How Do You Define Performance?


If history is any indication, getting a Ford Super Duty Raptor is quite likely given the success of the Ford F-150 Raptor and the recent debut of the Australian-designed Ranger Raptor. Ford has not yet announced a Ranger Raptor for the U.S. Nevertheless, it still makes Ford's heavy-duty pickups the only ones left not to benefit from an overhaul by the Ford global performance team. We're guessing that could change when the next-generation Super Duty gets ready to make its debut for model-year 2020 — if Ford continues on its existing path.

It's no secret that pickup truck makers devote quite a bit of money, marketing and engineering to creating credible off-road vehicles. If you analyze pickup truck lineups, it seems like truckmakers define performance packages as having credible four-wheel-drive equipment. Think Toyota's TRD Pro; Chevrolet's ZR1, ZR2 and Trail Boss; Nissan's Pro-4X; GMC's AT4; Ford's Raptor; Ram's Rebel, TRX and Power Wagon with more coming.

But whatever happened to high-horsepower, street-tuned pickups?

Ford's SVT, Dodge's SRT, Nissan's NISMO and even Toyota's TRD performance teams used to build performance pickups. But now they're all gone and we don't quite understand why. Clearly there's a market for performance packages, and there's no reason that a street-tuned pickup can't still haul and tow a substantial load. We like that pickup truck makers are investing in building better frames, suspensions and powertrains because those are key components of a usable, durable pickup. But let's not forget that there are plenty of people who want performance from their machines as well, and that means more than just an all-wheel-drive version or an optional set of tires. can't wait to see something like a Super Duty F-250 Raptor, but we'd also like to see a new Titan NISMO or maybe a Chevrolet Colorado SS. Or how about a one-ton dually with a new supercharged V-8 gas engine ready to send the Dodge Demons and Hellcats back to the inferno.

No matter how automakers define performance, we think there's plenty of room at both ends of the spectrum — dirt and pavement — for better packages.

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