How We’d Spec It: 2024 Ford Ranger
Mid-size pickup trucks are having a moment. After the segment’s stalwarts started to become stale in recent years, it appears the stars have aligned as Ford, GM, and Toyota all have recently introduced new generations of their respective mid-sizers.
So far, we’ve only had the opportunity to drive the 2023 Chevy Colorado and ’23 GMC Canyon. We’ve also seen reveals of the 2024 Ford Ranger and 2024 Toyota Tacoma. While we wait for our chance to get behind the wheel of the latter two trucks, Ford has an online configurator for the Ranger on its consumer website, so we set our crack team of car nerds loose and asked each to build their ideal versions.
It’s worth noting the optional 310-hp turbocharged 2.7-liter V-6 currently isn’t available to order on the Ranger, so all of the models we configured—with the obvious exception of the 405-hp Raptor—are equipped with the standard 270-hp turbo 2.3-liter four-cylinder, which pairs with a 10-speed automatic transmission and rear- or four-wheel drive.
Austin Irwin’s $39,290 Ranger XL
This is how I’d spec the 2024 Ford Ranger for my dad. He hung drywall for 35 years, and there’s nothing like the Jewel Green 1991 F-150 custom cab that pops used to hang, tape, and mud nearly every Michigan home north of the 45th parallel with. It was stolen, recovered, and hit by a Consumers Energy service semi all in the same winter. It wasn’t just a work truck, it played a pivotal role in every fishing trip, camping adventure, and hockey game throughout my childhood. My dad’s sheetrock days have all but dried up, but you can’t mask the love of trucks from a guy that listened to Alan Jackson’s Mercury Blues back when it was considered a new release.
I’d keep it basic with the lowest XL Ranger trim. That comes standard with the 270-hp turbocharged 2.3-liter inline-four, a 10-speed automatic transmission, and a few nice-to-haves, like the 10.0-inch infotainment screen (don’t worry, Dad, it plays both country and western music), keyless entry, and LED headlights. The seats at this trim level are black cloth, but they’re manually adjustable, which I know my dad prefers over the slow-going powered chairs. I’d add four-wheel drive ($3645) and the $495 Trailer Tow package, which includes a class IV hitch receiver and wiring harness. The Ranger’s 7500-pound towing capacity will have no problem handling his pop-up camper or 14-foot fishing boat. I’m sure he could build one himself with $25 and a trip to the lumberyard, but I’d add the spray-in bedliner too. This $39,290 pickup is more than enough truck for dad, plus, should the inevitable patch and repair job creep up, the Ranger’s five-foot bed can fit a stack of four-foot sheets of gypsum. Here’s hoping the Hot Pepper Red paint ($495) keeps the Consumer’s Energy trucks away.
Joey Caparrella’s $41,175 Ranger XLT
My goal was to configure the least expensive Ranger with the optional twin-turbo 2.7-liter V-6, but unfortunately that engine won’t be available until late fall of this year. It’s therefore not yet included on the configurator, but I still went for the XLT trim because that’s the lowest model that will eventually be available with the V-6 (the base XL only comes with the turbo 2.3-liter inline-four). I only added a few options to my truck. With four-wheel drive, a spray-in bedliner, and Ford’s nifty keyless entry keypad, my Ranger comes out to $41,175. I opted for the subdued Cactus Gray paint and a black interior.
Eric Stafford’s $44,905 Ranger XLT FX4
While it’s easy to drool over the rip-roaring Raptor version, I wanted to spec the most affordable off-road-capable Ranger. That meant leapfrogging the base-level XL for the XLT, which is the entry point to the FX4 Off-Road package. The rear-drive XLT starts at $37,100, but that price jumps to $41,880 after adding four-wheel drive and FX4 goodies that include knobbier 31-inch tires on black 17-inch wheels, copious underbody armor, unique shock absorbers, and trail-oriented driving modes.
That’s a decent deal for an extra-capable pickup truck, and I could’ve—maybe should’ve?—stopped there, but I got suckered into spending another $3K on niceties. It’s just hard to pass on the $1445 XLT High Equipment Group, as it includes dual-zone climate control, heated and power-adjustable front seats, and a 12-inch digital gauge cluster to pair with the standard vertically oriented 12.4-inch touchscreen. I also turned the interior from drab to fab by selecting the no-cost Sandstone cloth upholstery over the all-black getup. I think the sand-colored seats pair nicely with the eye-catching $495 Hot Pepper Red metallic paint. Add in the spray-in bedliner ($495), keyless entry pad ($95), and the towing package ($495) and my Ranger XLT with the FX4 kit stickers for $44,905.
Michael Simari $59,485 Ranger Raptor
Despite sharing essentially the same twin-turbo 3.0-liter V-6, the new 405-hp Ranger Raptor starts around $30K less than the 418-hp Bronco Raptor. With this in mind, the Ranger version is a great deal for an off-road-capable mid-size pickup truck. Whether you’re an avid off-roader or someone who lives in an area with horrible roads like those of us in southeast Michigan, the Raptor models offer impressive ride quality that can be enjoyed in everyday use.
The Ranger Raptor comes loaded out of the box, so there aren’t many individual options to choose from. That means my decisions mainly came down to color, wheels, and a couple of accessories. I chose to go with the newly introduced Shelter Green metallic paint, added the 17-inch beadlock-capable wheels ($1495), a spray-in bedliner for durability and protection ($495), and the cargo management rails ($535). This brings the total to $59,485. Unless you really want a Bronco, the Raptorized Ranger is a deal that will save you quite a bit of money that can be put towards off-roading and aftermarket accessories that fit your style.
Eric Stafford’s automobile addiction began before he could walk, and it has fueled his passion to write news, reviews, and more for Car and Driver since 2016. His aspiration growing up was to become a millionaire with a Jay Leno–like car collection. Apparently, getting rich is harder than social-media influencers make it seem, so he avoided financial success entirely to become an automotive journalist and drive new cars for a living. After earning a degree at Central Michigan University and working at a daily newspaper, the years of basically burning money on failed project cars and lemon-flavored jalopies finally paid off when Car and Driver hired him. His garage currently includes a 2010 Acura RDX, a manual ’97 Chevy Camaro Z/28, and a ’90 Honda CRX Si.