They for damn sure didn't have Trail Control that automatically adjusts power and braking to each individual wheel - again, like the all-new upgraded 2019 Raptor does. So, when the trail became rough and the buckboard was bouncin’, hang tight y’all, that’s when the women and kiddos were kicked to the curb and forced to walk as the hairy daredevils with muskets navigated the trails solo. See, contrary to current belief, ventilated seats and chivalry didn’t exist in the late 1780’s. It was all about stayin’ alive and the Bee Gees had nothing to do with it.
Fast forward to present times and we’re talking with Brandon Cameron this week on The Revolution, a super cool brainiac who is also a Ford Product Development Engineer and the lead engineer for the Trail Control feature mentioned above - it’s like a low speed cruise control for going off-roading. What Ford has done with the new Raptor for 2019 is successfully build, as they put it, “The toughest, smartest, most capable off-road truck in the world.” No other OEM truck has the durability, and reputation, of the Ford Raptor. With 35 inch tires that claw away at terrain, suspension travel of 13 inches at the front and 13.9 inches at the rear, an 8,000-Ib tow rating, a multimode Terrain Management System, industry-exclusive computer-controlled Fox live valve shocks, Pro Trailer Backup Assist, Adaptive Cruise Control with stop-and-go technology, Recaro sport seats and more, the Raptor didn’t just set the benchmark for off-roading, luxury and sophistication, it is the benchmark.
Brandon explains that the Ford team meticulously went through the new 2019 Raptor with a fine-toothed comb and improved upon every form and function, and it shows. As an outdoorsman, Ford’s scrutiny and attention to detail is what propelled the Raptor to the ultimate can go anywhere truck. Take Trail Control for instance, this feature can be activated from 1 to 20 mph depending on driveline position, and once engaged, its sensors collect data at ten milliseconds, that’s roughly one-hundred times every second, Brandon says. Then, the Raptor computes this information and instantly reacts to the current road conditions by adjusting power and braking, independently, to the wheels. So, if the Raptor senses a tire going into slip, it will isolate and bring that tire back to maximum traction state which gives the driver complete freedom to focus on the road ahead and to enjoy the journey, continues Brandon.
Now, all the while you are maneuvering over and through rocky, steep, sandy or mud laden two tracker trails, you can set your speed for a desired rate with Trail Control and the new 2019 Raptor will maintain that rate and immediately compensate for whatever you encounter. If you choose to increase your pace of travel, simply adjust your set speed with the buttons on the steering wheel that are traditionally used for cruise control or opt for using the accelerator which will disengage Trail Control completely. Another notable feature outdoorsmen will love about the new 2019 Raptor is Ford’s shift on the fly technology which allows you, the driver, to go from two-wheel drive into four-auto, or locked four-high transfer case position, at speed. That way if you encounter a bottomless sinkhole on the way to the trailhead where you’ll be hunting bear, stopping and running the risk of getting stuck to engage four-wheel drive, isn’t a worry.
Furthering Ford’s commitment to off-roading and the outdoor lifestyle, are the computer-controlled Fox live valve shocks that are controlled by speed and the multimode Terrain Management System. Understanding this system is well outside of my paygrade, but from what I understand these electronically operated solenoids provide continuous adjustments to the dampers automatically. So, if you have selected “Jump Mode”, Ford’s Live Valve suspension technology will fully stiffen the shocks to ensure a proper landing, catch, if you get airborne. Other modes are “Terrain Recognition” that soften your ride and “Loud Pedal” that gives a stiffer, more stable, ride for aggressive driving. For more insight into the Terrain Management System capabilities, I recommend going to www.ford.com and getting the full scoop there.
As aforementioned, the new and improved 2019 Raptor also features Trailer Backup Assist. So, unless you love the awkwardness of backing up your boat, cargo or utility trailer, you’ll want to pay attention. Trailer Backup Assist positions the driver to back up his or her attached trailer by turning a dial that’s located on the dash, just to the right of the steering column. Conversely to turning the steering wheel right to make your trailer go left, you can watch on the LCD viewing screen in the center of the dash, and in your mirrors, and turn the dial the direction you want the trailer to go, it’s that easy. Yeah, Raptor will make you look like a total stud next time at the boat ramp.
Now, let’s touch on Adaptive Cruise Control with stop-and-go technology. Say I’m heading to Colorado to chase archery elk. I hop on I-70, set my cruise to 75, the distance I want to stay from any vehicle in front of me, and let my mind wander to the hunt ahead. Well, right around Limon, some half imitation of a car and the joker manning it jets out in front of me and catches me off guard. Not a fun situation to find myself in, but thanks to Ford’s Adaptive Cruise Control with stop-and-go technology, my Raptor will sense the car’s behavior and instantly re-calculate my speed to stay a safe set distance away. If the guy causing mayhem decides to come to a complete stop in front of me, my Raptor will follow suit. Then, once he takes back off, my speed will increase to its original rate if the coast is clear. It’s kind of like an artificial intelligence form of “Simon Says”.
To come full circle, we have to tackle the heart of the beast, the Raptor’s 3.5-liter EcoBoost. Like Brandon mentioned, this V6 pumps out 450 horsepower, 510 lb.-ft of torque and is paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission. Combined, this drivetrain has plenty of power to crush any chore with ease while saving you at the pump. I’m guessing combined fuel economy will land somewhere around 17 mpg, which is fantastic in my book. So, whether you’re tearing up the asphalt on your way to a dinner date with the Mrs. or pulling your Wolverine X4 and Kodiaks for a weekend of fun and sun at the dunes, Raptor won’t disappoint like the 4xM’s of the 1780’s did. However, on the buckboards and 5th wheel covered wagons of many moons ago, they did have a “Belly Box”. This rectangular wooden box spanned from the driver to passenger side and was centered in the wagon. Its primary use was for storing muskets, shovels, spokeshaves, banjos, cool stuff like that. Perhaps to pay homage, Ford will incorporate a “Belly Box” in the 2020 Raptor to acknowledge America’s forefathers of off-roading and to accommodate us musket baring dudes! Who knows.
To get the complete dish on the all-new 2019 Ford F-150 Raptor from Brandon Cameron, Ford Product Development Engineer, click play on the audio player below and enjoy listening.
A special thanks to Brandon Cameron and the entire Truck Team, Marketing Department and Broadcast Communications Managers at Ford Motor Company. Y’all are awesome!
Hug, Handshakes and Happy Ford Shopping!