2023 Ford F-150 Raptor R: Wow. Just wow! - SUV VEHICLE

2023 Ford F-150 Raptor R: Wow. Just wow!


I won’t downplay how much fun this whole automotive journalist gig is. It’s massively entertaining a lot of the time. However, sometimes you fall into the doldrums of crossover after crossover, which can get a bit tedious. So, I got excited when I saw a “2023 Ford Raptor” on my delivery schedule since I had not actually had a chance to review a Raptor before. However, as the truck rounded the corner, I saw the red “R” on the grille, and my excitement level increased significantly. The 2023 Ford F-150 Raptor R has a supercharged 5.2-liter V-8 making 700 horsepower (720 horsepower for 2024), which is quite a jump from the standard 2023 Raptor’s 450 horsepower.

So, how did the RaptoR perform as a daily driver and road trip hero? I think you can tell the enthusiastic use of the word “wow” in the title, it did well. But does it live up to its six-figure price tag?

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Is that an…R?

What is the 2023 Ford F-150 Raptor R?

Check out our first drive for more, but basically it’s a Raptor with a much larger engine, an (even more) upgraded suspension and some big-ole tires. The engine and exhaust combo sounds phenomenal, check out the quick cold start video below. The Active Valve Exhaust System means that you can go from quiet stealth mode through your neighborhood to wide open throttle on the highway where other motorists will think that the world is ending. It’s a spectacular thing, here check it out.

@williambyrdusa Reviewing the Ford Raptor R this week, it sounds amazing. #Ford #FordRaptor #FordRaptorR ♬ original sound – William Byrd

For the 2024 model year, tick the box during your Raptor build for the 5.8-liter engine and the MSRP jumps almost $32,000. In addition to the supercharged V-8, the R removes the Raptor 801A and adds the Raptor R 803A package, which includes:

  • 37×12.5R17 BSW All-Terrain Tires (A/T)
  • Dual Valve Shocks
  • Modular Front Bumper
  • Black Alcantara Suede and Leather RECARO Seats
  • Raptor R Exterior Theme
  • Raptor R Interior Theme
  • Code Orange Tow Hooks
  • Raptor R Exterior Graphics
  • Raptor R Unique Hood Vent with “R” Badge
  • Raptor R Unique Grille
  • Raptor R Unique 17” Forged Aluminum Bead-Lock Capable Wheels
  • Raptor “R” Badge on Tailgate Appliqué
  • Removes Pro Power Onboard – 2KW
  • Unique Carbon Fiber Appliqués
  • Code Orange Stitching on Doors and Instrument Panel
  • Interior Code Orange Raptor R Badging

All in you’re premium for Raptor R ownership is going to be a not-inconsequential $112,895 for 2024 (with assorted fees included). Also wow.

How is it around town?

Well, like most big trucks, it’s surprisingly comfortable. I guess we shouldn’t feign surprise anymore, trucks are generally comfortable. However, the fact that something with a 700-horsepower engine that is built for high speed desert running can be this docile around town is pretty amazing. Keep things in normal driving modes, and the Raptor R can just putter around town like any other F-150. There is no drama, it’s big and comfortable, and when it came time to hop a curb to get around the slow moving parents during school pick-up (sanctioned by the line monitors of course), obviously, it was more than well-equipped to handle it.

Also not a surprise, the big engine and huge tires mean that the R is thirsty. Not “thirsty” in the “too eager to get something; desperate.” way (thanks Urban Dictionary) but in the MPG kind of way. EPA-estimated fuel economy for the Raptor R is 12 MPG combined (10 city/15 highway) which is, well, pretty poor. But, it’s 1 MPG better than the Ram TRX, so it’s got that going for it. Still, if you are good with trips to the pump (which is mitigated a bit by the large fuel tank) the MPG rating is one of the only downsides to daily driver duty.

The only other issue is size. It is one of the only vehicles I have had to consistently use the grab bar and side step to get into. The Raptor R is 232.6 inches long, 80.6 inches tall and 96 inches wide (with mirrors). In other terms, that’s 19.4 feet long and 8 feet wide! That’s also 7 inches longer than a Suburban, which means you have to plan your parking accordingly. I spend a lot of time in city driving, and the one photo (above left) was the last street parking spot I could find on one particular morning. The maximum garage height was way too diminutive to handle the R’s substantial height, so I had to squeeze in there. Luckily the standard 360-degree camera system can help you navigate your R into tight spaces a bit easier. What’s funny is that when you’re at a stoplight you can’t really even tell what type of car is behind you, you can usually just see a little bit of roof and that’s it.

Does the interior live up to a six-figure vehicle?

The 2023 Ford F-150 Raptor R feels generally like a higher trim F-150 on the inside. It’s large and well laid out. I particularly like where the wireless phone charger is placed (even though it didn’t always charge) but there is a slot next to it that you can put your phone in, so it sits vertically or horizontally and use the corded charging option. There are also plenty of cubbies and storage for small and large items while you are on the go. The interior is so large and spacious that you can have someone reading in the back with light on and you don’t even notice. The rear seats are also heated which came in handy on a few cold mornings.

Am I going to say that it’s as well-appointed as a comparably priced luxury vehicle? No, you wouldn’t consider all of the materials on the interior to be premium, though there is some decent stuff. The leather upholstery is solid, and the 10-way power driver’s seat was quite comfortable. Still, for the price there isn’t an option for massaging seats that you can get on less expensive Ford vehicles. So, you’ll need to keep in mind that this six-figure truck has a whole lot of engineering underneath to help validate that price tag. All-in-all it’s comfortable and pretty well-equipped and most buyers will be satisfied enough with the interior.

How about a road trip?

One weekend I packed up the R and set off to visit my folks. It was super comfortable on long highway stints. Just be ready for the petrol cost, as I mentioned before. Just like in the Lighting I just reviewed, the gear shift lever sits about the same height of the center console, which allowed me to rest my arm comfortably on long drives. I could even put my left foot up on lip of the driver’s door storage area to sit in a different position for a bit. The active exhaust works really well and can quiet down the noise substantially out on the highway when you’re on a long drive. It’s probably the best integration of quiet vs. loud I’ve seen since the 392 Jeep Wrangler.

How is it off-road?

Absolutely epic, that’s how it is. During the first drive, Publisher Tim Esterdahl was able to get the R out on some much more interesting terrain, but I was able to find some spots to kick up some dirt. The various terrain modes are thoroughly entertaining and include Normal, Sport, Tow/Haul, Slippery, Off-Road, Baja and Rock Crawl. I selected Baja Mode for the loose dirt and sand trails I found, and it was an absolute blast. The long wheelbase means that some tighter, more technical rocky trails might be more of a challenge, but the Raptor R is a ton of fun on pavement and loose terrain.

The bottom line

It’s interesting, the Ford F150 is probably the most common vehicle on the road in the United States. After a week of driving this around, you begin to think of yourself as their King. Short of coming across a TRX, you will truly be at the top of the pickup truck food chain. I was so enamored with this truck that I stopped at the dealership to look at a regular Raptor (and snapped the pic of the Raptor R with the Bronco Raptor displayed above). Obviously, I’d love a shot at owning the Raptor R, but that price tag is pretty wild. However, if you can afford it, I would say that the price of admission is very much worth it.


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