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2024 Ford Ranger Raptor First Drive: How Much Are you Willing to Pay?

2024 Ford Ranger Raptor | Photo: D.Rufiange
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Daniel Rufiange
Is Ford flying too close to the sun with the price of its Ranger Raptor?
The all-new 2024 Ford Ranger Raptor | Photo: D.Rufiange

•    Auto123 gets in a first test drive of the 2024 Ford Ranger Raptor.

Salt Lake City, Utah – Last week, Ford presented both the new 2024 Ranger and Ranger Raptor. We had the opportunity to tell you all about the former this Tuesday. Today, we take a look at what the latter has to offer.

See: 2024 Ford Ranger First Drive: Back in the Game

The year 2024 represents an important turning point in the history of the Ranger, with the model gets a thorough overhaul. Not only that, but the Raptor variant crosses the Pacific (from Australia) to land in North America for the first time. This Ranger Raptor becomes Ford's third velociraptor after the F-150 and Bronco.

If you're familiar with the kind of preparation that goes into earning the use of that name, you'll already know that we're dealing with a special kind of machine here. Performance is the first, second and almost only consideration, on the road or off the beaten track.

We had the opportunity to test the new Raptor, in a controlled environment laid out by Ford, we should stress. And while the exercise proved this is a very compelling and well-developed model, it leaves us with an existential question – more on that below.

Specifications sheet of the 2024 Ford Ranger Raptor

2024 Ford Ranger Raptor, three-quarters rear
2024 Ford Ranger Raptor, three-quarters rear | Photo: D.Rufiange

More rugged styling
The Raptor version borrows the signature styling of the regular variants, but with a touch of ruggedness all its own. This takes the form of a front grille with more masculine lines, bearing the FORD letters rather than the brand logo. There's also a protective plate on the bumper, through which tow hooks peek. The same treatment is applied to the rear. Other plates protect the engines, transfer case and fuel tank under the vehicle.

The fender flares are more pronounced, while 33-inch BF Goodrich KO3 all-terrain tires are fitted around 17-inch wheels, which can be fitted with a bead lock. That is there for off-road driving, especially in places where it is necessary to reduce air pressure to facilitate passage. Normally, it's this pressure that sticks the tire bead to the rim. Reducing this pressure could cause the tire bead to lift off the rim, resulting in a flat tire. The bead lock prevents this. A minor detail, but a major factor for off-road enthusiasts.

2024 Ford Ranger Raptor, engine
2024 Ford Ranger Raptor, engine | Photo: D.Rufiange

Engine of the 2024 Ranger Raptor

The engine chosen to power the new Ranger Raptor is a 3.0L EcoBoost V6 delivering 405 hp and 430 lb-ft of torque. It's accompanied by a 10-speed automatic transmission, and a two-speed electronically controlled transfer case (on request). Front and rear axles can also be locked, if required.

The heart, the chassis
The mechanics are one thing, but the secret of a Raptor model is what's underneath: the chassis, the shocks, the adjustments, etc.

There are several elements to consider here, but in a nutshell, everything that could be reinforced has been, from the frame rails and front shock towers to the rear shock mounts and suspension mounting points.

2024 Ford Ranger Raptor, rear wheel
2024 Ford Ranger Raptor, rear wheel | Photo: D.Rufiange

The cornerstones, however, are the 2.5-inch Fox Live Valve shocks. These are coil-over at the front and piggyback at the rear, i.e. with an external reservoir. That's the secret. The reservoir, connected to the shock absorber, provides access to more fluid, which helps dissipate heat during extreme use. As a result, performance remains optimal when pushing the machine. Better still, these Fox shocks are also highly adjustable, whether for softness, firmness, rebound, etc.

When you select a drive mode from inside, the shocks react to give you the best possible performance. Speaking of driving modes, they include Two/Haul, Sport, Slippery, Off-Road, Rock Crawl and Baja settings.

The rear suspension, meanwhile, is tuned to control lateral movements and improve handling and stability.

Many other features define the Ranger Raptor's unique chassis, but this gives you an idea.

2024 Ford Ranger Raptor, on a climb
2024 Ford Ranger Raptor, on a climb |
2024 Ford Ranger Raptor, rear
2024 Ford Ranger Raptor, rear |

And how is it on the trail?
Everything we've just described is theoretical, of course. Fortunately, we had the opportunity to put the vehicle to the test, with three distinct exercises.

The first was a simple hike up a mountain and back down again. OK more of a big hill than a mountain, but it was riddled with crevasses and rocks of various sizes. We toggled between Normal, Off-Road and Rock Crawl modes to see how effective the settings were, sometimes driving with differentials unlocked, sometimes with them locked. Grip proved impressive on a few occasions, notably when climbing imposing rocks where you'd expect to hear the wheels spinning.

