It’s a bright California day, and I find myself in Hungry Valley with endless off-road trails and a six-figure truck to slide around. I’ve never been a trucker, but the Ford F-150 Raptor has always caught my eye. The idea of a high-horsepower road-going baja truck sits right with me. Although I’ve driven all three generations of the Raptor, the last one is my favorite. It provides an exciting driving experience with all the on-road comfort and refinement you would expect from a big truck.
This makes this week’s tester particularly interesting. This 2022 Hennessey VelociRaptor 600 is based on the latest version of the off-road F-150. It is longer, more powerful and significantly more expensive. Hennessy is not unfamiliar with performance extras. With the latest round of changes to this bright orange Ford, they have found a sweet spot where they improve the good qualities of the truck without any compromise in the name of performance. With a test price of $ 115,000, it was time to see if this super baja truck provided an experience to justify that hefty sum.
Walking up to VelociRaptor 600, you will notice significant changes in the exterior of the truck. You can now have the Black Metal front and rear bumpers embedded in strong LED lights to get you started. At first glance, fit and finish spot-on. They follow the lines of the front and rear quarter panels perfectly, so that they come almost as if they were a factory alternative.
My tester came equipped with optional 20-inch Hennessy wheels and 35-inch tires. A leveling kit that eliminates the three-inch stance of the total lift, making it 600 inches long and its stock looks significantly larger than the counterpart. Even a momentary glance shows that the VelociRaptor 600 is something special. Its outward changes build on the raptor’s good looks rather than trying to go to extremes.
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If extra lights, new wheels and metal bumpers aren’t enough, you may have plenty of decals to let everyone know what your truck actually is. During my week with it, countless people saw the sticker and asked about it once. As if Raptor wasn’t popular enough, it turns out there’s a lot of interest for a hot version.
Power / Handling
More important than how it looks is how it drives and I can say with confidence that it is one of the funniest trucks I have ever driven. A stock raptor features a twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter V6 that produces 450 horsepower and 510 pound-feet of torque. However, VelociRaptor turns things around, pushing 558 hp and 672 lb-ft, marking a huge gain over its stock rival. Hennessey achieved this bump in power through an upgraded intercooler, upgraded intercooler piping, an air induction system, and updated engine management software.
On the street, nothing seems out of place until you put your foot down. You’ll notice some added torque around town, but for the most part it sounds like a standard raptor. However, since its turbos become spools and you start to move, it is a different animal. VelociRaptor accelerates in a way that a stock receptor simply cannot. It seems to be out of line, fast, and always looking forward to more. The big picture here is torque. At 162 pounds-feet more than a stock truck, the 600 feels much closer to a Ram TRX at speed than anything else.
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I did some of the funniest off-road experiments in Hungry Valley, where 600 showed me just how fun it can be. Mash the throttle at any angle on a loose surface, and this powerful Raptor provides incredibly controlled slides. Thanks to the added torque it felt more fun than its stock counterpart. However, at no point did it seem too much to handle. Although more power is available here, controllable power builds confidence behind the wheel.
The main reason VelociRaptor 600 is an incredible drive is also the Stock Raptor. Most stock trucks are still here, especially its 10-speed automatic transmission, fox-adapted shock and beefed-up chassis. These stock components are strong enough to withstand a massive increase in strength without being outdone. As a result, the rest of the truck’s features blend nicely with the power.
To see how it works in the city, I drove 600 on the crowded streets of LA and found that, for the most part, it looked like a stock truck. The only major difference I’ve found is that the leveling kit seems to make it a bit stronger, lacking the ultra-smooth ride of the regular raptor. Other than that, it will make a great fast, fun and capable daily driver.
Inside, the stock hasn’t changed much since Raptor. Almost all of your money goes to the exterior of this truck. You still get Ford’s huge 12-infotainment screen with the latest version of Ford’s sync system. There is also a digital dash in front of the driver with the best graphics of the business. As you go through the different drive modes of this truck, a small truck appears on the screen across all types of terrain. These modes work just like the stock truck, not completely affected by the changes
The main distinguishing feature of the interior will be a small blade on the headliner with the Hennessy Performance logo on it. I’m glad they didn’t change the stock seats because the heated and cold chairs are huge and comfortable. In addition, the stock truck ergonomics department distributes nails, tons of space and headroom.
On the street, the interior is quiet with little added sound from the tires. Despite being more aggressive 35s than stocks, they didn’t make much of a difference behind the wheel, retaining the stock truck’s luxury-based driving experience.
A stock Raptor starts at hair below $ 70,000, without any options. However, once you add the equipment you want, such as the High Equipment Group, you get a truck that costs around $ 85,000. If you carry the same extras as my tester with the Hennessy Performance Raptor, you’ll get back about $ 115,000. However, since each build is custom and you don’t have to buy every option, the price can vary significantly.
In addition to being a specific truck in terms of driving things, the VelociRaptor 600 will also be rare. Hennessy Performance plans to build at least 250 of these for the 2022 model year.
The latest thought
The Hennessey VelociRaptor 600 is a clear demonstration of extra work. Raptor needs extra power? Probably not. It sits as a wonderful package. However, 600 is not required. It’s a demand. And, if you want a truck that puts fun above all else and provides enough speed to entertain any drive, the 600 is.