The 2024 Ford Ranger Raptor: When a Pickup Truck is Meant to Make You Feel Alive

With more women buying trucks each year, A Girls Guide to Cars learned that the new 2024 Ford Ranger Raptor is making a case as the ultimate pickup for Moms.

Ford Ranger Raptor
Unintentionally twinning with my Ranger Raptor tester. Photo: Allison Bell

And, If You Buy One, Ford Will Teach You To Off-Road In It

More and more women are buying trucks these days. And why not? Aside from their convenience and versatility, trucks these days are loaded with tech and safety features and they’re more stylish than they’ve ever been. It makes sense that they’d appeal to female buyers.

This year, there’s a new sheriff — or rather, a new ranger — in town that might just catch the eye of women who want a midsize pickup truck with plenty of muscle and a whole lot of charm. The 2024 Ford Ranger Raptor isn’t technically new to the automotive market, but this year marks the first time this model will be available in the U.S.

Now, I know that Ford didn’t necessarily craft the Ranger Raptor for this express purpose, but… could this high-performance truck actually be the ideal mom car?

Well, this mom-of-two got to drive it up, down, and all around some dusty Utah trails and roads recently – which buyers also get to do, compliments of Ford — and I think I’ve got the answer for you.

Related: The 2024 Ford Ranger Makes Me Feel Right At Home

Ford Ranger Raptor

What a Ford Ranger Raptor looks like before you take it through dusty mountain trails. Photo: Allison Bell

Before You Knock the Idea, Consider This…

I feel like there’s a good portion of women out there who’d argue with me about the 2024 Ford Ranger Raptor being ideal for moms.

It’s not practical, you might say. I need a third row. Or maybe you’re thinking, I don’t go off-roading enough to justify it. Just hear me out…

Once upon a time, a younger me would never have entertained the idea of owning something like the Ranger Raptor. I couldn’t have even envisioned owning a new vehicle, period. Growing up, it was Used Car City all the way. We’d buy the most affordable beaters available, and then we pretty much ran them into the ground. But then I got married to a wonderful, car-obsessed man who opened my eyes a little to what a car’s purpose really is: It’s not just meant to keep you alive; it’s meant to make you feel alive.

It makes me think of a quote from Stanley Tucci’s character Nigel in “The Devil Wears Prada” when he chides Andy (played by Anne Hathaway) for reducing the fashion industry down to something vain and frivolous.

“Don’t you know that you are working at the place that published some of the greatest artists of the century? Halston, Lagerfeld, de la Renta. And what they did, what they created was greater than art because you live your life in it.”

Used in a slightly different context, I think we could easily say the same thing about the Ranger Raptor — many cars and trucks, for that matter. Some of the greatest minds and engineers collaborated to make this amazing machine, and it’s not just a mode of transportation. It’s more than just a material object. It’s important because you live your life in it.

So… allow me to give you a little preview of what your life could look like with the Ford Ranger Raptor.

Related: Ford Maverick Tremor Pickup Truck: The Billy Goat of Small Pickup Trucks

Ford Ranger Raptor

I think I might be partial to the red one. Photo: Allison Bell

What the 2024 Ford Ranger Raptor Costs — and What It Gives In Return

Let’s just address the elephant in the room first, shall we? With a starting MSRP of $55,470, the 2024 Ford Ranger Raptor is on the pricier end of things for a midsize pickup truck. The one I tested came with an optional spray-on bedliner and Raptor graphic that boosted the price to $58,300, including destination fees.

Still, the 2022 model year midsize SUV in my garage was only slightly less than that. Sure, it’s got better fuel economy and a third row, but the list of major advantages pretty much stops there. As a work-from-home mom, most of my driving is within a three-mile radius of my house, so my fuel economy is pretty poor most of the time anyway. (I routinely average around 16 mpg or less.) And guess how much we use that third row? Most of the time, I fold it flat to maximize cargo space.

Now let’s take a quick glance at what the Ranger Raptor gives you for $55–$58k:

  • Great performance. You might be an off-road-ready mama who wants to push this thing to the limits over dirt and rocks, or you might be a mom who simply wants a truck that can brave any and all elements on the road. With a 3.0-liter EcoBoost V6 engine that puts out 405 horsepower and 430 pound-feet of torque (a class-leading best, by the way), there’s almost nothing the Ranger Raptor can’t handle.
  • Plenty of passenger space. The Ranger Raptor may not be the truck you buy if you have more than a few kids to tote around, but there’s an impressive amount of space in the rear seat for families with two or three children. Among the midsize pickup trucks we’ve tested, both the Ranger and the Ranger Raptor seemed to be much more accommodating in that second row than others.
  • Cargo room to spare. Go ahead and load up all that new couch, the garbage bags of donation items, and all your groceries in that five-foot bed. Need a little extra room? The seatbacks in the second row fold down flat so you can carry even more items inside if you want. Plus, there’s extra storage underneath the seats.
  • Modern, straightforward tech. Ford keeps its infotainment system clean and simple. A 12-inch center touch screen gives you wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, navigation, fast access to climate controls (including some physical buttons just below the screen) and all pertinent information about the truck right at your fingertips. No need to shuffle through several different screens to find what you’re looking for. This user-friendly, intuitively laid-out system helps you keep your focus on the road.
  • Ample safety features. Think about all of your must-have driver-assistance features, and the Ranger Raptor probably has them: adaptive cruise control, a 360-degree camera system, lane-keep assist, blind-spot monitoring, parking sensors, rain-sensing windshield wipers… and there’s plenty more where that came from.
  • It’s not branded as a luxury vehicle, but you’re still treated to some nice creature comforts. Heated front seats, a heated steering wheel, supportive, power-adjustable performance seats, and dual-zone automatic climate control will keep you and everyone else happy on the road.

