It was not that long ago that I got to speed date this 2023 Ford F-150 Raptor R at a closed course event. It definitely left me with a desire to learn more about this awesome truck and fortunately, I did not have to wait long.
Ford delivered this Antimatter Blue specimen to my house after taking the Bronco Raptor we shared with you last week. (It was a very Dino-centric couple of weeks here at the channel.) Having also tested the Ram 1500 TRX recently, I felt very excited at the notion of recreating the same tests with its main rival.
So, naturally, I filled 3 videos to reexamine the same aspects of the Raptor R, to see if it really measured up.
I will start by saying that I was a bit biased going into the comparison in favor of the Ram. It just felt more inline with what the brand has been doing lately, which is throwing the Hellcat engine in EVERYTHING (Still waiting on my Hellcat Pacifica, Chrysler). Ram, Jeep, and Dodge are just out here flaunting their big, loud, and thirsty supercharged V8 up and down neighborhood streets across the country in a variety of vehicles, and I have loved them all.
When Ram designed and brought the TRX to market, their rival was outfitted with the latest EcoBoost twin-turbocharged V6, having ditched the V8 of the first generation. Gen 2 of the Raptor may still be my favorite in the looks department, but it lost something when they deleted 2 cylinders. Therefore, when this loud and obnoxious 702-horsepower super truck showed up, the world took notice.
Fast forward to the present day, and Ford answers back with this gem. Borrowing the 5.2L supercharged V8 from the Mustang Shelby GT500, Ford clapped back with nearly identical power numbers: 700 horsepower and 640 lb-ft of torque (-2 and -10, respectively). Ford dropped this glorious and powerful V8 in a pickup that weighs around 400 lbs. less with a transmission employing 2 more gears. All this translates to a pickup that can run from a standstill to 60 miles per hour in a mind-boggling 3.6 seconds. That is faster than the TRX by nearly a full second, and faster than the previous “Fastest F-150 Ever” in the electric Lightning variant, all while making some glorious noises from under the hood and at the tailpipe.
The engine, transmission, and drivetrain just feels more polished in the Raptor R, and thanks to a transfer case that allows for 2WD, allows for easy burnouts, something impossible to do in a stock TRX with its full-time 4WD.
When it comes to off-road performance, by the numbers, the TRX does not stand a chance. In every metric the F-150 wins out, and by a sizable margin. I have all major measurements listed below for both the Raptor R and the TRX, and it is just silly how much better the Raptor comes across on paper.
In reality, I had a ton of fun with the Raptor R not only on the streets but taking it to our favorite off-road testing site of Barnwell Mountain just outside of Gilmer, TX. We filmed our series of tests we take all off-road vehicles through and then proceeded to have the real fun. Again, the 2WD ability of the Raptor R made for some tail-out fun in the sand and dirt. This truck will gladly step the rear out on you but in a predictable and controllable manner. Unlike some other vehicles I have tested lately that brake rear traction violently and without notice, the Raptor R would do it with a quick jab of the throttle in a controlled slide that left me laughing.
Not only was I able to conquer our normal tests with ease, have fun sliding around and making dusty red donuts, but the Raptor R caught some air as well. Now, we do not have a dedicated jump, more of a rise in the ground that drops off abruptly and allows for some fun in the middle of an off-road park, but it has allowed us to get several big pickups off their wheels for a moment. The Raptor R did not make it easy, however. With its 13-14 inches of wheel travel and tuned Fox shocks for high-speed desert racing, the suspension did its best to keep us touching the Earth for as long as possible. It really feels as though Ford and Fox have the truck riding solidly in the middle of those long-travel shocks, meaning while I went up the hill and off, the suspension had plenty of room to travel just barely leaving the red dirt. Could I have gone faster or done more, yes. Did my nerves or the surrounding area call for that, no.
Given a proper course made for jumping trucks, I would gladly enjoy testing this feature out some more.
When we were done, my producer and I loaded up and rode home in comfort. The Recaro bucket seats wrapped in suede and leather were ventilated for comfort on a hot summer day. The interior of the Raptor R is the one place I feel the Ram wins out. Ram has really set the bar with pickup truck interiors and these two test vehicles are close, but the Ram is superior in this department. Everything from the Ram’s heated and ventilated rear seats with recline, to the ease of installing a rear car seat, the Ram still has Ford’s number in one aspect.
Getting Holli behind the wheel meant a spin around downtown Tyler and down the historic brick streets with Tucker’s wobbly head in the back seat. Everything that made this Raptor R good at Barnwell also made it great here. Overall it was a very civilized truck in city life, albeit a bit big. The size of the Raptor R is not too much of a concern here in Texas as full-size pickups are the default family vehicle of choice, but the extra width on the Raptor R was still noticeable.
Overall, I would say of the Raptor R/TRX competition, both are great pickups and would make their owners very happy, but the Ram feels very much like the first-generation attempt that it is. The ride is more floaty like my 1991 Cadillac Eldorado, and the performance of the Raptor R just outshines and outclasses it in many respects. The Ford F-150 Raptor R feels like a third-generation product. It feels more complete and polished over time.
When it comes to our family of three, it seems we are split with Holli declining to cast the deciding vote. Though, it is not of much concern because the 111,935 price tag and the abysmal single-digit fuel economy we saw would definitely prohibit us from owning one any time soon. If you have the means, however, absolutely go for it…. Just get the Ford, leave Ram to possibly perfect it in future years.
2023 Ford F-150 Raptor R Specs:
5.2L Supercharged V8 Engine
700 Horsepower (702 hp in Ram TRX)
640 lb-ft of Torque (650 lb-ft in Ram TRX)
10-Speed Automatic Transmission (8-speed in Ram TRX)
2-Speed Transfer Case
Increased Width over Regular F-150
3.6 second 0-60 mph Acceleration (4.5 seconds in Ram TRX)
12 second 1/4 mile at 112 mph (12.9 seconds at 108 in Ram TRX)
Independent Double-wishbone with Coil-over Shock and Cast Aluminum Lower Control Arm
Five-link Coil with Panhard Rod Rear Suspension
High-output, Gas-pressurized, Electronically Controlled, Continuously Variable Compression Damping FOX Racing Shox
3.1-inch Damper, 1.0-inch Rod Diameter with 37-inch tires (0.875-inch Rod in Rear)
13-inches of Wheel Travel Front and 14.1-inches in Rear
Approach Angle: 33.1º (30.2º in Ram TRX)
Breakover Angle: 24.4º (21.9º in Ram TRX)
Departure Angle: 24.9º (23.5º in Ram TRX)
Ground Clearance: 13.1 inches (11.8 inches in Ram TRX)
17-inch Forged Aluminum Headlock-capable Wheels
L37x12.50R17LT BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A KO2 Tires
Dual Rear Exit Exhaust
Seating for 5
RECARO Black Leather Seats with Suede Inserts
Leather and Suede-wrapped Steering Wheel
Digital Gauge Cluster
12-inch SYNC Infotainment Screen with Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
Dual-zone Automatic Climate Control
Power Operated, Damped Tailgate
Proximity Key with Push Button Start
EPA Fuel Economy 14/16/15 (city/hwy/cmb)
Starting Price: $75,775
Price As Tested: $111,935