This one’s easy, and is spot on what Elizabeth described: I hate trucks. I loathe loud, garish machines, and yet I loved the 2023 F-150 Raptor R. And even against my wishes, the V8 Raptor managed to beat the Bronco Raptor for me.
I was weaned on pickup trucks — on Chevy C10s and gnarly Ford F-150s that should’ve been called Lobos. My dad was a truck guy (and later an XJ guy), so I grew up touring the U.S. in vehicles with durability in mind rather than comfort. Of course, I started driving with a love of SUVs and single cab pickups.
When I finally went on a road trip in a full-size sedan, I couldn’t believe how much more comfortable sedans were on the highway. Twelve hours hugging the Gulf of Mexico on roads between Texas and Louisiana went by in a flash, and were actually enjoyable in a car. I swore off pickup trucks as specialized tools.
Then the F-150 Raptor R came along and shattered my idea of a gnarly truck, which I would’ve relegated to certain environments only. The F-150 Raptor R is more comfortable on the interstate than either the Jeep Wrangler or Ford Bronco, both of which are some of the most capable machines off-road.
Those aren’t pickups, but they are rivals of the Raptor R off-road, where the Raptor R does an incredible job despite its size. The implications of a V8-powered pickup in 2022 aren’t the best. We need cleaner cars, more EVs, but the Raptor R is at the zenith of what combustion-powered machines could do. And it would have been a dream for a much younger me and my family, taking long drives across the U.S. in a pickup.