Pioneering the Future: The 2024 Ford Ranger and Ranger Raptor Embrace Change
The forthcoming arrival of the 2024 Ford Ranger and Ranger Raptor marks a significant leap forward in the mid-size truck arena. While these vehicles had already made their global debut a few years ago, the U.S.-spec versions have now unveiled themselves, shedding light on their enhanced features and performance capabilities.
Enhanced Dimensions and Design
The 2024 Ranger presents a tangible growth in various aspects, including width, interior refinement, engine choices, and storage capacity. This evolution aligns seamlessly with the broader revitalization occurring in the mid-size truck segment. A notable advancement in the 2024 Ranger is the switch to a singular configuration—featuring a four-door crew cab and a five-foot bed—similar to the Jeep Gladiator and new Chevrolet Colorado.
Underpinned by an upgraded iteration of the Ford T6 platform, shared with the Bronco SUV, the 2024 Ranger boasts a 1.9-inch longer wheelbase and a slightly shorter overall length (shrinking by 0.2 inch). This shift translates to a reduction in front overhang by 1.9 inches, consequently enhancing the approach angle. The suspension layout maintains leaf springs for the Ranger, but with shocks strategically positioned closer to the wheels, minimizing their exposure to off-road debris.
The revamped width, expanding by 2.3 inches, yields improvements in cabin space and bed storage. Notably, the Ranger’s cargo bed can now accommodate a four-foot sheet of drywall between the wheelhouses.
Exhilarating Powertrain Enhancements
The powertrain enhancements within the 2024 Ranger are noteworthy. While the base-level XL ($34,160) retains the 2.3-liter four-cylinder engine, generating 270 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque, the XLT and Lariat trims introduce the twin-turbo 2.7-liter V-6 engine found in the Bronco and F-150. This robust V-6 engine propels the Ranger with 315 horsepower and 400 pound-feet of torque, guaranteeing spirited performance. Regardless of the chosen engine, a 10-speed automatic transmission remains a constant.
Both two- and four-wheel drive options are available. While the locking rear differential isn’t standard in the latter, it’s foreseeable that it might appear in an anticipated Tremor variant.
Reimagined Interior and Cutting-Edge Features
The interior of the 2024 Ranger embraces substantial upgrades. The center screen size grows from 8.0 to 10.1 inches, with an expansive vertically oriented 12.4-inch touchscreen available as well. The digital instrument cluster is available in 8.0-inch or 12.4-inch configurations. These screens offer both an appealing aesthetic and swift responsiveness. Notably, the large center touchscreen even incorporates engaging games like Sudoku.
The Ranger’s increase in height and width results in expanded interior dimensions, with heightened headroom, legroom, and shoulder room in both rows. The Lariat 4×4 and Raptor trims feature an electronic shifter that not only facilitates driver aids but also enables functionalities such as trailer backup and automated parking systems.
Enhanced storage options abound, including under-screen storage that doubles as a wireless charger on select trims, a shelf above the glove box, and an additional small glovebox. Rear seat functionality has improved, offering functional storage compartments when the seat bottoms are lifted. Additionally, the rear seatback folds flat, enhancing the utility of the interior space.
Towing and Utility Mastery
The towing capacity of up to 7500 pounds is maintained with the available Trailer Tow package, accompanied by an integrated trailer brake controller. Similar to the F-150, owners can easily check their trailer lights via a phone app.
The practicality of the Ranger’s bed is evident through features such as the damped tailgate, a ruler etched along its length, and designated pockets for C-clamps. The bed is also equipped with 12-volt and 120-volt outlets, offering up to 400 watts of power. Moreover, the Ranger’s maximum payload has been enhanced for both two-wheel-drive and four-wheel-drive models, reflecting a more robust capability.
The Ranger Raptor
A Glimpse into the 2024 Ford Ranger Raptor: Bridging the Gap between Bronco and F-150 Raptor
When considering the 2024 Ford Ranger Raptor, it might be tempting to label it as a downsized F-150 Raptor; however, a more accurate depiction would liken it to a Bronco Raptor sans the 37-inch tires.
Under its hood, the Ranger Raptor features a slightly detuned version of the twin-turbo 3.0-liter V-6 engine found in the Bronco, offering 405 horsepower and 430 pound-feet of torque. This powerplant is paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission and an all-wheel-drive system, encompassing locking front and rear differentials, low range, and a 4A all-wheel-drive mode. The crawl ratio of 67.88:1 echoes that of the Bronco, ensuring impressive off-road capability.
In place of the 37-inch tires, the Ranger Raptor employs 33-inch BFGoodrich All-Terrain KO3 tires mounted on 17-inch wheels, which can be fitted with a beadlock ring from Ford’s accessory lineup. While these dimensions don’t necessitate marker lamps like the Bronco, they do contribute to a 3.5-inch wider track and an overall width increase of 4.3 inches compared to the standard Ranger.
External clearances have been enhanced throughout, although the Raptor’s 33-degree approach angle may not rival the likes of the Jeep Gladiator Mojave (44.7 degrees) or Chevy Colorado ZR2 (38.7 degrees). Similarly, its ground clearance of 10.7 inches, matching the ZR2’s and trailing 0.9 inch behind the Mojave’s, remains competitive. However, the Raptor holds an advantage in its 26.4-degree departure angle, surpassing the others (25.1 and 25.5 degrees, respectively).
Tailoring its focus toward suspension control for desert racing, the Raptor incorporates coil-overs equipped with adaptive Fox Live Valve dampers, sized at 2.5 inches in the front. The rear suspension features trailing arms and a Watts-link setup, replacing the standard Ranger’s leaf springs. A full-size spare tire resides just behind the robust rear axle.
The Ranger Raptor boasts a suite of off-road driving features similar to the Bronco’s, including various drive modes and Ford’s Trail Control and Trail Turn Assist. However, unlike the Bronco Raptor, it lacks a winch-compatible bumper.
Inside, the Ranger Raptor showcases improved lateral bolstering in the seats, upfitter switches near the rearview mirror, and vibrant accent details. Steering wheel-mounted switches control dampers, steering, and exhaust settings independently from the drive mode. Sizeable shift paddles enhance the driving experience.
The Raptor’s exhaust reaches its zenith in Baja mode, which comes with a gauge cluster warning indicating “off-road use only.” Similar to the Bronco Raptor, this mode maintains turbo spin for a few seconds after lifting off the gas pedal, ensuring available boost for subsequent acceleration.
While the Ranger Raptor’s changes slightly reduce maximum payload to 1411 pounds, it still outperforms the Gladiator Mojave and Colorado ZR2 by 211 to 260 pounds, respectively. However, the 5150-pound max tow rating falls just shy of the 6000-pound capacities of its competitors.
Priced at $56,960, the Ranger Raptor’s starting point surpasses that of the Gladiator Mojave and Colorado ZR2. Enthusiasts may take note that none of these competitors offer over 400 horsepower—a distinct advantage of the Ranger Raptor.
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