Which F-150 Raptor Generation is Best? Two Birds of a Feather
In 2010, Ford’s Special Vehicles Team (SVT) created a behemoth of a truck-based on a run-of-the-mill F-150. Called the SVT Raptor, it’s a purpose-built design that is happy to crawl rocks and traverse mud, but downright ecstatic to barrel down trails at speed and get big air by soaring over sand dunes. It was one of the most capable production off-road vehicles ever created and served as a halo truck for Ford from 2010-2014.
After a three-year hiatus, Ford dropped "SVT" from the name and brought back the Raptor for the 2017 model year with even more ability and to even greater acclaim. While the original model run was already critically acclaimed, there were a vast number of improvements made when we look at the 2014 Raptor versus the 2017 Raptor. The newer truck is so well-liked that it has already received a mild mid-cycle refresh for the 2019 model year.
So, what separates the two generations of the F-150 Raptor? There’s no doubt that the technological advancements that were added for the second production run make for a more confident and comfortable truck. But is there something to be said about that massive 6.2L naturally-aspirated V8 from the original generation, or is it a dinosaur better left in the past? While both of these Raptors are exceptional, there are some obvious differences once you start comparing specs.
Exterior Comparison: Ford F-150 Raptor Gen 1 vs Gen 2
After the 2010 model year, which was only available as a SuperCab with rear clamshell half-doors, Ford added a SuperCrew four-door model as well. Though this improved interior space, payload, and towing capacity, the larger size did make it a little worse as an off-roader.
Though the grille and front fascia of the two generations follow the same general design language, a closer inspection reveals quite a few differences between the two. While the first generation does have the blackout grille with large “FORD” lettering, the overall shape is flatter and boxier, with fairly smooth lines. The grille is almost a perfect rectangle.
The second generation Raptor’s grille, on the other hand, offers a much more chiseled and rugged look, while still somehow capturing a more aerodynamic appearance. The grille is a more direct interpretation of Ford’s current hexagonal/octagonal theme, though it remained imposing and wide.
The Gen 1 Raptor’s headlights are a mitten-shaped affair, and the inside ends sit flush against the perimeter of the grille. On the Gen 2, Ford opted for its more contemporary C-shaped design, with the grille being a discrete entity separated by some attractive moldings. These headlights flare back towards the fenders, giving it a streamlined and menacing appearance.
The new Raptor offers one, large central hood vent as opposed to the older one’s two vents on either side, and they are absolutely functional. The first gen Raptor also integrates the grille into the hood, so when you pop the hood it comes along for the ride. There’s not too much to argue for or against there, it’s just an interesting quirk of the truck that you don’t see on many modern vehicles.
In terms of similarities, both trucks have ports on the left and right sides of the front bumper, allowing you to see the beefy shocks while maintaining a distinct aesthetic. They also both feature orange LED lights integrated into the top part of the grille, a requirement for heavy-duty trucks (Ford bucked tradition by opting not to place them in the typical location, the roof).
While the front of both Raptors leave no doubt as to what type of vehicle the Raptor is, the current generation is surely the more attractive, with modern, athletic design that didn’t lose an ounce of ruggedness.
The Gen 2 has a hydraulic soft-drop tailgate that is lockable, can be remotely opened, and features a much bolder “FORD” embossing; but otherwise, the beds of the two trucks are essentially the same.
The first generation of the Raptor offered only a few exterior paint color options (black and orange exteriors could be had with the spectacular orange accented interior in 2010 and 2011. Blue accents replaced them in 2012-2013, and a nice Brick Red accent package could be had in 2014). The “Terrain” color of 2013-2014 is a sandy flat beige with just the slightest tint of green.
- Oxford White (2010-2014)
- Tuxedo Black Metallic (2010-2014)
- Blue Flame Metallic (2010-2014)
- Molten Orange Metallic Tri-Coat (Raptor Exclusive, 2010-2011)
- Ingot Silver Metallic (2011-2014)
- Race Red (2012-2014)
- Terrain (2013-2014)
- Ruby Red (2014)
The 2019 Raptor offers a host of color choices, adding some new options while keeping old classics around. Ruby Red remains the sole premium choice, offered as an additional $395 option. Velocity Blue is available on Mustangs and the Ford GT, but the Raptor is the only F-150 trim to offer it.
- Ford Performance Blue (new for 2019)
- Velocity Blue (new for 2019)
- Agate Black (new for 2019)
- Shadow Black (2017-2018)
- Lightning Blue (2017-2018)
- Avalanche (2017-2018)
- Oxford White (2017-2019)
- Ingot Silver (2017-2019)
- Race Red (2017-2019)
- Magnetic (2017-2019)
- Ruby Red (2017-2019)
- Lead Foot (2018 only)
As with all of Ford’s F-150 series trucks, the Gen 2 Raptor uses an all-aluminum body as opposed to the older steel body structure of the Gen 1. This means that the Gen 2 is some 500 lbs lighter than the previous iteration, furthering its performance advantages over its predecessor.
Interior Comparison: Ford F-150 Raptor Gen 1 vs Gen 2
Though the comfort and luxury of the cabin are probably far from the first thing on the mind of hardcore desert-runners and rock-hoppers, the second-generation Raptor has made huge strides in terms of style and features. The 2019 model even added the option of Recaro seats with Rhapsody Blue Alcantara inserts, part of the super cool Blue Accent Package. The only real loss in the generational change was the Orange Accent option for the cabin. The worst you could say about the orange seats and trim is that they wouldn’t look out of place as part of a racing game at an arcade or as a Hot Wheels car, but they’re certainly unique and bold in color.
