2024 Ford Ranger
2024 Ranger First Look: Way More "Truck Yeah!" Than Before
A new V-6 option, beefier styling and capability—the Ranger's still global, but it's a way better truck.
Ford says the "Ranger is the F-150 of the world," a boast that both ties the midsize pickup to the larger, bestselling F-150 and to its global roots of late. It also puts a positive spin on the previous-generation model, which was sent here a few years after it went on sale in the rest of the world, making it both an awkward transplant and old upon arrival. A decade had passed since Ford sunset the Ranger here (when it was still a compact truck), and this was the pickup that was supposed to resurrect the Ranger name in America? Well, here we are again: Ford has once again given the rest of the world a new Ranger before its home market, though it tightened up the timeline so that Americans are only waiting about two years for the new one.
We figure most North American customers aren't particularly interested in the "F-150 of the world," and are instead hoping for the Ranger of the U.S.A. Our Ranger. One worthy of filling the void of all those Ranger-less years we needed to endure—and which gave competitors that stuck it out in the segment a leg up, namely the Toyota Tacoma. One worthy of the "Built Ford Tough" mantra. The new 2024 Ford Ranger still holds ties to the versions sold in Australia, Thailand, Europe, and elsewhere, but it's a much better focused rig for our market than the Ranger sold here from 2019 to 2023.
Ford heard your complaints and redesigned the Ranger from the ground up, still let global markets test it out, and then tweaked it a bit more. That's the American way of looking at it, but it's not entirely untrue. Ford claims the 2024 Ranger was its biggest research project to date, focusing heavily on what North American customers wanted. (The previous truck was a global model first, and only was adapted for North America after the fact.) During our first look at the truck amidst log cabins in a forest overlooking the still waters of Camp Woodbury in Dexter, Michigan, in what could be a mid-sized lifestyle truck's natural habitat, the new Ranger appeared to blend the wisdom of a seasoned global warrior with the expectations of American truck owners.
New Truck, Same As The World Truck
Many of our early assumptions regarding the 2024 Ranger's body and trim were correct—it looks pretty much the same as the global version you've been familiar with since 2021. Ford will offer the Ranger as a four-door SuperCrew with 5-foot bed for its initial release. No timeline for the SuperCab (extended-cab) and 6-foot bed availability or ordering was given, but this fleet darling is coming. Therefore all the details Ford's provided so far are for the SuperCrew—there are no specifics for cab and bed dimensions, or payload for the SuperCab just yet.
Three trim levels will be available: XL, XLT, and Lariat. The 2024 Ranger Raptor finally makes its way over to North America, but Ford treats it almost as a different truck altogether, not so much as a fourth trim level. If serious off-roading is what you're after, the Raptor will be of peak interest to you. But the standard Ranger is tough in its own right, and pulls off the look. With 2 inches of additional body and frame width, the Ranger has a tougher, more dominating look than the somewhat narrow-looking truck it replaces, and that translates to a muscular and confident stance. Plenty of design cues trickle down from the F-150, including the familiar C-clamp headlights formed around the horizontal bar, a badge of honor it gets to signify that it is Built Ford Tough. Combined with a sculpted hood, tighter, more chiseled square fenders, and a revised roof line, the Ranger has its own look and attitude.
Functional Exterior Design
It isn't all form over function, though. The Ranger has uniquely styled fender vents for each trim level that exhaust air to reduce under-hood temperatures. The new generation introduces Ford's interpretation of a rear step for easy bed access. Integrated into the body behind the rear wheel openings, they're wide enough for two feet and can support 300 pounds—a respectable number that supports a range of customers and loading scenarios.
The tailgate functions as a mobile workbench with two clamping points and a molded-in ruler along the top edge of the tailgate where it can't be worn off, but is clearer, better defined, and more useful than the Maverick's similar flourish. The 2 inches of added width provides extra interior space, but also more bed space to accommodate that benchmark building material: a sheet of plywood. Ford leveraged the added width to provide 48.2 inches of space between squared off wheelhouses. And with six tie-downs in the bed, three access points on each bed rail, and those two tailgate clamping points, the Ranger is ready to work.
