Thursday, April 25, 2024
First Reviews2024 Ford Ranger First Drive Review: More Power is Always Better 

2024 Ford Ranger First Drive Review: More Power is Always Better 

The all-new 2024 Ford Ranger provides more power, styling, and technology for truck lovers.


We like

  • Choice of engines

  • Smoother ride

  • Very capable Raptor version

We don’t like

  • Max payload capacity is lower than before

  • Raptor trim’s high tag price

  • No hybrid version


2025 Ford Ranger | Photo: Benoit Charette

Salt Lake City, Utah – American customers never have enough of a good thing. Even if the 270 hp of the 2.3L turbo was enough for many people, Ford told us that many customers wanted more. Introducing the 2024 Ranger with not one, not two, but three engines under the hood.


Completely Redesigned

While not entirely new for 2024, Ford has done a lot of work. The Ranger now features a more upscale style, a new interior, and numerous other improvements on what is now called the T6.2 platform. The 2.3L EcoBoost engine remains the same with its 270 horsepower and 310 lb-ft of torque. However, Ford officials claim that customers wanted more. So, this summer, the Ranger will get a second engine option from the F-150. The 2.7L EcoBoost V6 will come with 315 horsepower and 400 lb-ft of torque. Brand new for 2024, a Raptor version with the Bronco’s 3.0L turbocharged V6 will complete the lineup with 405 horsepower and 430 lb-ft of torque.


A More Robust Line

2025 Ford Ranger | Photo: Benoit Charette

We love square trucks that express toughness and solidity. It seems Ford was listening. Based on the same chassis as the outgoing fifth-generation model, the latest Ranger features C-shaped headlights flanking the beautiful honeycomb grille where the blue oval emblem is placed at the center of a double horizontal bar. You have the choice of an XL, XLT, and Lariat version. We tested the Lariat version which, like the cheaper XLT version, comes with LED headlights and taillights. The Lariat also features 18-inch wheels instead of the standard 17-inch wheels on the XLT. Currently, the SuperCrew with a five-foot bed is the only body configuration available for all Ranger versions. It seems that a SuperCab version is in the works.

Ranger Raptor is built on a beefy foundation, taking Ranger’s fully boxed frame up a notch by reinforcing the front frame rails, front shock towers, rear shock brackets, suspension mounting points, and other key areas so it can handle more punishing off-road conditions. Every Raptor design element has a purpose. Styling starts with LED projector headlights to light up the night flanked by C-clamp signature lighting. Bold F-O-R-D lettering on the grille sits above an all-steel bumper with integrated, frame-mounted front and rear tow hooks and LED taillights that provide a signature C-clamp link to the front. Flared fenders with functional fender vents house aggressive 33-inch BFGoodrich all-terrain KO3 tires on 17-inch wheels that can be replaced by beadlock capable wheels for running extra low tire pressures in sand and rocky conditions. The Ranger Raptor also sports serious underbody protection. The thick front bash plate is made of high-strength steel and is complemented by dedicated engine, transfer case and fuel tank shields. The Raptor also features an all-new exterior colour – Shelter Green.


Easier Access

2025 Ford Ranger | Photo: Benoit Charette

Ford has also improved loading accessibility with a wider tailgate that can now accommodate a sheet of plywood – another direct customer request. The bed is sprayed with a coating and features familiar bottle openers and other hooks for securing cargo. A total of 400 watts of power is available in the bed, along with LED lights on the sides. Ford told us that the new side steps of the bed can support up to 300 pounds. Another new feature, a power-sliding rear window, is standard on the Lariat and optional on the XLT.


Easy Towing

One of the highlights of the 2024 Ranger is the Pro Trailer Backup Assist feature, which works in conjunction with the 360-degree camera. It’s the same technology found in the F-series and works seamlessly in the smaller Ranger. Simply turn the knob on the center console for drivers to easily manoeuvre in reverse with a loaded trailer. The rearview image is displayed on the central touchscreen. Controlling the speed by pressing the brake pedal and turning the knob in the desired direction for the trailer is much easier than having to turn the steering wheel with your hands in the opposite direction of the intended trailer path, as was the case before.


