The Reaper Chevy Truck Road Performance – All-wheel drive has been a part of full-size truck culture almost since the segment’s inception more than six decades ago. For most of that time, however, the purpose was mostly utilitarian, helping trucks get out of mud and dirt, climb steep trails, and add traction on slippery terrain. It took manufacturers another decade before they produced truck models that legitimately satisfied the off-road enthusiast market. The Dodge Ram Power Wagon led the way by reviving the historic name in 2005 and continues to be the gold standard for the traditional off-road full-size truck. When the Ford F-150 SVT Raptor arrived on the scene in 2010, it redefined expectations for a factory off-road truck with custom front and rear suspension, Fox Racing bypass shocks on all four corners, and unique styling. The Raptor has not had a direct domestic competitor since its inception. Thanks to a joint effort between Lingenfelter Performance Engineering (LPE) and Southern Comfort Automotive, Chevy fans now have a solid Raptor competitor with the Reaper Off-Road Package available through select Chevrolet dealers.
Depending on your definition of “factory,” some might not consider the Reaper a direct competitor to the Raptor, since it doesn’t technically roll off the assembly line in Fort Wayne, Indiana, as it does. However, you can purchase it through a Chevy dealer, including an additional warranty that covers its parts.
The Reaper Chevy Truck Road Performance
Since we first saw photos of the Reaper earlier this year, our interest was piqued. LPE is a well-known and respected name in the world of General Motors performance, and for good reason. The company has decades of experience building incredibly fast Camaros, Firebirds and Corvettes, and has a reputation for being an extremely reliable company. With full-size truck sales near all-time highs, the company recently diversified into the performance truck and SUV market, a natural extension since the trucks’ V-8 engines are similar to those in the Gen IV and V Corvettes.
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At first glance, it would be easy to dismiss the Reaper as just a facelift package for the Silverado. While it’s true that many of the things included in the Reaper pack are cosmetic, the transformation goes much further than skin deep. LPE Vice President of Operations Mike Copeland said a lot of time was spent customizing Fox Racing’s remote-reservoir custom shocks for the Reaper, not coincidentally the same supplier that builds the shocks for the Raptor. Ride Tech, a company with extensive experience building military suspension components, supplies the front lower A-arms.
LPE claims 9.2 inches of front and 11.2 inches of rear suspension on the Reaper. On paper, that’s less than the Raptor’s claimed 11.2 inches in the front and 12.1 inches in the rear. Still, Copeland said LPE was unable to replicate Ford’s claims in benchmark testing of the Raptor while the Reaper was in development. While the Reaper’s suspension travel claim may seem conservative at first glance, Copeland confidently backs those claims up, saying the truck will deliver on what it promises.
The time spent on research and development of the suspension shows when driving the Reaper off-road in the sand. The truck handled the screams of the West Michigan dunes with poise and confidence, only rarely increasing wheel travel at speed. And speed is definitely not an issue with both supercharged Reaper engines, available in either 5.3L or 6.2L displacement. Even in “base” 5.3-liter form, the Reaper has a 64-horsepower advantage over the stock Raptor, and a decisive 139-hp advantage. with a 6.2-liter. Our truck was equipped with a 6.2 liter engine and one of the loudest exhausts we’ve heard in a while. Our particular tester had a combination of aftermarket headers and exhaust set up for a truck equipped with stock headers, making it particularly boisterous.
While it was fun on the dunes and off-road, it required a judicious right foot hold to ward off bystanders, both welcome and unwanted. The particular combination of exhaust tuning on our tester may have been too loud for many buyers. Acceleration that most would consider a “normal” pace produces a machine-gun staccato from the dual exhausts and drew the attention of law enforcement during our ride, but we luckily avoided a citation. Copeland assured us that there will be several exhaust tuning options, from a subtle rumble to the heavy metallic crackle of our tester.
