Ford maintains a 66 mile course of sand and slag to test their trucks off-road, and after whipping the 2017 Ford Raptor through it they say the new aluminum-bodied 3.5 liter turbo truck made a 25 percent improvement on lap times over the old 6.2 V8.

The trucks tested were “early-build” prototypes, if you were wondering. Of course this performance claim is impossible for us to verify but it’s probably close to reality and definitely a good enough excuse to share that awesome photo of the test mule in action.

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Anyway, the 3.5 EcoBoost engine rules. Crank up the boost, slap some long-travel shocks underneath the truck and you’ve got yourself a dune buster there, boy.

Ford describes their proving ground as a series of “fast sandy washes, deep-rutted silt beds, steep climbs in deep sand, and slow meticulous crawls through tight trenches.” At the end of every lap, trucks have to make a tabletop jump. And if Ford’s marketing men are smart, they’ll keep cranking out more pictures and “stats” from Raptor testing to feed the hype machine. (Count on it.)


Andrew P. Collins is Jalopnik’s off-road and adventure guy. Shoot him an email at andrew@jalopnik.com or hit him up on Twitter @andr3wcollins to talk trucks.