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Ford Reviewers Rave About Newest Ranger Raptor As Ford Finally Fills Out The Lineup

Since it first appeared some years ago, Ford's Ranger Raptor has drawn critical acclaim in every U.S. market. No one could answer why, but the waiting is over here, too. And the reviews have been great.

If there is one thing that is true about Ford’s most recent addition to its Raptor lineup, it is that the Ford Ranger Raptor has been greeted by reviewers here and overseas with much critical acclaim. Though it has taken years, it is has been worth the wait.

Just Joined Lineup and It Is A Hit

Little wonder the Dearborn, Michigan automaker’s latest addition to its lineup, the Ranger Raptor, is a hit. It may seem like an instant hit, but here’s the issue: the Ranger Raptor—older versions of it, really—has been on sale in other places on the planet for some time now.

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For example, a couple of years ago, Torque News ran a series of articles describing the Ranger Raptor, ending in uniform praise for the automaker’s offroader. Not only was there praise here for the European version of the Ranger Raptor, but the praise was similar for the Australian version of the pickup.

Granted, we had talked to other folks about their opinions of the Ranger Raptor, and when we reviewed each opinion, the Ranger Raptor always came out as quite a truck. So, you would think Ford would simply import the Ranger Raptor here and start selling it.

The answer to this was a decisive no. For years, other parts of the market, except the United States, were open to the Ranger Raptor. Folks asked why Ford’s popular mid-sized pickup offroader wasn’t available here. We had no idea, no good idea. Indeed, when spokespersons were asked about it, they had no good ideas.

Why Wasn’t It Offered Here?

Perhaps they were waiting for a new version of the Ranger Raptor so Ford could make a huge splash with it. There didn’t seem to be any reason to keep the Ranger Raptor out of the U.S. market. They would indeed have had to move the steering wheel on many of them from the right to the left side (the English world is right-hand drive, as is Japan), but once the automaker had made a move and built several left-hand drive models, it wouldn’t have taken much to keep on going.

Reviewer Asks: With all the vehicles, what is the best one for me?

No, there just didn’t seem to be any reason to keep the Ranger Raptor out of the U.S. market. Indeed, some things, like overseas emissions and safety rules, were not as strict as the U.S. rule, which could have caused the delay in offering the Ranger Raptor here. Still, at that time—roughly two years ago—there didn’t seem to be any reason to keep the Ranger Raptor out of the U.S. market.

This situation has changed radically recently, as Ford has brought the Ranger Raptor here, which has received rave reviews.

One of Ford’s top supporters, the Ford Authority, raved about the Ranger Raptor this week.  Or, as the Ford Authority, a leading source of independent information about Ford, said, the new Raptor lineup has proven to be a smash in hit in every market where it is available.” And now it is available here as the Ranger Raptor has slowly expanded its availability “over the last few years.”

This is how it happened—it happened so quietly that most of us in the motoring press were caught off guard. “First came the Ford F-150 Raptor, which has been on sale for several years. It was joined a bit later by the Ford Ranger Raptor in markets outside the U.S. a few years ago.”

Bronco Raptor: A Hit

In 2022, a new Raptor line debuted, the Bronco Raptor. The Bronco Raptor has received plenty of critical acclaim. And now, finally, the U.S. market has the entire Raptor line with the arrival “of the all-new, redesigned Ford Ranger Raptor.” For the first time – and true to form – [the Ranger Raptor] has received glowing reviews.” Fortunately for the readers of Torque News, FA has brought us a sampling of the thinking of auto journalists across the nation. We will let each writer have their say.

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We start with Dan Edmunds of Car & Driver, who points out that the 2024 Ford Ranger Raptor has one big advantage over the larger F-150 Raptor—its more compact, trail-friendly size, even if it is just 0.1 inches narrower than a regular F-150. It’s also quick and capable, with a price tag much lower than its Raptor counterparts.

Edmunds continued, “The Ranger Raptor is the most trail-worthy member of the Raptor family because of its rightsized dimensions. It’s much more likely to be bought by off-road types who never gave the big Raptor a serious look,” Edmunds said. “It’s also the most affordable by a wide margin, so there’s a strong appeal on the budget front. And it’s as quick as any other Raptor, except for the F-150’s V-8-powered R model.” He finished with a plea: “Anyone want to buy a slightly used 4Runner?”

Then MotorTrend’s Jered Korfhage echoes many of these sentiments.” He noted that it is easily worthy of the Raptor name that has garnered so much respect among enthusiasts in recent years.”

Wonders About Where It Will Fit?

He said, “Driving the burliest Ranger on- and off-road raised questions about where it falls within its suddenly crowded segment. The Ford is neither the most cost-effective truck nor the best rock crawler, but it has heaps of power and buckets of torque, and it can hoon the dirt with the best of ’em,” Korfhage said. “And can you name another truck that lets you tune your exhaust and suspension settings as you rally through silty turns? We’ll let you get dirty and decide what fits your off-road needs best. In the meantime, this truck deserves a place at the Raptor table.

Finally, there’s Andrew Collins from The Drive, who gave the Ranger Raptor considerable praise, “even calling it an instant classic and a ‘legit desert rally truck.’”

He continued that the “truck’s not perfect – I was bummed to see some mediocre interior panel fitment, and I’m still not in love with the way the infotainment screen meets the eyes,” Collins said. “But for the level of performance this thing offers at its starting price of about $55,000, I think this is one of the best deals in new performance vehicles. I’m halfway thinking about liquidating four of my vehicles and taking out a loan to get one of these. If you are lucky enough to pick one up, do yourself a favor and drive it in the desert. The Ranger Raptor will be a blast in your backyard if you live in California or any of the four-corner states. If you’re in another corner of America, make the trip. Let it rip. But learn as much as you can about the vehicle’s limits slowly, and ideally, at a real racing school.”

You can see just what the critics say about the Ranger Raptor. It seems to have taken a long time to arrive, but now that it is here, it will likely be a staple of Ford sales.

Ford Motor Photo

Marc Stern has been an automotive writer since 1971. His automotive articles have appeared in venues including Popular Mechanics, Mechanix Illustrated, AutoWeek, SuperStock, Trailer Life, Old Cars Weekly, Special Interest Autos, and others. You can follow Marc on Twitter or Facebook.