The Ford F-150 'runt' Raptor returns, raises new questions

Byron Hurd
·2 min read

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The Ford F-150 Raptor mule that has been in hiding since first appearing back in June of 2019 has returned, sporting new structural bracing, a coil-sprung rear suspension, and likely a host of other updates we can't even see. 

But what is it? Here's what we know. 

For starters, while this mule is clearly wearing body panels from the F-150 Raptor, Ford doesn't sell a short-cab/short-bed variant of its off-road truck, and given the extensive structural modifications we see here, it seems unlikely that we're looking at a mule for a run-of-the mill F-150, even one as special as the Raptor. 

Between the short wheelbase and added structural components, we're inclined to believe that what we're looking at is some sort of SUV mule, which leads us down another rabbit hole. If it is an SUV, which one would it be?

The gut answer here is "some sort of Bronco," but considering that this mule's wheels are pushed out to the edges of its Raptor bodywork, that theory still leaves us scratching our heads. Whatever this is, it's significantly larger than any Bronco mule or prototype we've seen (or been led to expect). 

We know there will be two distinct Bronco models (the two- and four-door midsize Bronco and the compact Bronco Sport), but we haven't seen anything that leads us to believe that a third variant this large is slated to join the lineup. Further complicating matters is the fact that Ford's only existing body-on-frame SUV is the Expedition; the smaller Explorer is based on a unibody chassis.

This doesn't leave us with a whole lot of possibilities. Does Ford have a top-secret 4x4 project in the works? Hopefully, we'll find out soon.