Buying A Raptor vs Building An F-150: Is It Worth It?


Many of us have dreamed about owning a Raptor at some point in our lives. It’s the only production pick-up on the market that can truly do everything. It’s good at pre-running, grocery getting, towing, and whatever else your heart desires, the Raptor is a true do-it-all truck.

But, the Raptor is also too expensive for some of us to own. What if there was a cheaper solution? What if you built an F-150 into the ultimate truck instead of buying a Raptor?

To make this comparison as fair as possible we are going to compare the cost of building a brand new F-150 to a brand new Raptor. Although, if you truly are on a budget a brand new F-150 isn’t the truck you should be building upon.

Long Travel Suspension

The biggest and most obvious thing you need to make your F-150 as good as a Raptor is lots of suspension travel. There are tons of companies that make good long travel kits. The best kits to look for are the ones that are wider than stock. This will generally provide 16-plus inches of travel while retaining the 4WD system. The raptor is 3.5 inches wider per side, so a 5-inch kit is just a bit more, but it doesn’t look ridiculously wide.

Many kits will replace the upper arms, lower arms, knuckles, sway bar links, and more. Prices vary depending on the quality, and what kind of shocks are used. Generally speaking, a good kit will cost around $5,000, and a kit with really nice shocks will cost around $7,000.

Raptor's factory suspension can soak up big jumps.

Raptor’s factory suspension can soak up big jumps.

There are many different ways to increase travel in the rear, but to retain as much space in the bed as possible a cantilever system will work great, especially when paired with Deaver springs. The cantilever system will lay the shocks flat under the bed and use a cantilever arm to connect them to the axle. Kits like this typically cost around $7,000 and generally provide 16″ or more of travel.

Long travel front and rear is going to cost around $14,000. Once you include the cost of installation you’re looking at around $16,000. That’s a pretty hefty chunk of change, but it provides around 16 inches of travel up front and 16 plus inches in the rear. The 2017 Raptor only has 13 inches in the front and 14 inches in the rear from the factory.

Fiberglass Fenders & Tires


Unfortunately, you can’t just bolt on long travel suspension and go. You need to have fenders that can actually clear all that wheel travel. Typically fiberglass fenders and bedsides cost around $1,200, and will also need to be painted and installed. All in for fiberglass fenders that can clear long travel suspension with 37” tires you’re looking at $2,000.

We’ll also need to factor in the cost of buying wheels and tires. There are tons of great wheel manufacturers to choose from, but wheels typically cost around $200 per corner. There are also lots of choices when it comes to tires, but a good A/T or M/T tire will almost always cost around $300 per corner. The cost of wheels, tires, and fiberglass is about $4,000 dollars.


Is the Raptor motor really worth it? With a couple upgrades you could take a factory motor to that level.

Is the Raptor motor really worth it? With a couple upgrades you could take a factory motor to that level.

The Raptor also comes with more horsepower and torque than a standard 3.5-liter EcoBoost. Luckily many tuners already support the 3.5-liter, so beefing up the power is a breeze. The standard EcoBoost comes with 375 horsepower and 470 lb-ft of torque. The Raptor’s high-output EcoBoost comes with 450 horsepower and 510 lb-ft of torque. There are a few ways to make up this horsepower gap, but the most cost effective will be a tune.

There are plenty of tuners who have developed excellent tunes for the 3.5-liter EcoBoost. Most of them boost horsepower from 335 hp to around 400 hp (445hp) when running 93 octane. Torque typically jumps from 425 lb-ft of torque to 500 lb-ft of torque (555 lb-ft of torque on 93 octane). Tunes cost anywhere from $500 to $1000 depending on the tuner and how it’s installed. For simplicity, we’ll assume the tune will cost $750. You could also throw on parts such as an intercooler and exhaust to really wake up your EcoBoost, but just a tune is enough to outperform a Raptor.

Total Build Cost

We’ve only included the absolutely necessary things in our build sheet: suspension, fenders, wheels, tires, and more horsepower. Once you start throwing on other accessories such as lights, exhaust, intake, and anything else the price obviously goes up. Our current parts list comes out to $20,750. Let’s look at how the final cost stacks up to the Raptor’s cost.

A brand new CrewCab Raptor with no options starts at $52,250. Which is a lot of money, but you’re getting a lot of truck. A brand new XLT F-150 starts at $32,480. However, when optioned with a SuperCrew cab, 5.5 foot bed, 4WD, and 3.5-liter EcoBoost it jumps up to $43,625. With all of our mods adding on the total is about $64,375, a whopping $12,000+ more than a Raptor.

Brad DeBerti's fully built 2017 Ford Raptor

Brad DeBerti’s fully built 2017 Ford Raptor.

A brand new Lariat F-150 starts at $40,865, but when optioned the same as the XLT was, the price increases to $48,445 and with the mods added on that price jumps up to $69,195, an insane $16,945 more than a Raptor.

Even if you scaled back your mods the cost would still be significantly higher to get anywhere near the Raptor’s performance. Ford really put a good price on the Raptor for how well it performs.



Now obviously anyone who wants Raptor performance, but on a small budget isn’t going to try to achieve that with a brand new F-150. Although you’ll get better suspension, wheels, and tires with a built F-150 you lose the warranty. Personally, the value of a factory warranty quite nice, so building an F-150 seems silly.

If you really want Raptor performance on a small budget you shouldn’t buy a brand new F-150, instead, buy a used one. Instead of dropping $43,000+ you could spend $10,000 on a used F-150 and beat a Raptor at a way lower cost.

But, used trucks aren’t ever going to be as nice, or as reliable as a brand new truck so keep that in mind. Let us know what you think in the comments below, would you rather buy a Raptor or build an F-150?

About the author

Bryce Cleveland

Bryce has been in the automotive industry for most of his life. He’s done everything from fixing cars, flipping cars, writing about cars, and everything in-between. He has owned a total of 18 vehicles, most of which he owned before the age of 20. He currently drives his 2015 Ford Fiesta ST every single day and has plans to buy his third Jeep XJ Cherokee very soon.
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