Jay Leno Drives 2023 Ford F-150 Raptor R, Says Horsepower Can Cure Any Problem

Jay Leno is big on classic cars, but once in a while, he's known to appreciate the niceness and convenience of modern automotive technology on automobiles. After all, he's one of America's top-known car collectors with more than 180 cars and about the same number of motorcycles hurled up in his Burbank, California garage.
2023 Ford F-150 Raptor R 12 photos
Photo: YouTube Screenshot/Jay Leno's Garage
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Still, Jay Leno is known to like American-manufactured vehicles, and on a recent upload, he showcased one of the territory's most beloved four-wheelers – the Ford F-150 Raptor. Together with it was Tony Greco, Program Manager and Engineer at Ford Performance.

Well, the 2023 Ford Raptor R needs no introduction. Based on my colleague Chase Bierenkoven's first encounter behind the wheel of the massive truck. Its only true equal, in his opinion, is the 702 hp (712 ps) supercharged HEMI V8-powered Ram TRX.

And he's right. If anything, the 2023 Raptor R is currently the largest Raptor, and underneath its oversized exterior lies the secret behind its love charm – the new GT500-derived 5.2-liter supercharged V8.

"The driveline on a product like this is super important, you know. Because we need to make sure that the power that we are putting in ultimately will deliver the performance we want for the customer but then also give them the quality that they deserve," Greco explained to Jay Leno the motivation behind the Raptor R product.

Runs a 10-speed automatic to harness the sheer power of the supercharged V8

2023 Ford F\-150 Raptor R
Photo: YouTube Screenshot/Jay Leno's Garage
The most significant selling point of the 2023 Raptor R isn't its size but its power. Under the hood, it packs the same engine in the new GT500, a supercharged 5.2-liter V8 good for 700 hp (710 ps) and 640 lb-ft (868 Nm) of torque.

The 2023 Ford Raptor R comes with a 10-speed automatic transmission to handle all that power.

But the success of the Raptor can't solely be pegged on the engine underneath. According to Greco, part of 'bringing the power with the Raptor R' involved a lot of changes which began with a redesign of the chassis, coil springs for the rear (no leaf springs for this model), re-faced facia, and the introduction of the 37-inch tire to improve ride height.

He also added that the Raptor R was purposely designed with the off-road car enthusiast in mind. Therefore, the team behind the new Raptor was careful to refrain from offering extra power while taking the weight advantage provided by the less weighty EcoBoost engine. And as a result, the 2023 Ford F-150 Raptor R is only about 85 pounds (39 kilograms) heavier with the V8.

"When you think about it. This engine dropped basically into this chassis with only a minor spring rate change in the front. Everything else is effectively the same," Greco revealed.

The 2023 Ford F-150 Raptor R is all about power

2023 Ford F\-150 Raptor R
Photo: YouTube Screenshot/Jay Leno's Garage
Parked side by side with the V6, the Raptor R is subtle in appearance. There are color material changes and badging differences that separate the two. However, Ford wanted to make a strong statement with the Raptor R that they were delivering raw – power! And therefore, the one thing they did to make a disparity between the two sitting behind the wheel was the power dome elevated hood scoop that hints at the monstrosity underneath.

It's not the first time we've heard of manufacturer-reported power figures that don't match up in real life. As you'd imagine, the Raptor R's biggest nemesis makes 702 hp (712 ps) which is figuratively more potent than the Raptor. However, without mentioning names, Greco revealed to Leno that 700 hp (710 ps) was a soft spot for the team.

The same engine in the new Shelby GT500 makes 760 hp (771 ps), which begs the question; why not add more power to the Raptor R to have a competitive advantage over the Ram TRX?

According to Greco, it's more than output numbers but the power-to-weight ratio.

"From a weight perspective, with the aluminum body we got from the F-150 team back in the last gen, this truck has probably a four to five-hundred-pound weight advantage over our main competitor. That plays a huge huge role in the desert," Greco explained.

The biggest win of the 2023 Ford F-150 Raptor R is its impressively high output figures. The 10-speed automatic is an added advantage considering its power band. But for off-road enthusiasts, it's the ability to go anywhere with rally-car spec handling – not forgetting the iconic V8 rumble.

Driving the 2023 Ford F-150 Raptor R on the streets of California, Leno couldn't believe how the power steering and brake made it feel like 3,500 pounds (1,588 kilograms) less behind the wheel.

"It's funny you're sitting pretty high, but it feels like the center of gravity is low, and when I opened that hood, I saw how low that engine was; I said, okay, that's why," Leno said about the 2023 Ford F-150 Raptor R.

We recommend watching the video below for more insights about the 2023 Ford F-150 Raptor R. Do you think it's a better truck than the Ram TRX? Ahre your opinion with us in the comments section below.

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About the author: Humphrey Bwayo
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Humphrey is a car enthusiast whose love and passion for automobiles extended into collecting, writing, driving, and working on cars. He got his passion for cars from his Dad, who spent thousands of hours working on his old junky 1970 E20 Toyota Corolla. Years later, he would end up doing the same with a series of lemons he’s owned throughout his adult life.
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