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2023 Ford F-150 Raptor: Love at First Stomp

John Berg

Abysmal fuel economy. Weighs more than 6,000 pounds. Only has a 5.5-foot cargo bed. Sits too high to reach over the bed rails. Loud exhaust. Noisy tires. A meager 8,700-pound tow rating.

None of it matters. To drive the 2023 Ford F-150 Raptor R 4X4 SuperCrew is to love it.

The truck represents everything entertaining and intoxicating about muscle machines. It’s pure unadulterated excess. It’s everything we love about Detroit in one enormous pickup truck.

The 2023 Ford F-150 Raptor is a powerhouse of a pickup truck.
The 2023 Ford F-150 Raptor is a powerhouse of a pickup truck. All images © John Berg/2023.

Behind The Wheel

Much of my time driving the Raptor R was accompanied by hysterical laughing. The 700 horsepower, 640 pound-feet of torque, 5.2L supercharged V-8 is borrowed from the Shelby GT500. And 700 horsepower never gets old.

The Raptor R launches hard and is stupid quick. Stomp on the throttle and the big 37-inch All Terrain KO2’s spin like you’re riding on chicken skin.

2023 Ford F-150 Raptor: Love at First Stomp 1
The 2023 Ford F-150 Raptor has an aggressive front grille to complement its powerful engine.

The Raptor R slithers like the cobra under the hood. Who needs crab walk when you can drive sideways by blipping the throttle? Ease off a bit and let those big BFGs hook up and you’re pinned to your seat. Every gear change is accompanied by a bark from the big dogs. The F-150 Raptor is the E-Ticket ride of pickup trucks.

The Ultimate Grocery Getter

While there is fury under the hood, the inside is comforting with handsome leather, suede and carbon fiber interior and a full complement of bells and whistles similar to the Platinum edition. My test truck was equipped with Recaro black leather seats with “Raptor R” embroidery.

The visually striking instrument panel is graphics intensive, re-configurable and easy to read. In the center is a 12-inch infotainment system display running Ford’s Sync 4. Included are wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The 18-speaker Bang and Olufsen sound system is a treat. A double-panel moon roof adds a touch of elegance. There’s even a cell phone holder with built-in inductive charging.

The Raptor R comes only as a SuperCrew. While that limits the bed length the interior is the most spacious in the truck segment. There’s ample storage onboard including two glove boxes, a huge center console, deep door pockets and an innovative storage tray under the back seat to securely lock tools. The storage tray is perfectly sized for grocery bags.

Ready For Baja Or The City

The Raptor R’s ride is luxury-car smooth and comfortable. Fox dual live valve dampers and 14 inches of suspension travel up front and 15 inches in the rear smooth most rugged of terrains. Selective drive modes adjust the shock dampening and the appropriate four-wheel-drive settings.

An active exhaust system is tied to the driving modes. Sport mode opens the exhaust enough to make a pleasing roar. Baja mode is wide open and sounds outrageous, in a most pleasing way.

“Rock Crawl Mode” activates Ford’s hill descent system, selects four-wheel-drive low, engages front and rear electronic lockers and opens the exhaust.

In city driving, broken pavement and giant potholes are imperceptible as are curbs, parking bumpers and center medians. The Raptor R goes where pointed.

An Investment In Gusto

The Raptor R is California emissions-compliant. Fuel economy will be familiar to vintage muscle car enthusiasts. The EPA-rated mileage is 10 miles per gallon in city driving, 15 mpg on the highway and 13 mpg combined. I averaged 12 mpg in about 900 miles of enthusiastic driving. If you drive like a buffoon expect gas mileage in single digits.

The 2023 F-150 Raptor R 4×4 SuperCrew has a base MSRP of $75,775.00. The price as tested with equipment group 802A (moon roof, tailgate, and spray-in bed liner) and the destination fee was $111,935.00.

Surprisingly, the truck is still legal to sell in all 50 states. Compliments to Ford for manufacturing what enthusiasts want.

Article Last Updated: December 11, 2023.

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