What to Look for When Buying a Used Ford Raptor


The Ford F-150 Raptor is one of the best and most desirable full-size light-duty pickup trucks on the market these days, but they’re not exactly cheap to buy new. A lot of people will, therefore, be interested in buying a used one if their budget won’t stretch to a brand new example, but do you know what to look for when buying a used Ford Raptor?

There’s good news and bad news when it comes to the cost of buying a used Ford F-150 Raptor I’m afraid, and it all centers around depreciation. The fact is, the F-150 Raptor depreciates less than just about any other pickup truck you can imagine, which is good news if you buy one because you’re not going to lose a load of money as soon as you drive away in it. However, it’s bad news if you were hoping to get your hands on one for a bargain price because they hold their value extremely well.

To help you out if you’re considering buying a used Ford F-150 Raptor, I’m going to cover:

  • History of the Ford F-150 Raptor
  • First-generation Raptor
  • Second-generation Raptor
  • How expensive is the Raptor really?
  • What makes the Raptor so special?
  • Potential issues to watch out for
  • The competition
  • Should you buy a used Ford F-150 Raptor?

History of the Ford F-150 Raptor

The Raptor first saw the light of day in 2009 as a 2010 model year, and at the time of launch, it was actually being referred to as the SVT Raptor. It was the second special model derived from the regular F-150 lineup, following on from the on-road-focused SVT Lightning Ford treated us to between 1993 and 2004.

As most people will probably now know, the F-150 Raptor is a performance version of America’s best-selling pickup truck that’s particularly capable in the off-road environment. The first-ever production Raptor was sold at auction for $130,000, and it was a Molten Orange example featuring a digital mud graphic. All the proceeds went to charity, and further one-off Raptors have since been auctioned off for charity by Ford.

The first-generation SVT Raptor also spawned a desert racing version called the F-150 SVT Raptor R, which was designed and built to compete in the Baja 1000 races and features a 6.2-liter V-8 engine producing 500 horsepower.

Ford delivered an all-new second-generation Raptor for the 2017 model year, and it really was an all-new model in every sense, based on the thirteenth-generation F-150 that revolutionized the pickup market was it was launched a couple of years earlier in 2015.

First-generation Raptor

2010 SVT Raptor

First-generation Raptors were available in 2+2 door extended cab (SuperCab) and four-door crew cab (SuperCrew) body styles, and there was a choice of 310 horsepower 5.4-liter and 410 horsepower 6.2-liter V-8 engines. The towing capacity of the more popular SuperCrew models was a maximum 8,000 pounds, and the maximum payload rating was 1,770 pounds.

In some ways, the first-generation Raptors weren’t really vastly cosmetically different from the regular F-150 as Ford wasn’t sure if the Raptor would prove popular with buyers, so the company didn’t want to spend too much money on a venture that might not prove profitable. Although the cosmetic enhancements weren’t hugely expensive for Ford to implement, they did make the Raptor instantly stand out from the regular F-150 lineup.

Because the Raptor’s flared fenders helped make it more than 80 inches wide, even though the body wasn’t any wider than a standard F-150, US law stated it had to comply with a number of special requirements. Among those necessary enhancements were orange maker lights at the front and red marker lights at the rear of the vehicle. Other manufacturers often take the easy and less-expensive route of putting them on the roof of their large commercial vehicle, but Ford decided to make them a cool feature of the Raptor by integrating them into the light clusters and the grille.

The front grille itself was possibly the most standout and recognizable feature of the Raptor. Once again, it wasn’t an expensive feature, but the huge mesh grille with “FORD” written across it turned out to be something of a masterstroke by the designers.

Another unusual feature of the original first-gen Raptor was the size of its wheels. While most upmarket pickup trucks boast alloy wheels that are 20-inch or bigger, the wheels on the Raptor were just 17-inches. This allowed much bigger tires with much more rubber to be fitted, which was what drivers needed if they were serious about off-road capability.

One really cool feature of the first-gen Raptor was the keypad entry. The keypad located underneath the driver’s door handle lets you leave the keys securely stored inside the truck because you can open and lock the door using a passcode you set yourself. It allows the owner to go swimming, diving or something else when taking the key isn’t a practical option, safe in the knowledge the vehicle is safely locked with the key hidden away inside.

Second-generation Raptor

When Ford unveiled the all-new thirteenth-generation F-150 for the 2015 model year it really did shake things up with its lightweight aluminum body and military-grade high-strength steel underpinnings. Of course, the first thing everyone wanted to know from day one was when would there be a Raptor version of this F-150 available?

The second-generation Raptor – now minus the SVT moniker – finally arrived for the 2017 model year. Like the standard F-150, much of the bodywork of the second-gen Raptor is made of aluminum, and it is available in SuperCab and SuperCrew body styles.

Another big departure from the first-generation was a move to a single engine for all versions of the second-gen Raptor. Instead of a conventional V-8 under the hood, the new Raptor went with a much more contemporary 3.5-liter twin-turbo V-6, which was actually a detuned version of the unit also found in the Ford GT supercar. This 450 horsepower EcoBoost engine is the same one also found in the Lincoln Navigator, and in the Raptor, it also ushered in the debut of Ford’s highly rated 10-speed automatic transmission.

How expensive is the Raptor really?

Back in 2010 when the Raptor first appeared, a SuperCab version had a starting MSRP of $38,260. The most affordable SuperCab version of the regular F-150 at the time cost from less than $26,000. Believe it or not, a 2010 Raptor SuperCab with around 100k miles in good condition will still cost you at least $24,000, and probably closer to $30,000 in many cases, even a decade later.

