Is Ford’s 700-Horsepower F-150 Raptor R Is Overlanding Overkill?

Photo By: Ford

I think most of us have been waiting for a V8-powered F-150 Raptor since the last one was phased out in 2014. Now in its third generation, the F-150 Raptor finally offers a V8. However, it’s at the top of the range in the first-ever Raptor R trim.

Don’t get me lying to you; I have no idea what R means. I can tell you, though, that the Raptor R is a force to be reckoned with. Let me explain.

In earning the Raptor its newfangled ‘R’ suffix, the blue oval’s engineers did more than bless it with a new V8 power plant — they added an impressive amount of off-road-ready kit to the already uproarious F-150 Raptor.

Photo by Ford

Photo by Ford

Photo by Ford

Photo by Ford

Photo by Ford

Photo by Ford

Photo by Ford

Photo by Ford

Photo by Ford

Photo by Ford

Photo by Ford

But let’s start with that new V8. It is a supercharged 5.2-liter that was borrowed from the Mustang Shelby GT500. It churns out 700 horsepower and 640 foot-pounds of torque, which is very many indeed.

More than simply slinging the existing V8 from ‘Stang to truck, engineers fiddled with it a bit first. They changed the supercharger pulley, giving the engine more low- and mid-range torque — a must for desert running. A new, stainless steel exhaust manifold was also bolted up, so the engine could breathe out as well as it can now breathe in, which feeds a dual exhaust system.

Engineers then made the R’s air intake 66% wider, which includes a higher-flow air filter. Ford’s propulsion gurus also improved the 5.2-liter’s oil system, fitting a unique cooler and filter as well as a deeper oil pan.

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Power from that potent power plant is routed through a 10-speed automatic transmission that features a new torque converter that aids in transferring all that torque to the wheels as quickly as it can be created. From the back of the transmission, power is connected to the rear differential by a larger aluminum driveshaft.

Power is put to the pavement desert sand through standard 37-inch tires. These are suspended by 24-inch coil springs that are damped by FOX live valve shocks. These electronically controlled shocks allow for as much as 13 inches of suspension travel in the front and 14.1 inches in the rear. I likely don’t need to tell you that these are quite enviable figures.

Photo by Ford

Photo by Ford

Photo by Ford

Photo by Ford

Photo by Ford

Photo by Ford

Photo by Ford

Photo by Ford

Photo by Ford

What will all of this cost and when will it be available? You’ll have to call your nearby Ford store to find that out.

This, however, is the point of most news stories where I wonder aloud whether this new machine will be any good for overlanding. Without knowing Raptor R’s payload, towing capacity, or pricing, I can’t really say.

Certainly, it has the powertrain and suspension bona fides to make it a compelling overlanding vehicle. And overlanders are creative and will make virtually any vehicle fit the overlanding lifestyle if they so choose.

Might the Raptor R be overkill for overlanding? No doubt. Will it be kick-ass nevertheless? You bet.

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