The F-150 Raptor pickup is the "wild child" in Ford Motor Company’s F-Series truck line.

Ford’s second-generation Raptor joins the popular ranks of conventional F-150, F-250 and F-350 pickups to help the automotive pioneer celebrate F-Series’ 39 years as "America’s Best Selling" trucks.

The first Raptor debuted as a 2010 model followed by acclaim as Ford’s F-Series rough-and-tumble off-road truck champion.

For 2017, the Ford F-150 Raptor is constructed with high-strength aluminum body panels that weigh 500 pounds less than its steel-built predecessor.

Raptor also sheds its previous V-8 power plant for a turbocharged 3.5-liter V-6 engine that generates 450 horsepower and 510 pound-feet of torque paired to a segment-first 10-speed automatic transmission.

By comparison, the first-gen Raptor railed 411-hp/434-lb-ft from a 6.2-liter V-8 engine coupled to a six-speed automatic.

The 10-speed transmission and lighter curb weight helps improve fuel economy over the previous Raptor with a current yield of 15 miles per gallon/city and 18-mpg/highway.

Raptor’s four-wheel drivetrain includes a Terrain Management System for driver selected Normal, Weather, Mud/Sand, Baja and Rock Crawl modes that adjust the engine, transmission, brake force and stability control to meet terrain and traction demands.

Heavy cleated 35-inch-tall tires and exposed off-road performance shock absorbers give this full-size truck a bold presence. When combined with a body size that is six inches wider than the stock F-150, Raptor’s look becomes even more menacing.

Despite its brute size, the six-passenger 4-door Raptor SuperCab is nimble and easy to drive around town. The cabin is roomy, but the tall step-in height makes entry and exit a thoughtful exercise.

Parking takes some planning too, as the truck’s width and stout turning radius makes slipping into a mall parking spot tricky.

I had no opportunity to test Raptor’s off-road prowess but am impressed with its provided 11.5 inches of ground clearance — height that would make a clear difference for a daily commute across our region in winter.

Raptor’s cargo box measures 5.5 feet long for a total carrying capacity of 53 cubic feet.

The factory–built 2017 Ford F-150 Raptor is off-road and race-ready straight out of the showroom priced at $49,520 with freight.

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