The Ultimate Mid-Size Pickup: Ford Debuts the 2024 Ranger Raptor, But Should You Just Buy a Bronco Instead?
Just as big as the debut of the next-generation 2024 Ford Ranger was the news that Ford is finally bringing the Ranger Raptor to the North American market.
The "Baby Raptor" Hatches
The smaller, less expensive Ranger is now the third vehicle in Ford’s lineup to get the Raptor treatment, and it looks to be packing a punch. Like the other Raptor models, it gets wider bodywork, a reinforced frame, long travel FOX suspension, and other upgrades to handle off-roading and desert-running.
It also gets a unique version of the 2.7L EcoBoost V6 that makes 405 horsepower and 430 pound-feet of torque — both strong numbers for a mid-sized pickup truck.
What about price? The 2024 Ranger Raptor will have an MSRP starting below $57,000. No doubt that's a lot of money for any mid-sized pickup, but also not as expensive as it might seem at first.
The Ranger is the cheapest Raptor model by far, undercutting the F-150 Raptor by about $20,000 and the Bronco Raptor by nearly $30,000. And it looks to deliver some serious performance for the money.
Money Well Spent?
But staying in the Ranger Raptor’s general price range, what kind of alternatives are out there for brand new 4x4s with similar capability?
Well, one of its biggest competitors sits right across the showroom in the form of the (non-Raptor) Bronco.
With all the hype and praise the new Bronco has received over the last few years, one can forget that under its retro body sits a platform and engines very similar to the Ranger.
So it’s natural to ask, if you are in the market for the Ranger Raptor would you be better served by just buying a nicely outfitted Bronco instead? What about vice versa?
Bronco vs Ranger
With a budget in the mid to high $50,000s, one can spec out a Bronco in either the Badlands or Wildtrak trim, both of which are the most capable versions of the Bronco, short of the flagship Raptor.
For that money, you’ll get a similar 2.7 liter EcoBoost V6, though the Bronco version makes a more modest 330 horsepower and 415 pound-feet of torque. You’ll also the same 10-speed automatic transmission and four-wheel-drive of course.
Besides the decreased horsepower, you'll also miss the FOX Live Valve suspension and some of the other Raptor-specific equipment the Ranger has. Realistically speaking though, you’d have to be a pretty serious off-roader to notice the differences between the two in most situations.
A Ford For Everyone
The more prominent deciding factors will likely be intangible things. Do you want the retro-inspired, open-top Bronco or the more traditional pickup truck body of the Ranger? A top-down Bronco might be more fun, but the Ranger could prove more useful.
Whether one picks the iconic, revived Bronco or the new Ranger Raptor there's no wrong answer between these two Fords.
There is the matter of availability and dealer markups, but chances are both vehicles will be subject to the same market forces these days.
If you are looking to buy a new Ranger Raptor, we suggest finding a good Ford dealer and getting an order in as soon as possible, hopefully avoiding the long waits that have plagued Bronco buyers since day one.
Supply and demand issues aside, Ford deserves applause for adding the Ranger Raptor to a lineup that was already full of some of the most capable and varied off-roaders an automaker has ever produced.
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