There have been some intense rivalries throughout history: Batman vs Superman, Harry Potter vs Voldemort, Autobots vs Decepticons. But now we have one more epic battle to watch unfold: the 2023 Ford F-150 vs 2023 Chevy Silverado 1500.
More specifically, it is the F-150 Raptor R against the Silverado ZR2 Bison. Both trims are designed to conquer the wilds of the off-road. Each has features that help them stand out and stand up against tough terrain. Which one wins the fight for off-road champion?
The Raptor R Can Stand the Heat
The 2023 Ford F-150 Raptor R is said to be the most powerful Raptor to date. Inspired by the Baja 1000, the Raptor R is designed for the harsh desert life. It takes special consideration when developing a vehicle to combat such conditions as those found in desert racing. Problems you normally find on the trails are amplified in the sand, such as overheating, loss of traction, and more. The Raptor R is a fantastic off-road vehicle because it was designed to withstand some of the toughest conditions.
Ford unleashes the impressive supercharged and intercooled 5.2-liter DOHC V8 “Predator” engine to bring the F-150 Raptor R to life. The dual overhead cam design features four valves per cylinder which, along with the supercharger, force more air into the engine. More air means more fuel can be introduced, which results in 700 horsepower and a whopping 640 lb-ft of torque. The result is power and torque that has never been seen before in a production pickup.
The V8 was tuned to peak at the low and mid torque range. This responsiveness is essential when facing off-road obstacles and needing to make hasty adjustments. Peaking at the lower end of the power band also helps maintain momentum when traversing trails so you don’t have to mash the gas to get where you need to go. Mated with a 10-speed SelectShift transmission uniquely calibrated for the jump in torque, the Ford F-150 Raptor R offers a smooth ride no matter the terrain.
Torque and horsepower mean nothing without the suspension to back it up. That is why the Ford F-150 Raptor R sports only the best suspension components. FOX live valve shocks use input from braking, acceleration, and steering to quickly provide the optimal ride comfort and handling. The shocks also use sensors to detect changes in outside factors, such as the terrain, to adjust the suspension to offer on-road comfort and off-road performance.
The Beastly Bison
The 2023 Chevy Silverado ZR2 Bison is the first of its kind. Intended to be an “overlanding” vehicle, the Bison is designed to explore unknown territories. Each component is thoughtfully included to support off-roading in the bumpiest and rockiest environments.
The ZR2 Bison features a 6.2-liter V8 that maxes out at 420 horsepower and 460 lb-ft. of torque, mated with a 10-speed automatic transmission. While the Chevy does come in below the Ford in terms of power, it shines when it comes to scaling rocks and bounding over boulders.
The Bison uses springs that are designed to handle more vehicle movement, making it easier to absorb impacts and rocky terrain. Multimatic DSSV spool-valve dampers are used to provide a more effective shock absorber system for rock climbing since they hold up better against overheating, which can occur when performing strenuous activities. The ZR2 Bison is fitted with electronic lockers on both the rear and the front. These enable traction on demand by letting you lock the differentials as needed. This is ideal for off-road vehicles, especially those designed for rock-strewn terrain.
The Desert Dwelling Raptor R
There is no denying that the Raptor R is an off-road vehicle, especially when one takes a gander at its exterior. Its bold and aggressive styling could only belong to a creature of adventure. It all starts with Code Orange badging to designate the Raptor R as a force to be reckoned with. A unique graphic adorns the rear of the truck, resembling the desert.
The hood features a large power dome that not only adds to the Raptor’s aggressive stance, but also improves performance. The hood extracts hot air, keeping the Raptor cooler and combating the hot desert air to keep the adventure rolling for longer. The Raptor R is designed with 13.1 inches of ground clearance, a class-leading feature. Plus, with impressive wheel travel of 14.1 inches in the rear and 13 inches in the front, the Raptor R can clear obstacles and keep its wheels on the ground. The wheels are wrapped in large, meaty BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A KO2 tires that will not shy away from the slippery, sandy slopes.
The interior is a personal oasis, designed with leather and Alcantara suede, a high-end faux suede that is ideal for vehicles thanks to its durability. This soft touch fabric is easy to keep clean, repels stains and moisture, and does not overheat in the sun. You get the comfort of soft, luxury fabric without worrying if it can stand up to the rough and tumble desert life.
The Raptor R comes equipped with Recaro seats, which are award-winning for good reason. These specialty seats offer improved safety, comfort, and thrill as they allow you to feel the excitement of the road, or better yet, the desert, while holding you firmly in place as you tackle rough terrain.
Boulder Bounding in the Bison
While the Raptor R is better designed for quick maneuvering through sandy dunes, the ZR2 Bison is geared more toward rocky trail life. The Bison features heavy duty steel bumpers in both the front and the rear, along with underbody protection to keep delicate components safe from debris and obstacles. The bumpers are designed with reinforced areas for recovery efforts and support the addition of a winch.
As a rock climber, the Bison must have ample protection. That is why it is equipped with five strong and sturdy steel bash plates which cover vital truck parts. Steel rocker panels cover the side areas of the ZR2 Bison, preparing you for tight squeezes and unseen obstacles.
The Final Tally
The Chevy ZR2 Bison is nothing to scoff at, but its power pales in comparison to the Raptor R that pumps out close to double the power of its adversary. Despite the ZR2 Bison being a trail traveler, the Raptor R comes out ahead with ground clearance, departure angle, and approach angle. The ZR2 Bison has a ground clearance of 11.2 inches, while the Raptor R is taller at 13.1 inches. Furthermore, the Bison has an approach angle of 32.5 degrees and a departure angle of 23.4 degrees, while the Raptor R beats the Bison here as well, with an approach of 33.1 degrees and the departure coming in at 24.9 degrees. These measurements matter when faced with ground obstacles. Better approach and departure angles mean less chance of getting stuck, or worse, damaging important components.
The Raptor R also offers skid plate protection like the Bison. Even though the Raptor R was designed with inspiration from the Baja 1,000, that doesn’t mean it can’t cling to rocks like the ZR2 Bison as well.
The Verdict Is In
Comparing the 2023 Ford F-150 Raptor R to the 2023 Chevy Silverado ZR2 Bison could seem like comparing apples to oranges. One is designed to conquer the desert, while the other is designed to experience nature. However, thanks to the impeccable design of the Raptor R, it doesn’t shy away from anything, making it a strong competitor for the ZR2 Bison. What is the verdict? While the Chevy is a great truck, when it comes to off-roading the Ford takes the win, thanks to its superior power and capabilities.