Ford is recognized as one of the forerunners in revolutionizing the pickup truck. But in trying to maintain that status, the company has not been afraid to make changes.
Two years ago, Ford unveiled a redesign, creating the 14th generation of the full-sized F-150 truck and enjoyed huge success with sales of 726,003. As part of the overall package, Ford introduced the F-150 hybrid truck and the highly-touted all-electric Ford F-150 Lightening.
This year, change arrived again with the debut of the 2023 Ford F-150 Raptor R that features standard 37-inch all-terrain tires and has a supercharged V8 engine with 700 horsepower.
The Raptor R joins the F-150 lineup this year, increasing the brand’s versatility. There are numerous versions of the Ford F-150. It has six primary trim levels (XL, XLT, Lariat, King Ranch, Platinum, Limited) and also the Tremor, Raptor and Raptor R models that exist outside the traditional lineup. And don’t forget there are three cab styles (regular, SuperCab, SuperCrew) and three bed lengths depending on cab style.
Like the Tremor and the Raptor, the Raptor R is a gem when driven off-road. Equipped with a 13.1-inch ground clearance, the Raptor R has several terrain driving models, six upfitter switches, an off-road suspension system, adaptive Fox shock absorbers, and a locking rear differential. Note that the Raptor R has a whopping $109,200 price tag.
The Raptor R has some serious off-road chops, yet can be a load to handle in normal driving conditions. We found the steering to be a little vague and keeping it manageable requires a bit more concentration that driving many other vehicles. It’s difficult to maneuver in parking lots, but is stable in freeway situations.
Standard driver assistance safety features include forward-collision warning, automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and a rear automatic braking system.
Under the hood of the Raptor R is a supercharged 5.2-liter, V8 that generates 700 horsepower and 640 pound-feet of torque. Ford made the engine a version of the acclaimed Ford Mustang Shelby GT500. The Raptor R goes 0-60 mph in 3.6 seconds, which is pretty darn fast for a truck that weighs 5,740 pounds.
The Raptor R has a maximum towing capability of 8,200 pounds – far below a standard F-150’s maximum of 14,000 pounds. Just because the Raptor R looks mighty, don’t think it can haul virtually anything. The payload is a lackluster 1,400 pounds. And fuel economy is poor (10-15 mpg).
AT A GLANCE – 2023 FORD F-150 RAPTOR R
- Performance: supercharged 5.2-liter, V8, 700 horsepower
- Mileage estimate: 10-15 mpg
- Price estimate: $109,200
- Warranty: 3 years/36,000 miles; drivetrain: 5 years/60,000 miles; roadside assistance: 5 years/60,000; corrosion: 5 years/unlimited
The Raptor R cabin is equipped with good overall comfort for five passengers. Up front, there’s lots of adjustments to accommodate drivers and passengers of varying sizes.
It has a standard 12.0-inch digital gauge cluster and there’s a user-friendly SYNC 4 infotainment system that’s user-friendly. Wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone integration is standard.
There’s lots of small-item storage in the cab and a lockable box beneath the rear seats for stowaway items. The back seat can fold flat to the floor to greatly increase the cargo area. The three available bed lengths measure between 5½ to 8 feet in length.
While there’s so much to admire about the 2023 Ford F-150 Raptor R, the starting price of $109,200 could be a non-started for many. Still, it’s an impressive full-size truck that delivers terrific performance and is fantastic in off-road situations.
Weidel on Wheels is featured regularly on www.tahoeskiworld.com. Auto writer Jeffrey Weidel can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter at @jeffweidel.