Upscale Interior

2025 Ford Ranger | Photo: Benoit Charette

This is an area that needed some love. A bit outdated in the previous model, the interior is more modern now. You get brand-new fabric seats and optimized storage possibilities. The redesigned center console is much larger than before. There’s now an upper glove box, and the rear seats have storage bins under them – and can fold completely flat. The upper part of the dashboard and the lower part of the glove box are still hard plastic and look cheap, but there are now soft paddings in several places, like the centre console lid.

The fabric seats in the Ranger Lariat have a very nice texture and are relatively comfortable. The heated steering wheel proved very useful on this cool day. The new truck comes standard with an eight-inch fully digital instrument cluster for the driver on lower trims, while the Lariat gets a larger 12-inch cluster accompanied by a larger infotainment screen oriented vertically like the F-150.


Driving Experience

2025 Ford Ranger | Photo: Benoit Charette

The first thing that strikes you when driving is the improved overall insulation and driving comfort. Even though the Ranger retains the same fully boxed frame chassis, the T6.2 platform has been enhanced with more high-strength steel, a two-inch increase in track width and wheelbase, and repositioned rear suspension shock absorber sets. In the end, you have a more civilized ride. The driving is smooth with a larger turning radius than expected. Braking requires a bit of effort. In Canada, all models are four-wheel drive. Most people will find the base engine’s 270 horsepower more than sufficient. But Ford adds that according to a customer survey, 76% wanted more power. That’s why there’s a 2.7L option for those customers.

Putting 405 horsepower in the Ranger Raptor demanded some serious work on the chassis. The heart of every Raptor is its suspension. Ranger Raptor starts with a purpose-built suspension that includes lightweight aluminum upper and lower control arms and a long-travel rear suspension with a Watts linkage and trailing arms for control and confidence in off-road conditions. Ranger Raptor’s next-generation FOX 2.5-inch Live Valve Internal Bypass shocks are coil-overs at the front and have piggyback reservoirs at the rear to reduce friction and heat build-up for uninterrupted performance all day long. It can tackle some serious off-road challenges but is able to remain civilized on the road. The 2.3 and 2.7L engines can tow up to 7,500 pounds, while the Raptor is limited to 5,510. The payload capacity of the 2.3L model is 1,711 pounds.


Prices

2025 Ford Ranger | Photo: Benoit Charette

The base Ranger in XL trim with the 2.3L engine will sell for $41,870. The XLT version jumps to $46,120 and you’ll need over $54,000 for the Lariat version. At this amount, you’ll need to add $2,095 for shipping and preparation fees plus taxes. You will have to dig deeper into your pockets for the Raptor with a price tag of $77,945.


Conclusion

The 2024 Ranger is a step forward for Ford. It’s not necessarily the best in its class, but it’s arguably the most technologically advanced and its Raptor version is in a class of its own. Its price remains high, but you get a lot for your money. All Ranger Raptors are built for the passionate performance enthusiast who wants a truck to tackle their biggest adventures.

2025 Ford Ranger | Photo: Benoit Charette
2025 Ford Ranger | Photo: Benoit Charette
2025 Ford Ranger | Photo: Benoit Charette
2025 Ford Ranger | Photo: Benoit Charette
2025 Ford Ranger | Photo: Benoit Charette
2025 Ford Ranger | Photo: Benoit Charette
2025 Ford Ranger | Photo: Benoit Charette
2025 Ford Ranger | Photo: Benoit Charette
2025 Ford Ranger | Photo: Benoit Charette
2025 Ford Ranger | Photo: Benoit Charette
2025 Ford Ranger | Photo: Benoit Charette
2025 Ford Ranger | Photo: Benoit Charette
2025 Ford Ranger | Photo: Benoit Charette
2025 Ford Ranger | Photo: Benoit Charette
2025 Ford Ranger | Photo: Benoit Charette
2025 Ford Ranger | Photo: Benoit Charette

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