When it comes to technology and features, the older model certainly shows its age. The Gen 2 has six auxiliary switches versus four in the Gen 1. Also, the sunroof in the Gen 2 was expanded to be much more panoramic, with two panels that cover almost the entirety of the cabin roof.
The second-gen Raptor also offers paddle shifters; the Gen 1 Raptor can be shifted manually, but the driver has to use a rocker switch mounted on the shifter. The Gen 2 has a push-start ignition, as opposed to the traditional turn-key of the Gen 1.
One of the biggest advantages the second-generation Raptor has is the much-improved SYNC3, which is regarded as a drastic improvement over previous iterations. Overall, the new cabin is a more comfortable, nicer place to spend time, with higher quality materials and smoother design.
Engine, Performance, and Off-Road Comparison
Though the Gen 1 SVT Raptor originally came standard with a 5.4L V8 and offered an optional 6.2L V8, the larger engine became standard on all Raptors in 2011, due to its immense power and favorability with owners. Despite the massive displacement, Ford’s new EcoBoost twin-turbo V6 that is used in the 2nd generation is more powerful and more efficient; the truck is much quicker than the old V8 models and offers a lot more torque, 510 lb-ft to be exact. While it’s a subjective topic, the only real loss when switching to the revised Raptor is no longer having that glorious V8 exhaust note.
Another powertrain enhancement is the use of the 10-speed automatic instead of the older 6-speed automatic. This gives the 2017+ Raptor much better fuel economy and allows it to easily find the correct power band for maximum performance when needed. While towing capability remained the same between the two generations, you get a bit more payload capacity with the newer version.
It would take a lot of time to delve into all of the other small details that differ between the two powertrains, but there are a few other revisions that are worth noting. The Gen 2 has electronic steering whereas the Gen 1 used hydraulic steering. There are a lot of differences between electronic and hydraulic power steering that may make some prefer one over the other. Along with this comes new steering modes, in addition to the various driving modes that can be selected. The Gen 2 also has lots of new cooling elements in the front part of the engine bay, leaving no room for a hidden winch as you could do with the Gen 1.
In terms of pure off-road capability, the 2017 Raptor added some new components to improve over the 2014 Raptor. There was an additional 2 inches of suspension travel, bolstered by wider Fox shocks. The new “Terrain Management System” also adds 6 driving modes, allowing the computer to calibrate the driving output to a variety of different environments. Additionally, a new transfer case offers improved traction when compared to the Gen 1. You also get an additional two inches of ground clearance, which helps in tackling obstacles.
In addition to new exterior and interior colors, for 2019 Ford added Fox Live Valve shocks to the Raptor, a first for a mass-market vehicle. There’re also new beadlock-capable wheels and TrailControl technology, a sort of low-speed cruise control for off-roading. When it comes to all-terrain capability, the 2019 Raptor surpasses the 2017-2018 trucks by a fairly noticeable margin and puts the 2010-2014 Raptors to shame.
New and Improved: The 2nd Generation Raptor Offers Vast Improvements...For a Price
Unless you’re a hardcore V8 enthusiast, we find it very difficult to find a reason to select the Gen 1 Raptor over the Gen 2, barring price. And it seems that Raptors are holding their value quite well, so even high mileage examples will be hard to find at truly bargain prices (if you can find them at all...people tend to hang on to these things).
You can start saving your pennies now, but if it takes you a few years to gather enough funds, the U.S. may be granted a more compact and affordable Ranger Raptor. by that time...just hope that Ford doesn’t leave us waiting forever.
First and Second Generation F-150 Raptor Specs Comparison
|Specification||2010-2014 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor (SuperCrew, SuperCab)||2017+ Ford F-150 Raptor (SuperCrew, SuperCab)
||$41,995 (2010) to $47,895 (2014)
||$49,520 (2017) to $52,855 (2019)
||8.0 seconds (5.4L), 7.1 seconds (6.2L)
|Horsepower + Engine
||310hp, 5.4L V8, 411hp 6.2L V8
||450hp, 3.5L twin-turbo V6
||365 lb-ft (5.4L), 434 lb-ft (6.2L)
||9.5 inches, 9.3 inches
||133.3 inches, 145.2 inches
||134.2 inches, 146.0 inches
||6,006 lbs, 6,200 lbs
||5,525 lbs, 5,697 lbs
||6,000 lbs, 8,000 lbs
||6,000 lbs, 8,000 lbs
||930 lbs, 1,030 lbs
||1,000 lbs, 1,200 lbs
|Off-Road Angles (Approach, Breakover, Departure)
||30.3°, 21.1°, 22.8°
30.2°, 19.5°, 22.7°
||30.2°, 22.9°, 23.1°
30.2°, 21.8°, 23.0°
||SuperCab, 5’6” Box
SuperCrew, 5’6” Box
||SuperCab, 5’6” Box
SuperCrew, 5’6” Box
||13/16/12 MPG (2012-2014) 12/14/11 MPG (2010-2011)
(For 6.2L V8, Comb/Hwy/City)
|Fuel Tank Capacity
||26 gallons, 36 gallons
||26 gallons, 36 gallons
Image Credit: Ford | Car and Driver
Sources: Ford | Car and Driver | TFL