggressive angular looks, to match the exterior, but it feels more luxurious than ever.

There’s a ton of space in the rear for passengers to stretch out their legs. Or to pack in extra grocery bags if you’ve been out to do the “big shop”.

Its infotainment screen is perfectly adequate, but still lacks the cutting-edge tech and intuitive nature of its rivals.

And one slight design problem is that the driver’s side blind spot feels more pronounced. What should be a quick glance over my shoulder to see incoming vehicles, is often a deep stoop towards the steering wheel to get the full picture.

Exterior

Not too many tweaks have been made with the body. This is a good thing. Raptors are one of the most recognizable pick-up trucks on the road, so I’m happy Ford haven’t tried to soften its looks at all.

In fact, the signature angry style is present and correct in the 2019 Raptor, with a few minor flourishes here and there.

With its stern hood vents, powerful LED headlights and enormous grille, it looks like a Transformer. It’d almost certainly be one of the angry Decepticons, mind, especially in the gun metal colour I tested.

As always, it sits a little higher off the ground than a regular F-150, which helps it get up and over those dunes. Sure, it won’t look out of place cruising down the highway, but the Raptor is built for off-roading, which leads us nicely on to…

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Drive

Baja mode. This is the setting where you will have the most fun with the 2019 Ford F-150 Raptor.

For those who don’t know, Baja is a legendary off-road race held annually between Mexico and California. Vehicles are specifically tuned to jump and power through a sandy course at incredible speeds. So the fact the Raptor has a Baja mode in its arsenal should give you an idea of how this plays out.

It’s not new to the 2019 model, but it has been improved to wring out the maximum fun factor of the vehicle. The tires grip the ground for dear life as I move up through the gears on a sandy path. They gobble up the deep sand with ease – maintaining pace while kicking up an impressive plume of sand as you go.

I hesitate about making that first – relatively small – jump for a split-second, but gun it anyway. That feeling of something so heavy gaining some airtime is hard to fathom, but there’s really no feeling like it. The upgraded Fox shocks absorb the landing and without a moment pause, the 2019 Raptor is back up to speed. It’s a thrill unlike anything else, and you only get it from an F-150 Raptor.

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Overall

Yes, it will handle day-to-day driving perfectly fine – even if it is a bit of a gas guzzler. But you’d be missing the whole point of buying the 2019 Raptor if you didn’t take it off-road a couple of times per month. The Baja mode is a seriously moreish experience, and I can’t wait for another go at it.

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