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The Ford F-150 Raptor Supercrew has a Baja mode

Latest F-150 seats all the family yet can do "high-speed desert running". Yikes

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We’ve seen the new Ford F-150 Raptor before. But the Beijing motor show has given us our first glimpse of the Supercrew version. Cancel that crossover order: this is the family car you need.

And it’s another example of Ford’s ‘Ecoboost’ tech getting everywhere now. We’ve got used to it in 1-litre Fiestas, loved it in the Focus RS, and still not quite got our head around a Mustang running an environmentally minded four-cylinder.

Now we’ve got to try and handle Ecoboost tech in a big, shouty pick up. Fear not, though, as it’s a V6. A 3.5-litre V6, to be precise, with 411bhp and 434lb ft of torque. That makes it more powerful than the old Raptor’s V8, and it’s predictably more efficient too.

You can partly thank a 10-speed automatic gearbox for that latter statement. This is its first application, and even before driving it, we can strongly recommend leaving it in Drive. Imagine having to flick down to third gear for a roundabout from a 70mph cruise…

Its four-wheel-drive system is all-new, too, and it offers both the full benefits of an on-demand system with the option to lock it mechanically into AWD. It has six modes to choose from to cover all possible terrains. Our favourites are ‘Street’, for high performance driving, and the excellently named ‘Baja’, for what Ford calls “high-speed desert running”.

There’s plenty of other cool stuff to coo over: its boxy, no-nonsense body is made of “military-grade aluminum-alloy”, there are racing shock absorbers and a sports exhaust as standard, and a Torsen differential is available on the front axle. That’s the kind of thing we know better for pulling raucous front-drive hot hatches out of corners; here, it will drag you over particularly tricky obstacles.

Yeah, the V8 noise will probably be missed. But in a time of environmental pressures, Ford has found a way to make the high performance pick-up truck viable. And it’s made one big enough for the family. And that’s good news.

What is less rosy is that if you want one in the UK, you’re probably going to have to find a friendly overseas car importer…

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