Before the 2021 Ford F-150 Raptor made its official debut, folks had all sorts of ideas as to how it would combat the Ram 1500 TRX. And while the hopped-up pickup didn’t arrive with the 700 horsepower V8 engine that some initially expected, Ford managed to find a few other ways to help their new offering reassert itself in the segment. A new five-link rear end design and updated Fox Live Valve shocks bring more suspension and wheel travel, allowing for an industry first. More specifically, Ford is offering the all-new Raptor with 37-inch tires straight from the factory. This option is a first for a production truck, and goes without saying is the biggest tire offering customers can find this side of the aftermarket.
As the 2021 Ford F-150 Raptor is the first light-duty pickup truck to offer 37-inch rubber straight from the factory, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that there were some issues Ford needed to address. These struggles weren’t limited to simply figuring out how to stick the tires onto the truck either, as the automaker had to consider packaging constraints, the production line process, as well as crash testing and safety regulations.
“Packaging and subsequent interferences to other components and implementation into the assembly plant were a few key challenges we had to overcome,” said F-150 Program Manager Tony Greco in an interview with MC&T. “From a testing perspective, we planned for the 37” tires early enough resulting in testing synergies.”
One area that the automaker needed to address to fit the 37-inch tires onto the 2021 Ford F-150 Raptor was the rear frame rails. That is because there wasn’t enough space between the standard rails to hold the full-size spare tire that is a necessity for a vehicle in the off-road segment. While that seems like a small touch, it proves that the Blue Oval was dedicated to getting this truck right.
With the larger rubber, the 2021 Ford F-150 Raptor picks up an additional inch of running clearance, up to 13.1 inches in total. Other off-roading metrics improve as well, with a 33.1 degree maximum approach angle, a 24.9 degree breakover angle, and a 24.4 degree maximum departure angle. Impressive figures indeed, especially when you consider that the TRX can’t even match those on offer from the “small-tire” Raptor model.
The new Ford may be down on power, but it brings all the necessary hardware to keep this fight interesting. When the Raptor R arrives next year, things are going to get really exciting for the off-roading faithful among us. Perhaps Ram will regret picking a fight with the truck that has dominated the segment for more than a decade.