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Review: The 2023 Ford F-150 Raptor R is a monster muscle truck

The700 horsepower 2023 Ford F-150 Raptor R is the most powerful truck the automaker has ever sold and the most expensive, with a $109,250 starting price.

When the Ford F-150 Raptor launched in 2010 it was as eye-popping as the opening of Jurassic Park.

The V8-powered dune-bashing high performance pickup was like nothing anyone had ever seen in showrooms before.

Inspired by desert racing trucks, it was designed to be driven at high speeds and even jumped off-road.

The full-size truck was replaced in 2017 a model built around the F-150’s new aluminum body, which swapped its V8 for a turbocharged V6.


It was updated for a third generation in 2021 with the F-150’s first coil spring rear suspension system and other tweaks, but now it’s entering Jurassic World territory. Just as visitors to the amusement park got tired with real dinosaurs, leading the scientists to develop new, even more terrifying hybrid creatures, Ford has created the 2023 Raptor R, which is the brand’s version of Indominus Rex.


The Raptor R carries over most of the standard Raptor’s equipment, but it makes a big change under the hood. Out goes the 450 hp turbocharged 3.5-liter V6 and in comes another V8, but not the old one. It’s a trucked-up version of the supercharged 5.2-liter V8 that debuted in the most recent Mustang Shelby GT500 and is rated at 700 hp. It makes the Raptor R the most powerful pickup Ford has ever sold, but not the most powerful gas-powered pickup.

That would still be the Ram 1500 TRX, which is a 702 horsepower monster that was intended to outdo the Raptor. It even has an image of a T-rex eating a Raptor on its engine cover to drive the point home. The Raptor R makes the two-pony difference all but moot.


Ford Performance chief engineer Carl Widmann told Fox News Digital that some of the changes to the Mustang’s engine include a high-flow air intake and exhaust, plus more robust oil cooling for the kind of hot-weather, high-velocity driving the Raptor R was engineered for. Its signature black power dome popping out of the hood improves heat extraction while giving the truck an even more menacing look.

Widmann said the Raptor R gets a stronger front axle and aluminum driveshaft than the regular model that can better handle the engine’s 640 lb-ft of torque, which is sent to the wheels through a 10-speed automatic transmission and a two-speed four-wheel-drive system with all-wheel-drive capability.

The suspension’s springs and dampers are tweaked a little to account for the extra 100 pounds or so the V8 adds, but is otherwise unchanged. That includes its use of computer-controlled Fox Live Valve shock absorbers, which have position-dependent damping that keeps the truck under control over high-frequency bumps and prevents bottoming-out when it’s coming in for a landing. The Raptor’s optional 37-inch all-terrain-tires are standard on the Raptor R and contribute to its 13.1 inches of ground clearance.

With all that in mind, it’s probably not a surprise to hear that the Raptor R drives a lot like the V6-powered Raptor most of the time. The exhaust is more raucous, but adjustable, so you can turn the volume down to keep the neighbors happy. It’s only when you floor the throttle that the beast is unleashed. The transmission downshifts with bang, and the truck springs forward with the intensity of a predator lunging at its prey. The extra power’s presence making itself known in a big way.

The engine is loud but not absurdly so. There’s barely any supercharger whine, which is inescapable in the over-the-top TRX. Both trucks can accelerate to 60 mph in under four seconds on pavement, and there’s not much between them overall, but the lighter Raptor R is neater and tidier. The body doesn’t squat or roll too much in the turns, and the steering is sharp. Think of the Raptor R as a Mustang, and the TRX as a Dodge Challenger. One’s a sports car, the other a brute, but both are a blast.


The Raptor R’s starting price is $109,250, which is about thirty grand more than either the Raptor or the TRX, but it comes with nearly everything and doesn’t cost much more than a loaded TRX.

Among the standard features are heated and cooled sport seats and a lane-centering adaptive cruise control system that’s not useful on the dirt, but complements the Raptor R’s excellent on-road ride. A 360-degree camera can be used for parking, but the front view stays on to help keep an eye on the trail when you set the drive mode to Off-Road or Baja, which adjust the steering, 4x4 system, suspension and traction management for slippery surfaces.

The Raptor R also has a 36-gallon gas tank, which will come in handy on jaunts into the wilderness, since its EPA rating is 12 mpg combined. That’s a far cry from the similarly quick Ford F-150 Lightning, which has an efficiency rating equivalent to 70 mpg. But while the Lightning is the Ford’s future, the Raptor R is very much an old-school muscle truck.

Will it mark the end of an era? That’s yet to be seen, but Ford CEO Jim Farley says the brand’s not giving up on gasoline-powered trucks anytime soon, so this dinosaur may be walking the Earth for years to come.


2023 Ford F-150 Raptor R

Base price: $109,250

As tested: $111,935.00

Type: 5-passenger, 4-door all-wheel-drive pickup

Engine: Supercharged 5.2-liter V8

Power: 700 hp, 640 lb-ft torque

Transmission: 10-speed automatic

MPG: 10 city/15 hwy.

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