(Image via bkhaja89/YouTube)

Last weekend a Jalopnik reader ran into a team of engineers field testing the redesigned and repowered 2017 Ford Raptor off-road. Thanks to their GoPro we finally get a little peak at the truck’s experimental phase from something besides a Ford press release.

Looks like a trio of Raptors and a few other F-150 variants were cruising around this sand-pit and wooded off-road area, which YouTuber bkhaja89 says is in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

“We later ran into them at two different restaurants as well, they said the trucks are running great and that they would be taking Michigan Tech students out in the trucks the following day for recruiting,” writes the video’s uploader.

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Sounds like a good strategy. Playing with Raptors would definitely get me fired up about working for Ford.

As for the “work,” the engineers here were allegedly getting validation data for the truck’s “sand mode.” But I guess it’s still not good enough to get over a little sand mound!

Just kidding. I mean, one of the Raptors is bogged at around 04:30. But if you’re not getting stuck in development testing, no matter what you’re driving, you’re not developing or testing hard enough.

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As you probably know by this point the big news about the 2017 Raptor (besides running the aluminum body introduced on F-150 in 2015) is about moving from a 6.2 V8 to the company’s prolific 3.5 turbocharged “EcoBoost” V6.

We know it’s going to have more power than the old engine, and an already substantial aftermarket for the engine is going to help people make all kinds of magic with this truck.

The next-gen Raptor is also running an all-new terrain management system, which has the previously mentioned “sand mode.”

It’s basically supposed to be able to set the truck’s transmission and throttle response for various surfaces and conditions like sand, asphalt, and everything in between. It can also be shut all the way off.

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We’re all still waiting to see how well these toys really work at some open evaluation settings, but for now I’m pretty much just as stoked for this thing as the rest of the off-road community is.