For two years, the Ram TRX has reigned as the fastest, baddest, off-road pickup you can buy at a dealer with enough power to tow (or jump) the moon. Ford took notice. For 2023 the new Ford F-150 Raptor R has come roaring to life with a new supercharged V8 just like the TRX and a huge horsepower bump that should make a Raptor vs. TRX battle one for the ages. When Ram decided to build a new Raptor beater for 2021, Ram swung for the fences with the TRX and instead of simply making a faster truck, it made a truck that was a lot faster.
But, today Ford launched the Raptor R and put Ram on notice that the game is on.
It’s not just TRX vs. Raptor, but Hellcat vs. Shelby
Let’s just get the big stuff out of the way first: The Ram TRX makes more horsepower and more torque than the new Raptor R, but not by much. The TRX maxes 702 hp, while the Raptor R makes 700. The Ram TRX makes 650 lb.-ft. of torque, the new Ford F-150 Raptor R makes 640 lb. ft. If you think you can feel the two extra ponies, you’re probably mistaken.
Both V8s have all of the modern technology, like double overhead cams and sophisticated computers, that would have made this kind of power unbelievable just a few years ago. Also, they both carry muscle car heritage.
Will the new Ford Raptor have a V8? Ohh, yes, the Shelby 5.2-liter
Many were hoping the Raptor R would get a version of the Mustang’s V8, and it does. In this case, the 5.2-liter comes from the Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 and it gets a supercharger to force more air into the engine. Ford says it’s the most torque-dense motor, which is a clever way of saying to Ram that it was able to make more power with fewer cubic inches – and that maybe there’s even more power on the horizon. Of course, Ford had to tweak the 5.2 for off-road shenanigans and that means a new pully for that blower, new manifolds, oil cooler, a deeper oil pan, and more.
The Ram TRX has a monster 6.2-liter Hemi V8. It, too, gets a supercharger. The Hemi 6.2 has been around for a while and most know it by its Hellcat name. It, too, was tweaked for off-road duty compared to the versions you’ll see in Challengers.
They both have long-travel off-road suspensions
The new Raptor R keeps the five-link suspension of the Raptor with its extra-long trialing arms. It gets a new front axle and a longer aluminum drive shaft. It has 13 inches of travel in the front and 14.1 inches of travel in the rear. The TRX’s suspension has 13 inches of travel in front, and 14 at the rear. It has heavy-duty Dana 60 axles to route the power, with beefed-up ring gears and shorter gearing.
The TRX rolls on monster 35-inch Goodyears. The Raptor R gets 37s. Both trucks are made to run through deep sand, but Ford says the new Baja mode stiffens up the suspension to make desert running even quicker.
A Ram TRX vs. Raptor R battle is about the numbers
Inside and out the Ford F-150 Raptor is a special truck. But let’s face it, these two are about horsepower numbers and 0-60 times more than how large the touchscreen is. FYI: The Raptor R gets a 12-inch screen with SYNC, while the TRX has a 12-inch screen with Uconnect 4C.
A Raptor is immediately recognizable by its giant black FORD grille, big shoulders, scoops, and of course its marker lights. The Raptor is so wide that the DOT requires it to have an extra set of marker lights on the grille. Inside, the truck 2023 Ford F-150 Raptor has paddle shifters, real aluminum trim, Recaro seats, and enough leather and wood to outfit a Victorian drawing room.
The TRX, too, is a special truck that combines an interior that’s nearly as nice as the Limited trim’s, with an off-road attitude and factory lift. It is immediately spottable by its hood scoops and bed badging. But what really makes these trucks amazing is their off-road prowess and power. These two can keep up with most sports cars at any drag strip, but also nearly any specially built trophy truck on the dirt.