Ford's Trail Control: More than just cruise for off-roading

Sept. 10, 2018
Ford is showcasing one of the upgrade features announced for the high-performance F-150 Raptor designed to make navigating off-road terrain easier.

Ford is showcasing one of the upgrade features announced for the high-performance F-150 Raptor designed to make navigating off-road terrain easier. Dubbed Trail Control, the automaker released some footage of it in use—and it seems the technology has a few extra tricks up its sleeve.

Trail Control can be set from 1-20 mph and manages the throttle and brakes, allowing the driver to just focus on steering. This is a "smart" system that adds a higher level of automation and can detect, for instance, when the truck is scaling something like large rocks; it can ginger the Raptor's tires up and onto a rock and brake to keep control as they roll down.

Notably, though, Trail Control can also be used to free the truck if it gets stuck in deep sand or snow— "because no one likes to dig," Ford notes. Set the dial to 1 mph in those situations, and Trail Control will selectively nudge the four wheels as necessary to get out of the jam.

The system can be used in all 4x4 modes, which Ford claims as an exclusive for pickup trucks. But that might not be for long: the 2019 Ranger midsize pickup set to arrive early next year also will get Trail Control as an option, perhaps similarly in a high-performance variant.

Ford says the upgraded F-150 Raptors will be available late this year.

About the Author

Aaron Marsh

Before computerization had fully taken hold and automotive work took someone who speaks engine, Aaron grew up in Upstate New York taking cars apart and fixing and rewiring them, keeping more than a few great jalopies (classics) on the road that probably didn't deserve to be. He spent a decade inside the Beltway covering Congress and the intricacies of the health care system before a stint in local New England news, picking up awards for both pen and camera.

He wrote about you-name-it, from transportation and law and the courts to events of all kinds and telecommunications, and landed in trucking when he joined FleetOwner in July 2015. Long an editorial leader, he was a keeper of knowledge at FleetOwner ready to dive in on the technical and the topical inside and all-around trucking—and still turned a wrench or two. Or three. 

Aaron previously wrote for FleetOwner. 

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