Sneak Peek? Next-generation Ford F-150 SVT Raptor imagined

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One of Ford’s hottest sports cars is actually a truck.

The F-150 SVT Raptor has been a surprise hit for the automaker since it debuted back in 2009. Entering its fourth year on the market, sales are as strong as ever and show no signs of slowing down. Its ability to both run at high speeds across the desert and crawl over any mountains that get in the way, coupled with a wide-body, high-rider style creating a unique package for pickup fans of many different stripes.

But an all new F-150 is the way for 2015, and while that program is literally shrouded in mystery, with camouflaged prototypes the only evidence of its existence, the Ford Atlas Concept revealed at the Detroit Auto Show earlier this year was a likely sneak peek at what to expect. Although a next generation Raptor is far from guaranteed, it’s hard to imagine Ford messing with such a success, and has put together a speculative rendering of what it might look like based on the design of the Atlas.

Signature features such as a boxier front end with polygonal headlights split by body-color panels, squared fenders and a prominent skid plate play well to the Raptor’s uber-rugged personality along with chunky rocker panel trim, side window kink and angular tailgate details.

As for what will be moving all of it around, suggests a more powerful 450 hp version of the Raptor’s 6.2-liter V8 is in the works. But while the current engine delivers impressive performance, its EPA rating of 11 city/16 highway is pretty low even by pickup truck standards and Ford has made fuel efficiency a key focus of all of its latest vehicles, including the F-150.

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To that end, it once entered a custom racing Raptor in the Baja 1000 off-road race powered by one of its highly-touted twin-turbocharged EcoBoost six-cylinder engine, and this year is introducing the F-150 Tremor street performance pickup with a 365 hp version of the same motor, which has been a popular choice across the F-150 lineup in recent years. So a V6 Raptor is hardly out of the question.

The next F-150 is also expected to be lighter on its feet than the current model, with an extensive use of high-strength steel and aluminum in its construction, which won’t just improve its efficiency, but in the case of the Raptor could help it fly through the wilderness and out of showrooms even faster than it does today, regardless of what’s under the hood.

The new F-150 is expected to be unveiled at the 2014 Detroit Auto Show.

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