Saturday, February 24, 2024
Reviews 2023 Ford F-150 Raptor R Review: Less Intimidating than the Ram TRX

2023 Ford F-150 Raptor R Review: Less Intimidating than the Ram TRX

Every drive with the Ford Raptor R is test of self-restraint


2023 Ford F-150 Raptor R Pros

– So much power!

– Strangely more tameable than the TRX.

– Fast.

 


2023 Ford F-150 Raptor R Cons

– Why couldn’t Ford extract 3 more hp from the supercharged V8?

– It’s stupid money – as tested, $150k!!! I’d still buy one…

 

2023 Ford Raptor R | Photo : Matt St-Pierre


Every time I walked towards the 2023 Ford Raptor R, a surge of giddiness coursed through me. The Raptor has never been a typical vehicle; it forged the path for the “Super Truck” era. The Raptor’s lineage, with its humble beginnings in 2010, has evolved into something almost mythical. Each version, from the 5.4L V8 to the recent 3.5 twin-turbo V6, pushed the boundaries further, but none as boldly as the latest Raptor R.

 

With the Raptor R, Ford has not only continued its legacy but all but set a new benchmark in the segment. Its direct competitor, the 702-hp Ram TRX, pushed Ford to elevate the Raptor to unprecedented heights and birthed the “R”. This truck, particularly in its striking Code Orange metallic hue—a color exclusive to 2023—commands respect on any path it graces.

 


A tameable 700-hp monster

2023 Ford Raptor R | Photo : Matt St-Pierre

Living with the Raptor R for a week was a revelation. On city streets, it’s surprisingly agile for its size – this is something of a miracle to be honest. The interior, a cocoon of luxury with state-of-the-art technology and sumptuous materials, contrasts sharply with the truck’s rugged exterior. Yet, the Raptor R’s heart, a 700-horsepower supercharged V8, beats with a raw, untamed energy, ready to break free at less than a moment’s notice. Despite tipping the scale at nearly 6,100 lbs, the R needs scarcely more than 3.5 seconds to reach 100 km/h!

 

The Raptor R’s powertrain is a marvel. Borrowed from the Mustang GT500, the 5.2L supercharged V8 delivers adrenaline-charged performance that’s both intoxicating and slightly disconcerting. The 10-speed automatic transmission, a masterpiece in its own right, complements the engine’s brute force with seamless shifts, whether cruising through cityscapes or charging down open highways. And the sound—a deep, resonant growl that escalates into a fierce roar under heavy throttle—is a constant reminder that this isn’t a regular truck, not that you could ever forget.

 


Refined Aggression

2023 Ford Raptor R | Photo : Matt St-Pierre

Despite its formidable capabilities, the Raptor R possesses an unexpected grace – not a typo. The Fox Live Valve suspension system, a key feature, transforms the driving experience. It’s not just about absorbing bumps or smoothing out rough terrain; it’s about how the Raptor R maintains composure, regardless of the challenge. The suspension’s adaptability, coupled with the massive tires, ensures a ride quality that rivals luxury sedans, all while keeping the truck’s adventurous spirit intact.

 


Urban Jungle to Off-Road King

 

Navigating through the urban jungle, the Raptor R feels like overkill, yet perfectly at home. Its towering presence and the throaty roar of the V8 make every journey a giggle-inducing event. But the Raptor R begs for more—for the untamed paths and open deserts where it can unleash its full potential. Its various drive modes, from the calm of Normal to the rawness of Baja, offer a spectrum of experiences, each more thrilling than the last.

 

Sadly, I was not able to experience the Ford Raptor R’s off-roading abilities but there’s little doubt that short of a 90-degree incline or drop, nothing can stop it.

 


Flared Luxury

Ford F-150 Raptor | Photo: Ford

Visually, the Raptor R is a masterpiece. The aggressive stance, flared wheel arches, bulging hood, and distinctive front grille are not just for show; they’re hiding severe components that enable this truck’s capabilities. The attention to detail, from the functional hood vents to the massive exhaust tips, are designed to swoon super-truck fans.

 

Inside, the Raptor R conquers with refinement. The juxtaposition of ruggedness and luxury is evident in every element, from the leather and suede seats to the advanced infotainment system. The cabin is a sanctuary, offering comfort and connectivity, yet surrounded by the unmistakable aura of a machine built for extremes.

 


The Verdict

2021 Ram 1500 TRX Review: Wielding The Hellcat

As my week with the Raptor R drew to a close, I was left with a profound sense of admiration. Well, that’s not entirely right. In short, I want one. The Raptor R is unnecessary excess, perhaps, but an excess that captivates and delights in equal measure.

 

If faced with the choice, and with the means to indulge, the Raptor R would be my pick over the TRX. Just as raw and fast, it required less of an effort to drive and even enjoy. It’s more manageable and easier to tame. The main reason could be the absence of the supercharger’s whine which in the TRX is omnipresent. Another point to consider is that the R is about $25,000 more than a similarly-equipped TRX with the Level 2 Equipment Group. Nevertheless, I’d still spring for the R.

2023 Ford Raptor R | Photo : Matt St-Pierre

2023 Ford Raptor R | Photo : Matt St-Pierre

2023 Ford Raptor R | Photo : Matt St-Pierre

2023 Ford Raptor R | Photo : Matt St-Pierre

2023 Ford Raptor R | Photo : Matt St-Pierre

2023 Ford Raptor R | Photo : Matt St-Pierre

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Matt St-Pierre
Trained as an Automotive Technician, Matt has two decades of automotive journalism under his belt. He’s done TV, radio, print and this thing called the internet. He’s an avid collector of many 4-wheeled things, all of them under 1,500 kg, holds a recently expired racing license and is a father of two. Life is beautiful. Send Matt an emai

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