2023 Ford F-150 Raptor

absolutely AUTO REVIEW  | By Steve Kursar –

The 2023 Ford F-150 Raptor is one of those iconic vehicles that everyone with a need for speed has on their bucket list. This year’s model F-150 Raptor is the third-generation high-speed off-road performance truck that combines mechanical and technical engineering knowhow with enhanced connected technology for the ultimate desert-running experience. Surprisingly, it’s a truck that handles beautifully on dry asphalt that shines, as well driving off-road as in the sand.

The very first Raptor appeared in 2010 when it was designated the SVT Raptor. Designed by the Ford Special Vehicle Team (SVT), the Raptor was designed and tested in Borrego Springs, California where the desert provided an optimal area for running the truck flat out. A race version was also built to compete in the Baja 1000 Race where the Raptor came in second in its class. Pretty impressive results for a brand-new vehicle.

A base 2023 F-150 Raptor comes with a $76,775 price tag and is powered by a third-generation high-output twin-turbo 450 hp, 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 engine delivering torque low in the rev range right where it counts. The engine is mated to a 10-speed transmission, and EPA estimated fuel economy is abysmal at 15 mpg in the city and 18 mpg on the highway. You don’t buy this truck if you want to save money on gas.

Any high-performance off-road pickup is defined by its suspension, and the F-150 Raptor features a precision-engineered five-link rear suspension developed specifically for Raptor, designed to deliver more control and power to the ground with greater confidence over rough terrain at high speeds. Another feature of the Raptor are its tires, which are available with either 35-inch or 37-inch tires, making them the largest factory-fitted to a production light-duty full-size pickup.

The Terrain Management System’s seven selectable drive modes allow customers to choose the setting best suited to driving conditions, including Slippery, Tow/Haul, Sport, Normal, Off-Road, Baja and Rock Crawl. Drive modes adjust steering feel, transfer case behavior, stability control, active valve exhaust, active damping system, throttle mapping and transmission shift points.

The Raptor’s rugged, aggressive exterior design emphasizes the truck’s width with a machine-tough look featuring a power dome hood with blacked-out grille and headlights that stretch fender to fender. The 2023 Raptor is a pickup that is sure to bring a smile to anyone who gets to drive it and to watch it drive by.