FERNDALE, MI – Ford takes the wraps off its ’19 F-150 Raptor performance off-road pickup that gets two significant technology upgrades along with optional Recaro bucket seats and an available tailgate-wide “Ford” badge.

The biggest change comes in the truck’s new electronically controlled Fox Racing Shox. The oil-pressure-controlled variable shocks feature technology that links the suspension to the vehicle’s various sensors to detect the terrain and adjusts shock valving to match.

On road, the shocks enable a smooth ride as well as high-speed body control, while off-road ride and handling get a significant boost. The shock response also is linked to the truck’s driver-selectable Terrain Response Management System.

“By automatically varying compression rates, Raptor can now make the most of its suspension travel of 13 inches (330 mm) at the front and 13.9 inches (353 mm) at the rear,” says Hermann Salenbauch, global director-Ford Performance vehicle programs. “Not many trucks need sensors to detect when you are midair. Raptor sets the dampers to full stiffness to help smooth shock performance as the truck lands.”

Also new for ’19 as a first-time offering for Ford is Trail Control for managing speed up to 20 mph (32 km/h). The system essentially works like low-speed cruise control except touching the brake pedal only reduces the speed setting, rather than shutting the speed control off as is typical of higher-speed cruise control.

Recaro buckets are offered for the first time in the Raptor, along with the bold Ford logo tailgate on upper trim models. Two new colors, Velocity Blue and Agate Black, along with new beadlock-capable wheels, also are available.

Built at Ford’s Dearborn Truck Plant, the ’19 Raptor goes on sale late this year.

bgritzinger@wardsauto.com @bobgritzinger