2026 Ford Mustang Raptor Rumor Sounds Too Crazy To Be True … or Is It?

Ford's supposedly planning an off-road Mustang Raptor. Is it beyond the scope of possibility, though?

Rumors of a 2026 Ford Mustang Raptor in the pipeline has recently raised a few eyebrows and pulses. The seemingly impossible combo of Ford’s pony car and its wildest off-road performance trim would be a perfect synthesis of all things ‘Murica. But don’t burn down your garage with fireworks in celebration just yet, because we have many questions.

All this hoopla stems from a Car and Driver story claiming Ford’s “mindset to Raptorize everything” will result in a Mustang Raptor dropping in 2026. (Sounds like they liked my pitch for a Mustang Raptor.) However, the publication conspicuously doesn’t cite a source or even attribute a vague “source familiar” with the project, as is typical in scoops like these—that should set off alarm bells in your head. Regardless, they speak with enough confidence that we can’t discount their prediction of a Mustang Raptor.

5.0-liter Coyote V8 in the 2024 Ford Mustang Dark Horse. Ford

Under its hood is supposed to be a 500-horsepower, 5.0-liter V8—probably the very same Coyote used in the Dark Horse. It’ll reportedly be backed by a 10-speed automatic transmission like in the Bronco Raptor, but split power using a center differential rather than a transfer case. Unique suspension is said to house long-travel springs and Fox Live Valve dampers, for a two-inch lift over stock. Skid plates, all-terrain tires, and heavily cladded fenders are supposed to complete the package.

With so many changes, the Mustang Raptor couldn’t be cheap to develop—hence, a rumored price of $90,000. Wilder still, Car and Driver predicts an even more extreme Mustang Raptor R, with the 5.2-liter, supercharged V8 from the F-150 Raptor R and Shelby GT500. That would mean 700 hp, in case you need reminding.

2024 Ford Mustang Dark Horse. Ford

When we contacted Ford, the automaker declined to comment, stating its policy against engaging with “speculation.” Even so, there’s enough here to evaluate the feasibility of a Mustang Raptor as outlined.

Owners of 2015 or newer Mustangs have noticed their cars have splined front hubs, which Ford probably included to accommodate an all-wheel-drive model that’s now believed to be canceled. All of the claimed drivetrain components have already been used in the Mustang too, aside from that center differential.

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However, there are engineering problems out the wazoo for the Mustang Raptor as depicted. A two-inch lift wouldn’t go very far toward making the Mustang a capable off-roader, as the 2024 GT’s ride height is only 6.2 inches according to Ford. That lift would get it to just 8.2 inches, or the same as a Nissan Rogue—and with lengthy overhangs to boot. There’s also no mention of a ladder frame, which all Raptors thus far have been built on. The business case for a Mustang Raptor is also challenging, to say the least—feasible, but not easy, and definitely not cheap.

2024 Ford Mustang interior. Ford

By no means is it impossible that Ford’s working on a Mustang Raptor; I’d be surprised if the words hadn’t been uttered in Ford’s HQ. At the same time, I don’t buy that it’ll play out as Car and Driver claim it will. Still, crazier things have happened, and a Ford Mustang Raptor can’t be entirely counted out at this point.

But to believe, I’d have to hear it directly from the horse’s mouth. That means if you know what’s really going on, email me at james@thedrive.com. One way or another, the truth will come out about what could be one of the most exciting performance cars ever… Or just one of the biggest disappointments of the digital media age.

Got a tip or question for the author? You can reach them here: james@thedrive.com