Most off-road enthusiasts already know this, but in case you’ve missed it, there’s a battle going on in the auto industry for trail-ready domination. This war is being fought on two fronts—with SUVs like the Ford Bronco and the Jeep Wrangler going head-to-head, while midsize and even full-size trucks have begun battling in the pickup segment.
Ford’s ultimate answer to serious off-road performance is their Raptor models, which you can find in a couple of different forms for the ever-popular F-150 as well as the all-new, redesigned 2024 Ford Ranger. With several different Raptor models out there, one has to wonder how they compare.
Well, if that one is you, then I’ve got good news because I’m here to take you through what Ford is offering at the moment to determine exactly that. This isn’t so much a comparison to see which off-road truck is best, given that each one has a lot to offer for folks looking for either a full-size or midsize option. Rather, I’m curious to examine what Ford has delivered across their selection of exciting Raptor models and how well each can handle the challenges of the trail. So let’s take a look and see what these trucks deliver once veering off the pavement…
Engines and Overall Performance
Engines are important for any truck, but with an off-road model, you want to find extra power to elevate your driving experience out on the trail. This isn’t just about bragging rights or big numbers; it’s about having the muscle to push up a challenging hill and tackle whatever nature throws at you. To this end, the midsize Ford Ranger Raptor features a fantastic 3.0L EcoBoost Turbo V6 that delivers 405 hp and 430 lb-ft of torque. By comparison, the best engine you can get on other 2024 Ranger models is a 2.7L V6 that offers 315 hp and 400 lb-ft of torque, so this is a tremendous offering designed to tear up the trail.
The full-size Ford F-150 Raptor is also ready to do some serious work thanks to a 3.5L EcoBoost High-Output V6 engine that delivers 450 hp and 510 lb-ft of torque; this is obviously a lot more power than you’ll find with the Ranger Raptor, but this is also a larger, heavier truck, so it needs that extra oomph to allow it to dominate the trail. Then there’s the F-150 Raptor R, a high-performance version of the F-150 Raptor that features a monster of an engine in the 5.2L “Predator” High-Output Supercharged V8, roaring to life with 700 hp and 640 lb-ft of torque. Yeah, this engine is on an entirely different level, but that’s to be expected since it’s the most powerful high-performance pickup Ford has ever produced.
Off-Road Features and Engineering
Engines aren’t the only thing that matters when looking at off-road trucks; they’re certainly vital for plenty of power and a great driving experience, but they’re only one part of the larger equation. You need other features and components on a truck designed for improved capability. The most powerful engine in the world won’t matter if it’s on a truck with meager rear-wheel drive that can’t get traction on uneven terrain. Fortunately, Ford knows this, and the Raptor models were engineered to chew up the trail.
For example, the exciting all-new Ford Ranger Raptor features 2.5-inch FOX Racing Shocks with Live Valve technology on all four wheels. This allows for a tremendous degree of travel, adjusting to the roughest terrain while providing the Ranger Raptor with 10.7 inches of ground clearance. You’ll find 33-inch all-terrain tires on this Raptor, with available beadlock-capable wheels that are perfect for situations where you need to let some air out of your tires and don’t want to risk damaging them.
Not to be outdone, the Ford F-150 Raptor features FOX Racings Shocks as well, with Live Valve technology, which has position-sensitive damping to resist heat buildup and react quickly to changes in terrain. The five-link rear suspension features 24-inch coil springs and extra-long trailing arms for improved overall performance with superior handling and traction. With the Raptor R, you get massive 37-inch all-terrain tires that can grab pretty much any terrain imaginable for fantastic grip and control. The F-150 Raptor has a full 12 inches of ground clearance, while the Raptor R steps that up to 13.1 inches thanks to its beastly tires.
Tech Features and Options
It’s easy to focus on these Raptor models’ incredible suspensions and engineering and forget about everything else. Don’t get me wrong—the amount of work that has gone into making these trucks ready to dominate any trail is absolutely amazing, but that’s not all they have to offer. At the end of the day, these are also high-end models that represent some of the finest features available for these trucks—and that includes incredible technology inside and out.
The 2024 Ford Ranger, for example, has a 10.1-inch infotainment display and an 8.0-inch digital gauge display as standard. The Ranger Raptor, however, comes with a pair of 12.4-inch screens—one that’s vertically oriented for the infotainment system and another as the digital instrument cluster—that both look amazing. It has a ten-speaker B&O sound system with a subwoofer, along with leather-trimmed seats for added comfort. You’ll also find a 400-watt in-bed power system on the Ranger Raptor, giving you the ability to plug a device or equipment while camping or taking a break out on the trail.
The Ford F-150 Raptor features a 12.0-inch infotainment display and a 12-inch digital productivity screen for the driver, much like the ones in the Ranger Raptor. Going further than the Ranger, however, it has an 18-speaker B&O Unleashed sound system, including headliner speakers and front headrest speakers, that completely envelopes you in an amazing audio experience. You’ll also find Trail Control with 1-Pedal Drive functionality—think cruise control for going off-road—in the F-150 Raptor models, along with an available Pro Power Onboard system in the bed with 2kW of power output that lets it act as a mobile generator for a wide range of equipment. With all of these Raptor models, it’s clear that Ford understands what people are looking for in an amazing truck, no matter where we want to take it.
Which Ford Raptor Is Your Clever Girl?
The one thing that’s obvious across these numerous models is that Ford is not taking any half-measures with their Raptors. What I love most about this, honestly, is that there are so many options available at this point, so you don’t have to make sacrifices to get fantastic off-road performance. If you want a midsize truck because you just don’t have the need for full-size performance, then the all-new Ranger Raptor is an amazing choice. On the other hand, if you need something bigger, then the F-150 Raptor and Raptor R can take you pretty much anywhere you can imagine (and likely beyond even that).
I tend to think that having more options is always a good thing, particularly when we’re looking at something with this kind of a niche focus. There’s never been a better time than right now to be looking for an off-road truck because you have so many options available to you these days; it’s an embarrassment of riches. No matter what brand you might prefer, you have some great choices, and Ford fans are particularly fortunate with the amazing capability, functionality, and technology we can find in these Raptor models.
The only thing you have to figure out now is which one of these beasts will best engage your next adventure…