2019 Ford F-150 Raptor gets smarter with new off-road tech

The 2019 Ford F-150 Raptor gets a handful of updates for the new model year. The truck may look basically the same on the outside, but some new tech features should make it even better at conquering rough terrain.

For 2019, the Raptor’s Fox Racing internal-bypass shock absorbers get a new system called Live Valve that allows them to adjust on the fly. Like the adaptive-damping systems used in many sports cars and luxury cars, Live Valve lets the Fox shocks change their level of firmness, depending on conditions.

In the Raptor, Live Valve allows for 13.0 inches of suspension travel at the front, and 13.9 inches at the rear. That’s exactly what you want when negotiating uneven terrain. The system also works with the Raptor’s existing Terrain Management system to adjust the shocks to suit multiple drive modes. So when the Raptor is back on pavement, the shocks automatically adjust accordingly to allow for a smoother ride.

Also new for 2019 is a system called Trail Control. It basically acts as a low-speed, off-road cruise control, keeping the Raptor puttering along at a set speed of between 1 mph and 20 mph while the driver steers. Smooth throttle application is crucial to maintaining traction off-road, so this system could really help novice drivers.

The only other major change for 2019 is a pair of new Recaro sport seats, available in a blue design inspired by one of the interior color options from the Ford GT supercar. The Raptor also gets three new color options (Ford Performance Blue, Velocity Blue, and Agate Black), and a handful of minor cosmetic changes.

Ford did not make any changes to the powertrain, so the Raptor sticks with its 3.5-liter twin-turbocharged EcoBoost V6 and 10-speed automatic transmission. The V6 makes a healthy 450 horsepower and 510 pound-feet of torque, so it’s not like the Raptor was wanting for power. It’s even enough power for drifting, should the mood take you.

The 2019 Ford F-150 Raptor goes on sale later this year. Pricing will be announced closer to the launch date, but expect a slight bump over the 2018 model’s $50,115 base price to account for the new features. Meanwhile, the smaller Ranger Raptor has generated a lot of buzz, but Ford hasn’t decided whether to bring it to the United States.

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