5 Ways Ford's New 2024 Ranger Raptor Is A Bonafide Beast

Ford's Raptor family is gaining a new member, and while the 2024 Ranger Raptor may not be as large as its F-150 big sibling, that doesn't mean it's any less wild. Tested out on the Baja trails to prove its mettle, the most potent version of the Ranger may share a name with mainstream versions of the pickup, but there are plenty of changes that come along with the $59,960 price tag.

Some of those changes are plenty visible, with the new Ranger Raptor adopting an aggressive exterior design. Others are saved for under the swollen sheet metal, with a customized off-road-ready drivetrain that relies on terrain-tracking to adjust things like shock damping for maximum performance. Inside, though, Ford's newest Raptor is no hair-shirt experience, with more creature comforts than you might expect.

The end result is a pickup just as happy catching air out in the dunes, as it is mud-plugging through tough wilderness, while still being driver-friendly enough for maybe the most fearsome environment of all: the Costco parking lot. 

The 2024 Ranger Raptor doesn't blend in

The 2024 Ranger Raptor may be a midsize pickup, but at first glance, you'd be forgiven for thinking it's significantly larger. Measuring 3.5-inches wider than the standard Ranger, Ford uses that width to excellent effect, swapping out the grille for a far bolder version with molded FORD lettering. Framed by F-series-inspired C-clamp LED projector headlamps, it's a clear indication that this truck is neither shy nor retiring.

A unique lower front fascia and all-steel bumper are standard, as are integrated tow hooks that are mounted to the frame for maximum strength. The fenders have swollen — a fitting spoil to the 17-inch wheels and their 33-inch tires — and there are unique running boards, too. At the rear, the bumper is exclusive to the Raptor, and of course, there's extra badging all around to make clear exactly what you spent your money on.

The good looks are functional, too

Ford hasn't designed the 2024 Ranger Raptor to only look good on the pavement. As on every Raptor model, the design changes all serve a functional purpose, too, making the most of the truck's capabilities. That new front bumper, for example, improves the pickup's approach angle significantly: it's up from 29.2 degrees on the standard Ranger to 33 degrees on the Ranger Raptor.

Just in case you're still a little too ambitious, Ford has added a thicker front bash plate — made of high-strength steel — along with a dedicated engine, transfer case, and fuel tank shields. Like on the standard pickup, there are easy mounting points along the upper bed walls so that fixing accessories to the load-bearing surfaces can be cleaner.

Then there are the wheels themselves. Ford has opted for 33-inch BFGoodrich all-terrain KO3 tires for its 17-inch wheels, but beadlock-capable wheels are optional. They're offered with available bead locks, making it easier to dial in extra low tire pressures for tackling particularly sand and rocky conditions.

A familiar engine is no bad thing

Under the Ranger Raptor's heavily-sculpted hood is a familiar engine: Ford's 3.0-liter EcoBoost V6. Co-developed with the powertrain for the Bronco Raptor, here it's good for 405 horsepower and 430 lb-ft of torque: down slightly from the SUV, but still more than impressive for this midsize pickup segment. The twin-turbocharged V6 is paired with a 10-speed SelectShift automatic transmission, with cast magnesium alloy paddle shifters on the steering wheel for those who want to take over themselves.

It's a high-flow induction system to keep the engine super-responsive. That includes a unique turbocharger — capable of maintaining 90% of the total horsepower even at the redline — and a high-flow active exhaust with a straight pipe setting. The result, Ford says, is race-ready anti-turbo-lag, including keeping the turbochargers spinning for up to three seconds after the driver lifts off the throttle for peak acceleration out of the corners.

Hello, Baja mode

The regular Ranger has a handful of drive modes to choose between, but it's when you hit the button in the Ranger Raptor that things get really interesting. While there's the expected Normal, Tow/Haul, Sport, Slippery, Off-Road, and Rock Crawl to choose between — all impacting engine tuning, transmission mapping, ABS calibration, traction control, steering, throttle response, and more — true Raptor fans know that it's Baja mode which is most exciting. 

Named after the infamous dessert race — at which Ford actually put the Ranger Raptor through its paces — it sees the truck's settings and capabilities all switched up to the max. Ford has fitted it with FOX 2.5-liter Live Valve Internal Bypass shocks, with coilovers at the front and piggyback reservoirs at the rear. Altogether, there is 1.5 inches more suspension travel than in the standard Ranger, together with an electronically controlled on-demand two-speed transfer case combined with front and rear locking differentials. The result is a pickup that should be just as jump-friendly as the bigger F-150 Raptor R.

Wild power can be practical

You'd be forgiven for assuming that Ford has made a performance pickup that would be tough to live with when you're not storming across sand dunes. In fact, the 2024 Ranger Raptor promises to be surprisingly docile, at least when you need it to be. Switch to Normal mode, for example, and it will be tamed considerably.

There are also four modes for the active exhaust system, and while Baja and Sport might be fun out on the trails, Normal and Quiet are likely to make the Ranger Raptor a little more popular for early morning starts back home. It should also let you hear the Bang & Olufsen audio system, accessed via standard SYNC 4A on a 12-inch portrait aspect touchscreen (with standard wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, too). Finally, features like a 360-degree camera and Pro Trailer Backup Assist will help fill in any blind spots.