We all know the Ford SVT Raptor is a mean machine: flared fenders, 35-inch tires, more than a foot of desert-swallowing suspension travel. The thing is, not all Raptors end up prowling the wilds of Arizona, tearing across dry washes at 80 mph. You see Raptors in the city. The question is, why?
It turns out that the attributes that make the Raptor such a competent off-roader also translate to the urban jungle.
The towering seating position allows you see over traffic to spot gaps, and the 411-horsepower V8 lets you exploit that intelligence. The giant BF Goodrich All-Terrains and soft initial suspension compliance smother potholes and busted expansion strips. And the sheer size of the thing—seven inches wider than an F-150—provides an intimidation factor sufficient to ensure cabbies don't try to muscle into your lane. Should you need to bust a U-turn, curbs are not much of a problem.
Then there's the fact that any city still has some untamed spots, if you know where to find them. I explored one such urban playground in Boston, putting the Raptor's locking rear differential, Torsen limited-slip front and forward-looking camera to the test. The Raptor isn't meant to be a rock crawler, but the limited-slip front diff lets it crawl up on some serious rubble.
However, when it's time to stop, you come face-to-face with the Raptor's chief demerit: its hulking size. Where does an 800-pound gorilla sleep? Not, as it turns out, in any parking garage it chooses. I squeezed into one garage with a 6' 10" ceiling, and the Raptor's antenna clanged off every pipe and overhead sign in the place — since the hard parts of the cab are a few inches lower, the antenna is your signal that you're about to customize your Raptor with a unique chopped roof. However, for all the parking options denied by the Raptor's dimensions, its off-road abilities create possibilities unavailable to mortal vehicles. Even in the city.