I’ve reviewed many different types of sporty vehicles. I’ve reviewed sports cars, sports sedans, and even sports SUVs, but I’ve never reviewed a sports truck. Yes, you can buy super sporty trucks that are powerful enough to give supercars a run for their money, maybe not in terms of track performance but in terms of power output.
There are not too many options when it comes to buying a factory-built performance-specific truck. There are trucks with some add-ons like “TRD” packages etc. The first truck that comes to mind when talking about high-performance trucks is the Ford F-150 Raptor, a truck that started it all. There was the F-150 Lightning in the 1990s (not to be confused with the new Lightning electric truck), but that was strictly an on-road vehicle. The F-150 Raptor was introduced in 2010 and was powered by a 5.4-liter V8 or an optional 6.2-liter V8 engine.
The second-generation Raptor was introduced in 2017, but this one was a bit controversial because of the lack of a V8. The 2nd generation Raptor was only offered with a 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 engine; this engine lacked a couple of cylinders but more than made up for it with additional horsepower over the previous generation Raptor’s V8. The Raptor’s V6 engine produced 450 horsepower and 510 pound-feet of torque, an increase of 130 HP and 120 lb.-ft of torque over the “base” 5.4-liter V8.
The 3rd generation F-150 Raptor was introduced in 2021, again with a 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 engine, producing the same power as the 2nd generation. However, this a big change with the introduction of the supercar-like Ford F-150 Raptor R, an insane off-road truck… and last week, I had the opportunity to drive/review it for a week!
2023 Ford F-150 Raptor R Canadian Prices
The F-150 has been America’s best-selling vehicle for a very long time, and it’s the best-selling truck in Canada. The F-150 is offered in many different trims with 2-door versions, 4-door versions, long beds, short beds, 4 wheels, and 6 wheels, and now the super-truck version. Prices start in the $40k range for the base version and can get well into the 6-figures mark.
The “base” F-150 Raptor has a starting price of $105,275 for the V6 version; adding the V8 engine turns the regular Raptor into a Raptor R and increases the price by $40,730 to $146,000. There aren’t too many options on the Raptor R, as it is the top-of-the-line trim. Our review truck had the Power Tailgate (with Step and Work Surface) and Twin Panel Moonroof package for $2,550. There are various accessories you can add to the Raptor R to individualize it.
The $40,730 502A Raptor R package adds the following items to the standard F-150 Raptor:
- 5.2L Supercharged V8 Engine
- Specially calibrated and tuned FOX Live Valve Shocks, Drive Modes, Suspension, Dampers
- Unique Exhaust System
- Class-exclusive 37″ off-road tires
- Black Exterior Accents
- Code Orange Tow Hooks
- Black Alcantara Suede and Leather RECARO Seats
- Carbon Fiber Interior Appliques
- Code Orange Stitching on Doors and Instrument Panel
- Interior Code Orange Raptor R Badging
- Raptor R Exterior Graphics
- Raptor R Badge on Tailgate Applique
- 17″ Forged Aluminum Bead-Lock Capable Wheels
- Partitioned Lockable Fold-Flat Storage
- Unique hood Vent with Raptor R Badge
- Unique Raptor R Grille
Our review Raptor R had a price tag of $151,250; this included delivery and destination, the above-mentioned optional package, and a few accessories. The 2023 Raptor R is officially the most expensive truck I’ve reviewed.
2023 Ford F-150 Raptor & Raptor R Engines
As mentioned above, the standard F-150 Raptor is powered by an EcoBoost 3.5-liter V6 engine, producing 450 horsepower at 5,850 rpm and 510 pound-feet of torque at 3,000 rpm.
The Raptor R takes things to the next level with its supercharged 5.2-liter V8 engine, producing a massive 700 horsepower at 6,650 rpm and 640 pound-feet of torque at 4,250 rpm. This engine is borrowed from the Ford Mustang GT500; the engine has been tuned to be more “truck-y.” Power is sent to the rear wheels via a 10-speed automatic transmission, found on other variants of the F-150.
It’s hard to believe a truck has this much power; this is supercar territory. What’s even harder to believe, there’s another gasoline-powered truck that has even more power. It’s not significantly more, but the Ram RTX produces 702 HP and 650 lb.-ft of torque from a supercharged 6.2-liter V8 engine borrowed from Hellcats.
