Every once in a while these days, a car manufacturer comes up with something exciting that isn’t a crossover and we have to make space for such an anomaly right at the front of the magazine.

This week both Ford and Chrysler are not announcing new crossovers, which is a stop-the-presses moment.

The first car we’re looking at is Ford’s 2019 Raptor high-performance truck, which has just received a higher dose of off-road capabilities for the next model year. Having made its name with a big ol’ V8 engine, the Raptor still tears up sand dunes with its more down-with-the-times twin-turbocharged V6 engine providing more torque than before and more fuel economy. The latest changes don’t mess with that formula, nor the looks, but Ford is updating the car’s tech to keep the Raptor fresh.

One trick Ford’s using is for the Raptor’s Fox Racing suspension, now featuring a new system that can adjust the car’s ride height automatically and on the move, ensuring you not only clear that obstacle but also do it in comfort. The other latest gizmo is Trail Control, which you may know from other cars as Crawl Control — basically a feature that lets the car roll forward from walking pace to a maximum of about 30kph, taking control of throttle applications while the driver only has to concentrate on steering.

Finally, taking a cue from the Ford GT supercar, the new 2019 Raptor also gets some nifty blue Recaro bucket seats and additional three colour choices for the exterior including Ford Performance Blue, Velocity Blue, and Agate Black, all in an attempt to keep the customers happy and the competition at bay.

Speaking of which, things are rather heating up — Chrysler is taking on the previously unchallenged Raptor with the newly announced Ram TRX, and the Pentastar division scoffed at the notion of a V6, instead packing the front end of its truck with the company’s Hellcat engine.

That means the TRX will come with a 707 horsepower V8 shared with the Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk, plus some seriously beefy tyres, wheels, and underbody protection.

Unfortunately for this battle to commence we’ll have to be patient until 2021 when Ram will finally be ready with a production TRX model, but the notion of a Hellcat-powered off-road truck has to be worth the wait. See you on the dunes.


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