2024 Ford Ranger Raptor First Drive Review

The long-awaited Raptor boasts big power, high-speed off-road capability, and the bold looks to match.

2024 Ford Ranger Raptor jumps a hill in the desertPerry Stern


If a nameplate ever exemplified off-road performance and adventure, it's the Raptor's. Ford introduced the Raptor name on an off-road-racing-inspired F-150 in 2009, and the Ford Bronco joined the Raptor family in 2022. Now, the lineup expands with the arrival of the all-new 2024 Ford Ranger Raptor.

As with other Raptor models, the Ranger is for more than rock climbing and pushing through muddy terrain, although it can do those things easily. Raptors excel at tackling the landscape at high speed. After spending a day wringing out this truck at Ford’s new Ranger Raptor Assault School — including launching it into the air off a jump — it is clear that this version of the 2024 Ranger is worthy of the Raptor badge.

Redesigned for the 2024 model year, the new Ranger offers fresh styling, a more spacious cabin, and a range of advanced high-tech features. The Raptor resides at the top of the lineup, boasting more than 400 horsepower, impressive off-road chops, and almost every comfort and convenience feature Ford offers on this midsize pickup truck.

2024 Ford Ranger Raptor parked in desertPerry Stern

All 2024 Ford Rangers are crew cabs with a 5-foot cargo bed. While the standard Ford Ranger XL starts at around $34,000 (including the destination charge), the top-level Ranger Raptor has a base price of around $57,000. The new Rangers are on sale now.

The Ranger Raptor offers an excellent blend of off-road prowess and everyday drivability. It's comfortable cruising on pavement, and the power is there when you need strong acceleration. But turn off the main road, and this truck can easily fly down a rough dirt track while remaining stable and in control.

I looked forward to driving the new Ranger Raptor when Ford announced it, and I was not disappointed.

2024 Ford Ranger Raptor parked in desertPerry Stern

The Ford Ranger Raptor Is An Off-Road Beast

The 2024 Ford Ranger Raptor is new to the U.S. market and stands apart with unique styling and performance.

Up front, a wide grille with Ford spelled out in large letters matches the trademark look found on its F-150 Raptor and Bronco Raptor siblings. Stylish LED headlights resemble the larger F-150 thanks to the "C clamp" signature LED running lights, and a high-strength steel front skid plate enhances the bold styling. Large fenders, dual exhaust outlets, and standard 33-inch BFGoodrich all-terrain tires further differentiate the Raptor from other Rangers.

The Raptor gets reinforced frame rails and other chassis upgrades to handle high-speed off-road adventures. An advanced four-wheel-drive (4WD) system with an electronically controlled two-speed transfer case is standard, as are front and rear locking differentials. Raptors also have a purpose-built off-road suspension with Fox 2.5-inch shocks and a long-travel rear suspension for better control in rough conditions.

The most powerful engine Ford has ever put in the Ranger completes the picture. The Raptor comes exclusively with a Ford Performance-tuned EcoBoost twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 engine generating 405 horsepower and 430 pound-feet of torque. A 10-speed automatic transmission is standard.

2024 Ford Ranger Raptor engine bayPerry Stern

The Ranger Raptor Is Good on Pavement, Outstanding Off-Road

For this review, I evaluated a 2024 Ranger Raptor with the optional 17-inch beadlock capable wheels, a spray-in bedliner, and a SecuriCode keypad entry system. Those upgrades brought the manufacturer’s suggested retail price to $59,045, including the $1,595 destination charge.

The new Raptor performs well as a daily driver, whether you're cruising through town or driving up a mountain. The on-pavement ride is a bit stiff but not uncomfortable, and the accelerator is easy to modulate for smooth performance. With its active exhaust system, the Ranger Raptor can be as quiet or loud as you like, easily adjusted using a button on the steering wheel. My preference was the Sport setting, which gave a pleasing growl.

The EPA rates the Ranger Raptor at 16/18/17 mpg in city/highway/combined driving. During my drive, the trip computer indicated a 16-mpg average.

2024 Ford Ranger Raptor driving on dirt coursePerry Stern

Ford invited me to its all-new Raptor Assault off-road performance driving school outside of Salt Lake City, Utah, to experience the capabilities of the newest member of the Raptor family. When you buy a Ranger Raptor, the purchase includes a day at this unique school.

