Since it returned to the U.S. market for the 2019 model year, the Ford Ranger has been one of the more popular entries in the midsize pickup market. But Ford is convinced it can gain more traction against its rivals, notably the Toyota Tacoma, with the launch of an all-new 2024 Ranger — especially with the first-time addition of a Raptor edition.
With the new truck, Ford hopes to resolve some of the pushback it got from potential buyers. After abandoning the midsize segment in 2011, the second-largest Detroit automaker initially resisted reviving the Ranger line in North America.
And when it finally did, it took an expedient approach, making relatively minimal modifications to a global version of the truck. That meant a variety of compromises in performance, comfort, and features.
Not this time. While the new Ranger will continue to be sold around the world, “We had North American customers in mind from the very beginning,” said Nima Nourian, the project’s exterior design chief.
That approach was made easier, he said during a background briefing, because buyers “around the world have come to aspire” to the more rugged design and features that North American pickup buyers consider essential.
2024 Ford Ranger: Wider, More Muscular
Available solely in SuperCrew configuration, the 2024 Ford Ranger comes in at roughly the same size as the outgoing truck — with one key exception. Its fully boxed steel frame has been widened by 2 inches, as has the truck’s track.
The overall width is up by 0.9 inches. The bed has also been widened slightly, enough to permit four-by-eight sheets of plywood and drywall to lay flat between the rear wheel wells.
Ford also added new tiedowns to make it easier to secure cargo, and side steps that can hold up to 300 pounds make it easier to reach that cargo.
The new Ranger’s payload capacity is up by 196 pounds, to 1,805.
Towing holds at a maximum of 7,500 pounds. But Ford has added a number of features to make towing easier. These include Trailer Reverse Guidance and Pro Trailer Back-Up Assist, a system that lets a motorist aim the trailer using the backup camera and a small knob on the instrument panel.
Buyers will have a choice of three engines, and the 2024 Ranger will be offered in both 4×2 and 4×4 configurations.
The base 2.3L engine makes 270 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque. And the midrange 2.7L option bumps that to a more reasonable 315 horsepower and 400 pound-feet. The Ranger Raptor gets a version of Ford’s 3.0L EcoBoost V6 already used for the Bronco Raptor. It punches out a more aggressive 405 horsepower and 430 pound-feet.
All three powertrains are mated to a 10-speed automatic.
The Raptor gets not only a two-speed transfer case but front and rear locking differentials. The rest of the lineup has a standard front locking differential on 4×4 packages and an electronic locking differential on rear-drive models.
Base models use a conventional shifter on the center console. Upper trims are fitted with an e-shifter that allows for additional driver-assistance technologies.
More Distinctive Design
As you’d expect of a truck, it’s designed to handle some tough jobs — though more and more motorists expect midsize pickups to do double-duty these days. For many owners, Ranger will be a daily driver and needs to haul and tow, then look good when it’s driven to a party or show.
The outgoing model had an anonymous look to it, with sheet metal that had little more form than putty. Not so the 2024 Ranger. It picks up a number of cues from the big F-150, such as the new C-Clamp head and taillights, as well as the crossbar that runs across the grille, framing the big Ford logo.
There’s a bulge on the truck’s hood to emphasize its power. And the overall look is more contemporary, with deeply sculpted door panels.
The grilles and wheel arches get unique treatments depending on the Ranger trim package. There’s more chrome, for example, on the XLT and Lariat models. And buyers have a choice of 17- or 18-inch wheels.
2024 Ranger: Upgrades Interior & Technology
While the new Ranger’s cabin won’t fall into the “luxury” category, it sees a marked upgrade from the plebeian 2023 model. Among other things, the gauge cluster is now digital, measuring 8 inches on base models and 12.4 on Ranger Lariat and Raptor.
The tablet-style infotainment system is 10.1 inches on base packages, with a 12.0-inch touchscreen available. And it has the latest Sync 4A control software with, among other things, improved voice recognition. Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto come with the package, and XLT, Lariat, and Raptor models have wireless smartphone charging.
All versions of the 2024 Ranger offer 4G connectivity and can make use of smartphone-style over-the-air updates. Higher trim levels get 12V and 120V outlets in the cargo bed.
Among the available features, zone lighting can illuminate a camp or work site.
Buyers can opt for a bird’s-eye-view camera system that makes it easier to park or navigate tight off-road situations. Raptor gets an “off-road screen” that displays useful information like whether the differential locks are activated, the steering angle, pitch and roll, and a front camera with a tire overlay.
The extreme machine also has six pre-wired aux switches that can be used for things like external trail lighting.
First-Ever Ranger Raptor
The 2024 Ranger Raptor is designed to enhance extreme driving situations, whether dealing with deep sand in Baja or the mud and ruts of a backwoods trail.
Suspension for the Win
Among other things, it offers 2.5 Fox Live Valve shocks, an extra 1.5 inches of shock travel. At 10.7 inches, it has an extra 1.4 inches of ground clearance over the rest of the 2024 Ranger line.
Its approach angle increases to 33 degrees, breakover to 26.4 degrees, and its departure angle to 24.2 degrees. Other versions of the 2024 Ranger come in at 29.2, 25.8, and 21.8 degrees, respectively.
New shock towers, suspension knuckles, and a variety of other upgrades were made to ensure the 2024 Ranger Raptor can withstand whatever an owner might throw at the truck.
“You want this sort of capability so you can get back home safely,” said Carl Widmann, Ford’s performance chief engineer.
One trade-off is a lower towing capacity of 5,510 pounds, Widmann said. He explained that this is due to the suspension system upgrades needed to handle extreme conditions.
2024 Ranger Raptor Upgrades
Among other niceties, Raptor gets more heavily bolstered seats. And it has a new tuned exhaust system which, Widmann noted, lets you enjoy the resonant rumble of the 3.0L EcoBoost engine — or tone it down if you need to take a cellphone call. Raptor also has unique paddle shifters.
As you’d expect, Raptor also gets a variety of exterior tweaks meant to give it a more muscular look and feel. But there’s an emphasis on functionality.
These tweaks include LED projector headlights and flared fenders with functional fender vents. It also includes a front all-steel bumper and integrated, frame-mounted, front and rear tow hooks.
A front bash plate of high-strength steel and engine, transfer case, and fuel tank shields protect the Raptor from impacts. Add in some 33-inch BFGoodrich KO3 all-terrain tires on 17-inch wheels, with available bead locks, and you have a formidable truck.
(Suprisingly the 2024 Ranger Raptor won’t offer, at launch, the 35-inch tires that will be available on the Colorado ZR2 Bison and Canyon AT4X AEV Edition.)
2024 Ford Ranger: Pricing & Availability
The 2024 Ford Ranger Raptor will start at $34,160, including $1,595 in destination charges. That’s up from $31,080 for the outgoing base XL package — though Ford claims it has added more content to the new truck. The new Ranger Raptor starts at $56,960.
All versions of the truck will be built at Ford’s Michigan Assembly Plant near Detroit. The automaker plans to begin taking orders later in May, with deliveries set to begin over the summer.