"We have a few minutes before we head back to base—wanna go one more time?"

My GoPro was dead, and no one was filming. I’d been off-roading for about six and a half hours already. I definitely had a solid impression of what the refreshed F-150 Raptor R was all about, and I didn’t need to drive more.

“Oh my God, absolutely.” 

I buried the Raptor’s accelerator pedal and let the supercharged V-8 turn a lake bed into silt for the fourth time in a row, swinging wide of traffic-cone apexes, three-quarters sideways, with the four-wheel-drive on and the exhaust baffles wide open. I grinned like a lunatic.

This truck is the best enabler of irresponsible behavior.

Quick Specs 2024 Ford F-150 Raptor R
Drivetrain Supercharged 5.2-Liter V-8
Output 720 Horsepower / 640 Pound-Feet

10-Speed Automatic

Base Price $112,220
On-Sale Date Now

Now, I did have to test it a little, to be fair. The Raptor R is mildly updated under the hood for 2024. Ford dosed the intake with some Claritin, and breathing easier added 20 horsepower for a berserk total of 720—but what’s more important is what didn’t change. The same 5.2-liter supercharged V-8 resides in the bay, and with the V-8 Ram TRX biting the dust for 2024, the Raptor R stands 300 horsepower above its only other V-8 competition, the 420 horsepower Silverado ZR2

The Raptor R is the pinnacle of a (supposedly) dying breed, and it flies the V-8 flag proudly. Its exhaust note and supercharger whine is worth the price of admission; Getting the most-powerful half-ton truck ever built is the icing on the cake. The 20 added horsepower allow the Raptor R to take the crown from the previous record-holding 702-horsepower Ram TRX.

2024 Ford F-150 Raptor R First Drive
Pros: Incredible Sound, Magical Fox Suspension, Most Powerful Half-Ton Ever

The more exciting update, however, is in the wheel wells. Fox and Ford teamed up to revise the Raptor’s Live Valve suspension, which updates valving characteristics on the fly depending on drive mode and driving style. The new Dual Live Valve system works under compression and rebound (previously, it was only on compression). The new shocks are standard on any Raptor with 37-inch tires and all Raptor Rs. 

These shocks and redesigned CV axles allow Ford engineers to squeeze another half inch of travel out of the front suspension, for a maximum 13.5 inches. A new modular front bumper with an updated front fascia, rad Raptor R graphics, and a standard heads-up display—with one of the coolest shift light systems on the market—round out the changes.

Though I didn’t have an old single Live Valve truck to compare back-to-back, the Dual Live Valve system feels downright magical at speed. It’s easiest to notice in moments when sideways on a dry lake bed—with the two outside shocks under compression and two shocks on the inside wheels in rebound. Both sets of opposing dampers are managed by the ECU hundreds of times a second now. This allowed Ford engineers to dial in the truck’s response to body roll, which they did well. It felt like I could yaw the truck at will just with my own two feet when I had it sideways already.

2024 Ford F-150 Raptor R First Drive
2024 Ford F-150 Raptor R First Drive
2024 Ford F-150 Raptor R First Drive

You don’t have to be sideways to notice that the suspension feels magic, either. The Raptor R skims over whoops at speeds that would shatter lesser trucks, and thanks to those standard 37-inch tires, it makes short work of any rock crawling scenario. And, of course, the R’s suspension still absorbs a high-speed jump so smoothly you’ll be uncertain when, exactly, you landed. 

The new suspension bestows enormous confidence in the dirt. All 720 horsepower feel eminently manageable thanks to the precise and accurate body control bestowed by the rebound control. We didn’t air back up for the brief jaunt back to base, so ride quality on the street was best described as… driving a pickup on aired-down 37-inch mud-terrains. Vague, to say the least.

As I headed back to base, I took note of the Raptor R’s interior amenities. In addition to the new head-up display, Raptor R buyers get heated and cooled Recaro seats, a 12.0-inch center touchscreen running Ford’s Sync 4 operating system, and a 12.0-inch digital gauge cluster. Road and wind noise are well-managed despite the massive tires, and the supercharger whine and exhaust note quiet down heavily in normal driving with the electronic baffles closed. 

2024 Ford F-150 Raptor R First Drive
Cons: F-150 Cabin In A $110,000 Truck, Somewhat Vague On-Road Steering

The interior is pleasant overall, but it still looks like a nice F-150 inside. This is acceptable at the base Raptor’s $80,325 sticker, but it’s a little harder to stomach at the Raptor R’s $112,220 base price. (However, the cabin is much more becoming of a six-figure price tag than GM’s six-figure off-road-focused Hummer EV).

But where else are you getting a snarling, whining supercharged V-8 pickup for 110 grand right now? Nowhere. We live in the final throes of the V-8 era, and the Raptor R has the best muscle-car drivetrain anyone could ask for—packaged inside a trophy truck you can put license plates on. The interior could look like a Little Tykes Cozy Coupe and it wouldn’t matter to me.

This truck is for people who want to drive 100 miles an hour on single-track desert roads while heralding their arrival with an exhaust note that sounds like a flock of bald eagles. For 2024, the Raptor R does that even better, and that’s what matters.

2024 Ford F-150 Raptor R First Drive


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Gallery: 2024 Ford F-150 Raptor R First Drive Review

2024 Ford F-150 Raptor R

Engine Supercharged 5.2-Liter V-8
Output 720 Horsepower / 640 Pound-Feet
Transmission 10-Speed Automatic
Drive Type Four-Wheel Drive
Speed 0-60 MPH 4.0 Seconds (est.)
Maximum speed 114 MPH (Electronically Limited)
Efficiency 10 City / 15 Highway / 12 MPG Combined
Towing 8,700 Pounds
Payload 1,400 Pounds
Cargo Volume 52.8 Cubic Feet
Base Price $112,220
On Sale Now
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