Ford’s V8-powered 2023 Raptor R is the current super truck king


The recipe for feeding an overpowered pickup with massive power, and a suspension that can absorb anything, is a funny and entertaining meal. However, it’s best to serve in smaller portions. It’s probably a good idea that the only two super trucks in competition are Ford Raptor R and Ram TRX powered by “Predator”. Both of these vehicles will make you smile. Recenty, I drove about 800 miles in a orange Raptor R with almost a ton of Polaris Polaris ATVs packed into the truck bed. This led me to some revelations and realizations about Ford’s latest monster.

Battle of the Beasts

Super trucks are a strange prospect. While sporty pickup truck versions aren’t new they’re not as popular. The general auto industry’s recent fascination with bigger, badder and more capable vehicles has been a novelty. Ford has been producing the F-150 Raptor since 2010 in various forms, but the RAM 1500TRX, which was introduced by FCA (now Stellantis) for the model year 2021, really ushered in a whole new category of performance trucks. The TRX was a beast. With its 6.2-liter V8 producing 702 hp and 650lb-ft, massive fender flares and weight of 6,400 pounds. But the TRX’s most imposing feature (and it still is today) is the sound of the supercharger. In the tradition of Hellcat powered vehicles, the RAM TRX was an excess just for the sake excess. In order to continue the long-standing tradition in the pickup market, when one company offers a vehicle that is truly outrageous, another manufacturer must step up to take the limelight. Enter Ford and the Raptor R.

Ford’s F-150 Raptor standard uses a twin-turbocharged, 3.5-liter EcoBoost motor that produces 450 horsepower. Ford decided that the TRX was not strong enough and added the engine from the Mustang GT500, which produces 700 hp and 640lbft torque. The R and TRX have nearly the same power, but each car has its own unique personality. It’s always in your face that the TRX wants to take on the largest, baddest opponent. It is heavy and huge. Raptor R, on the other hand, feels smaller and is easier to drive. You’ll want to play with it. Ford has a 400-pound lighter curbweight and can select 2WD/4WD as opposed to Ram, which is always in 4WD.

You are not a one trick pony

The Raptor R can be used for road trips and in Baja Mode on the dirt. Its seats are as comfortable as a lounge chair, its cabin is very quiet and it can easily eat highway miles. The Raptor has the best suspension in the industry. The ride is so plush that it can make even bad roads in cities of the Northeast seem smooth. It’s true: the Raptor R is as smooth as, if it wasn’t better than, the BMW X7 over potholes. In true Raptor style, speeding up makes for a smoother ride.

Huge 37″ tires further help the ride quality

The Raptor R spent most of its time being used to transport the ATV on road trips and to get to the trailhead. Raptor R made a long trip to Maine seem like it was a quick one. The R was a blast to drive, even under normal circumstances. Its endless power, direct handling, unique suspension and overall demeanor makes it a car that’s as fun as it is comfortable.

The hauling is good, but the digging is not so great

While we did not reach the limits of suspension on our truck, it was still a lot of fun to blast along at a dirt-decent clip. These rips weren’t even close to the suspension limits, but they were performed with a heavy four-wheeler in the back. Raptor R was so sorted, it didn’t even care about the extra weight or throttle. The truck does what it is built for and enjoys it.

The Raptor’s flaws are not so much an issue as they are a well-known entity. Raptor is a fast off-roader, not a heavy-duty hauler. Proof: the payload is just 1,440 pounds. As a comparison, the payload capacity for an F-150 Tremor is 1,885 lbs. The truck’s payload was reached with the Polaris on the bed and a lot of gear in the cabin. I was also in the driving seat. Towing the quad on a trailer would be easier than putting it in the truck’s cargo area.

Other bits

The Raptor was not designed to be used in this way. It was obvious that the super-soft Fox Live Valve was affecting the payload. The R drove and handled almost as well as it would if the truck was empty. Let’s say, however, that there are some trucks which will not care about the weight if you haul frequently. It would also be nice to have bigger and better tie-down points in the bed. The bottle opener sized hooks at each corner are just about adequate.

The HVAC controls on this truck are also very small and difficult to operate. The fact that the controls are physical and not all touchscreen is a plus, but there’s still a lot of wasted space on the middle stack. The price is our only complaint. This is one of only two trucks in this class and they both sell for a lot more than MSRP. However, the sticker price on our test vehicle is $111,935. If you are in the market to buy a vehicle like this, and don’t mind getting 12 MPG average on premium gas, then money shouldn’t be an issue.

Class leader

Super trucks with high performance are just as fun as comparable cars. The limits of the vehicles are lower, and the top speed can be reached more often. Even with its exhaust valve shut, the F-150 Raptor R still makes a statement. Its performance is worth every penny. Raptor R, even though it is not the largest class in the world, is the best pickup ever. It is also the most enjoyable to drive.


  • Amazing engine
  • Unbeatable suspension
  • Comfortable
  • Low Payload Capacity
  • Small HVAC controls can be frustrating
  • Too wide for some tight parking spots

Final Word

  • Ford Raptor R 2023 is all that it should be.

Configure our Way

  • Antimatter Blue would be the color of our Raptor R. The Moonroof and Tailgate Package would be added for an MSRP total of $112 185.

Information, stats and price

Model Year: 2023


Model: Raptor R 4×4 Super Crew

Engine: V8 supercharged 5.2L – 700 hp, 640 lb.-ft.

Drivetrain: 10 speed automatic with 2WD/4WD selectable

Base MSRP $75,775

Optional equipment on the test vehicle includes: Equipment Group 802A, MoonRoof & Tailgate Package (2,195 dollars), and Spray-In bedliner (595 dollars).

Test vehicle MSRP: $111 935 (including $1 795 destination & delivery charge)

This is what it looks like:

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