RAPTOR 101
Four Wheeler|October 2020
What are the differences between the first- and second-generation trucks?
Monica Gonderman

The Ford F-150 Raptor pickup feels like a long-running staple, but there have only been two generations of them. The original was introduced for the ’10 model year, and lasted through the ’14 model year before being replaced by the second-generation model for the ’17 model year. Both are hugely upgraded F-150s with awesome suspension modifications, muscular flared fenders, and big-horsepower engines for bashing around off-road, Baja-style at high speeds. So, what are the differences between the first- and second-generation Ford F-150 Raptors? Plenty.

For the sake of clarity, we’ll contrast a ’14 Raptor (the final first-generation model year) with a ’20 Ford F-150 Raptor, the latest second-generation model year. Many of the changes are F-150–specific rather than Raptorspecific, basically meaning that the biggest contributors to Raptor changes between the ’14 and ’20 models are technological advancements and aesthetic tweaks to the underlying F-150. Therefore, the goal is not to label one as “good” and the other as “bad;” we’d drive and own either—and if we were rich, both. Instead, we’re just serving up talking points for your next friendly argument with friends over the pros and cons of each.

SVT vs. Ford Performance

Sure, it’s a technicality, but to some it matters. The ’10-’14 F-150 Raptors are SVT Raptors, while second-generation Raptors are branded Ford Performance Raptors. The Ford Special Vehicle Team (SVT) launched during the 1992 Chicago Auto Show, creating high-performance halo vehicles for the Ford lineup under the core values of performance, substance, exclusivity, and value and acting like a sub-brand similar to BMW M or Mercedes-AMG. Before turning its attention to the F-150 Raptor, the SVT team developed the SVT F-150 Lightnings (’93-’95 and ’99-’04 model years) and cars such as the SVT Contour and SVT Focus, plus a Mustang or two. Ford Performance, which basically absorbed SVT and Ford Racing under a single umbrella in 2014, was therefore responsible for the second-generation Raptor.

The SVT Raptors could be viewed as more exclusive, since there were fewer of them made per model year than the Ford Performance Raptors. SVT Raptor owners like to point out all the interior and exterior SVT badging on their trucks and hang on to SVT truck parts. The second-gen Raptors don’t display an abundance of Ford Performance branding, but, then again, neither truck really needs special badging to stand out.

Under the Hood

One of the biggest dividers between the old Raptor and the new can be found under their hoods. It’s the most talked about difference, in fact, and a deal-breaker to some. Today’s Raptor, the second-generation model, is powered by Ford’s “high-output” 450 hp (510 lb-ft of torque) twin-turbo 3.5L EcoBoost V-6 mated to a 10R 10-speed automatic transmission. The transmission can be manually shifted via fancy paddle shifters on the steering wheel. Two other mentionable include the V-6’s automatic stop-start tech, which shuts it down when the vehicle is stopped at red lights (it can be turned off), as well as the turbochargers’ intercoolers, which can interfere with an aftermarket front-end winch mount. The V-6 is strong and torque-rich, but its (artificially enhanced) sound is merely so-so, at least compared to the engines offered in the first-generation Raptor.

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