Skip navigation
2024 Ford Ranger Raptor Ron Sessions
Ranger Raptor takes a leap during test drive.

High-Flying Raptor Highlights Redesigned 2024 Ford Ranger

Ford takes the midsize Ranger pickup to a new level with the full Raptor treatment for the ’24 model year.

TOOLE VALLEY, UT – The driving coach’s instructions are straightforward: Aim for the cones atop a modest rise in the rolling high-desert terrain about three-quarters of a football field away, apply full throttle and as you clear the cones and go airborne, lift throttle, keep the steering wheel straight and don’t touch the brakes until the truck is back on terra firma.

We follow directions and take the ’24 Ford Ranger Raptor skyward briefly, sticking the landing with zero drama and with no harsh suspension bangs. It’s notable how easily the truck takes it all in stride.

We’re behind the wheel of Ford’s all-new midsize performance pickup at the Ranger Raptor  Assault School here. A one-day session, which includes laps on the circuit’s unpaved fast straights, serpentine turns, jumps and dips, as well as slow going on a boulder-strewn technical mountain course nearby, is included with the purchase of the truck.

Previously available only in select overseas markets, Ford introduces the high-performance Raptor in the new, fourth-generation Ranger. It grows the Raptor sub-brand of lifted, enhanced-output desert runners to four entries, joining the F-150 Raptor, F-150 Raptor R, and Bronco Raptor.

Ron Sessions2024 Ford Ranger Raptor

The Ranger Raptor looks awesome with its brutish-looking nose, extra-wide stance, bulging fender wells, and meaty, 33-in. knobby tires. And when you fire up the 405-hp, 430-lb.-ft. (583-Nm) 3.0L EcoBoost twin-turbo V-6, the engine barks enthusiastically through its high-flow active exhaust.

Ron Sessions2024 Ford Ranger Raptor V-6 engine

Inside, aggressively bolstered performance front bucket seats, accented in black leather and Code Orange trim, greet the driver and front passenger. The Raptor also gets a large 12-in. (30.5-cm) infotainment screen with navigation and an immersive-sounding 10-speaker B&O premium audio system.

Ron Sessions2024 Ford Ranger Raptor interior

There’s a lot to play with. The Ranger Raptor is equipped with seven driver-selectable drive modes: Normal, Tow/Haul, Sport, and Slippery (available in lesser Rangers), along with Raptor-specific settings including Off-Road, Rock Crawl and Baja. These settings can tailor the damping characteristics, the active exhaust sound, throttle response, transmission shift points, and traction and stability control settings.

The front and rear differentials are lockable, with access via the center infotainment screen instead of dedicated physical buttons.

On the school’s faster circuit, the Ranger Raptor’s 10 ins. (254 mm) of suspension travel and Fox shocks react quickly and seamlessly to undulating terrain. The reinforced frame, shock mounts and steering gear take the hammering with no deleterious effects.

On the handling circuit, Baja mode delivers the best all-out performance and most fun with the rear locker turned on and traction and stability control switched off. In this mode, engine software keeps the turbochargers at full boost longer for more immediate response and greater power for storming out of corners.

Off circuit on rolling high-desert terrain, replete with boulders, rock shelfs, gullies and tightly spaced trees, we appreciate the Ranger Raptor’s 7-in. (178-mm) narrower body compared with the much wider and much longer F-150 Raptor.

The Ranger Raptor’s front camera is handy for steeper drop-offs. The truck’s massive steel front skid plate protects vitals such as the engine sump, transfer case and fuel tank. To better concentrate on dodging the junipers and imposing boulders, we use Trail Control, a low-speed cruise control that handles throttle and braking, allowing us to focus on steering.

A short highway drive demonstrates the truck’s relaxed on-road ride with minimally intrusive tire noise.

With a base price under $60,000, the Ranger Raptor is some $20,000 less than the least-expensive F-150 Raptor.

The Ranger Raptor’s closest midsize competitor is the Chevrolet Colorado ZR2. While the Chevy’s chassis hardware and good low-speed torque stand up pretty well to the Ranger’s in rough terrain, the Raptor’s got a solid 95-hp edge in top-end performance.

A Roomier, Right-Sized Regular-Issue Ranger, Too

With the hugely successful compact Ford Maverick pickup drawing new, non-traditional customers, Ford was free to nudge the midsize Ranger closer to the fullsize F-150 in roominess and features.

Designed and engineered for the North American market, the latest Ranger arrives in XL, XLT and Lariat trims (Lariat interior, exterior, shown below), available with rear- or 4-wheel drive, all configured with the 5-passenger, 4-door SuperCrew cab and a 5-ft. (1,524-mm) bed. Prices range from the mid-$30,000s to the upper $40,000s.

Key among Ranger updates are a 1.9-in. (579-mm) longer wheelbase and 2.2-in. (671-mm) wider body, providing a roomier cabin while still fitting in the garage.

Ron Sessions2024 Ford Ranger Lariat interior

The new Ranger’s cabin is enhanced with richer-looking materials, nicer plastic graining and soft-touch and wrapped surfaces. Among the available new features are a wireless charger, power-sliding rear window and a 360-degree camera.

A digital color driver display is now standard, as is a portrait-format center infotainment screen in either 10.1-in. (25.7-cm) or 12-in. sizes. The screen runs Ford’s Sync 4A connectivity system which offers quick and accurate responses to voice prompts. The interface retains an analog volume knob but drops the one for tuning.

Storage is improved, with a new, fold-down rear seatback for carrying large items out of the weather and dual underseat storage bins large enough to stow a laptop or other small valuables.

The new Ranger’s 2.4-in. (61-mm) wider track allowed Ford engineers to space the rear wheelhouses farther apart so sheets of drywall or plywood can be carried flat on the cargo bed floor.

Lariat 4x4 models gain an e-shifter that enables Ford’s available semi-autonomous active parking assist system. A towing package adds a trailer brake controller and Pro Trailer Backup Assist.

The Ranger’s carryover 270 hp and 310-lb.-ft. (420-Nm) 2.3L EcoBoost 4-cyl. turbo provides ample low- and midrange torque and a decent power reserve for passing and freeway merging; the 10-speed automatic transmission reels off seamless shifts. Available later this summer is a 2.7L EcoBoost V-6 from the F-150 offering 315 hp and 400 lb.-ft. (542 Nm) of torque.

Overall, the ’24 Ranger is a solid effort that’s improved over its preceding version in the areas that count with midsize truck buyers and is well positioned to maintain and possibly enhance Ford’s place in the surprisingly resilient midsize pickup segment.

Ron Sessions2024 Ford Ranger Lariat



Hide comments


  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.