For most people, driving in the snow is not a pleasant experience. But Ken Block is not most people.
The YouTube sensation known for his Gymkhana stunt-driving videos is pretty tight with the people at Ford, meaning he gets access to all of the latest toys, including the new 2017 F-150 Raptor off-road performance truck. What better way to kick off winter than to take this thing for a spin in the snow?
In the nearly two-year buildup to the Raptor’s launch, Ford has released videos of the truck driving through deserts and clawing its way along muddy forest trails, but the Raptor’s talents apparently extend to the white stuff, too. Seeing this white beast make mincemeat of the wintry terrain, one would half expect it to be full of Imperial Snowtroopers, trying to find their way to the Rebel base on Hoth.
The Raptor was unveiled at the Detroit Auto Show in January 2015, but Ford only began taking orders recently. It’s the second generation of F-150 to wear the Raptor name, and like its predecessor, it’s distinguished by an ability to drive off road at high speeds. Most off-road vehicles take a slow-and-steady approach to rough terrain, but the Raptor is built for blasting across it.
The new Raptor traded the old model’s V8 for a twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 similar to the one used in other F-150 models. While smaller than the V8, it is both more fuel efficient and more powerful, mustering 450 horsepower and 510 pound-feet of torque. The Raptor shares a new 10-speed automatic transmission with other 2017 F-150 models, as well as uprated suspension and a Terrain Management System with multiple driving modes.
As it goes on sale, the Raptor still has no direct rivals, but that might change soon. The upcoming Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 is a smaller midsize truck, but was designed with the same kind of driving in mind. So was the Ram Rebel TRX concept, although Ram hasn’t committed to putting it into production.