Raptor Time

It’s the Ford ute with attitude, and it’s available here in Australia

Ford’s F150 has always been a standout vehicle wherever it’s seen on Australian roads. In recent times it’s been the all-black Harley Davidson version that’s caused the stir, but now, thanks to F150 importers Salstrip Ultimate Vehicles of Ingleside, Sydney, there are four F150 variants for ute buyers who want something better than the standard local fare.

The range starts off with the Platinum, moves through to the King Ranch, goes a bit bikie-oriented with the Harley Davidson version, and then peaks with the Raptor.

The Raptor is only available in 4WD and is what Salstrip calls the sexiest, most off-road-capable F150 Ford has ever built.

CARS_UTES_Ford-Raptor_8As well as being a great ride around town, the SVT Raptor has an awesome 4×4 drive system and suspension for maximum performance in all on and off-road situations.

Available as a Super Cab or a Super Crewcab, the SVT Raptor is powered by a 6.2-litre, Ford V8 diesel of 306 kW (411hp) and 588 Nm (434 lb-ft) of torque. It’s matched to a six-speed automatic transmission, and can carry up to five passengers and tow up to 3,200 kg.

Although based on the F150, the Raptor is quite different from the standard model, featuring a full 178 mm wider track dimension. Using Fox racing shock absorbers with internal triple bypass valves, it boasts cast aluminium front control arms and 35-inch BF Goodrich All Terrain tyres. The Raptor has an amazing 284 mm front suspension travel, with 307 mm rear suspension travel, and the four-door Super Crew version has an additional 304 mm longer wheelbase.

For all-wheel-drive operation the front axle of the F150 Raptor features a Torsen differential to shift torque to the wheels with most traction and prevent unnecessary wheelspin. It comes with hill descent control, front and rear camera system, an electronic locking rear differential, roll stability control and traction control.

The Harley Davidson version is available as a 4×2 and 4×4 model with a stylised appearance that includes blacked out headlamps and tail lamps. The interior is trimmed in black leather, and, with ten-way power adjustable front seats, there’s a very high level of luxury specification, plus of course all the traditional Harley Davidson badging and decals.CARS_UTES_Ford-Raptor_3

The King Ranch has an interior trim that is described almost in the same fashion as a rider would mention their horse and saddle. Try this for size – a Chaparral leather trimmed, ten-way adjustable, powered front seat with saddle leather accents, and with internal heating and cooling systems within the seat.

The Platinum model features all the standard inclusions of the Lariat, again with unique leather trimming of all seats, fold-up seat squabs in the rear of the crew cab and upmarket audio systems.

The F150 range has a towing capacity that ranges from 3,000 kg through to 3,950 kg and comes with standard trailer sway control, trailer brake controller, rear-view camera, telescoping trailer mirrors, and a payload of 1,377 kg.

Safety inclusions, with SRS airbags, roll stability control, a standard safety canopy system, and side curtain airbags, all make for high safety standards.

The Raptor has been so successful on its home turf that Ford America has already announced the 2014 version F-150 SVT Raptor Special Edition, which adds unique new touches to Raptor’s existing Luxury Package, including a Ruby Red Metallic exterior colour and box-side graphics.

Interior upgrades include Brick Red seat bolsters with black inserts and cloth honeycomb highlights, console top finish panel, and centre stack and door panel appliqué accents. Raptor Special Edition is also available in Tuxedo Black Metallic.

“Raptor owners are looking for a high-performing, uncompromising off-road pickup truck with the features and luxuries found in today’s premium trucks,” said Doug Scott, Ford truck group marketing manager.

“Since its launch in 2009, we’ve continually moved Raptor forward in capability and design, and the 2014 Special Edition is the best Raptor yet.”CARS_UTES_Ford-Raptor_9

Raptor has found an enviable niche in full-size pickups. SVT Raptor sales in the US are up 14 percent in 2013, with five out of the past six months seeing record sales. More than 13,000 Raptors were sold in 2012.

For 2013, industry-exclusive, beadlock-capable wheels were added to help increase grip in low-traction conditions, along with high-intensity discharge headlamps for improved visibility. SYNC® with MyFord Touch® was also made available for added connectivity.

Salstrip’s founder, Conn Saloumidis, agrees with Ford’s Doug Scott and believes the F150 Raptor will become the company’s best-selling vehicle for 2013.

“The specification is far higher than any competitive product available in the Australian market. Buyers are looking for something special and these utes are unique for their ability to provide comfort and luxury with unmatched towing ability.

“The in-built safety and ease of driving, great visibility, huge payload and excellent balance when towing all contribute to their appeal over standard utes,” added Conn.

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