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Ford F-150 Raptor R 2023 review


The perfect amount of truck for those who need way too much

Good points

  • Insane power
  • Capable drivetrain
  • Dune-ready suspension
  • Comfortable dynamics
  • Roomy interior
  • Solid infotainment

Needs work

  • Expensive to buy and run
  • Thirsty on petrol
  • Busy interior
  • No BlueCruise
  • Garish graphics
  • Low towing capacity

It’s hard to know if or when the modern truck warfare is going to stop, but it won’t be with Ford’s biggest and baddest F-150 – the Raptor R.

While there has been no shortage of bombastic pick-’em-ups over the years, trucks with more indulgence than is strictly necessary, Ford is really the one that kicked off this modern conflict of ever-increasing power and capability.

Ford F-150 Raptor R 2023 rear 3/4

The 2010 SVT Raptor was the one, with 370kW and a demeanor that made it clear this was not your average work truck.

Ram recently raised the bar with the 523kW 1500 TRX and now Ford is back with a truck capable of jumping clear over any hurdle you want to put in front of it.

Ford F-150 Raptor R 2023 badge

It’s the 522kW and 868Nm F-150 Raptor R, which takes the already raucous Raptor formula and just adds more of everything. Especially more power, more rubber and more suspension.

Is it too much? Absolutely. But is it a good truck?

What are the F-150 Raptor R’s features and options for the price?

The US MSRP of the F-150 Raptor is $75,775 (AUD $131,617 at time of publication). Stepping up to the supercharged R adds another $30,575 to that, coming to AUD$159,511.

The example you see here has a few other options added, such as a US$2195 Moonroof and a Power Tailgate package. Add on the $1,795 destination charge, and the total MSRP is US$111,935.

Standard features include:

  • 17×8.5-inch cast aluminum wheels
  • LT315/70 R17 BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A KO2 Tires
  • Hi-lock dual-range transfer case
  • On-demand four-wheel-drive system
  • 10-speed automatic transmission
  • Rigid LED fog lamps
  • Cast aluminum running boards
  • 12-inch Sync4 infotainment
  • 12-inch gauge cluster
  • FordPass Connect 4G LTE
  • Fox Live Valve shocks
  • 360-degree camera

How does the F-150 Raptor R drive?

This is not a truck to be started lightly. You’ll learn that the very first time you climb up to the driver’s seat and hit the ‘engine start/stop button.

The truck barks to life with blatant disregard for your neighbours and anyone else in your suburb, then settles into a still-raucous idle.

Ford F-150 Raptor R 2023 engine

The droning of the exhaust coming from far behind you, plus the gentle shaking of the cabin from the supercharged 5.2-liter V8, give the sense of a truck that wants to go, wants to go hard, and wants to go now.

It certainly has a look of urgency about it, too. The Code Orange metallic paint is definitely a strong sign of intent.

But even that is made secondary to the garish graphics that sweep across hood and fenders, plus the massive, boxy flares at every corner with embedded yellow running lights that take the Raptor’s signature lighting to a wild extreme.

Ford F-150 Raptor R 2023 front

Despite the look, the dramatic introduction, and the ominous rumble, the F-150 Raptor R is actually quite docile to drive around the town.

Drop it into the normal drive mode with a rotary controller just to the side of the HVAC system, tap the exhaust button on the steering wheel to put the mufflers into quiet mode, and you’d almost never know this was the monster that it is.

The steering is slow and light (though you can adjust that too) and the suspension is so compliant that this is a genuinely pleasant thing to tootle around in when running errands.

Ford F-150 Raptor R 2023 front interior wheel

You’ll never complain about the broken state of your town’s roads because nothing could unsettle this truck.

That said, you may struggle to fit through some of the smaller byways. It does take up a lot of real estate. Thankfully, ultrasonic sensors and 360-cameras make parking in car spaces large enough for its humongous form a breeze.

Of course, nobody’s buying one of these things based on the on-road ride quality. Ford’s engineers spent far too many hours jumping prototypes off of dunes and crashing them through the ruts for the Raptor R to be relegated to civic duty.

Ford F-150 Raptor R 2023 rear 3/4 close

Twist the mode knob into sport and things get more compelling.

The exhaust starts to speak again and the truck automatically switches its drivetrain over to 4A mode, the driveline varying torque distribution front or rear based on available tyre grip.

There never quite seems to be quite enough grip, even on dry asphalt.

Accelerate hard and the Raptor R squats and squirms, its 37-inch BF Goodrich off-road focused tyres providing admirable adhesion despite a tread design clearly optimized for softer stuff. But push on and they do cry freedom soon enough.

Ford F-150 Raptor R 2023 side

Driving this hard on the asphalt feels a lot like watching an exhibition stadium truck race on an IndyCar circuit. The Raptor R is constantly moving and dancing about. It’s delightful, but the real joy comes when the asphalt ends.

For normal, day-to-day driving on the dirt, off-road mode dials up the truck’s Terrain Management System to offer maximum grip.

The vehicle’s forward camera pops up on the 12-inch centre console, helping you see over that tall hood with its (sadly cosmetic) black cap advertising the supercharger within.

In off-road, the transfer case shifts into 4H, balancing torque across all four wheels to provide maximum grip – and maximum fun when there’s little of it. The Raptor R is remarkably compliant over big bumps, potholes, washboards, whatever you can throw at it. Nothing seems to unsettle it.

