Review: 2018 Ford Raptor - I drove a Raptor for a weekend and I don't know who I am anymore
“Are you working from home today?” the text said. Coming from a friend up the street who I haven’t seen or spoken to in about a year, I wondered what this could be about. Did he need help? Did he want to go to lunch? Did he want to give me a bucket of cash?
I texted back. “No, but I’ll be home this afternoon!”
To which he responded, “Great. I’m going out of town and wanted to leave you the Raptor for the weekend to enjoy. Have fun. See you Tuesday!”
WHAT. JUST. HAPPENED. My friend was tossing me the keys to his concrete grey 2018 Raptor for the weekend? Ok …? Ok! I was giddy. Needless to say, I couldn’t wait to get home and maybe left work a little early to start enjoying this beast.
A little background: I’m not a “truck guy.” Growing up in a cowboy family I was around trucks a lot, and always appreciated what they can do. We had a massive camping trailer when I was a kid, and my dad bought one of the first 7.2 liter Powerstroke Ford Excursions to arrive in Utah. It had immense power and towing capabilities. I’ll never forget when one summer, up at the ranch we would work at from time to time when the behemoth that was the Excursion pulled a Dodge 3500 and a 40-foot flatbed stacked with hay out of a ditch at the same time. It was one of those moments as a kid that left me cheering in the field.
Since then trucks have been dialed up to 11, in price, power, and popularity, and could probably tear a house from its foundation. Who can afford a $95,000 F-350, I don’t know, but the freeways are littered with them here in Utah.
Despite my childhood surroundings, I’ve never been someone who’s been drawn to owning a truck. Driving trucks at the ranch was more akin to guiding boats full of elephants down the road than actually engaging in something that would resemble a rewarding driving experience. That said, I’ve had an eye for Raptors since the first-gen came out. I couldn’t really explain it, but with their flared fenders, great sound, and aggressive styling, I was all in on Raptor mania -- and I hadn’t even driven one.
Driving the Raptor around for a weekend was phenomenal, surprising, and even shocking. How many more superlatives can I use? Not enough.
“It shouldn’t be able to do this!” I exclaimed to my dad while taking it around a corner at a speed that should have been physically impossible. The handling was tight, and the suspension was soaking up bumps and corners like no other large vehicle I had driven.
The Ford Raptor commands a second mortgage-worthy price tag. Buy new and you can expect to pay at least $60,000, and likely into the $70,000 range. Same with used ones -- they just don’t lose their value. Before this weekend, I had assumed that sure, while the Raptor looked and sounded great, and had several luxury features included, did it justify the price tag? Was the Raptor special enough for all that dough?
To that, I can answer unequivocally, YES. Driving it hard, you can see and feel where the money and engineering went. It shouldn’t be able to do what it does. I’ve driven my dad’s F-150 XLT and my father-in-law’s F-150 Lariat a fair amount, and the difference in trucks to the Raptor is significant - from its power to handling, to comfort -- everything. My wife, who is very much not a truck person, even enjoyed driving it and lamented the day we gave the keys back. It’s powerful, capable, and supremely pleasant to drive despite its size.
This kind of experience is exactly what Paul and Todd are always talking about -- expanding your experience. I would have never thought I would want a truck -- but I do now! It doesn’t make logical sense, but here I am lusting after a $65,000 desert running truck that won’t fit in my garage.
After a few days of driving the Raptor around town, in the twisties, and commuting to work and back, I came home and told my wife, “I don’t even know who I am anymore.”
This experience reiterated to me just how important it is to drive a lot of cars and try new things. Will I ever own a Raptor? Who knows. The price tag would bankrupt me. Would it be worth it? Maybe! Would I ever own one if the budget aligned? Absolutely. I genuinely loved driving it. The number of times it left me giggling at its capabilities was something I usually only experience in my BRZ.
So, anyone looking for a truck, I would recommend spending the extra cash for a Raptor. They live up to the hype, look like nothing else, and lose hardly any value, even after five or more years. They’re a great buy if you need/want a truck and have the money to spend.
I may not know who I am anymore, but I am grateful for my time with the Raptor and how it expanded my views on the car landscape. Fingers crossed it comes my way again.
Until next time, enjoy the drive!
Jason Bell is a lifelong car enthusiast who loves sharing his passions as a teacher, writer, speaker, and social media manager. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org, or @thejasonbell on Instagram. The views and opinions expressed here are his own and may not align with the founders of Everyday Driver.