Ford’s newest Raptor is a 405-hp Ranger
It’s not often that other parts of the world get to enjoy a pickup truck before we Americans do, but in the case of Ford’s Ranger Raptor and its European debut, that was precisely the case. The high-performance midsizer was once cautiously excluded from our shores for fear of stepping on big brother F-150’s turf, much to the dismay of the Ford faithful—and to the delight of certain cross-town rivals.
But that time is no more. That sound you’re hearing is a Ranger Raptor raising its talons in the direction of the Chevy Colorado ZR2 and telling the bowtie-emblazoned desert stormer to bring it on.
Actually, that might just be the opening riff to Enter Sandman.
Meet the Ranger Raptor, the third vehicle to receive a high-octane DNA injection from the delightfully unhinged folks at Ford Performance. Its lofty company includes the full-size F-150 pickup, which began the Raptor lore back in 2010, and the Bronco, which received the genetic mutation a year and a half ago.
Being a member of this lethal pack promises many things; chiefly, the new truck will do sports car things over terrain that would fold lesser cars in half—and then trundle home as if nothing happened. The Ranger Raptor’s prospects, at least on paper, appear more than ready to put that ethos to work.
Let’s start with the skeleton. Raptor-izing the 2024 Ranger’s T6.2 frame required many tweaks and reinforcements, given the abuse this thing is likely to take. Engineers took the boxed steel frame and reinforced the front rails, the front shock towers, the rear shock brackets, and pretty much every other suspension mounting point in order to provide bones sturdy enough for the Raptor brand.
Those mounting points locate the components of the Raptor’s high-tech suspension, undoubtedly the main event on these machines. The front layout includes forged aluminum upper and lower A-arms and unique steering knuckles that move under the guidance of 2.5-inch Fox Live Valve adaptive shocks with coilover springs. In the rear, it gets even wilder. The Raptor ditches the normal Ranger’s leaf-spring setup in favor of a Watt’s link layout with trailing arms, piggyback-reservoir Fox shocks, and coil springs.
The suspension’s damping traits are adaptable based on which drive mode you’ve selected—Normal, Tow/Haul, Sport, Slippery, Off-Road, Rock Crawl, or Baja. Those modes also tweak other parameters such as the engine and transmission maps, ABS calibration, steering, and traction control, among others.
Speaking of engines, the Ranger Raptor will utilize the same compacted graphite-iron block, 3.0-liter twin-turbo V-6 as the Bronco Raptor. In this application, it pumps out 405 hp and 430 lb-ft of torque on premium fuel, down 13 hp and 10 lb-ft to the Braptor, but up on the Colorado ZR2 by a whopping 95 ponies.
Impressively, the Ranger Raptor still makes 90 percent of peak horsepower at redline, thanks to an improved turbo system that reduces induction and exhaust losses by 50 percent, according to Ford. An active exhaust with four modes—Normal, Quiet, Sport, and Baja—is also standard. In Baja mode, the engine utilizes an anti-lag system that will keep the turbos spooled for up to 3 seconds after the driver lifts off the throttle.
Putting on our bench racing hat for a minute, all signs point to the Ranger Raptor leaving the Colorado ZR2 in its dust—the only question seems to be by how much. We’ll have to wait to see if the ZR2’s impressive suspension and DSSV shocks can make up for its power deficit.
Elsewhere in the mechanicals department, a 10-speed automatic transmission is the sole gearbox offering. The 4×4 system features an electronically controlled on-demand two-speed transfer case and locking front and rear differentials. Those components spin 33-inch BFGoodrich KO3 tires riding on 17-inch wheels, with beadlock-capable wheels offered as an upgrade. (Side note: You can get 35-inch rubber on the new Colorado ZR2 Bison when it debuts; expect Ford to offer a similar upgrade for the Ranger Raptor eventually.)
If the cloud of dust wasn’t enough, you’ll realize the Ranger headed your way is a Raptor thanks to a host of unique styling elements, including flared front and rear fenders, a special F-O-R-D grille, and a heavy-duty steel front bumper with integrated tow hooks. It’s a very wide truck—up 4.3 inches on the normal Ranger and 3.4 inches on the Colorado ZR2—but the Ranger Raptor still strikes a nice balance between midsize sensibility and menacing intentions.
The Raptor-izing continues inside thanks to touches like sport seats with extra bolstering, a unique steering wheel with magnesium shift paddles, and plenty of Code Orange flourishes.
Many tech upgrades from the normie Ranger can also be found here, including the Zone Lighting tech and the 360-degree camera view, both of which should be a boon out on the trail. There’s also a panel of pre-wired auxiliary switches overhead that can quickly string up extra trail lighting, a winch, or any number of other useful devices.
We’ve been hoping Ford would impart its raucous Raptor ways onto the Ranger ever since the truck returned in 2019. For years, the Colorado ZR2 enjoyed an unencumbered reign over the midsize performance truck space. Sure, the Jeep Gladiator Mojave and the Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro both nipped at its heels, but neither truly challenged the Chevy.
This feels different. We finally have a true-blue performance midsizer that looks ready to go jump-for-jump with the Colorado. If our past experiences with the Raptor brand are any indication, this one’s gonna pack one helluva bite.
The 2024 Ford Ranger Raptor will start at $58,555, including a $1595 destination fee—some $10,000 more than the base price of the Colorado ZR2. It will be built alongside the normal Ranger at the Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, Michigan. Order books open later this month, with the first Raptors arriving later this summer.