Ford F-150 Raptor R 2023 front 3/4 3

For slower stuff, there’s a rock crawl mode, switching to 4L mode automatically, ensuring high torque even at low speeds and more precise throttle control.

But the Raptor R’s hallmark mode must be ‘baja’ mode, where the exhaust is at its widest and the truck at its craziest.

You’ll need a lot of open space to really take advantage of all that the Raptor R can do in this wild mode.

Regardless of which mode you choose, whether flying across the landscape or idling through traffic, the 10-speed automatic does a great job of picking the right gear at the right time, slipping smoothly through ratios.

What is the F-150 Raptor R’s interior and tech like?

The Raptor R’s interior is 99 percent the same as that of a regular F-150, dressed up here and there with some visual flash and a few functional upgrades.

On the visual side, a few small carbon-fibre inserts add yet more colors and textures to an already busy interior, but do pair nicely with the orange highlights on the dash, stitching, and the orange stripe sewn into the steering wheel.

Ford F-150 Raptor R 2023 front seats

Front seats are Recaro units with suede-like inserts and embroidered Raptor R logos.

Up on the roof, a whopping six chunky toggle switches have been installed, just waiting for you to wire up enough running lights to make anyone else on the trail think that they’re about to have a close encounter.

Meanwhile, the steering wheel features discrete buttons for toggling through the exhaust, suspension, and steering modes, while a dedicated “R” button on the left lets you quickly recall your favourite settings.

Ford F-150 Raptor R 2023 front interior

The Sync4 infotainment experience on the 12-inch central touchscreen is less customised, without any custom Raptor R screens or the like, which feels like a bit of a shame. Still, it’s clean, quick, and competent, with wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.

Thankfully, the 12.0-inch gauge cluster has a little more to play with, including a wealth of gauges to tell you everything from tire pressure to oil pressure.

You can bring up a real-time display of which tire is getting how much torque, and of course you also have access to inclinometers and the like to ensure you don’t go tipping over.

Front passengers have four USB ports – two A and two C – plus a Qi wireless charging pad.

Ford F-150 Raptor R 2023 back seats

Those in the rear have another two USB ports – one each of A and C type – plus a 120-volt outlet for powering anything you like.

That’s especially handy because, even though this truck was designed to race, the interior is roomy and comfortable enough to make for a great office on the job site.

The arm rest even flips down over the shifter, making for a serviceable desk.

Is the F-150 Raptor R a safe car?

When you’re looking down on everyone from as high a perch as you do here in this, it’s hard not to feel very safe and secure, and the Raptor R definitely backs that up.

However, from a pure crash standpoint, the 2023 Ford F-150 itself scores an IIHS Top Safety Pick and five stars from NHTSA. As F-150 isn’t officially sold in Europe and is yet to land in Oz, the large truck range doesn’t have either a Euro NCAP or ANCAP rating.

Ford F-150 Raptor R 2023 front 3/4

The Raptor R features front, side, and knee airbags for both driver and passenger, plus side curtain airbags that cover far enough back to protect rear-seat passengers as well.

From an active safety standpoint, the Raptor R takes advantage of many of the F-150’s safety suite, including AEB, adaptive cruise, blind-spot monitoring, and automatic emergency braking.

Sadly, Ford’s hands-off driving system BlueCruise is not available on the Raptor R in its domestic US, at least not yet. But, the lane-keep-assist system is quite comprehensive, even if it does require your hands to operate.

What are the F-150 Raptor R’s ownership costs?

Suffice to say, this is a thirsty machine. The official fuel consumption per the U.S. EPA is 10 miles-per-gallon city, 14 highway, and 12 combined. That equates to a miserable 20L/100km rating, exactly the consumption I scored in my week with the truck.

When it does come time to fill up, the Raptor R’s tank is massive: 36 gallons, or 136 litres. That means you’ll be standing at the pump for a long time, wincing as the numbers grow ever-higher.

Ford F-150 Raptor R 2023 bonnet 2

Service intervals are every 10,000 miles, or roughly 16,100kms, but they only mandate replacing the air filter until the 60,000-mile (96,600km) mark, at which point a new set of spark plugs will be required.

The Raptor R has a comprehensive, three-year, 36,000-mile (58,000km) bumper-to-bumper warranty.

Powertrain, meanwhile, is covered for five years, or 60,000 miles (96,600km), and Ford includes free roadside assistance for that period.

The honest verdict on the F-150 Raptor R

It’s hard to rate the Ford F-150 Raptor R in a practical sense because if you’re simply looking for a practical truck you wouldn’t be looking at one of these.

With its exotic sticker price, at least stateside, it’s more than doubling that of a standard F-150. That said, this isn’t an impractical truck.

Ford F-150 Raptor R 2023 tray step

Just like the Raptor before it, the Raptor R gives up very little in its transition into ballistic Baja weapon, still towing 3.7 tonnes, still hauling 635kg, and offering an even more compliant ride than a standard truck.

It’s what else this truck can do that makes it a stunner.

Wild performance, amazing handling, and a personality that will send you driving farther and farther in search of ever-widening fields to play.

Ford F-150 Raptor R 2023 front 3/4 mud 2

The Raptor R wants to run and, should you be lucky enough to have access to the kind of big, untamed terrain where its virtues can truly be felt, you are in for a good time.

Sadly, though, Ford Australia has ruled out the mutha of the current U.S. F-150 lineup for local consumption, at least for now…

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