American Ford Ranger Raptor leads new ready-for-anything midsize line
Ford scrawls its name in big, old caps across the headline of the revamped 2024 Ranger lineup, finally bringing the much-coveted Ranger Raptor over to the company's home turf. The midsize Raptor has been a European-only offering since it first came to be in 2018, but red-blooded American truckin' fans are about to get a small-but-fierce Raptor for themselves. The Raptor adds "most powerful ever" to a new Ranger lineup that Ford further describes as its most capable and connected of all time.
Raptor fury, downsized
American Raptor pickup shoppers previously had no choice but to go full-size with the F-150 Raptor – unless they were open to leaving the pickup box behind with a Bronco Raptor. But now the Ranger Raptor promises to carve out a Goldilocks place in the Raptor family.
"Ranger Raptor is the high-performance off-road truck so many customers have been begging for," said Carl Widmann, Ford Performance chief engineer, in introducing the newest member of the American Raptor family this week. "It’s right-sized for tight trails and daily life, can carry lots of gear, and is a blast to drive. This is the baddest Ranger we’ve ever made."
That's pretty unbridled praise from a company that previously worried a Ranger Raptor would cannibalize F-150 Raptor sales.
Like any good Raptor, this one starts with a fully overhauled suspension. A long-travel rear suspension with Watts linkage and trailing arms delivers control and confidence when off-roading, while Fox 2.5-in Live Valve Internal Bypass shocks in front and back dial damping in for precise, conditions-based performance.
The shocks adjust damping according to drive mode selected, ranging from off-road, rock crawl and Baja in terms of off-pavement-specific selections and normal, tow/haul, sport and slippery as more general options. Those drive modes also adjust engine and transmission tuning, ABS calibration, traction control, steering and throttle response to match the specific conditions, while a separate Trail Control feature can manage throttle and braking inputs to free the driver to focus on navigating through demanding stretches of terrain.
Raptors are also revered for their potent powertrains, and the Ranger Raptor earns the badge with a 405-hp 3.0-liter twin-turbo EcoBoost V6 with 430 lb-ft of torque. That engine works in conjunction with a 10-speed SelectShift automatic transmission and advanced 4WD system with new electronically controlled two-speed transfer case and locking front and rear diffs.
A race-derived anti-lag system for the turbos provides boost on demand when the truck is switched to Baja mode. The turbos keep spinning for up to three seconds after the driver pulls off the throttle, improving acceleration when exiting corners. An active exhaust valve system lets drivers communicate their preferred level of twin-turbo intensity by selecting from quiet, normal, sport and Baja settings.
The Ranger Raptor rides on 33-in BFG KO3 all-terrain tires clung to 17-in wheels. Beadlock wheels are optional, enabling drivers to run extra low tire pressures in sand and rock.
Beyond Raptor – The 2024 Ford Ranger
The Raptor is the most powerful and playful of the fully reworked 2024 Raptor lineup, but certainly not the only truck worth looking at. The entire 2024 Ranger lineup has been purpose-designed for improvements across the breadth of its uses, from worksite hauling to backcountry adventuring. It starts with a widened track and stretched wheelbase that improve stability and add bed space without cutting into the nimble handling off-roaders demand from a midsize truck.
Power for non-Raptor Ranger models comes from a 270-hp 2.3-liter EcoBoost, which will be joined later this year by a 315-hp version of the 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6 from the F-150 and Bronco. The new Ranger will offer 7,500 lb (3,400 kg) of max towing and an 1,805-lb (818-kg) max payload, but don't fall too in love with those exact numbers if you're eyeing up a 2024 Ranger for your driveway, as they'll vary based on options and trim – the max figures apply to a Ranger Crew Cab 4x2 with 2.3-liter EcoBoost engine and optional trailer tow package added.
Inside, the new Ranger engages drivers with a highly digital cockpit. The instrument cluster comes standard as an 8-in screen, while the SYNC 4A infotainment touchscreen sizes 10.1 in. Buyers can also opt up to respective 12.4- and 12-in instrument and infotainment screens that come standard on the Raptor. A standard embedded 4G LTE modem keeps the truck connected.
Buyers also have a lengthy list of 31 standard and available driver-assistance features to choose from, including blind spot information system with trailer coverage, adaptive cruise control with stop and go, active park assist 2.0, and pro trailer backup assist. Available 360-degree and front cameras help drivers maneuver on- and off-road.
Coming Soon ...
Ford will open up the order books for the 2024 Ranger later this month and plans to begin deliveries of Ranger Raptor and 2.3-liter Ranger models in late summer. Rangers with the 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6 will follow in late fall. Ford will build the new truck lineup at its Michigan Assembly Plant.
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Key questions - will it be priced like F150’s, and with the same fuel economy as F150’s… or with price and fuel economy somewhere in the middle, between Maverick and F150, where it rightly belongs?