Sometimes niches can be a good thing — although coupé-saloons and sports 4x4s make little sense on paper, they start to make a whole lot more sense when you look at the sales sheets and see how many people are buying these things. Then there are really nichey niches, like Ariel Atoms and Morgan 3-Wheelers. Another one falling into that segment — the weekend toys, so to speak — was always the Ford F150 Raptor.
Funny that, when you consider the F150 is the best selling vehicle on the planet. But consumerware the Raptor ain’t — with a big V8 and big attitude it wasn’t the easiest thing to live with on a daily basis, because everything was big about it including the fuel bills.
For the all-new F150 Raptor Ford dug a little deeper and churned out a performance pick-up that makes sense on paper and in the real world. A practical toy, basically. Things like proper skid plates, and BF Goordich off-road tyres, plus Fox Racing suspension that handles a lighter truck overall (it’s shed nearly 230 kilos compared to its predecessor) make sure of that.
Then there’s the new downsized V6 engine but before you cry ‘Boo!’, it’s a twin-turbocharged unit that makes more power than before. Specifically 421bhp and 678Nm of torque driving all four wheels via a new 10-speed transmission.
Once you get cosy in a Raptor, with its dismissive attitude towards off-road obstacles and school-run speed bumps, you’ll find it hard to go back to anything that’s not a beastly pick-up truck.