Ford is upgrading its F-150 Raptor for 2019 with new continuously-adjusting suspension technology and a sort of low-speed "cruise control" that manages difficult off-road terrain while the driver only has to steer. The extreme-themed pickup also gets optional Recaro sport seats to help keep front passengers in the truck no matter what they might get up to.
To enhance the Raptor's existing internal bypass shocks, the Ford Performance team worked with FOX Factory to develop electronically controlled "Live Valve" shock technology that continuously adjusts damping as needed, according to Ford. The setup uses sensors in the suspension and body to maximize comfort, handling and resistance to bottoming out.
"Not many trucks need sensors to detect when you are mid-air," said Hermann Salenbauch, global director of Ford Performance vehicle programs. And should you actually get airborne in the pickup, "Raptor sets the dampers to full stiffness to help smooth shock performance as the truck lands," he noted.
"By automatically varying compression rates, Raptor can now make the most of its suspension travel of 13 in. at the front and 13.9 in. at the rear" to improve on- and off-road performance, Salenbauch contended. The upgraded 2019 F-150 Raptor will be built at Ford's Dearborn Truck Plant and is slated to go on sale in late 2018.
While the truck already had high engine output — the current 3.5L twin-turbo V6 makes 450 hp. and 510 lbs.-ft. of torque, which is more than the Raptor's previous 6.2L V8 did — the "smarter" suspension "makes it even more capable of clawing away at the terrain," the OEM claimed.
Along with the auto-adjusting shocks, a new Trail Control feature adjusts and manages the truck's speed over rugged terrain, according to Ford, and is designed to make difficult off-road driving easier. It can be activated at speeds from 1-20 mph, depending on driveline position, and allows the driver to just focus on steering.
The system does the rest. Trail Control automatically adjusts power and braking to individual wheels and can draw engine torque to overcome steep obstacles, Ford explained, and then individually brake the wheels so the truck comes down smoothly on the other side.
New optional Recaro sport seats for the pickup provide more support with bolstering in the seat back and cushion. The seat design features blue Alcantara inserts and accent stitching inspired by the "Light Speed" interior of the Ford GT supercar, Ford noted.
The 2019 F-150 Raptor also gets some new exterior color options including Ford Performance Blue, Velocity Blue and Agate Black as well as an "enhanced" rear and optional beadlock-capable wheels.