Is this the first look at a proper mule for the ’16 Ford Raptor based on the all-new ’15 F-150? Some key evidence on this test truck suggests that an all-new version of Ford's factory Baja runner could truly be in the works.
Caught heading into the joint Roush/SVT development center, this Raptor test truck was wearing an ill-fitting grille from an F-150 Platinum instead of the Raptor's usual, FORD-emblazoned grille treatment. But it's not which grille is in use that's important here, it's how that grille is incorporated into the front fascia.
More Than a Mismatched Grille
On this Raptor mule, the grille is bumped-out, sitting a couple inches forward from its normal resting place. This bumped-out grille is the key identifying feature of every mule that has been testing the all-new platform for the ’15 F-150. The same grille fitment on this Raptor suggests that the mechanicals under its skin may well be based on the all-new, ’15 F-150's platform, making it much more than any run-of-the-mill Raptor. Given that Ford has created a number of grilles that have been modified to accommodate the ’15 F-150's revised packaging, the use of an altered, non-Raptor grille makes sense in this context.
Given the success of the current Raptor, rumor is that a second-generation Raptor based on the all-new F-150 is a near certainty. If the subtle evidence on this test truck is as it appears, this might be our first confirmation that the Raptor will indeed live on, utilizing the advancements promised for the ’15 F-150. This Raptor mule appeared about 16 months after the first F-150 mules began testing, suggesting that the second-generation Raptor will appear about one year after the standard F-150 reaches the market.
Photo credit: KGP Photography