I put the Raptor through its paces on a loose-dirt handling course and was thoroughly impressed at how easy the truck was to control. Acceleration is strong, and even with all four wheels spinning or sliding, the Raptor remains stable with predictable behavior. That predictability — knowing what I could expect from the Raptor — gave me a feeling of confidence even when I pushed the pickup hard and fast down rough dirt tracks.

Hard braking into a corner cuts the speed quickly, and a quick flick of the steering wheel brings the agile Raptor's rear end around in a controlled motion. Once the truck is pointing in the right direction, you can confidently stomp on the accelerator pedal to zoom to the next corner with authority. To say driving the new Ranger Raptor in the off-road environment for which it was intended was exciting would be a vast understatement.

2024 Ford Ranger Raptor driving fast through the desertPerry Stern

In addition, the Raptor proved just as adept at tackling a challenging off-road trail, effortlessly climbing over rocks and descending steep declines on loose gravel. The off-road display automatically takes over the center touchscreen to provide multiple camera views, drivetrain information, and access to the differential locks.

Traversing deep crevices and uneven, rocky terrain isn't a smooth ride, however. While sitting in the passenger seat, the ride was rough enough that my head hit the side of the truck a few times. The Ranger Raptor is capable in these conditions but not comfortable. I preferred high-speed desert running.

The Ranger Raptor Is Tough on the Outside, Soft on the Inside

The Raptor may look rough and ready on the outside, but the inside is comfortable and roomy. Up front are Ford Performance sport bucket seats trimmed in Ebony leather with Code Orange highlights and the Raptor logo emblazoned on the seatback. Firm bolsters provide excellent support during off-road adventures, and the seats are generally quite comfortable.

2024 Ford Ranger Raptor front seatsPerry Stern

The rear seats have the same sporty style, and passengers enjoy good legroom and headroom. You can raise the seat bottom for added versatility, revealing cubbyholes that supply secure storage. Alternatively, the seatback folds down to provide a flat surface for additional storage.

At the center of the dashboard is a nicely integrated 12.0-inch vertical touchscreen display running Ford’s Sync 4A infotainment system. The big display is clear and easy to use, and the intuitive menu system makes it simple to get to most features quickly. Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity come standard, and Ford locates a wireless phone charger at the front of the center console.

2024 Ford Ranger Raptor infotainment screenPerry Stern

In addition, the Ford Co-Pilot360 collection of advanced driver-assistance and safety features comes on every Ranger Raptor. The standard adaptive cruise control worked smoothly, bringing the truck to a complete stop when the vehicle ahead did the same. In addition, a traffic sign recognition system reads speed limit signs and changes the set speed based on the signage. Drivers can set a variance above or below the posted limit, so if you prefer to drive at 5 mph over, you can program the system to behave that way.

The 2024 Ranger Raptor Is an Impressive All-Around Performer

Like the other members of the Raptor family, the 2024 Ford Ranger Raptor delivers bold style, a premium feature-rich interior, and high levels of performance on and off the pavement. With its advanced 4WD system, configurable drive modes, skid plates, and all-terrain tires, the Raptor can confidently handle rugged terrain at speed. At the same time, this truck feels perfectly at home cruising on a back road or freeway.

2024 Ford Ranger Raptor dashboard and front seatsPerry Stern

Several midsize trucks offer similar off-road capabilities, like the Chevrolet Colorado ZR2, GMC Canyon AT4X, and Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro. While these rivals are quite capable, none can match the Ranger Raptor's 405 horsepower, and the Ford's premium cabin and excellent infotainment system are hard to beat.

Ford provided the vehicle for this 2024 Ranger Raptor review and paid for airfare, lodging, meals, and off-road experiences during the evaluation period.

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Perry Stern
I have loved cars and trucks since childhood, and that fascination with anything that drives is just as strong today. As a teenager, I knew I wanted to become an automotive journalist, and during the past three decades, I have driven, written about, and photographed all manner of automobiles ranging from affordable econocars to exotic supercars. With the idea that there is a perfect car, truck, or SUV for everyone, my goal is to help consumers determine the right one for their wants and needs.