It’s a bright California day, and I find myself in Hungry Valley with endless off-roading trails and a six-figure truck to slide around. I’ve never been much of a truck guy, but the Ford F-150 Raptor has always caught my attention. The idea of a high-horsepower road-going Baja truck sits right with me. While I’ve driven all three generations of Raptor, the latest is my favorite. It delivers a thrilling driving experience with all of the on-road comfort and refinement you’d expect from a big truck.
This makes this week’s tester particularly interesting. It’s the 2022 Hennessey VelociRaptor 600 based on the latest version of the off-roading F-150. It’s taller, more powerful, and significantly more expensive. Hennessey Performance is no stranger to excess. With the latest round of modifications to this bright orange Ford, they’ve found a sweet spot where they enhance the truck’s good qualities without compromises in the name of performance. With an as-tested price of $115,000, it was time to hit the trails and see if this super Baja truck delivers an experience to justify that hefty sum.
Walking up to the VelociRaptor 600, you’ll notice significant changes to the truck’s exterior. You can now option black metal front and rear bumpers for starters with powerful LED lights embedded in them. At first glance, the fit and finish are spot-on. They perfectly follow the lines of the front and rear quarter panels, making them come across almost as if they could be a factory option.
My tester came equipped with the optional 20-inch Hennessey wheels and 35-inch tires. A leveling kit resulting in three inches of total lift finished up the stance, making the 600 appear taller and significantly larger than its stock counterpart. Even a passing glance reveals that the VelociRaptor 600 is something special. Its exterior modifications build on the Raptor’s good looks rather than trying to go to extremes.
If the extra lights, new wheels, and metal bumpers aren’t enough, you can have tons of decals letting everyone know what your truck actually is. In my week living with it, countless people asked me about it once they saw the stickers. As if the Raptor wasn’t popular enough, it turns out there’s plenty of interest for a hot version.
Even more important than how it looks is how it drives, and I can confidently say that this is one of the most fun trucks I’ve ever driven. A stock Raptor features a twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter V6 developing 450 horsepower and 510 pounds-feet of torque. However, the VelociRaptor turns things up, pushing out 558 hp and 672 lb-ft marking massive gains over its stock counterpart. Hennessey achieved this bump in power via an upgraded intercooler, upgraded intercooler piping, an air induction system, and updated engine management software.
On the road, nothing feels out of the ordinary until you put your foot down. You’ll notice some of the added torque around town, but it feels like a standard Raptor for the most part. However, as its turbos spool up and you get going, it’s a different animal. The VelociRaptor picks up speed in a way a stock Raptor simply can’t. It feels quick off the line, quick at speed, and always eager for more. The big figure here is the torque. With 162 lb-ft more than the stock truck, the 600 feels much closer to a Ram TRX in speed than anything else.
I did most of my fun testing off-road in Hungry Valley, where the 600 showed me just how fun it could be. Mash the throttle in any corner over a loose surface, and this powerful Raptor delivers incredibly controlled slides. It felt more playful than its stock counterpart, thanks to the added torque. However, at no point did it feel like it was too much to handle. While there’s more power available here, controllable power instills confidence behind the wheel.
The main reason why VelociRaptor 600 is an incredible drive is that the stock Raptor is as well. Most of the stock truck is still here, especially its 10-speed automatic transmission, Fox adaptive shocks, and beefed-up chassis. These stock components are strong enough to withstand even a massive increase in power without being outdone. As a result, the rest of the truck’s features feel nicely matched to the power.
To see how it does in the city, I drove the 600 through LA’s crowded streets and found that, in large part, it feels like a stock truck. The only main difference I found was that the leveling kit seems to firm it up a bit, lacking the ultra-smooth ride of the regular Raptor. Aside from that, this would make an excellent fast, fun, and capable daily driver.
Inside, not much has changed from the stock Raptor. Pretty much all of your money goes to this truck’s exterior. You still get Ford’s massive 12-in infotainment screen with the latest version of Ford’s Sync system. There’s also a digital dash in front of the driver with some of the best graphics in the business. As you move through this truck’s various drive modes, a small truck appears on the screen traversing all types of terrain. These modes work just like they do in the stock truck, utterly unaffected by the modifications.
The main differentiators in the interior will be a small plaque on the headliner with the Hennessey Performance logo on it. I’m delighted that they didn’t alter the stock seats as the heated and cooled chairs are enormous and comfortable. Additionally, the stock truck nails the ergonomics department, delivering tons of space and headroom.
On the road, the interior remains quiet, with little added noise from the tires. Despite being more aggressive 35s than stock, they didn’t make much difference behind the wheel, retaining the stock truck’s luxury-oriented driving experience.
A stock Raptor starts at a hair under $70,000, without any options. However, once you add the equipment you’ll want, such as the High Equipment Group, you get a truck that sits much closer to $85,000. Hennessey Performance’s take on the Raptor will set you back around $115,000 if you go with the same extras as my tester. However, since every build is custom and you don’t need to buy every option, pricing may vary significantly.
Aside from being a particular truck from the driving side of things, the VelociRaptor 600 will also be rare. Hennessey Performance only plans to build 250 of these, at least for the 2022 model year.
The Hennessey VelociRaptor 600 is a clear demonstration of excess done right. Does the Raptor need the extra power? Likely not. It’s a wonderful package as it sits. But, the 600 is not a need. It’s a want. And, if you want a truck that prioritizes fun above all else and delivers enough speed to make just about any drive entertaining, then the 600 is it.