The Raptor R is not only the most expensive truck I’ve ever driven but also the most powerful truck or car I’ve ever driven. I did drive the Charger and Challenger Hellcat, but they were driven with the “street key,” which only gives you access to around 500 horsepower, the “track key” gives you access to all the 700+ HP.
Driving the F-150 Raptor R
I mostly drove the Raptor R on the streets, the place where it belongs… I’m kidding, these types of trucks belong in the desert, but let’s be honest here, most truck drivers (where I live) use their trucks as cars, rarely ever making use of the bed or even going off-road. Most of the trucks in my city can be found in mall parking lots, looking pristine.
Driving the Raptor R on the street didn’t feel like I was driving a 700 HP vehicle; it felt like a regular truck until you put your foot down. The Raptor R really gets going; it is hard for the brain to comprehend what’s going on. A vehicle this size shouldn’t move as fast as it does when the pedal is put to the metal. The Raptor R does 0 – 60 mph (0 – 96 km/h) in 3.7 seconds and tops out at an electronically limited 185 km/h.
On the other hand, even with this much power, the Raptor doesn’t feel like a sports car. I’ve driven plenty of powerful sports cars and usually get overwhelmed initially because of the power, but the Raptor R didn’t give me that feeling. Maybe it’s because the cockpit is more open, and you can actually concentrate on the road. Or maybe because the Raptor R isn’t tuned like a sports car? The Raptor is also quite heavy, tipping the scales at slightly over 6,000 pounds (2,756 kilograms).
In any case, the Raptor R is pretty easy to live with. The 10-speed transmission changes quickly, and when cruising on the highway and you floor the throttle, it quickly downshifts while skipping gears to the proper gear. The gears can also be manually changed with the steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters, which are made out of metal and feel quite nice. The Raptor R comes with multiple driving modes, like “Normal,” “Sport,” “Baja,” “Rock Crawl,” “Snow,” etc. Changing the modes changes the personality of the Raptor R to suit the terrain you’re on. You can also change the exhaust sound, suspension, and steering feel via the steering wheel-mounted buttons without going to different modes. On the street, I mainly drove it in the “Normal” mode, there is the option for “Sport” mode, but I didn’t bother with it. The exhaust can be switched between Quiet, Normal, Sport, and Baja. The modes are self-explanatory; the higher up the modes you go, the louder the exhaust sound gets. The Baja mode is for “track and off-road” only, but I’m sure it gets used often on the street.
The Raptor R is a loud car, especially as go up the exhaust modes. But thankfully, Ford has provided the quiet mode, which makes it super civilized sounding. Unlike the Mustang, not as much of the exhaust noise makes it into the cabin because of how far the exhaust tips are from the driver, compared to the Mustang’s, which are within a few feet of the driver.
The fuel consumption of the Raptor R is not for the faint of heart; it’s rated at 22.8/15.9 liters/100 kilometers in the city/highway. I drove just over 200 kilometers in my weeklong review, and the onboard computer showed 22.4 liters/100 kilometers (which is 10.5 US mpg) in 50/50 city/highway driving. The Raptor R is by far the thirstiest vehicle I’ve ever reviewed, the 2nd worst was the Infiniti QX80 at 18.5 L/100 km, but that was mostly city driving.
The ride quality is exactly what I expected, to be truck-like. This makes sense because the Raptor R is a truck, not a supercar. The ride is floaty, like a traditional body-on-frame truck. Putting it in the Sport mode does make it feel a bit firmer. Alternatively, the suspension damping can be changed without going into sport mode with the touch of a button on the steering wheel. The ride is comfortable, thanks to the Fox shocks and adjustable dampers.
I didn’t do any real off-roading with the F-150 Raptor R, as Ford likes us to do that sort of thing when they’ve organized a professionally overseen off-road course. I took it on some forestry roads in the Normal mode; I felt many of the bumps in the cabin, and the Raptor R didn’t feel as stable. But putting it in the Sport and Baja mode really changed the Raptor R’s behavior. The truck was much more controllable and felt like it was sticking to the road where barely any grip was available. The suspension soaked up the bumps, and the ride was much more comfortable. In the Baja mode, the Raptor R felt at home on the rough-ish terrain. The Raptor R is meant to be driven at speed on rough roads and sand dunes.
