We have always maintained that the Ford F-150 Raptor is adept as a problem solver.
Are you moving? Do you need to get a cumbersome object from here to there? It just so happens that a Ford F-150 Raptor, a desert smashing, gravity defying super truck is well suited for the task. It has a payload capacity of 635 kilos and if your cumbersome object is lashed to a trailer, it can safely tow 3,946 kilos without breaking a sweat. Maybe you’re just having a bad day- a difficult client kills your buzz, a peak at your financial portfolio sends your serotonin levels plunging- getting behind the wheel of a Raptor is a surefire way to turn that frown upside down.
Perhaps you’ve got a hankering for some off the grid camping? Where many pickups reach their off-road limits not far from the trailhead, the Rap is just getting started. Only its prodigious width might hold you back on the single tracks, but where most trucks wave the white flag, suspension tremoring like a wet dog, the Raptor goes further- and much, much faster- than they could ever imagine. All trucks offer some degree of off-road capability, but the Raptor takes that to the next level. It will rock crawl, it will negotiate some of the nastiest and deepest mud bogs and it will skim over gnarly terrain at speeds that seem impossible- effortlessly. So, it’s a pretty good choice for when the pavement transitions to dirt; and we’re only talking about the 3.5 turbo V6 version.
In case you missed it, there’s now a V8 powered model called the Raptor R. This truck is the result of Ford’s executives looking scrupulously across town at the ongoing party happening at RAM truck headquarters celebrating the juicy profit margins of their Hellcat powered RAM TRX and thought, “we need a slice of that pie.” It just so happens that Ford has a 5.2 litre V8 with a supercharger casually perched atop sitting on the shelves left over from the Mustang GT500 production run. Dubbed ‘Predator’, it is an absolute powerhouse of an engine and competes very favorably with the TRX despite being down by two ponies. Spoiler alert: you will not miss them, and with trucks weighing in around 2,670 kilos, you wouldn’t detect them anyhow.
We never referred to the V6 Raptor as slow, but for anyone who had that opinion, know that the Raptor R ups the ante considerably. How does a 3.5 second lunge to 100 km/h sound (yes, that is a couple of ticks faster than the TRX for those that are wondering.) The R is imbued with the type of weapons grade power and the acceleration that goes along with that which used to be the reserved territory of dedicated sports cars, usually those weighing in at several hundred kilos less than the truck you see here. The Predator engine is ferocious, particularly at the last bit of its climb to its 7,500 rpm redline, almost absurdly high for a truck. It shrugs off the prodigious weight of the massive rolling stock and beefy suspension components like they’re not even there. Another problem solved by the Raptor: putting distance between a dawdling/sketchy motorist or trying to negotiate an overtaking maneuver on a two-lane road is easy-peasy. Flex your right ankle while the transmission clicks down a few ratios and the Predator screams its feral soundtrack, and you’re gone, baby.
The sheer power of this truck will leave you giddy, but you’ll come back to Earth real fast if you think the Raptor R’s sporting credentials include handling. Remember kids, this is a very heavy truck with 37” off-road centric tires and roughly 7 stories of ground clearance (in reality it’s 13.1 inches) so anyone imagining they’ll be chasing Porsches around canyon roads will want to rethink that proposition. Off tarmac it’s a different story but suffice it to say that you’re going to want to be deliberate when showing this thing some corners.
There’s a positive offshoot of the lack of handling prowess thanks to the long travel suspension, and that is ride quality that is downright astonishing. This truck with workaday roots pours itself down the road with a confidence and precision that will shock anyone who has yet to experience a Raptor. Never mind the way craggy tarmac and overzealous speedbumps are dispatched without so much as a whimper from the bits down below. Under normal conditions, the Raptors suspension offers more suppleness and astute body control than some dedicated luxury cars- those which cannot jump or negotiate off-road single tracks at extra-legal speeds. Basically, the Raptor R rides like a 1970’s Cadillac Fleetwood, if said Fleetwood’s suspenders were thoroughly messaged by Multimatic Motorsports with their very trick DSSV dampers.
Clearly there’s a lot to love here- but let’s face it, there’s stuff that will rankle the driver of any car or truck and the Raptor R is not immune. First, there’s the size. This thing is HUGE. If you typically find yourself driving in and around urban centres, you will need to exercise a degree of vigilance when guiding this beast down narrow streets and in generally tight quarters. You probably won’t fit into any underground parking lots, and the ones at ground level won’t be much better since they’re used to accommodating smaller cars and the parking stalls are sized accordingly. It is so large that it didn’t fit in most of our driveways, and not because it’s too long but because it’s too wide, massive BF Goodrich tires leaving imprints in the lawn on either side of the paved slab. The other thing (among others) that’s huge regarding the Raptor R is the fuel consumption. This truck was the thirstiest vehicle we’ve driven over the last few years, netting a final consumption figure of 21L/100km which can only be described as ravenous. A good part of that is on us with our penchant for exploring the Predator’s sparkling top end, but we don’t set fuel prices and with 91 octane cresting two bucks per litre, it’s fill-up dues are not for the faint of heart or light of wallet. Speaking of wallets, many who asked what the R costs nearly fell out of their chair declaring that its asking price of $150,000 is wayyyyy too high for any truck, even one with the R’s pedigree. We say hogwash, because if you can show us anything on sale today, car or truck, that offers the capability and bandwidth the Raptor R can achieve for the same or less money, we’d like to see it. We understand that the Raptor R is hugely unnecessary, but a rip off it is not- it’s worth every penny and were we of the means to do so, we’d have one parked (awkwardly, mind) in our own driveways.
Despite these petty grumblings, we think it’s abundantly clear that we grew quite fond of the Raptor R whilst it held court in the Carpages Garage. We are privileged to drive some very amazing and memorable machinery, and every so often something comes along that requires a recalibration of excellence, not to mention something that will reside in the memory banks for years to come, recalling with a wistful smile all the fun that was had by all during a brief stint of calling the Raptor R our own. It is a truly special vehicle, even if it is more house than vehicle given its massive footprint, but still. Can you drive your house to work every day? No, you cannot. But the Raptor R excels in almost every metric you can think of (as long as we’re not talking fuel frugality or parallel parking on a one-way street in the downtown core.) So remember, when life gives you lemons, a Predator V8 and the Baja bashing wrapper it comes packaged in go to great lengths to give you lemonade.
2023 Ford F-150 Raptor R - Specifications
- Price as tested: $150,000 (est.)
- Body Type: 4-door, 5 passenger truck
- Powertrain Layout: Front engine/four-wheel drive
- Transmission: 10-speed automatic
- Engine: 5.2 litre supercharged V8, 32 valves, DOHC
- Horsepower: 700 @ 6,650 rpm
- Torque (lbs-ft.): 640 @ 4,250 rpm
- Curb weight: 2,670 kg (5,886 lbs)
- Observed Fuel Consumption: 21L/100km (11 mpg)