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2024 Ford Ranger, Ranger Raptor Up Close: All in the Family

ford ranger lariat 2024 01 exterior front angle scaled jpg 2024 Ford Ranger | Cars.com photo by Steven Pham

Things have suddenly become very interesting in the mid-size pickup truck class, a part of the truck market that’s long been overshadowed by bigger, more capable full-size and heavy-duty models. GM recently redesigned its Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon siblings, an updated Toyota Tacoma is set to be revealed in a matter of days, and we recently got a chance to check out different versions of the redesigned 2024 Ford Ranger, including the new-for-the-U.S. Raptor version.

Related: 2024 Ford Ranger: New Engine, New Raptor

The refreshed Ranger has a tougher appearance than the outgoing model thanks to a new, more upright front-end design. There’s some of Ford’s Expedition SUV in its face — the headlights and grille treatment have similarities — but the new front end, combined with front and rear boxed fenders, give the truck a beefier appearance that’s in keeping with contemporary truck design, which seems to be getting more aggressive by the year. This is especially evident in the Ranger Raptor, which is even wider than the regular Ranger and gets a version of Ford’s block-letter grille and chunky all-terrain tires.

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The 2024 Ranger also has its share of practical updates. The cargo bed can now fit 4-foot-wide sheets of plywood or drywall between the wheel arches, and there’s an available household power outlet in the bed. The outlet is rated for 400 watts of power, however, so it’s not designed to run high-draw electrical devices like the Ford F-150’s optional Pro Power Onboard generator system. There’s also an available integrated step at the corner of the rear fender to make it easier to access items in the cargo box. It’s similar to the steps Chevrolet has incorporated in its truck bumpers for years.

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The Ranger’s redesigned dashboard mimics the truck’s front end with a more vertical design, and it can be fitted with larger screens for the instrument panel and infotainment system. An available 12.4-inch digital instrument panel (an 8-inch panel is standard) has crisp graphics and looks a lot like the one that’s offered in the F-150, and the center of the dash can have a large, 12-inch vertically oriented touchscreen for the Sync 4A system.

The infotainment screen’s menus and layout are similar to what’s in the Mustang Mach-E electric SUV, but while that model has a larger 15.5-inch vertical screen with an integral volume knob, the Ranger’s 12-inch screen forgoes the integrated volume control for a volume knob below the screen. The bottom portion of the Ranger’s screen has touch-sensitive climate controls, but Ford also includes secondary physical climate controls below the screen, which is a nice alternative for those who prefer them.

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The 2024 Ranger will be offered as a four-door crew-cab truck to start, and in this configuration, there’s enough space in the cab for taller adults to sit in the front and rear seats in relative comfort at the same time. The rear bench seat can flip up for carrying taller items inside the cab, or the seatback can fold down to turn the rear seat into a luggage perch.

Ranger Raptor: For When an F-150 Raptor Is Too Big

If you like the look and performance focus of the F-150 Raptor but think the performance truck is just a bit too big and unwieldy for everyday use, the new Ranger Raptor could be the truck for you. It’s more of a medium-size version of the F-150 Raptor — it’s kid brother, if you will.

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The Ranger Raptor has the same-style grille as the F-150 Raptor, as well as similar bulging fenders that wrap around 33-inch BFGoodrich KO3 all-terrain tires and standard 17-inch wheels (17-inch beadlock-capable wheels are optional). The Ranger Raptor’s track width is 3.5 inches greater than the 2024 Ranger’s, which has a track width about 2 inches greater than its predecessor. Other exterior similarities include Raptor-specific running boards, rear fender graphics and dual exhaust outlets that exit below the rear bumper.

The Ranger Raptor’s cabin gets some unique materials like suede-style trim on the dashboard, honeycomb-style finishes and plenty of orange accents, and the trim-specific front bucket seats have more side bolstering. The truck also gets a unique steering wheel that includes magnesium shift paddles, a center-position marker in orange at the top, and buttons to adjust the truck’s steering, suspension and exhaust systems.

Overall, the 2024 Ranger offers many improvements over its predecessor, if not all of the innovation available in the F-150 that helped that truck win our Best of 2021 award. Is it enough to keep the Ranger competitive in light of other new mid-size trucks joining the fray? We’re looking forward to driving it to find out.

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Mike Hanley has more than 20 years of experience reporting on the auto industry. His primary focus is new vehicles, and he's currently a Senior Road Test Editor overseeing expert car reviews and comparison tests. He previously managed Editorial content in the Cars.com Research section. Email Mike Hanley

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