Best Pickup of 2017: Ford F-150 Raptor

2017 Ford F-150 Raptor

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The all-new Raptor is Ford's top-tier desert-running off-roader and in many ways is the best combination of engineering and features in a pickup truck that we've ever seen. It is so purpose-built, so understanding of what its drivers need and so great to drive — whether on- or off-road — that it's a revelation of what can be done with a pickup.

It will no doubt be just as popular as the first generation, but this 2017 Raptor is packed with new features and technology. To begin with, it is several hundred pounds lighter than the previous generation because of its all-aluminum body panels and bed (thank you, 2015 F-150). Additionally, the new Raptor benefits from the upgraded and more powerful twin-turbo 3.5-liter EcoBoost engine that offers more horsepower and torque than any half ton sold in the U.S. (450 hp and 510 pounds-feet). And it now has a brand-new, silky-smooth 10-speed transmission that allows the new powertrain to offer fuel-sipping stop-start technology. Although most buyers won't think it's too important, the new Raptor offers the best fuel-economy numbers it's ever had with 16 mpg combined. The heart and soul of the Raptor is still its advanced, high-performance Fox Racing shocks setup at each corner, making this something of a factory-produced desert race truck right out of the box.

However, probably the most significant improvement to the new Raptor is the addition of a new six-mode multiterrain system controlled by buttons on the steering wheel within easy thumb touch. No matter what type of terrain you find yourself in (sand, snow, rock, racetrack pavement, etc.), there's a setting that changes traction control, throttle response, differentials and even the four-wheel-drive system. Although the styling may be a bit polarizing, Ford has done a great job giving the new Raptor a more polished exterior look with a more tasteful, premium-fit interior. It's pricey, but worth every cent.