The 2024 Ford Ranger Raptor is Here to Challenge the Colorado ZR2 and Tacoma TRD Pro

Midsize trucks are hot right now. They’re all most people need, but only if feature content and pricing make them sensible compared to a larger half-ton. We first learned about the new 2024 Ford Ranger back in May, but now Ford has shared more information about the most off-road-oriented model, the 2024 Ranger Raptor.

As with the larger F-150 Raptor, the Ranger Raptor is meant to be the most badass variant of the truck that can go the farthest the fastest.

2024 Ranger Raptor Drivetrain

Where competitors like the Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro and Chevy Colorado ZR2 are downsizing to turbocharged four-cylinder models (with a hybrid system, in the case of the Tacoma), Ford is sticking with a six. They’re using a version of the twin-turbocharged EcoBoost V6 found in the Bronco Raptor. Displacing 3.0 liters, it’ll produce 405 horsepower and 430 lb-ft of torque on premium fuel.

Getting power to the transfer case is the expected-by-now Ford 10-speed automatic transmission, with paddle shifters tucked behind the steering wheel spokes for full control in manual mode or a quick downshift in Drive.

Where this smaller Ranger Raptor differs from its bigger F-150 Raptor sibling is in the differentials. Both use a two-speed (high and low) transfer case that is electronically controlled and can be controlled manually or with an “auto 4WD” setting. But where the F-150 Raptor employs an open front differential, the Ranger Raptor includes lockers both front and rear. This move is important given the Ranger’s smaller size that makes it suitable for lower-speed trails and rock crawling.

2024 Ranger Raptor Suspension and Drive Modes

Any truck with an off-road focus demands some upgrades, and Ford is starting with the frame itself. While every 2024 Ranger uses a fully-boxed frame, the front frame rails and shock towers are reinforced on the Ranger Raptor, as are the rear shock brackets and various suspension mounting points.

As in the F-150 Raptor, the Ranger Raptor will use FOX Live Valve shock absorbers to keep the body controlled. It’s a coilover setup up front and a separate shock-and-spring pairing on the rear axle, with separate reservoirs to help shock fluid stay cool in demanding scenarios.

Unlike some competitors, the Ranger Raptor’s shocks are adaptive and will change damping depending on which of the seven drive modes you choose. Ford is delineating how you’ll use the truck quite a bit, with Off-Road, Rock Crawl, and Baja all separate modes that adjust damping differently. And damping isn’t all that’s adjusted, of course, with ABS, traction control, throttle response, and steering weight all tweaking how they behave.

Should you pick Baja mode, the ECU will keep the turbochargers spinning up to three seconds more after you lift off the throttle. This, Ford says, will keep the engine in boost so you won’t have any turbo lag if you lift and re-apply throttle in higher-speed desert running.

Ford considers the rear shocks “long travel” – though by how much, they don’t say – and uses a Watts linkage plus trailing arms to keep the rear axle in place when things may get a little jumpy otherwise.

2024 Ranger Raptor Body, Wheels, and Tires

Ford had to flare the fenders on the Ranger Raptor compared to other 2024 Ranger models, which makes sense given the bigger wheels and tires they’ve fitted. Thirty-three inch BFGoodrich KO3 all-terrains are standard, coming in at 285 mm wide on a 17-inch wheel. These 33s are the biggest tire Ford will sell you, and it’s unclear if bigger tires can fit without modification. Two different wheels are available, one of which is beadlock-capable.

Skid plates are, of course, included here as you’d expect from such a focused truck. Ford’s got a “thick” front bash plate made of high-strength steel, joined by other shields for the engine, transfer case, and gas tank.

Feel free to bash the nose of the Ranger Raptor against things, too, because steel bumpers are also standard. The rear bumper has an integrated two-inch trailer hitch receiver that’s good for a maximum of 5,510 pounds.

2024 Ranger Raptor Interior Differences

Unique interiors are almost a requirement on these sorts of trucks, and Code Orange accents are what differentiate the Ranger Raptor from a more plebeian trim level when you look inside.

Front seats are unique to the Ranger Raptor, with more bolstering, though they don’t appear to be the amazing Recaro-branded units on the bigger F-150 Raptor. Hopefully they’ll be equally as supportive.

Pixels abound inside the new Ranger, with a fully-digital instrument cluster and a 12-inch infotainment screen dominating the middle of the dashboard. Thankfully, Ford has retained physical controls for climate, volume, four-wheel drive, and – unlike the Colorado and Canyon – headlights.

My Quick Take

Given how gigantic typical half-ton trucks have become, it’s been so refreshing lately to see every midsizer get redesigned or refreshed. They’re all worth consideration, they’re all plenty of truck for a lot of buyers, and these off-road trims are so “right sized” for many trails compared to anything larger.

Ford’s Ranger Raptor sounds like it’ll be worthy competition against offerings from Chevy, GMC, and Toyota – Nissan isn’t really offering something so focused on their Frontier. Where others have shrunk their engines, Ford is keeping the V6 alive and I’m not mad about it. The regular Rangers will use a turbo four, so why not have something a bit big and dumb in the Raptor?

I’m also eager to see how the FOX shocks stack up against GM’s excellent Multimatic DSSV setup on the Colorado and Canyon. The Multimatics aren’t adaptive but offer plenty of control and a great ride on pavement and rough stuff alike, so Ford is facing stiff competition there.

Ranger Raptor order banks will open later this month and it’ll be delivered – so they say – in the first quarter of 2024. Until then, you can configure a new Ford Ranger Raptor on Ford’s website.

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