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Fast Trucks: Pickups That Really Haul

Not everyone’s going to take their truck desert racing, but for many buyers, quickness and power are important factors in the buying decision. With today’s low gas prices, having a thirsty truck isn’t the financial drag it was a few years ago.

Fortunately, manufacturers aren’t that shortsighted. Today’s engines aren’t just built with power in mind, they use technologies including cylinder deactivation, gasoline direct injection, and turbocharging to squeeze maximum energy out of each drop of fuel. That said, here are some trucks built for speed.

 

Ford’s F-150 Raptors are street-legal race trucks designed for sprinting across the world’s deserts. But they include an electronic terrain management system with an on-road setting sure to get you to the home improvement store well ahead of the pack.

Based on the efficient F-150 light-duty pickup, the new Raptors are probably not the vehicles for those looking to save on gas. They tout aggressive off-road tires, a fully-boxed frame, some of the most advanced off-highway suspension systems in the world, and an attitude of total dominance over other road users. The crew cab model is due in dealerships later this year.

Just because you’re picking up speed, that doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice comfort. The Raptor features many of the amenities of the rest of the F-150 lineup, including the SYNC infotainment interface and ample storage space in the cab. The newly announced SuperCrew model has four full-size doors.

The crew cab model seats five comfortably, while adding a full foot to the truck’s wheelbase. A 360-degree camera system allows drivers to see everything around the vehicle, which is as critical in the grocery store parking lot as it is squeezing between rocks while driving off-road.

The Raptor models will carry a 3.5-liter EcoBoost turbocharged V6 engine under the hood and push power to all four wheels through a 10-speed transmission. Though Ford hasn’t released the final numbers, expect the high-tech V6 turbo to produce more than the 411 horsepower of the previous Raptor’s 6.2-liter V8.

By adding a pair of turbochargers and direct injection, Ford is able to produce greater power from the EcoBoost family of engines, while reducing fuel consumption and weight compared to a traditional V8 truck motor. Driver-selectable modes allow for customization of the vehicles’ performance systems on the fly and include setups for everything short of a zombie apocalypse. Paddle shifters are available to manage the new 10-speed automatic gearbox.

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