What do you crave when the super-duper hot rod Ford F-150 Raptor just isn’t enough truck for you?
What will you do when the Raptor’s twin-turbo EcoBoost 3.5-liter V-6 and its 450 horsepower and 510 pound-feet of torque just aren’t quite enough to flip your pancakes anymore? You will go down to the Ford dealer and get the 2023 Ford F-150 Raptor R, that’s what.
The new-for-2023 F-150 Raptor R is basically still the Raptor pickup. It’s available only as a crew cab with a short bed, it looks like a Trophy Truck ready to take on a Mexican desert race, it’s got tuned shocks by the racing suspension designers at Fox Shox and a full off-road racing suspension.
But instead of the twin-turbo V-6, the madmen in Dearborn gave the Raptor R a supercharged 5.2-liter V-8. Because of course they did. To paraphrase the immortal Nigel Tufnel, this truck goes to 11.
As mentioned, the Raptor R (and all Raptors) look like competition off-road racing trucks. Of course, they aren’t really. They’re super capable off-road and all, but they’re mainly street trucks. Still, there are fat flared fenders, red recovery hooks, a big old bulgy thing on the hood, and bead-lock rims holding 37-inch tires.
The running boards aren’t just for show, either. The Raptor R sits high enough on its long-travel suspension that you’ll need them to climb aboard. Also, there’s no chrome bling to be seen. The Raptor R is all blackout trim, as it should be.
I mentioned that the Raptor R is mostly a street truck, and that extends to the interior. It’s comfortable — as you would expect from any high-trim F-150. Carbon fiber highlights and red features like the little loop of red leather at the top of the steering wheel. That’s to tell you when the wheels are straight ahead, if you didn’t know. It’s an off-road thing.
Controls are many by the time you notice the trailer backup knob, 4WD selector, climate and infotainment controls. This isn’t an ultra-modern thing with a huge sheet of glass, it’s a truck. With a big screen, sure, but still a truck.
Ok, here’s where the Raptor R goes completely over the top: 5.2-liter V-8, blown with a supercharger for 700 hp and 640 lb-ft of torque. That’s paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission. The fully modern four-wheel-drive system includes an “Automatic” mode that you can leave on all the time, like all-wheel drive.
Plus you get the usual 4HI and 4LO and rear-drive options, all available at the push of a dash button. You can select your different off-road or normal drive modes using the same controller.
The Raptor R can also tow and haul. In fact, it will tow up to 8,700 pounds, and comes equipped with all the tow goodies like a dash-mounted trailer brake controller and the nifty backup knob that lets you back your boat down a ramp like a pro. Bed payload is a respectable 1,400 pounds.
Safety and Technology
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration rates the 2023 Ford F-150 crew cab with a five-star crash test rating, and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety rates the F-150 as a “Top Safety Pick,” just shy of its top designation.
One thing to realize is that the Raptor isn’t meant to be a vehicle with a lot of driver assistance tech. The whole point of an off-road capable truck is to drive it yourself. Therefore, you get all the basic safety and convenience stuff, plus a Rollover Stability Control (RSC) function, and that’s about it. You do get terrain management and trail control, however, plus a comprehensive 360-degree camera system.
The off-road tech is just as sophisticated as anything going. Trail Turn Assist allows drivers to shrink their turning radius on tight turns, while Trail Control is like cruise control for off-roading. This lets drivers select a slow speed and steer through challenging conditions while the truck handles all the throttle and braking duties. Trail 1-Pedal Drive allows customers to control throttle and braking with just one pedal to make extreme off-roading like rock crawling possible.
On the dash, you’ll enjoy a 12-inch infotainment touchscreen running Ford’s Sync4. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto support come standard along with a wireless charging pad. So you will have your tunes while you careen around the desert, and Sync4 includes GPS navigation, too.
So, the first thing you do with a truck like this is take it to some lonely spot with no one around and floor it. When you do, the Raptor R will not disappoint you in any way. The truck throws you back into the seat, roars like an outraged dragon, and takes off like a rocket, rising up on its suspension as it goes. Ok, points to Ford for that.
In general, driving the Raptor R is as easy as any modern four-wheel drive full-size truck. It’s big and with the special off-road long travel suspension, quite softly sprung. It’s got 24-inch coils that allow wheel travel of 13 inches in front and 14.1 inches in back. That’s what gives the Raptor R the ability to traverse sand and rocks. However, you’ll notice a lot of suspension motion and body motion as you drive, but the Raptor never bounces or seems to lose contact with the road. It just soaks up whatever is underfoot.
In your neighborhood grocery store parking lot, the Raptor R reminds you that it’s a big, wide truck. Head for the far corners and find a parking space with an empty slot on both sides. The plus side is, you will get positive comments from the other big truck guys who are parking out in the south 40.
2023 Ford F-150 Raptor R Specifications
|Dimensions||L: 232.6 inches/W: 87 inches/H: 80.6 inches/Wheelbase: 145.4 inches|
|Powertrain||5.2-liter V-8 engine; 10-speed transmission and four-wheel drive|
|Fuel Economy||15 mpg city/18 mpg highway/16 mpg combined|
|Performance Specs||700 horsepower and 640 pound-feet of torque|
|Price||As tested: $109,245 including $1,895 destination charge.|
|On-Sale Date||Available now|
The Raptor R is its own trim level, so there’s not much of a price walk to speak of. There are just a few option packages so it breaks down like this: the regular Raptor starts at $76,775, and the Raptor R package adds a cool $30,575, plus a $1,895 destination fee, so you’re pretty much looking at $109,245 for the Raptor R at a minimum. We wouldn’t expect Ford dealers to be putting these on sale, either. If you want that blown V-8, this is your truck.
2023 Ford F-150 Raptor R — Frequently Asked Questions
Is a Ford Raptor R faster than a Ram TRX?
The Raptor R rockets to 60 mph in 3.7 seconds while the TRX does the 0-60 run in 3.9 seconds.
Is the Ford Raptor R street legal?
Yes, and it’s on sale now.
What is the difference between the Ford Raptor and the Raptor R?
The Ford F-150 Raptor has a twin-turbo V-6 engine, while the Raptor R has a supercharged V-8.