2023 Ford F-150 Rattler Is An Off-Road Truck With A Surprise

Ford's F-150 isn't short on options for those who take off-roading seriously, and there's a lot to be said for switching your Raptor into Baja mode and hitting the dunes. For those who want to go off-asphalt without breaking the bank, however, the new 2023 Ford F-150 Rattler promises adventure at a more affordable price point, by paring back the options to just the essentials. The new Rattler package is based on the existing F-150 XL series trim, combined with the FX4 content. It means you get things like skid plates and specially-tuned off-road shock absorbers, intended to improve stability and resilience in less predictable terrain. All-terrain tires are included, too, for better grip and to stand up more predictably to sharp rocks and such.

There's also an electronic rear-locking differential, offering extra traction when the situation demands it. Ford's hill descent control has been thrown in, too, effectively taking over the throttle and braking application during steep descents, allowing the driver to focus more on steering around potential obstacles or pitfalls.

The F-150 Rattler has distinctive styling for a desert-inspired look

To give the F-150 Rattler a more distinct look, meanwhile, Ford has added special badging on the fender vents, and rattlesnake-inspired graphics. There's a dark grille and headlamp surround, and matching black lower cladding which should hold up better to inevitable bumps and scrapes. The 18-inch black-painted aluminum wheels are standard, too, as is a dual exhaust system.

Inside, the seats are finished in onyx with burnished bronze accents and matching stitching. Ford then uses the same color scheme on the dashboard, for what it describes as a desert-inspired theme. Exterior paint options will include Oxford White, Avalanche, Iconic Silver, Carbonized Gray, Antimatter Blue, Stone Gray, Agate Black, and — at extra cost — Rapid Red TriCoat.

As for powertrain details, Ford is keeping that info close to its chest for the moment. The standard F-150 XL Super Crew currently uses a 3.3-liter V6 as standard, with 290 horsepower and 265 lb-ft of torque, paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission. Ford offers its 2.7-liter V6 EcoBoost — with 325 horsepower and 400 lb-ft of torque — as a $1,200 option on the truck, while $2,000 gets you the 5.0-liter V8 with 400 horses and 410 lb-ft of torque. 

Get the basics right, leave the upgrades to the enthusiasts

The standard pickup starts at around $43,000 in 4x4 form, though if you want the FX4 package — which is around $1,000 on its own — you also need to upgrade to at least the 2.7-liter V6 EcoBoost engine. That brings the total price to $48,500 before destination. Ford hasn't said how much it expects the 2023 F-150 Rattler to cost at this stage — we'll find out more when it goes up for order in fall 2022 — but the automaker is leaning into the idea of it being a more affordable off-road focused model. That's something we've seen other car companies focus on in recent years, too.

Chevrolet's Silverado 1500 Custom Trail Boss, for example, cherry-picks the most adventure-friendly equipment from the company's trim line-up, complete with the option of Chevy's 5.3-liter V8 engine, but brings the whole thing in at around $52,000. While there rest of the pickup can feel fairly bare-bones in places, Chevrolet's argument is that the target audience would more likely than not be stripping out factory extras in favor of their own upgrades anyway.