2023 Ford F-150 Raptor R

The V8-powered Raptor R is strong, fast, and can get you out of pretty much any jam​​, all while making it look effortless
The V8-powered Raptor R is strong, fast, and can get you out of pretty much any jam​​, all while making it look effortless

by Stuart Grodinsky | December 13, 2023

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If you’re looking for a truck that can handle just about anything you throw at it and still ride shockingly smooth, the 2023 Ford F-150 Raptor R is the one. No, that is not a typo.

That extra R equates to a beast of an engine. It’s powered by a supercharged 5.2-litre V8, rated at 700 horsepower at 6,650 rpm and 640 pound-feet of torque at 4,250 rpm. That means the Raptor R is strong, fast, and can get you out of pretty much any jam​​, all while making it look effortless.

I recently reviewed the Ford F-250 Super Duty Tremor; that truck’s like the big brother who gets the job done with brute force and loud grunts. The F-150 Raptor R, on the other hand, is more like the athletic sibling — it’s got the muscle, but it’s also got some finesse and an incredibly advanced off-road suspension. We took this truck onto an unmaintained dirt and gravel back road, complete with turns, ruts branches, hills, and with all five seats occupied by adult men. At an average speed that would make most pickups, let alone cars seem uncontrollable just from the sheer body and steering wheel movement, the Raptor R kept asking for more. Not a single person in that cabin came close to guessing the speed we were travelling at, or how rough the road was, without looking out a window.

Now, the Raptor R isn’t cheap. It starts at $146,005, with the few available options selected for our tester bringing it to an as-tested sticker price of $149,155. That is an incredible amount of coin for a pickup truck, but think about it: if you’re the type of person who’s always on different job sites and love to hit the trails on the weekend, a Raptor R could be worth it.

It’s also a better fit for day-to-day life compared to some of the other big trucks out there. Have you ever tried to park a massive F-250 in a regular parking spot? It’s a pain. Ditto the Raptor R’s closest competitor, Ram 1500 TRX, which was obnoxiously wider than a standard Ram and made most parking spots unmanageable. The Raptor R is big, but not all that much bigger than a regular F-150, so it’s easier to handle in the city. It feels akin to the first few weeks of winter, where you walk through your front door wearing a jacket. You need a bit more room, but you get used to it.

I’m not the biggest fan of the standard Raptor’s 3.5L twin-turbo V6. While I haven’t spent much seat time in a Raptor with that engine, my experience with Ford’s EcoBoost V6 in an F-150 Limited left a lot to be desired. It was jumpy, it took some effort to launch smoothly when driving casually, and it left me wanting for the lesser, non-turbo version. The V8 on the other hand is sublime, barely if ever going into boost during typical driving. The supercharger spools up without much fanfare; you can’t exactly tell when it is under boost without looking at the gauge, nor do you hear it unless you are listening for it, so power deliver feels natural. The Hellcat engine in the Ram TRX, by comparison, makes all sorts of fun sounds and you are constantly reminded to play with it, thus destroying your fuel economy along with your apparent competence as a reasonable driver on the road.

For those who actually get work done, the interior of the Raptor R is a much better fit than a high-trim F-150. The Recaro seats are incredibly comfortable for long drives, and they look like they can take a good beating without looking awful or filthy. The centre console folds open to provide a work surface that is immensely more useful than the ‘upgraded’ work surface in the F-250 Tremor; it’s simple, will never break, and doesn’t give the illusion of being able to move into a more comfortable spot, all the while allowing the Raptor R to maintain a traditional shifter in the centre console. OK, maybe that part will break at some point; the motor that raises and folds the shifter seems robust, but it’s a potential failure point you’ll never find anywhere else.

Sitting and riding inside of the F-150 Raptor R feels like the rugged side of luxurious. There is no mistaking it for a lower trim truck; the ride quality is incredible given the form factor, and one look under the truck and you can understand why. The rear suspension is unlike any other truck you’ve experienced. A five-link rear suspension connects the rear axle to the frame, with extra long trailing arms and coil springs allowing for incredible control and movement. Combine that with selectable drive modes and electronic valve control on the shocks themselves, and you get something that rides like it shouldn’t.

Speaking of selectable modes, that exhaust button is quite entertaining on its own. You can make the Raptor R perfectly silent, or remind everyone inside and out that you’re rolling in a prehistoric, flesh-eating beast. Did I mention the Raptor R a hungry beast, too? It feasts on premium fuel, and it’s rated at 22.8 L/100 km city, 15.9 highway, and 19.7 combined. Our real-world experience, complete with a three-hour cottage road trip and bombing along backroads agreed with these numbers, with observed fuel economy landing at 18.6 L/100 km over roughly 600 kilometres. It was entirely worth it.

The 2023 Ford F150 Raptor R is a solid choice for work and play. It’s comfy enough for the whole family on a weekend road trip, and it’s got the power to entertain when you’re out in the sticks. If you’re looking for a truck that can conquer the wild and pamper you on the road, the F-150 Raptor R should be at the top of your list. It’s the kind of vehicle that makes you want to venture off the beaten path, just to experience that exhilarating ride one more time.

See Also

2023 Ford F-150 Limited PowerBoost

2023 GMC Sierra AT4X AEV Edition

2023 Ford F-250 Super Duty Limited

Vehicle Specs
Segment
Pickup truck
Engine Size
5.2-litre supercharged V8
Horsepower (at RPM)
700 hp @ 6,650 rpm
Torque (lb-ft.)
640 lb-ft @ 4,250 rpm
Fuel Efficiency (L/100km, City/Highway/Combined)
22.8/15.9/19.7
Observed Fuel Efficiency (L/100km)
18.6
Cargo Capacity (in L)
5.5-foot bed
Base Price (CAD)
$146,005
As-Tested Price (CAD)
$149,155
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About Stuart Grodinsky

Staff Writer

An engineer by trade, Stuart is a go-to for many technical questions within our team. Aside from writing and working on his 5.0L Ford Mustang, Stuart also loves home renovation projects and spending time with his wife and two kids.

Current Toys: '21 Grand Cherokee L Overland, ’09 Avalanche, ’17 Outback 3.6R Limited

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