The Raptor R is also a big truck; it’s as long as a standard F-150 but is considerably wider, which makes parking it in regular-sized parking spots a bit of a challenge. Parking in my normal parking spot, I was just within the lines on both sides; when there was a car parked on either side, getting in and out was a challenge without hitting the car parked in the adjacent spot.
The Raptor R is not just for play; it can also be practical for carrying and towing stuff. The 2023 Ford Raptor R has a maximum payload capacity of 1,400 pounds (636 kg) and a maximum towing capacity of 8,700 pounds (3,954 kg).
Ford F-150 Raptor R Styling
There isn’t too much designers can do with a truck design. However, the team at Ford was able to make the Raptor R quite distinct. I personally liked the way the Raptor R looks; it’s big, bold, and in your face. It’s wider than the standard F-150, with wide fender flares and wheel arches. It has a lifted suspension and comes with 37” tires, giving it a menacing look. Thanks to the ride height, you’re able to see far ahead of you. The hood sits higher than most sedans’ roofs. Driving the Raptor R in the city makes you feel like the king of the road.
Raptor R Interior
The interior of the Raptor R is the same one found on the regular F-150 truck. It features a 14” touchscreen right in the middle of the dashboard; it has crisp graphics and is responsive to the touch. It displays the standard stuff like maps, radio, output from the various cameras, vehicle information, etc. The gauge cluster is a 12” “Digital Productivity Screen.” This screen features a large digital speedometer, tachometer, and other information like fuel level, oil pressure, transmission temperature, and engine coolant temperature. The area between the digital gauges can me be changed to pre-set information outputs. The whole display also changes colors and display based on which driving mode you’re in and every time you go between modes.
Like the regular Ford F150, the Raptor R comes with a folding center console lid that folds over the gear lever; the gear lever lays flat with the push of a button, giving you a large flat area for working. Our Raptor R had a bit of carbon fiber trim applied to parts of the dashboard and door panels. The Raptor R comes with sporty bucket seats with Alcantara center; these seats are comfortable, provide a lot of support on the road, and should be great for keeping the driver and passenger securely in place on rough high-speed drives (or low-speed rock crawling).
There’s lots of legroom for all occupants, and the rear seats are comfortable and offer more than enough legroom for even the tallest passengers. The rear seats fold up, providing even more car space.
The F-150 Raptor R is also equipped with the latest tech, safety, and convenience features found on other Ford and high-end vehicles; below is brief summary of what’s offered on the Raptor R.
- Keyless Entry, Including Auto-Lock
- Intelligent Access with Push-Button Start
- Power-Adjustable Pedals with Memory
- Heated and Ventilated Front Seats
- Heated Steering Wheel
- Power Tilt/Telescoping Steering Wheel with Memory
- Dual-Zone Electronic Automatic Temperature Control
- Universal Garage Door Opener
- 12″ Digital Productivity Screen
- Auto-Dimming Mirrors
- 360-Degree Camera
- Rain-Sensing Wipers
- Navigation System
- SYNC 4 with Enhanced Voice Recognition
- FordPass Connect with WiFi Hotspot
- LED Headlights, Taillights, Daytime Running Lights
- Power Tailgate (up and down)
- Fully Flat Load Floor
- Blind Spot Monitoring
- Pro Trailer Backup Assist
- Trailer Reverse Guidance
- Reverse Sensing System
- Pre-Collision Assist with Automatic Emergency Braking
- Intelligent Adaptive Cruise Control
- Interior Work Surface
- Forward Sensing System
The 2023 Ford F-150 Raptor R takes things to a new level. It is an incredible truck that looks good, sounds great, and is extremely capable off-road. Its only true competitor is the Ram TRX, making it a rare truck that could become a collector’s item if it’s not already. The price of entry is quite steep, and the fuel consumption isn’t for the faint of heart, but it’s a special kind of truck.
Visit Ford Canada’s website for more information on the Raptor R and other vehicles in their lineup.