The 2019 Ford Raptor Proves You CAN Improve Perfection

All I want for Christmas is a 2019 Ford F-150 Raptor.

It needn’t an introduction for truck lovers since it’s widely considered the most capable off-roading pickup in the world. Moreover, the most capable off-roading pickup in the history of the planet. This sounds like hyperbole, we know. But hot damn, this baby really can do it all. It is capable beyond its peers. It is luxurious on par with your rich uncle’s sedan. It is expensive, but even that $54k-plus sticker can’t stop it from outselling every single other truck in existence, except for its utilitarian F-150 sibling.

Ford is keenly aware that they’ve had a winner on their hands ever since the Raptor’s 2017 full redesign. That’s why in 2018, the automaker changed very little about its top-of-the-line pickup. And for the 2019 Ford Raptor, it has changed even less. The alterations Ford has made, however, are gonna get Raptor fans even more lathered up. Because they are useful suspension improvements, hip design changes, and cutting-edge tech upgrades that will benefit any owner using this ride for its engineered purpose: carving a speedy, razor-sharp trail away from the blacktop.

Same Power, Better Handling

Just to be sure, the 2019 Ford Raptor is virtually unchanged under the hood. The power source is still a twin-turbo V-6, making a beastly 450 horsepower. Mated to a 10-speed paddle-shifted automatic transmission, it can rocket to 60 miles per hour is a mere 5.1 seconds. And its fuel economy numbers outperform its peers, many of whom still pack a bulky V-8 that cannot match the output of Ford’s V-6. This motor is so popular that they use it across multiple platforms, including the equally-impressive GT. It is quite literally a pickup truck with a race car’s motor.

The most important upgrade on the 2019 Ford Raptor however, is the suspension. The Raptor has never slacked in this department, using Fox shocks since the truck’s inception in 2010. But this year, Ford has taken things a step further. The suspension’s architectural setup is still the same, including the same control arm. And Fox still supplies the hardware, but this year’s model features electronically controlled Live-Valve technology. This update means that the Raptor’s Fox Racing Shox will now have virtually infinite different compressions (compared to last year’s nine pre-set zones) by adjusting the dampers continuously and automatically as it goes. Zipping down the bumpiest trails in the country has never been a smoother experience. Get ready to NOT spill your beverage.

Trail-Ready Cruise Control

Another plus for anybody getting off road in the 2019 Ford Raptor: the all-new Trail Control feature. Essentially, it’s cruise control for crawlin’ time. Trail Control mode allows the driver to set a speed between 1-20 mph, and automation takes care of the acceleration and braking. (Takes some of the fun out of true off-roading, but a pretty cool feature nonetheless.) This allows for maximum focus on steering through the rough stuff. If you somehow manage to get stuck in trail mode, hey, that’s on you.

The looks of the 2019 Ford Raptor stand out as usual, a gorgeous confluence of raw aggression and tasteful refinement. It simply looks like it’s worth your hard-earned money. The body is once again lightweight aluminum to stay light and nimble on its feet. It’s still rocking that big and bold (and ever-so-slightly updated) Ford lettering on the grille and tailgate. The body is still wider than its F-150 counterparts, adding something deliberate to its stance while the wider base improves handling. Its 17-inch wheels and 35-inch tires are still the norm, although this year buyers can opt for wheels that are beadlock-capable.

Buyers will have a new color palate to choose from this year as well. Lightning Blue, Shadow Black, and Avalanche Gray are retiring. In their place are Velocity Blue and Agate Black. And to the joy of many, the 2019 Ford Raptor will finally be available in the legendary Ford Performance Blue, the only member of the F-150 family with that privilege.

Step Inside

The interior is still everything we’ve come to expect from the Raptor name. Cabin options are still between SuperCab and the roomy SuperCrew. The road-cone-orange flourishes in the cab have been removed. Buyers can now choose between basic black or Light Speed Blue, a-la the superfast Ford GT. Recaro front seats are available for the first time. Carbon fiber touches on the doors, dashboard, and gearshift are new as well.

The interior of the 2019 Ford Raptor is still everything we expect from the name.

As for tech goodies on the 2019 Ford Raptor, again, not much will change. The Sync 3 infotainment system has been a hit with drivers and will remain. Safety features like automated emergency braking, lane-departure warning, and lane-keeping assist are available. As is more new-age safety tech, like blind spot monitoring and rear-cross traffic alert.

Always Room for Improvement

With this years few, yet purposeful improvements, the Raptor may be a step or two closer to perfection. Still, that fact won’t stop some of its hardcore disciples from taking the upgrades a step or two further. Because this is America. We take perfection, and we PERFECT UPON IT.

Go ahead, look into it. Raptor builds are friggin’ awesome. Just ask the team of gung-ho Texans at N-FAB, who have turned Raptor customization into an art form, producing a whole line of products from nerf bars to bumpers to tire carriers to make the 2019 Ford Raptor even MORE useful. Or folks like Andy Gobel, a self-taught suspension wizard who was upgrading Raptor Shocks before it was something Ford did for itself. Gobel also slapped on a Venom front bumper (AND a Honey Badger bumper on the rear), a new Rigid Industries light bar, and a WARN winch and made something great into something even better.

Stock vs modified experience in a 2018 Ford Raptor.
Andy Gobel’s modified 2018 Ford Raptor.

Some might say it’s akin to gilding a lily, thinking anything more on a truck that is so capable right out of the box is simply overkill. But there’s a whole community out there who begs to disagree. I mean, Michael Jordan didn’t stop going to practice once he was the best in the world, did he? Nope. He kept improving, and kept on winning a ring every doggone year.

But It’ll Cost You

To many, the Raptor is damn near perfect as-is. It is a difficult assertion to argue with, and the numbers back it up. But in a thriving aftermarket teeming with customization options, not even the almighty 2019 Ford Raptor is above some tweaking. The choice, as they say, is yours.

Either way, the pleasure of driving a Raptor does not come cheap. The 2019 Ford Raptor SuperCab starts at $54,350. The SuperCrew model can be had for $57,335. Both are available with plenty of upgrades, like heated/cooled seats, leather, a power-sliding rear window, etc. The vast majority of Raptor buyers opt for the luxury package upgrade, adding another nine grand plus to their total. Whatever the choice, buyers can rest assured, they have purchased a superior off-road machine.

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