Engines and Powertrain
If you guessed that Ford would bring back the 2.3-liter EcoBoost I-4 with the same 270 hp and 310 lb-ft of torque, well, you're right. Many people also guessed there would be no diesel option in North America, and that is also correct. However, the optional 2.7-liter twin-turbo EcoBoost V-6 (also found in the F-150 and Bronco) is new. It comes to the Ranger with 315 hp and 400 lb-ft of torque. It is available in XLT and Lariat trims with "late availability," but no specific ordering or delivery details. The Raptor will get the mighty 3.0-liter twin-turbo V-6 with 405 hp and 430 lb-ft of torque. All engines utilize a 10-speed automatic. Everyone should know by this point, but we'll confirm it anyway—there is no manual. There have been rumblings about a hybrid option, but as of publication there was no mention of one for the 2024 model year.
Options for two-wheel drive and four-wheel drive are available, with an electronic locking rear differential available on any of the three trim levels. The standard single-range electronic shift-on-the-fly (ESF) four-wheel-drive system can be upgraded to a part-time system with low range. The front and rear tracks are wider, and the rear shocks have been moved outboard of the frame, increasing their leverage, so loaded and un-loaded ride quality should be improved.
Towing and Hauling
Not much has changed in this department, but there are some great new driver-assist features. Standard bumper towing is rated at 3,500 pounds, while a class-IV towing package allows for 7,500 pounds. Maximum payload increases slightly, comparing like configurations, from 1,770 to 1,805 pounds for the 4x2 and 1,560 to 1,711 for 4x4 (the outgoing SuperCab 4x2 could carry 1,905).
An upgrade from the standard towing option, the Advanced Towing package with the class-exclusive Pro Trailer Backup Assist gives drivers a console-mounted steering dial, trailer side-views, and guided directions to take the guesswork out of backing up a trailer (this is not Pro-Hitch Assist as on the F-150). Ford engineers appropriately pointed out that smaller trucks typically tow smaller trailers, and they thought these aids were especially important given how much more readily short trailers can jackknife. And while you may take pride in your ability to back up a trailer, the 2024 Ranger has your back if you find yourself in a tight spot—no one on the outside needs to know you're using it, they'll just see your rig expertly piloted into place.
Appropriately equipped Rangers can store up to 10 trailer profiles, measuring them automatically via camera, using included target stickers. With the free-to-use FordPass app and Advanced Towing package, Ranger owners can initiate a five-cycle check of trailer light functions from outside the vehicle, making solo trailer hook-ups simpler. An available integrated trailer brake to the right of the steering column rounds out an incredibly robust suite of towing options.
The Most Connected Ranger
The XL, XLT, and Lariat all get a customizable digital gauge cluster. An 8-inch screen is standard for XL and XLT, and a 12.4-inch cluster is found in the Lariat. An embedded vertical center screen is found in all trims, sized 10.1 inches for XL and XLT, and 12.4 inches for Lariat. Sync 4A with enhanced voice recognition will interpret commands following the "Okay Ford" prompt. Wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are standard in all models, with wireless phone charging standard in XLT and above. An embedded 4G LTE modem keeps you connected and allows for over-the-air updates. We wondered why Ford didn't go with 5G at this point, and despite the North American focus, this was a compromise made for being a global vehicle.
The FX4 package gives drivers an off-road screen with displays for drive lines, diff-lock engagement, steering angle, pitch and roll, and predictive tire guidelines. The screen is easy to access with a hard button on the center console. The low-speed Trail Control off-road cruise control is another feature we are beginning to expect in modern adventure themed trucks.
Zone lighting, controllable through the Ford Pass app, gives users the ability to activate all exterior lights for 360-degree lighting or split into 4 distinct zones. This option is great for setting up a campsite, unloading in the dark, or keeping the tailgate party going just a bit longer. A 400-watt, 120-volt power package is optional on XLT and Lariat for powering small appliances at a campsite or small hand tools at a job site.
In addition to the available Ford 360 overhead camera views, the 2024 features six class exclusive driver aids including Pro Trailer Backup Assist, Trailer Reverse Assist, BLIS with Trailer Coverage, Active Park 2.0, Evasive Steer Assist, and Post-Collision Braking. With this long list of features, this certainly is the most technologically advanced Ranger yet. It has modern tech, but it feels well integrated into what is most useful for truck owners for work, play, or both.
A Fresh Interior