Ford is putting something called Baja Mode into its 2017 F-150 Raptor pickup truck. Think of it as Tesla’s Ludicrous Mode, but for off-road shenanigans. It’s named in honor of the legendary Baja 1000 desert race where Ford has tested its pickups in near-stock form in the past.
The Baja mode is part of a new terrain mode system in the Raptor, and a first for any F-150 pickup. Drivers can choose from six different modes depending on the surface they’re navigating, including Normal, Sport, Weather, Mud/Sand, Baja, and Rock Crawl. The modes are basically presets for all the different driver assist and stability control systems, as well as steering feel, throttle and transmission mapping, ABS modes, the locking differential, and a few other things.
Baja is designed for "high-speed desert running," says a Ford press release, with a throttle map and traction control settings designed to give "more liner power and improved engine response," as well as quicker shifts and a transmission that will hold gears longer into the rev range.
Other modes include Rock Crawl, which engages the electronic locking differential, and sets the traction control system to its "least intrusive" settings. Throttle and transmission settings are mapped for the greatest control, and the camera located on the front bumper can be kept on at speeds of up to 15 mph so drivers can see exactly what they’re driving over.
Though the previous Raptor had basically all the same functions as these terrain modes do, drivers were forced to look through a chart and manually activate different settings to get the setup perfect for their current driving situation. The new driving modes should make life a bit easier for enthusiastic Raptor owners who want to get the most out of their truck.
Ford likes adding buttons to its performance cars to make them do awesome things. The company stuck a Drift button in the Focus RS to help owners destroy their tires by driving sideways. I fully expect the Baja button to deliver similar levels of fun.
The 2017 F-150 Raptor goes on sale later this year.