Ford today unveiled an all-new version of its midsize pickup, the 2024 Ranger. Ford’s middle light-duty truck gets a handsome new body, a second engine option, and an off-road Raptor edition with 405 horsepower and suspension built to take high-speed punishment.
The Ranger is the one truck Ford designs overseas. The rest of the world saw the design in 2021. The truck Americans are finally getting looks very similar to the Australian design unveiled two years ago but with new engine options and a more powerful Raptor.
Ranger will start at $34,160, and Ranger Raptor will start at $56,960, including $1,595 for destination and delivery.
Handsome Look That Lets The Performance Do the Talking
If there’s a trend in truck design this year, it’s over-the-top metal musculature. Recent midsize truck designs like the Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon (and the Toyota Tacoma that will debut next week, if leaks are accurate) emphasize busy designs, massive grilles, and accordion folds of bodywork. It’s so common it’s starting to look cartoonish.
Ford designers wisely held back a bit on the latest Ranger.
The grille gets the bracket LED lights now ubiquitous in Ford’s truck lineup and a bar of chrome to hold the blue oval logo. The hood does have some character lines, but they’re subtler than the look of the new GM midsize trucks.
A new concave line low on the doors and bed renews the look in profile.
All told, it looks more like a truck than a truck dressed up like a superhero for Halloween. That’s refreshing.
Inside, designers have been similarly restrained. A portrait-mounted central touchscreen is the only thing that risks looking oversized. It’s available in 10.1 or 12.4 inches and runs Ford’s Sync 4A infotainment system. Real buttons and dials beneath mean you can make common adjustments without tapping through menus.
The driver gets a screen in the traditional gauge cluster — 8 or 12.4 inches. Total cabin space has increased, with more headroom, legroom, and shoulder room than the previous year’s model.
Most trim levels get a mechanical shifter. But top-end Lariat models and the Raptor get a smaller electronic shifter.
No Cab, Bed Options
Ford keeps giving Ranger buyers fewer configuration options, and they’ve run out of choices to cut. The 2024 Ranger will come only as a 4-door crew cab with a 5-foot bed.
Jeep made the same call with its recent Gladiator, and Chevy did the same with its Colorado. But Toyota promises a few cab and bed options with the Tacoma it will unveil next week. Truck builders should probably notice someday that the Tacoma outsells the rest of the class by a huge margin and keeps giving buyers choices.
The bed may be short, but it’s wider. A wider wheelbase keeps the wheelhouses far enough apart that, Ford says, a 4-foot sheet of drywall will lay flat between them. The tailgate is damped to open softly and includes handy built-ins like clamp points and a yardstick. The bed contains 12-volt power outlets and a bottle opener.
New Performance Options
Under the hood, though, Ford will give buyers choices.
The standard engine is the same 2.3-liter, 270-horsepower 4-cylinder model as the 2023 truck. It’s easily competitive with the rest of the class, proven, and offers decent fuel economy, so we’re glad to see it return. It makes 310 pound-feet of torque.
XLT and Lariat trims get a twin-turbo V6 making 315 horsepower and 400 lb-ft of torque. Those numbers narrowly beat what Chevy offers in the new Colorado.
Both engines send power through a 10-speed automatic transmission. Both 2- and 4-wheel-drive systems are offered, and the 4-wheel system is shift-on-the-fly. It lacks a locking rear differential, though.
Payload figures have increased from the previous generation — now up to 1,805 pounds depending on the drivetrain. The tow rating remains 7,500 pounds with the optional towing package.
While the basic truck is roughly the same as the one offered overseas, the American Raptor is a separate beast.
Under the hood sits the same twin-turbo 3.0-liter V6 found in the Bronco Raptor, good for 405 horsepower and 430 lb-ft of torque. An anti-lag system keeps the turbos spooled up for three seconds after you lift off the pedal.
Locking differentials to the front and rear and a 67.88:1 crawl ratio should make it agile on rock.
But Raptor models are all about the suspension. Wide front fender flares (barely) hide coil-overs with 2.5-inch adaptive Fox Live Valve shocks. The rear gets the same shocks with piggyback reservoirs — a big step up from the leaf springs of the standard Ranger. The shock towers have been beefed up, as have the suspension mounts and frame rails.
It rides on 33-inch BFGoodrich All-Terrain KO3s (not the 37-inch models of the Bronco Raptor) and can accept beadlocks. A 10.7-inch ground clearance number matches the Colorado ZR2. A 26.4-degree departure angle bests the ZR2 and the Jeep Gladiator Mojave. But a 33-degree approach angle trails them both.
Drive modes include Normal, Tow/Haul, Sport, Slippery, Off-Road, Rock Crawl, and Baja.