The Ford F-150 Raptor is considered by many to be the standard for factory-built off-road pickups. Rolling off the assembly line with Fox Racing Shox and aluminum front control arms, and tuned by Ford's in-house SVT performance team, and now available in both extended and crew-cab configurations, the Raptor makes a compelling case for itself.

But Chrysler's Mopar accessory division has something to say about that, and to prove the effectiveness of its Ram Runner accessory package for the Ram 1500 model, offered a truck outfitted with the Pre-Runner Stage II Lift Kit to the truck nuts at Pickuptrucks.com to compare head-to-head with Ford's finest. Just to make sure both trucks got a proper desert flogging, the editors invited SCORE International Off-Road Racing Series driver Chad Ragland to take the trucks out to Southern California's Ocotillo Wells state recreation area. Ragland came away impressed with the Ram Runner's toughness and capability. "We jumped, slammed into mounds, cut through deep sand, and it came out like a pro," Ragland said.

At the end of the day, Ragland and the Pickuptruck.com editors proclaimed the Ram Runner the victor over the Raptor, citing its a la carte configurability and off-road capability as the deciding factors.

But a direct apples-to-apples comparison between the Raptor and Ram Runner is difficult, as the Raptor is a fully factory-assembled truck, whereas the Ram Runner package is a dealer or owner-installed option. Pricing comparisons are also tricky between the two. The Raptor starts at $43,720 including destination for the extended-cab model. An entry-level F-150 XL 4x4 with the extended cab and 5.0-liter V-8 (the Raptor has a 6.2) goes for $32,535 including destination, or $33,630 with the 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6.

If you were to add up all the goodies associated with the Ram Runner, they would collectively add $21,080 to the price of a Ram 1500. A Ram 1500 ST Quad Cab 4x4 with the Hemi V-8 retails for $32,960 including destination. Add all the Ram Runner accessories, and you're looking at a $54,040 truck. And it's still "just" an ST. If you want to get the suspension package by itself, it's $13,670.

But for Ram fans tired of Raptor owners rubbing it in their face, and that don't want or need the HD bulk and heft of the highly-capable and award-winning 2500-series Power Wagon, the Ram Runner is a fresh alternative for off-road truck fans.

Source: Chrysler