The 2021 Ford F-150 Raptor was revealed last month, representing the latest in an off-road vehicle onslaught from America’s oldest operating automaker. It also marks the third-generation of an off-road-focused pickup truck that pioneered a segment when it hit the market back in 2009. As such, one could assume that the 2021 Ford Bronco design team borrowed some learnings from the F-150 Raptor team to come up with the hyper-modular 4×4 SUV we see today. It turns out, however, that’s not the case.
“Not really, said Ehab Kaoud, chief designer of the 2021 Ford F-150 Raptor in an interview with MC&T. “The two (Raptor and Bronco) studios are a walking distance from each other. Between us as teams in the umbrella of Ford Design, we’re always looking at each others’ work… but I can’t pinpoint to one particular area for the Raptor.”
Rather than break all sorts of different ground like the Ford Bronco design team did, the 2021 Ford F-150 Raptor design team was more focused on building on the established cachet that already existed.
“I think what’s interesting about the Raptor is that since it came to the market it paved its own way so it has a certain place in the customer’s heart, so moving forward we want to keep that in mind,” explained Kaoud.
A particular challenge that faced the 2021 Ford F-150 design team was making sure that each variant was able to stand out on its own aesthetically.
“From a design standpoint proportions are key. Just the fact that Raptor is much wider (compared to the other F-150 pickup trucks) makes a big difference,” said Kaoud, focusing on the F-150 Raptor and the F-150 Tremor. “The tires on the Tremor are 33 inches. They go to 35 inches on a Raptor and then 37 inches as well. So there’s differentiation there.”
Beyond the tires, 2021 Ford F-150 Raptor and Tremor designers made sure the two trucks stood out in other ways, too.
“From a visual standpoint it’s very obvious there are some cues we wanted to maintain on Tremor like a more predominant hood. You’ll notice the hood on Tremor is more beefy and muscular than the base F-150. And the vents on the hood, they’re a lot more discreet than Raptor, but they do serve a purpose and they are functional.”
The 2021 Ford F-150 Raptor also refined a signature design element for its third generation: cab lights.
“The (cab lights) on the outgoing Ford F-150 was just Christmas lights. Just dots. But they’re a very important part of the Raptor,” he said. “But in this case they’re not Christmas lights anymore, they’re LED pipes, so they have a lot more character and you really notice them in the rearview mirror. So we looked at several iterations on how that can be, and how does that look on the front end… until we ended up on what ended up being the Raptor.”
The 2021 Ford F-150 Raptor will be available this year and is expected to start at around $60,000 – which would significantly undercut the more powerful Ram TRX in price. Next year, the 2022 Ford F-150 Raptor R will make its official debut, and it’s expected to nestle the 760 hp 5.2L Predator V8 engine that’s currently found in the S550 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500.