The most affordable brand new version of the Raptor now costs more than $54,000, while a regular XL SuperCab now costs just over $32,000. That means the gap has now grown from around $12k to $22k, but most buyers will now go for the SuperCrew version of the Raptor which costs more.

Of course, most buyers will also pile on the extras when buying a Raptor and this quickly becomes apparent when you try to buy one used. I’ve just done a quick search on Carfax for a one-year-old used Raptor, and the cheapest one I could find for sale was priced at almost $57k. That’s good news if you own a Raptor already, but if you’re hoping to find a bargain-priced used Raptor, then good luck to you.

What makes the Raptor so special?

If Ford had just taken a mid-level F-150 and made it look like the Raptor does it would probably have still sold reasonably well. But what makes the Raptor so special and so desirable is what it can do as well as how it looks. When the term “performance pickup” is applied to the Raptor it really could be considered a bit of an understatement.

Let’s start with the engine. The 3.5-liter EcoBoost powerplant is a twin-turbo unit that develops 450 horsepower and 510 lb.-ft. of torque, which sends its power to all four wheels through a ten-speed automatic transmission that can get the Raptor from a standing start to 60 mph in five seconds flat. That’s seriously fast for a pickup truck of this size, and it feels even faster than that when you actually experience it.

The looks and the power on offer would make a compelling argument for choosing the Raptor on their own, but there’s a lot more capability delivered by this might truck than just a quick 0-60mph time. The Raptor also features Fox Racing internal-bypass shocks with external reservoirs, a new transfer case and a torque-on-demand system that works with the truck’s on-demand all-wheel drive capability and four-wheel drive durability. Basically, the Ford is the pickup truck that can do it all, and at some speed too.

Potential issues to watch out for

A lot of the time, when it comes to performance vehicles of any sort, I would advise extreme caution. If, for example, you were looking at buying a used Ford Focus RS, I would stress the fact that whoever bought it new was probably going to have driven it hard; really hard. That means there would be all sorts of things to look out for with a used one, so a professional inspection might be a wise idea.

When it comes to the Ford F-150 Raptor though, we’re talking about a vehicle designed and built to withstand some of the harshest conditions you would ever expect a vehicle to experience. The one area you should examine is the shocks and struts, as these will have taken the greatest abuse and will inevitably need replacing or rebuilding from time to time.

FOX themselves say they should be looked at closely every 36,000 miles or so, but that will vary depending on how the truck has been used. If the Raptor you’re looking at has spent most of its life on the pavement the shocks may well be fine for more than 36k miles, but if a truck has done a lot of punishing off-road adventuring the shocks may well need attention long before 36k miles.

Even with 100% on-road use, Ford and Fox recommend rebuilding the shocks every 50k miles. You can have a quick look at them to see if there are any signs of leakage and if there are signs of that it has to be taken into consideration when negotiating the price. Otherwise, ask the seller if they have any documentation to show when they have been serviced.

Apart from the shocks and struts, you really can look at a used Raptor in the same way you would any other type of used car, truck or SUV for sale. If you want to know what to look out for and what to ask about when buying a used vehicle, you can check out my article on the subject right here.

2014 Raptor

The competition

If the F-150 Raptor is so popular and so sought-after, why aren’t we inundated with rival models being offered by the other big truck manufacturers? After all, just about every other good idea anyone comes up with in the auto industry is copied mercilessly until we get bored of it. Of course, there are some trucks that are supposedly rivals of the Raptor, but are they really rivals or are they just pale imitations?

As far as full-size pickups are concerned, the only model that goes down a similar route to the Raptor is probably the Ram 1500 Rebel. The Rebel is a relatively off-road-focused version of the Ram 1500, but while the Raptor is a model in its own right, the Rebel is really little more than an options package.

Toyota has probably done a better job with the Tacoma TRD Pro, but good as it is and cool as it undeniably is, the Tacoma is only a midsize truck with midsize capability. Anyway, Ford has a model of its own in the midsize segment that blows the Tacoma TRD Pro out of the water in the shape of the Ranger Raptor. Unfortunately, there are no plans to make it available in the US so we’ll have to settle for the full-fat F-150 Raptor for the time being.

Unless something changes in the future, if you want a full-size pickup truck that will give a sports car a run for its money for straight-line speed and can also get you across a desert or up a mountain, you’ll have to look at the Raptor.

Should you buy a used Ford F-150 Raptor?

If you were to ask me if you should buy a used Ford F-150 Raptor I would have to think about it before answering, and not because a used Raptor is a bad vehicle by any means. I would have to know first what age of Raptor you were considering, what your budget is, and what you intend to use it for before I could make a recommendation.

The only reason I would say you should buy a relatively young Raptor of a year or two old would be if you couldn’t wait for a brand new one. There are sometimes waiting lists for the latest new Raptor models, so if you desperately want one right away, a recent used model might be your only option.

If your budget doesn’t run to a brand new Raptor or a late model used example, you’re probably going to have to get for one quite old and with a lot of miles on the odometer to see a significant drop in price. As I said earlier, you’re not going to get a decent Raptor of any age for much less than around $27k, and really good examples of first-generation Raptor V-8 model may now be starting to appreciate as they become collectible.

For around $30k you should be able to get a fairly decent first-gen SuperCrew Raptor, but make sure it has a comprehensive service history with it. It’s still a lot to pay for a used pickup truck with potentially somewhere close to 100k miles on it, but if you look after it you’re not going to lose much money at all in depreciation, and you’re going to be able to have an awful lot of fun with it while you have it.

Sean Cooper

Former retail auto industry professional for almost a decade and now an automotive writer and journalist for the last 7 years

Recent Content