Ford F-150 Raptor R Acceleration Is Wild but Weird: You Have to Use the 'Auto Hold' Feature

2023 ford f150 raptor r
700-HP Ford Raptor R Is King of Gas-Engine PickupsCar and Driver

This is what we've waited for. From the moment Ford announced the Raptor R—its 700-horsepower hypertruck and direct competitor to the 702-hp Ram 1500 TRX—our inner ear bristled with excitement to see how the two would stack up. The Ford's 3.6-second romp to 60 mph makes it the quickest gasoline-fueled truck we've strapped our test gear on. So is the 12.0-second trip through the quarter-mile trap at 112 mph, which bests the quickest TRX we've seen and takes back the title of the quickest F-150 from the electric Lightning. (The Rivian R1T remains the quickest-accelerating pickup ever, with a 60-mph dash in 3.0 seconds and an 11.5-second quarter-mile.) But the Raptor R's record-setting run doesn't quite tell the entire story.

Typically, when launching these high-powered behemoths, a big brake torque to build up boost and revs is the quickest way off the line. Unlike the TRX, the Raptor R isn't equipped with an adjustable launch-control system or any launch assistance for that matter. If there's any amount of brake pressure detected, the computers tell the engine to stand down and reduce the amount of torque delivered through the driveline. Ford says this is to prevent the engine from overwhelming the brakes. If and when you take delivery of a Raptor R, follow these two easy steps to achieve maximum acceleration: Select Sport mode (this automatically puts the transfer case into 4Auto) and turn on the Auto-Hold function for the brake system. Stand on the throttle and you're off. Simply flat-footing it from rest without using Auto Hold is a tenth slower. But that's right, the Raptor R runs to 60 mph in 3.6 seconds from idle at the line.

ford f150 raptor r
Marc Urbano - Car and Driver

Given its massive 700-pound weight advantage, we expected the 6077-pound Raptor R's advantage to surpass the 0.3-second gap it puts on the TRX in the quarter-mile. The blame lies with the 37-inch BFGoodrich All-Terrain KO2s and their 112-mph speed rating, which don't allow Ford to unleash the supercharged 5.2-liter V-8's true potential. From 100 to 110 mph, each mile per hour clicks by in roughly 0.2 second. The Raptor R reaches 110 mph in 11.1 seconds and then power is pulled as the truck approaches the 114-mph speed limiter. It takes another 0.9 second to reach 112 mph and the quarter-mile, when it should take half as much time. If the Raptor R rolled on the 35-inch tires and had the same 120-mph speed limiter as the twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter version, it would deliver to the TRX the biggest beatdown Detroit has seen since the 2012 World Series. Still, the Raptor takes the quarter-mile win by 0.3 second, and the F-150's svelteness shows up in the rolling-start 5-to-60 mph acceleration test, where it betters the Ram by 0.5 second.

Braking, as expected, isn't a strong point for desert-ready trucks running their tires with big, squishy tread blocks. The Raptor R stopped from 70 mph in 205 feet and stretched that distance to 430 feet from 100 mph, trailing the best TRX numbers we've seen by 16 and 12 feet, respectively. The Raptor R circled the skidpad at 0.71 g, a hardly impressive number, but slightly better than the TRX.

Seven hundred horses tend to be thirsty. On our 75-mph highway fuel-economy loop, the Raptor R returned 14 mpg, missing the EPA's highway estimate by 1 mpg. It is, however, better than the 13 mpg we observed in our long-term Ram 1500 TRX. But is anyone buying a $100,000 truck concerned about fuel economy? Our guess is no.

Of course, there's an inevitable head-to-head comparison test brewing to get these factory-built monster trucks out in their natural habitat to sort out who's who. But for now, Ford's Raptor R is the performance king.

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