Hennessey VelociRaptor SUV

Hennessey’s 600 hp VelociRaptor SUV – Beast or Disappointment?

Hennessey VelociRaptor SUV

Hennessey, the Texas-based tuning company known for churning out such monsters as the 1000 hp Cadillac CTS-V, the Cadillac Escalade that beats up on a Nissan GT-R, and of course their own creation, the Venom GT which impressively took the top speed record from the Bugatti Veyron (controversial,) just whipped up what they call the Hennessey VelociRaptor SUV.

Based on Ford’s F-150 SVT Raptor – the truck of all trucks in my mind – at 411 hp and 434 lb-ft of torque, the team at Hennessey have made quite a few changes to the truck.

The most obvious of which is the SUV-ness of the whole thing:

Hennessey VelociRaptor SUV side

Turning a Truck into an SUV

The Hennessey team took the $44,000+ truck and converted it into an SUV. And I mean a full-on conversion, as you can see from the pics.

The VelociRaptor SUV seats up to eight people:

Hennessey VelociRaptor SUV seating

And although obviously based on the F-150, ends up looking like a more aggressive Ford Expedition from any angle other than the front:

Hennessey VelociRaptor SUV rear quarter

And it specs up to the Expedition quite well too, as far as seating and cargo are concerned.

So basically what you’re buying here is…

As far as utility goes, an aggressive-looking Ford Expedition with a monstrous engine.

So what about the power?

Hennessey VelociRaptor SUV

Hennessey’s VelociRaptor SUV keeps the same 411 hp, 6.2-liter V8 powerplant that’s in the F-150 SVT Raptor, despite the vehicle’s additional 600 lb weight.

The result: 0-60 mph in 7.5 seconds. Doesn’t sound awful for a vehicle of its size, sure.

Plus, you can upgrade it – Hennessey offers an upgrade to the F-150 Raptor truck, giving it a supercharged 600 hp, and offer the same upgrade on the SUV, which would let it hit 0-60 in 5.9 seconds – 0.7 seconds slower than the truck.

But here’s the thing…

The cost: $149,500

Given, they’re only making up to 30 of these per year, if there’s demand for them, but I still don’t get it.

I love the SVT Raptor – I think it’s the coolest truck on the road (next to the Lambo-smoking GMC Syclone,) and usually I’m a huge fan of Hennessey’s models, but I’m having trouble understanding this SUV.

People buy SUVs for utility – it’s in the name (Sport Utility Vehicle.) They buy it so they have a ton of space in the back to carry people and guns and deer and, I don’t know, boats and whatnot. That I get.

The Raptor was made to be a badass on-road and off, and look good doing it.

The SUV doesn’t accomplish that. Yup, it carries a lot of shit. Check. Off-roading? From the company’s press release: “the company suggests that buyers should intend using this vehicle for on-road as well as light to moderate off-road duties.”

Hennessey VelociRaptor SUV

So what are you suggesting?

The VelociRaptor SUV is a cool project that some people will get. They want a giant SUV that gets negative fuel economy and has space to carry a small house if need be. It’s special, there aren’t very many made, and that’s who it’s for.

But looking at the cost, it’s slow and impractical in every way compared to its competition:

Range Rover

2012 Range Rover Sport

The Range Rover Sport HSE we drove last month cost about $70,000 (they start around $60,000) and could get from 0-60 in 7.2 seconds thanks to its 375 hp 5.0-liter V8. It was also comfortable, refined, and can go off-road.

The new Range Rovers offer even more – the base starts at $83,545 with a 3.0-liter supercharged V6 producing 340 hp propelling you to 60 mph from a stop in 7.1 seconds, or you can go for the top-spec version (for an even $100k) whose 510 hp supercharged 5.0-liter V8 can get you there in only 5.1 seconds. And go off-road and all that.

Mercedes-Benz GL63 AMG

2013 Mercedes-Benz GL63 AMG

Sure, it may look like you everyday suburb-cruising grocery-getter, but the Mercedes GL63 AMG isn’t your normal Soccer Mom ride.

With a massive 550 hp and 560 lb-ft of torque coming from its 5.5-liter twin-turbo V8 engine, the GL63 is able to knock off that 0-60 mph time in only 4.8 seconds.

That’s faster than a Porsche Cayman.

The current GL63 starts at $117,000.

So what’s your point?

All I’m saying is that for a starting price of $149,500, you have some more practical choices than the VelociRaptor SUV. I get it – a ton of work went into each one of these, you want unique, you want individual, you want American. That’s fine.

But for me, I’d always have that nagging feeling that I could be driving around a refined Mercedes or rugged Range Rover with more power, could be going off-road, faster, and have an extra $30-80,000 burning a hole in my pocket.

But then again, it wouldn’t say “SVT VelociRaptor” on the side, and I might just pull up to another one at the stoplight.

Which one would you choose?