Skip to main content

The 2023 Ford F-150 is the latest iteration of the Blue Oval’s full-size pickup truck. The F-150 is America’s favorite pickup truck. It regularly competes with popular models like the Ram 1500. Which Ford F-150 trims should you want, get, and pass on?

2023 Ford F-150 Raptor: Want

A red 2023 Ford F-150 Raptor off-road pickup truck is parked outdoors.
The 2023 Ford F-150 Raptor | Ford

Usually, fully loaded trim levels are the most desirable when comparing trims. That may not be the case with the 2023 Ford F-150. The F-150 comes in a whopping eight different trim levels, but one trim is more notable than all other styles of F-150: the Raptor.

Ford and Ram both offer full-size pickup trucks for the average American driver, then there’s the Raptor and TRX. The Ford F-150 Raptor and Ram 1500 TRX are off-road pickup trucks with powerful engines. These behemoths are surprisingly street-legal, even though they seem to have more in common with monster trucks than work trucks.

The 2023 Ford F-150 Raptor is the trim to want because it uses a mighty 3.5-liter twin-turbocharged V6 engine that’s capable of producing 450 horsepower and 510 lb-ft of torque with premium fuel. It comes with sport-tuned shock absorbers and a five-link rear suspension with a Panhard rod. This truck is literally designed for gnarly terrain.

Automotive enthusiasts love the Raptor because it’s the most hardcore version of the F-150 available on the market today. Ford Raptor trims are specifically made to conquer tough off-road obstacles. The 2023 Ford F-150 Raptor has a sky-high starting price of $76,775, making it unattainable for the average driver. Those who can snag an F-150 Raptor enjoy performance and capability that’s rare, even for America’s favorite pickup truck.

2023 Ford F-150 XLT: Get

A white 2023 Ford F-150 full-size pickup truck is driving on the road towing a trailer.
The 2023 Ford F-150 | Ford

This may be a strange take for some, but there are several reasons that the XLT is the best trim to get for the average F-150 buyer.

The 2023 Ford F-150 has a large number of trim options to choose from, but six of the eight available options have starting prices above the average new vehicle price (roughly $46,000.) This makes the base XL and the XLT the most reasonable options by today’s pricing standards. The Lariat, King Ranch, and Platinum trims range from $57,000 to about $65,000.

Car and Driver recommends the 2023 Ford F-150 Lariat because of affordability (in comparison to other trim levels) and value proposition, but the Lariat is still pretty pricey at $57,480 before taxes and additional fees.

The 2023 Ford F-150 XLT starts at $41,800, making it significantly more affordable than the average new vehicle. It comes standard with a 12-volt powerpoint, post-collision braking, and a lane-keeping system. It also includes a remote keyless entry system, heated side mirrors, and Ford’s Dynamic Hitch Assist. As far as standard features go, the 2023 F-150 XLT provides enough value for most drivers at a price that won’t break the bank.

Pass on the Ford F-150 XL and expensive upper trim levels

Two Ford F-150 full-size pickup trucks (L) blue, (R) red, parked in the grass.
The 2023 Ford F-150 | Ford

There may be a Ford F-150 for everyone, but many of the full-size pickup truck’s upper trim levels are designed for specific niches. If you want an F-150 as a daily driver with mild capability as a work truck, the XLT should suit you. Skip the XL because the XLT has better features for a price that’s still affordable. After the XLT, the line between affordability and value begins to blur.

Sure, plenty of upper trim F-150 models provide great value for their prices, but those prices are too high for a large percentage of drivers, especially in our current economic climate. Many critics believe that the Lariat is the best value for the money, but will it be the most popular 2023 Ford F-150 trim? We’ll just have to wait and see.