There's no doubt that the vehicle could have taken more. In fact, it would have been nice to take on bigger climbs or other challengers, as we’d had occasion to do at the launch of the previous-generation Chevrolet Colorado ZR2. We'd taken paths we'd thought impossible to cross. Ford could have pushed the envelope a little further to convince us of its model's capabilities, because it's certainly capable.

We also had the opportunity to test the Trail Control system, a cruise control designed for off-road driving. We used it both downhill and uphill. The speed is set and adjusted as needed using a button on the steering wheel. This makes maneuvering much easier, but regular users will tell you that it dilutes the pleasure. It remains optional.

2024 Ford Ranger Raptor, profile
2024 Ford Ranger Raptor, profile | Photo: D.Rufiange

And on the track?
We then headed off to the racetrack, where we were able to push the speed a little, to test other driving modes, including Baja. Our images and videos show just how much fun it can be. We were also able to observe the effectiveness of Baja mode. Like other settings, it adjusts the work of the engine, gearbox, suspension, steering and ABS - in short, it completely transforms the vehicle's behavior. The mode even features an anti-delay system for the turbo, which spins for three seconds when the gas pedal is released, so that when the throttle is re-applied, the response remains instantaneous.

Finally, we were given a short jump, this time to check the effectiveness of the shock absorbers. Small disappointment, and another comparison with Chevrolet's program for the Colorado ZR2. At that time, we also made a jump, but at 70 km/h. Here, we started from a standstill and the jump was more... timid. Once again, we're convinced the Raptor could have done more... and it would have been nice if we'd been given the chance to push it further.

2024 Ford Ranger Raptor, interior
2024 Ford Ranger Raptor, interior | Photo: D.Rufiange
2024 Ford Ranger Raptor, drive mode button
2024 Ford Ranger Raptor, drive mode button | Photo: D.Rufiange
2024 Ford Ranger Raptor, driver data screen
2024 Ford Ranger Raptor, driver data screen | Photo: D.Rufiange

On board
Here we find higher-quality materials and a visually richer presentation. The seats are also more enveloping. The Bang & Olufsen audio system is a welcome addition. The screens are 12.4-inch in front of the driver and 12.0-inch at the centre console. The graphics are crisp and clear, and often vary according to the driving mode selected.

On the centre screen, we were delighted to be able to view the images captured by the front camera during off-road driving, which is extremely useful for avoiding unfortunate incidents.

The Raptor version of course benefits from all the equipment of the regular Ranger, including the Pro Trailer Backup Assist system.

2024 Ford Ranger Raptor, front
2024 Ford Ranger Raptor, front | Photo: D.Rufiange

Price of the 2024 Ford Ranger Raptor

There’s an old proverb that goes “Cheat me on the price, don't cheat me on the goods.” That's exactly what came to mind after testing this Ford Ranger Raptor.

The model’s $77,945 price tag is very steep. When you compare it to the Chevrolet Colorado ZR2, which costs $60,730, it's quite a leap. The Toyota Tacoma Off-Road Premium retails for around $61,000.
The impression is that we're being cheated on price. It may become acceptable to the buyer if the merchandise delivered is exceptional. But is it?

That's THE question buyers need to ask themselves. Those who find the Ranger Raptor up to scratch will swallow the cost. For the rest of us, we’ll likely go shop elsewhere.

Strong points
Impressive off-road capabilities
Highly adaptable driving modes
Performance to match

Weak points
Very high price tag
Higher fuel consumption
Reliability remains a question mark

2024 Ford Ranger Raptor, hatch, rear
2024 Ford Ranger Raptor, hatch, rear | Photo: D.Rufiange

Competitors of the 2024 Ford Ranger Raptor

  • - Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 (and ZR2 Bison)
  • - GMC Canyon AT4X
  • - Toyota Tacoma Off-Road Premium
  • - Jeep Gladiator Rubicon
2024 Ford Ranger Raptor, on the trail
2024 Ford Ranger Raptor, on the trail | Photo: D.Rufiange
2024 Ford Ranger Raptor, back end
2024 Ford Ranger Raptor, back end | Photo: D.Rufiange
2024 Ford Ranger Raptor, Raptor badging
2024 Ford Ranger Raptor, Raptor badging | Photo: D.Rufiange
Daniel Rufiange
Daniel Rufiange
Automotive expert
  • Over 17 years' experience as an automotive journalist
  • More than 75 test drives in the past year
  • Participation in over 250 new vehicle launches in the presence of the brand's technical specialists