Lingenfelter’s Chevy Silverado Reaper Faces The Black Widow
The combination of improved suspension and plenty of power made it a ton of fun to drive on the Silver Lake, Michigan sand dunes and up the hill at the Dune Recreation Area – it wasn’t difficult as the power and torque of the supercharged L86 engine powered it up the hill with ease . On the road, the supercharged V-8 rocketed the Reaper to triple-digit speeds with incredible ease. Under reasonable driving, Copeland said he’s seen the Reaper get up to 17 mpg on the highway, which is impressive given the power and added drag thanks to its higher stance and more aggressive styling.
In the Reaper transformation, the interior is almost unchanged, which in our case was the High Country model, which means comfortable leather seats and lots of bells and whistles. Custom made headrest covers are available as an option. The only visible changes, aside from a custom red-illuminated gauge cluster, are the addition of a few extra switches for the Reaper’s bumper-mounted LED off-road lights. The custom bumper makes a huge difference in off-roading and the truck’s lightness, ditching the ultra-low bumper and air scoop of the standard Silverado. The bumper complements the Reaper’s eagle-like hood and grille. Rounding out the look are front and rear box fender inserts, as well as rear fender graphics and a Reaper badge on the tailgate.
Reaper’s style transformation is polarizing, to say the least. But he sure gets looks wherever he goes. For those who like the Reaper’s performance upgrades but are a bit ambivalent about the styling, Copeland hinted that a Reaper-style package may soon be offered for the GMC Sierra, which we think might lend itself better to the more aggressive styling.
Another benefit of the Reaper package is that it can be installed on any version of the Silverado 1500, from the regular cab with the short bed to the double cab and crew cab. Starting with the pricey High Country trim, our particular truck will probably retail for over $70,000 inside. That may seem like a staggering amount for a pickup truck, but when a well-equipped Tahoe or HD diesel matches that much or more, it puts the value equation into perspective.
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If you’re a die-hard Chevy fan and want a truck that can handle your friend’s Raptor just fine, the Reaper is a solid effort that won’t disappoint. It’s not cheap, but exclusivity comes at a price. LPE says it will build as many Reapers as there is demand, but it will be a long time, if at all, before the Reapers become as common as the Raptors, which have been in production for four years. If you are interested in purchasing your own Reaper, visit reaperperformanceusa.com to learn more and find an authorized dealer near you. A few days ago at the National Automobile Dealers Association National Convention, Lingenfelter Performance Engineering unveiled its new truck called
We know a little more about this thing than the average media because we actually drove it during the suspension development phase of the project. This thing is a mean bastard with 475 hp. from a torn 5.3L Lingenfelter engine. This will be the initial engine offering, but a 550 hp 6.2-liter engine will also be available for the truck later on. The truck is jacked up, can carry tires up to 33″, has a custom shock package designed by Fox, and has already shown its prowess in the California desert as well as the drag strip where it runs deep in the 13s….with a factory 3.08 gear ratio!
And it includes a grille, reinforced bumper, lighting package, hood, rock protection, side steps and more. 20-inch wheels and off-road tires come standard, but buyers can upgrade to 17-inch beadlocks and General Grabber tires for maximum dirt-dumping ability off-road. As for the suspension that puts the truck in Raptor territory, it’s no weak sister. Chad was out in the desert recently riding the truck with Lingenfelter engineers, Fox Racing engineers and the video guys filming this thing in action. At one point, Chad reports that a crew cab truck was loaded with passengers traveling through the desert at 60 miles per hour. We’ve seen footage of him jumping over jumps, potholes and other obstacles.
These trucks will be sold through Lingenfelter’s worldwide dealer network, and LPE has promised to put one of these trucks up for sale. We’ve been awake since the day Copeland made that promise, and now that we’ve seen what the finished product will look like, we’re really going to have bloodshot eyes. Ram Runner, The Raptor, and now The Reaper. Just like the factory drag wars, there is now a trio of gnarly ones
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