First, there was the Ford F-150 Raptor. Then there was the Bronco Raptor. Now there is the Ranger Raptor. While it might seem like Ford is well on the path to diluting the Raptor name with ever smaller, less powerful, and less aggressive models (Maverick Raptor, when?), the latest member of the Raptor family is a serious contender in its own right and is ready to shake up the midsize truck segment. While GM recently raised the bar with the 2023 Chevy Colorado ZR2 and 2023 GMC Canyon AT4X, Ford rose to the challenge and has given us what might be the most capable midsize truck ever built. Plus, unlike the F-150 Raptor and Bronco Raptor, it will actually fit on most of the off-road trails in America without you having to visit the body shop afterward.
What’s Under the Hood?
It’s no secret that the new Ranger shares its platform with the Bronco, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the Ranger Raptor borrows its engine from the Bronco Raptor. Unfortunately, Ford did slightly detune the 3.0L EcoBoost V6 to 405 hp and 430 lb-ft of torque (that’s 13 hp and 10 lb-ft short of the Bronco), but even that reduced output is enough to take the title of the most powerful midsize truck in production. While the Colorado and Canyon offer an identical torque figure, they are down almost 100 ponies compared to the Ranger Raptor, putting the Blue Oval at the head of the pack for high-speed thrills.
The 3.0L EcoBoost uses a compacted graphite-iron block for incredible durability, and tuners have already gotten another 60+ whp out of the motor in the Bronco Raptor, so there is plenty of room for even more power if you desire it. However, possibly the coolest feature of the engine is its race-inspired anti-lag system. Throw it in Baja Mode, and the turbo stays spooled up for three seconds after you come off the gas, avoiding turbo lag when you get back on the throttle. The rest of the powertrain is just as impressive, with Ford’s 10-speed transmission, an on-demanded two-speed transfer case, and front and rear locking differentials. That’s just about the best there is short of a genuine trophy truck.
The one feature of the F-150 Raptor that has always kept it in a class of its own is its incredibly capable suspension, and Ford hasn’t cheaped out with the Ranger Raptor. The standard 2024 Ranger already had its shocks moved outside the frame rails for enhanced stability, and the Raptor variant takes it a step further by reinforcing all the key suspension points to withstand any punishment it receives on the trail. The dampers themselves are adaptive FOX 2.5-inch Live Valve Internal Bypass shocks, which adjust based on the drive mode you have selected. That’s a step up from the Colorado ZR2’s passive DSSV suspension. The suspension geometry has also been improved to incorporate a Watts linkage and trailing arm, keeping the rear axle centered under extreme suspension travel.
Looking at the numbers, the 2024 Ranger Raptor provides 10.7 inches of ground clearance, 9.9 inches of front suspension travel, and 11.4 inches of rear suspension travel. Those numbers are pretty much identical to the 2023 Colorado ZR2. However, the Ranger does fall behind slightly with its 32.5-degree approach angle and 24-degree breakover and departure angles, compared to the Colorado’s 38.3-degree approach angle, 24.6-degree breakover angle, and 25.1-degree departure angle. If rock-crawling is your thing, then the ZR2 might be a touch more capable in its stock configuration (and the Gladiator Rubicon will be considerably more capable), but the Ranger Raptor rules when it comes to high-speed off-roading.
That’s Just the Start
The power and performance of the 2024 Ranger Raptor may not be quite up to what the F-150 Raptor and Bronco Raptor can provide, but they are more than worthy of the Raptor name. Even better, the mechanical features are just the start of everything Ford’s latest off-road model offers. For instance, the comfortable cabin is filled with high-tech features, such as a standard 12-inch digital driver display and a 12.4-inch infotainment touchscreen with a Bang & Olufsen sound system. There are even six upfitter switches to wire in all your off-road gear! The midsize truck segment is heating up by the day, but the Ranger Raptor has what it takes to compete and is currently neck and neck with the existing segment leaders. We can’t wait to see it on the trail.