This is what we’ve been waiting for. From the moment Ford announced the Raptor R—its 700-horsepower hypertruck and direct competitor to the 702-hp Ram 1500 TRX—we were bursting with excitement to see how the two would stack up. The Ford’s 3.6-second run to 60 mph makes it the fastest gas-powered truck we strapped our test gear on. So does the 12.0-second run through the quarter-mile trap at 112 mph, besting the fastest TRX we’ve seen and taking back the title of fastest F-150 from the electric Lightning. (The Rivian R1T remains the fastest-accelerating pickup, with a 60 mph dash in 3.0 seconds and an 11.5-second quarter mile.) But the Raptor R’s record-setting run doesn’t quite tell the whole story.
Typically, when these high-powered behemoths are launched, a big brake torque to build up boost and revs is the quickest way off the line. Unlike the TRX, the Raptor R is not equipped with an adjustable launch control system or any launch assist for that matter. If any amount of brake pressure is detected, the computers tell the engine to shut down and reduce the amount of torque delivered by the driveline. Ford says this is to prevent the engine from overwhelming the brakes. If and when you take delivery of a Raptor R, follow these two easy steps to achieve maximum acceleration: Select Sport mode (this automatically places the transfer case in 4Auto) and engage the Auto-Hold function for the braking system. Stand on the throttle and you’re off. Simply putting it flat from rest without using Auto Hold is a tenth slower. But that’s right, the Raptor R sprints to 60 mph in 3.6 seconds from idle at the line.
Given its massive 700-pound weight advantage, we expected the 6077-pound Raptor R’s advantage to surpass the 0.3-second gap it puts on the TRX in the quarter-mile. The fault lies with the 37-inch BFGoodrich All-Terrain KO2s and their 112 mph speed rating, which doesn’t allow Ford to unleash the supercharged 5.2-liter V-8’s true potential. From 100 to 110 mph each mile per hour clicks in about 0.2 seconds. The Raptor R hits 110 mph in 11.1 seconds and then power is pulled as the truck approaches the 114 mph speed limiter. It takes another 0.9 seconds to reach 112 mph and the quarter mile, when it should take half as long. If the Raptor R rolled on the 35-inch tires and had the same 120-mph speed limiter as the twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter version, it would give the TRX the biggest downforce Detroit has seen since the 2012 World Series . Still, the Raptor takes the quarter-mile victory by 0.3 seconds, and the F-150’s sleekness shows in the run-start 5-to-60-mph acceleration test, where it bests the Ram by 0.5 seconds.
Braking, as expected, isn’t a strong point for desert-ready trucks that run their tires with big, soft tread blocks. The Raptor R stopped from 70 mph in 205 feet and stretched that distance to 430 feet from 100 mph, trailing the best TRX numbers we’ve seen by 16 and 12 feet, respectively. The Raptor R circled the skidpad at 0.71g, a hardly impressive number, but slightly better than the TRX.
Seven hundred horses tend to be thirsty. On our 75-mph highway fuel-economy loop, the Raptor R returned 14 mpg, missing the EPA’s highway estimate by 1 mpg. However, that’s better than the 13 mpg we observed in our long-term Ram 1500 TRX. But does anyone buy a $100,000 truck worried about fuel economy? Our guess is no.
Of course, there’s an inevitable head-to-head comparison test brewing to get these factory-built monster trucks in their natural habitat to find out who’s who. But for now, Ford’s Raptor R is the performance king.
2023 Ford F-150 Raptor R
Vehicle Type: Front Engine, Rear/4 Wheel Drive, 5 Passenger, 4 Door Pickup
Base/As Tested: $109,145/$111,935
Options: moonroof and power tailgate, $2195; spray-in bed liner, $595; graphic removal, $0
supercharged and intercooled DOHC 32-valve V-8, aluminum block and heads, port fuel injection
Displacement: 315 inches35163 cm3
Power: 700 hp @ 6650 rpm
Torque: 640 lb-ft @ 4250 rpm
Suspension, F/R: control arms/live axle
Brakes, F/R: 13.8-in ventilated disc/13.2-in ventilated disc
Tires: BF Goodrich All-Terrain T/A KO2
37×12.5R-17LT 116S M+S 3PMSF FP
Wheelbase: 145.4 inches
Length: 232.6 inches
Width: 87.0 inches
Height: 80.6 inches
Passenger volume: 136 feet3
Curb weight: 6077 lb
C/D TEST RESULTS
60 mph: 3.6 sec
100 mph: 9.1 sec
1/4-mile: 12.0 sec @ 112 mph
Results above show 1 foot deployment of 0.3 sec. away.
Acceleration, 5–60 mph: 4.1 sec
Top Gear, 30–50 mph: 2.2 sec
Top Gear, 50–70 mph: 2.7 sec
Top speed (gov ltd): 114 mph
Braking, 70–0 mph: 205 ft
Braking, 100–0 mph: 430 ft
Road holding capacity, 300-ft Skid road: 0.71 g
C/D FUEL ECONOMY
Observed: 10 mpg
75 mph highway driving: 14 mpg
75 mph highway range: 500 miles
EPA FUEL ECONOMY
Combined/City/Highway: 12/10/15 mpg
C/D TEST EXPLAINED
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