‘Forbidden fruit’ goes both ways. American enthusiasts have to deal with that pesky 25-year import rule, but we have our own exclusive goodies. Especially when it comes to pickup trucks. Europeans especially are starting to buy more of them, but their choices stop at the mid-size segment. Outside of specialized importers, they can’t get trucks like the Ford F-150 Raptor.
Which begs the question: how does the F-150 Raptor compare against Europe’s best? Recently, the UK used-car sales platform CarWow decided to find out.
The F-150 Raptor’s Competition
Editorial Director Mat Watson sourced a 2014 F-150 SVT Raptor from UK importer (and muscle car specialist) Clive Sutton. Lined up against it was Volkswagen’s Amarok, Mercedes’ X-Class, and Ford’s other Raptor, the Ranger Raptor.
Compared to the SVT Raptor’s 6.2-liter V8, making 411 hp and 431 lb-ft of torque, the rest of the competition looked a bit…under-equipped. The Amarok came with a 3.0-liter turbodiesel V6 making 258 hp and 428 lb-ft, the X-Class with its own 3.0-liter turbodiesel V6 making 258 hp and 406 lb-ft, and the Ranger Raptor was stuck with a 2.0-liter turbodiesel four-cylinder making 211 hp and 369 lb-ft.
However, the F-150 was the biggest and heaviest truck there: a quoted weight of 5,952 lbs to the Amarok’s and X-Class’ 5071 lbs and the Ranger’s 5512 lbs. The VW Amarok had also won a previous, mid-size pickup truck race.
There were four total tests. The first was a quarter-mile drag race, a standard overall performance check.
The next two were rolling drag races from 50-70 mph. Rolling drag races better mimic on-road passing behavior, and offer closer looks at transmission calibration and engine performance. The first race had everyone in Comfort Mode and transmissions set to Auto; the second, Sport Mode and locked in third gear.
Finally, the trucks did a brake test from 70 mph to 0.
The VW Amarok dominated a previous, mid-size European-market truck test. It did the same here. It crossed the quarter-mile finish in 16.5 seconds. Both the F-150 Raptor and X-Class crossed the line in 16.9 seconds, with the Ranger Raptor taking 18.3 seconds to do the same.
The same happened in the rolling drag races. The Amarok pulled away in both races, with the F-150 Raptor coming in second in the Comfort race, and the X-Class second in the Sport race. The Ranger Raptor came in dead-last in both.
Then came the brake test. Ooh boy. Once again, the Amarok came in first, but the Ranger Raptor was for once not last. It came in third, way in front of the SVT Raptor. It covered, by Mat Watson’s estimate, almost 30 meters—just under 100 feet—more than the rest.
The F-150 Raptor may be an off-road beast, but it came into this comparison at a disadvantage. As a previous-gen truck, its transmission is down a few gears compared to the rest and has older software. It was also the heaviest truck by far, negating its power advantage and significantly hurting its braking distance. But, as the only naturally aspirated truck there, it was able to perform admirably in the first rolling drag race. With no turbos to spool, it pulled away from all but the lighter Amarok (which makes almost the same torque).
Sadly, this test didn’t feature any sweet desert jumps, which the F-150 Raptor would’ve pulled off with aplomb.
But what about the other Raptor, the Ranger? Although the normal Ranger is available in the US, Ford has no plans to offer the current-gen Ranger Raptor for sale here. However, Road & Track has previously speculated that this decision is based on the current Ranger’s platform life-cycle, and the next-gen Ranger Raptor may indeed come to the US. If that’s true, CarWow’s next pickup race may end differently.