2023 Ford F-150 Raptor R Road Test: The hugest hot rod

2023 Ford F-150 Raptor R Road Test: The hugest hot rod

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ANN ARBOR, Mich. — When I appeared on the Autoblog Podcast with Associate Editor Byron Hurd, and he told his tale about cavorting with the 2023 Ford F-150 Raptor R on the sand dunes at Silver Lake, I admitted it: I was jealous. I’m not really a truck guy. I prefer something slow and small with tight handling — even better if it’s electric. That … is not the Raptor R.

What it is, essentially, is a regular Ford F-150 Raptor with a Shelby GT500’s supercharged V8 and the optional 37-inch tires made standard. That’s pretty much it, but even that simple formula means this truck is a lot.


For one thing, the Raptor R is huge. It’s taller than 6-foot-8, and not easy to climb in and out, but you do feel like you could drive over anything. That high hood with its big power dome makes it hard to see what you’re about to rumble over like the Grave Digger, but a number of cameras can help make sense of what poor trodden object is just ahead of your front bumper. It’s wide, too, at 96 inches overall, or a “mere” 87 inches if you don’t care about your mirrors. Either way, that’s more than 7 feet, which means you’re using every little bit of the lane you’ve got, and getting warned by the lane-departure system when you deviate at all from the direct middle. Combine that with 145.4 inches of wheelbase and 232.6 inches of overall length, and you find yourself avoiding crowded parking lots and seeking out the most open of roads — or the quickest path off of them. No wonder this thing feels most at home in the desert. Good thing it’s got a Baja mode just for such escapes.

But on the open road, you can unleash the beast (which, by the way, is exactly what my son kept calling the Raptor R). The aforementioned supercharged V8 displaces 5.2 liters and make an even 700 horsepower and 640 pound-feet of torque. That’s an increase of 1.7 liters, two cylinders, 250 hp and 130 lb-ft over the standard Raptor. Stand on the right pedal, and there’s no hesitation for the Raptor R to rush toward the horizon. From behind the steering wheel, it’s not exactly jarring, which comes as a surprise the first time you put your foot to the floor.

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