Super Truck 2023 Ford Raport R

While the most notorious mountain destinations of the Alps are populated by luxurious and fast Super-SUVs, on the other side of the world, they have the Super-Trucks!

In the land of freedom, where roads are wide and straight, and wild nature still dominates a big portion of the country, trucks are some of the best selling categories of vehicles, with almost half million heavy-duty vehicles sold in 2022. One of the most legendary is the Ford F-150, a true icon that evolved during the years, from a basic single cab truck with rubber floor mats, all the way to the King Ranch and Platinum trim levels that fit them with luxury to rival big SUVs like the Cadillac Escalade.

In 2010, Ford figured out how to build the most desirable truck on the market, one that even people who did not care about trucks could get excited about. Known as the Raptor, instead of producing a car for speed and performance on the road, Ford and its Special Vehicles Team (SVT) built a Baja pre-runner with long travel suspension, knobby tires, fender flares, and an updated interior. The Raptor was a runaway success, leaving other truck manufacturers scrambling to build something to compete in the segment. Although a 5.7 and 6.2-liter V8 powered the first generation trucks, the second generation in 2017- moved to the 3.5-liter twin-turbocharged Ecoboost. This engine was more powerful, efficient, and tunable than the original ones, but still left people wanting more. That is where the Raptor R comes in.

We never tested a truck before on EoW, but when Ford offered us the keys of the new Raptor R, it was hard to say no. We just landed at San Francisco airport and we found a brand new Avalanche Grey Ford F-150 Raptor R waiting for us at the Terminal. While to the casual observer it is hard to differentiate it from a standard Raptor, the biggest difference is under the hood. Gone is the 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6, and in its place is the Predator 5.2-liter supercharged V8 out of the GT500. This motor swap boosts power from a respectable 450 hp and 510 lb-ft of torque in the standard truck to a scarcely believable 700 horsepower and 645 lb-ft of torque.

Open the door to the Raptor R, and the interior is quite inviting- up front, a pair of Recaro bucket seats are wrapped in black Alcantara and leather, which are accented with splashes of orange stitching and the RaptoR badge upholstered in the seatbacks. In many ways, Ford has perfected the truck interior over its decades of F-150 production, and its interior takes what they have learned and uses the best elements available in the company’s arsenal. A vibrant 12” multimedia display sits in the center console, and a configurable LCD display takes the place of your gauge cluster.

Both the front and rear seats are heated, and dual-zone climate control is also fitted. On the dashboard, gloss carbon fiber trim is accented by splashes of orange, harkening back to the logo for the Raptor R, as does an orange stripe at 12 o’clock on the steering wheel. All comforts for daily use then, with the plus of a 700hp V8 under the hood!

Ford built this truck with the Ram TRX squarely in its crosshairs, and it is safe to say the performance lives up to and, in many cases, better than that of the Ram. Raptor R’s 0-100 km/h is covered in a blistering 3.6 seconds, respectable numbers for a supercar, let alone a truck weighing in at more than 2,700 Kgs.

Power is sent through a 10-speed automatic gearbox through all 4 wheels. The transfer case offers rear drive, auto four-wheel drive, high-range four-wheel drive (physically locked front to rear), and low-range four-wheel drive. You can also manually lock the rear differential, making it gloriously adaptable to whatever surfaces you care to conquer. We soon leave the crowded roads of San Francisco to head east towards the Sierra to Salt Lake City to meet a few friends with some other interesting Fords.

We soon find ourselves running up and down the hills of our friend’s ranch together with the stunning Bronco Raptor, equipped with the V6 and the F250 “Tremor”, with a 6.7L Diesel V8 producing 500hp and an unbelievable 1600 nm of torque.

Nothing can really stop us, with our Raptor  being definitely the loudest ones, especially in Baja mode, with the twin exhaust cannons firing a fusillade of V8 fury. But saying “Baja”makes us want more. Up in the mountains, on the narrow roads with rocks and trees you enjoy the Ford’s off-road capabilities but it’s hard to really experience the full potential of this crazy truck.

That said, we decided to continue our road trip and look for some real desert landscapes. We head north east entering Nevada towards Reno and then up on Road 23 in direction of the tranquil Pyramid lake.

Casinos, malls, and residential areas soon leave space to a beautiful and arid landscape. After we enter the Payute reservoir, the tarmac ends (finally) and, being completely lonely for miles and miles, we select again the Baja mode and flatten the accelerator. The front end climbs toward the sky, the V8 screams together with the Supercharged whistle while the four 37-inch BFGoodrich All-Terrain KO2 tires try to find grip between rocks and sand.

The experience is absolutely mind blowing. We did drive rally cars before, but the Raptor R full gas in the desert is something even more incredible, making you feel like a driver competing in the Dakar rally! 

With 700hp and plenty of space at your disposal, you forget the size of the truck and you can play between the twists, literally flying over every obstacle with a precise steering and an excellent chassis that finally found the right engine! The column of dust is getting too long, and we better stop before the ranger sees us.

With a huge smile on our faces, we head back to our way, satisfied for having fully tried the potential of this incredible machine. The first generation Raptor started a pre-runner revolution in the truck world, and the Raptor R is the ultimate expression of the style.

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