The wait is finally over. The third-generation Ford F-150 Raptor has made its official debut, reigniting the battle for the off-road pickup crown. And while this new baja-bashing F-150 faces greater competition than has ever been laid before it, Ford has made plenty of adjustments to the 4×4. Most notably however, the automaker hasn’t adjusted the powertrain in ways that we originally expected. Here is everything you need to know about the 2021 Ford F-150 Raptor and its high-output 3.5L EcoBoost V6 engine set-up.
Back in late January, MC&T reported about the leaked order guide for the third-generation Ford F-150 Raptor. In that report, we suggested that the new off-road pickup truck would arrive with the same 3.5L EcoBoost V6 engine as its predecessor. Unfortunately for all of the V8-hopeful among us, these leaks have proven to be accurate. According to the Blue Oval, the 2021 Ford F-150 Raptor will come equipped with a third-generation high-output 3.5L EcoBoost engine. Ford says that the updated twin-turbocharged mill features a 10.5:1 compression ratio, as well as a new set of high-power fans integrated into the cooling system. These fans will aid in keeping the engine cooler when tearing around out on the trails or the sand. Thanks to a standard 36 gallon fuel tank, Ford states that the new Raptor has an EPA-estimated range of over 500 miles per tank. That’s enough range to allow for some genuine off-the-grid action. No output figures for the engine have been announced at this time.
The 2021 Ford F-150 Raptor may retain the same engine as its predecessor, but it will arrive with a new exhaust system. Ford says that the new equal-length three-inch exhaust features a patent-pending integrated X-pipe, as well as a “trombone loop” setup to vary the exhaust note. There are also a set of active valves in the exhaust, a first for the Ford F-150 Raptor lineup. With the help of the valves, customers can choose between four levels of sound output: Quiet, Normal, Sport and Baja.
All third-generation Ford F-150 Raptor models will come with a 10-speed automatic gearbox, which now features upgraded next-generation controls. Bolted to the back of the Ford-built transmission sits a new torque-on-demand transfer case, which works in tandem with the standard electronically locking rear differential. Customers will also have the option to spec a Torsen limited-slip differential up front, which matches the 4.10 gear ratio of the rear unit. The upgraded transmission allows for maximum payload rating of 1,400 pounds and a maximum towing figure of 8,200 pounds, increases of 200 pounds for both ratings compared to last year.
Now we can’t talk about the engine of the 2021 Ford F-150 Raptor without mentioning the rumored 5.2L Predator V8 engine. Despite the fact that the standard truck does indeed carry the EcoBoost V6 under its hood, not all hope is lost for those looking for 700+ horsepower. Ford confirmed today that the Raptor R is indeed in development, and that the super-truck will make its debut next year. While this in itself doesn’t confirm the GT500 powertrain is coming to the truck, all signs point in that direction. That is all to say that a proper challenge for the new Ram 1500 TRX may still be forthcoming. Be sure to check back with MC&T as the year progresses for more information about the Raptor R.
Does the third-generation Ford F-150 Raptor live up to your expectations, or are you disappointed with the current powertrain offering? Let us know what you think of the off-roader in the comments down below.