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First review of Ford F-150 Raptor R 2023: ‘Big Raptor’ is equipped with a large V8 engine

Until very recently, there was only one Ford Raptor – no Ranger, no Bronco, just the F-150, or as its engineering team likes to call it “Big Raptor”. OG. King. In the Big Raptor’s little corner of the Ford Performance world, bringing the V8 back has always been a matter of when, not if. But the reality of the market is fluctuating and other projects take precedence – including an overhaul trucksuspended. afterward TRX happened.

For quite a while, the Raptor really had no competition. We need look no further than the Stellantis lineup to see what effect being alone on the market can do for innovation: The Bronco has clearly awakened Jeep from a similar category. As it is often said, competition makes the breed better. In a word, we now have an alternative to the 702hp Supercharged Ram in the form of the F-150, which is also a 700hp supercharger. What a world.

Unlike the TRX, however, the 2023 Ford Raptor R has the benefit of an off-the-shelf frame. Normally, it’s hard to describe a performance variant as merely a base vehicle with a larger engine, but in this case, it’s literally true. Aside from some visual details and swapping out some suspension components to account for the V8’s weight, the Raptor R is really just a more powerful Raptor with the option of 37-inch tires as standard. Specifically, the addition of the GT500’s 5.2-liter turbocharged V8 with up to 700 horsepower and 640 peak torque from 450 hp and 510 lb-ft with the 3.5-liter turbocharged V6.

The stiffer springs keep the ground clearance similar to the V6 Raptor’s 37 seconds (13.1 inches), and the same goes for all other key off-road specs. Approach, breakout and departure angles remain at 33.1 degrees, 24.9 and 24.4 degrees, respectively, and the R offers the same level of suspension travel (13 inches front and 14 inches, respectively. 1 at the back).

Raptor engineers tweaked the drive modes a bit for the R, changing the default Sport Mode powertrain setting to an automatic 4WD setting (that’s 2WD in the standard Raptor) to use. good all that power. The standard 37 figures on the Raptor R don’t make the truck any favors out of the line, and can in fact keep a drag race between the R and TRX dangerously close, but the V8 is still can tear that off-road rubber if that’s what you’re doing. We only got a chance to practice sprints in the sand – useless for data collection, but extremely fun.

The difference is also very little in practice. The Raptor R’s strong acceleration aside, the powertrain is virtually identical. That’s a good thing, and at least partly because minimal change results in minimal weight gain. The R weighs about 5,950 pounds – about 100 pounds more than the 37th generation Raptor V6 (or 200 pounds heavier without it). Yes, that’s a lot of weight, but remember that the iron block Hellcat V8 engine in the TRX helps propel that all-steel truck north by 6,350 pounds. The Raptor’s relatively light aluminum body gives it a pretty serious edge.

The Raptor never really felt small, but Ford’s efforts to control the R’s diet paid off. Walking around town, R doesn’t really feel that That’s different from a Coyote-equipped F-150 unless you start exploring the lower 2/3 of the throttle’s travel, resulting in great noise and quick fuel economy. The official EPA estimate is 15 mpg combined, which can suck out 12 mpg of the TRX combined, but a few hours of flying to and from Michigan’s Silver Lake Sand Dunes results in an average of 10 to 12 mpg for the truck’s convoy. We have a dozen trucks. Maybe the TRX will perform better than it estimates in the same drive, maybe it will be in the single digits, but in a way our experience with the Raptor R in the sand was even better. more dependent on petroleum.

Not that we really pay attention to fuel consumption when blasting around Silver Lake. The park’s massive sand dunes and extensive restrictions (read: hardly any) make it the perfect four-wheeled playground. Except for heavy traffic roads, it has no speed limit. Instead, it’s arranged in a giant, one-way loop designed to keep everyone pointing in the same direction, limiting the possibility of catastrophic encounters on the blind top – among them. have a lot of.

And Ford let us do it all, from climbing dunes to drag racing and everything else in between. It’s easy not to keep track of how many times the vans could see the air for a long time before much of America finished making their morning latte. “It will do it all day long” is the frequent refrain of Ford engineers and test drivers. And they have been proven right. Both the turbocharged V8 and the engine brake shows any signs of giving up, despite the tumultuous fish market of hot friction surfaces swinging in our wake. That traction control system has its full hands on a surface like this, but man, the brakes take that 37 seconds. hard even on loose sand. This is no joke.

The Secret to a Really Great supertruck To be in suspension. For off-road, there needs to be a delicate balance between maneuverability, comfort and control – not the ability to point the truck where you want it, keeping an eye on you, but the ability to control the traffic. dynamics of the truck’s body, especially the vertical jacking ability that comes with rapid movement on rutted surfaces and with washboards.

If your shocks are too strong, they will yank the truck down after each impact, resulting in peeling paint. Too soft and it won’t be stable, leaving you in a constant slow undulation that will lose your grip and cause you to spend a lot of time commuting on suspension stops. That’s how the shocks are blown and the handlebars bend and break, or worse, you lower the soft belly of the truck onto a non-soft rock and puncture something important, such as 5.2 liter oil pan for example.

Ford’s five-link, torsion-shaped rear suspension works great both on the road and off-road. As skillful as the Raptor, it is an absolute kitten that can move around, even on dingy surfaces. The rear suspension is a dream, making the Raptor feel more like an SUV than a truck on asphalt. But while it’s small in size, it’s unavoidably big – and I mean wide. And that’s exacerbated by the fact that the R steers very tightly despite its size and quality. It’s not feel Like a car, you need to wriggle carefully through construction areas, but its width will sweep you out if you’re not careful. I get more hits from the R’s lane departure warning than ever before driving a Super Duty. Keeping it in between lines is harder than holding on after jumping off the dune, I don’t think so.

And then there’s the cabin. Like the exterior, it’s mostly carry-on. Unless you can secure allotment and special ordering of a Raptor R, chances are that’s the only way you’ll ever see one loaded, because Ford says that’s the way. authorized dealer are asking for them. Even so, it is still half a step behind Ram in terms of materials and design. The upgraded seats aren’t like the sculptural buckets found on the Mustang Mach 1 or GT500, but they’re supportive and comfortable enough for the things you’d expect an F-150 to do – even this.

The Raptor occupies a lonely corner in the pickup truck landscape. For a long time, it was the only full-size pickup trying to play in the Baja enthusiasts space. It’s a niche that Ford created for itself more than a decade ago. While Ram was the first to escalate supertruck wars to their contemporaneous absurd levels, this really feels like Ford’s fight to lose. It’s the smaller, lighter, more focused truck, but it’s also the most likely buy-in replacement in the standard Raptor. Both are very good at what they do. In fact, I can’t help but think of Cadillac’s Blackwings; The best argument against buying is other an existence.

The Raptor R is everything it seems to be. It’s big, boisterous and ready – everything equals (at a minimum) Ram’s Hellcat-powered TRX. The nasty upright V8, with off-road exhaust, will liquefy children’s ear drums. It will do everything the V6 Raptor does a little faster and with more fanfare. If that’s ticking your box, you’re in business. Hopefully business goes well, because you’ll be exchanging six-figure sums for one – $109,145 to be exact, at least before any of the house crap.

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