And when you consider how well Ford trucks retain their value, the Ranger Raptor becomes an even more compelling option. Should you eventually part ways with it, you’ll likely recoup a decent amount of money when you sell it.

Related: Ford F-150 Raptor R: So Extra, So Wanted 

Ford Ranger Raptor

Getting ready to jump the Ford Ranger Raptor! Photo: Allison Bell

That Driver’s Seat Might Be Magic

Any car or truck that gives you a greater sense of confidence and control is automatically a top contender when you’re looking at your options. The Ford Ranger Raptor checks this box.

During the off-road portion of my test drive, I first rode as a passenger and my anxiety started to build as I saw the jagged trails I’d soon have my turn to tackle. See, I’m not an off-roader and I’d only done extreme off-roading once before this experience. My co-driver made it look fairly easy, but I was still skeptical about my own capabilities.

And then I climbed into the driver’s seat — and all that trepidation melted away. It was crazy. As soon as my hands gripped the steering wheel and I lightly touched the gas pedal, I felt instantly at ease. It was almost like I could feel this performance pickup’s capability emanating directly into my hands.

Ford Ranger Raptor

Big smiles after successfully completing a day of Raptor Assault School. Photo: Allison Bell

Ford Will Teach You How to Off-Road if You Want

As I mentioned before, you don’t have to be an off-road enthusiast to appreciate all that the Ford Ranger Raptor has to offer. But if you want a crash course in how to make use of all of its performance features, then I’ve got some good news: If you purchase a new Ranger Raptor, you get to attend the new Ranger Raptor Assault School in Utah for free.

This one-day course is led by friendly, patient, and knowledgeable Ford team members who will show you all the ropes. You’ll get to put it to the test on the mountainside, race it through a handling track and a Baja course, and even mash the throttle and jump it.

I got to do all of those things with a group of journalists, and I have just one major complaint: I want to do it again. As my confidence built with every lap on the track and every boulder conquered, I just wanted to keep going to see what this thing could do. However, Ford wisely cut us off before we got too confident.

If you become the proud owner of a 2024 Ford Ranger Raptor, the Assault School isn’t a must, but it’s a good resource for anyone who wants to get the most out of this truck. Besides, it’s only open to new owners, so you’ll get specialized attention — and they even provide you with food.

Related: BFGoodrich and New Tech Brings More Fun to Off-Roading on The World’s Best Trails

Ford Ranger Raptor

New Ranger Raptor owners get free admission to the one-day Ranger Raptor Assault School. Photo: Allison Bell

A Midsize Pickup Truck Just Makes Life Easier

My husband and I have been fans of the F-150 Raptor since it came out in 2010, and until I drove the Ranger Raptor, I was convinced the F-150 Raptor was the only way to go. No offense to the big guy, but there’s something to be said for driving a smaller, more manageable truck. There’s less to fret about when you’re parking, taking tight turns, or driving down a narrow road. For a much lower price, you get a pretty similar experience to the full-size version.

Ford Rnager Raptor

Three different Ford Ranger Raptors in the wild. Photo: Allison Bell

When You Look Good, You Feel Good

Finally, there’s one more factor that I believe plays a part in the Ranger Raptor being the ideal mom pickup: It’s a good-looking truck.

It’s no secret that what you wear can have a profound effect on your mood. Why else do women (and men) sometimes spend several minutes just staring at the clothes in their closet? Sometimes all you need to nail an interview, ace a test or just feel plain unstoppable throughout your day is the right outfit because it subconsciously gives you a boost of confidence.

For me, that’s one attribute that tips the scales in the Ranger Raptor’s favor over the competition — and even over the regular Ranger. It just looks so darn cool, and it’s something I would be proud to drive.

Ford Ranger Raptor

Rocky terrain is no problem for the Ranger Raptor. Photo: Allison Bell

What You Need to Know

  • Starting MSRP: $55,470
  • 3.0-liter EcoBoost V6 engine that generates 405 horsepower and 430 pound-feet of torque
  • 10-speed automatic transmission
  • 33-inch BFGoodrich tires on 17-inch wheels
  • Drive modes: Normal, Tow/Haul, Sport, Slippery, Off-Road, Rock Crawl and Baja
  • Class-exclusive Pro Trailer Backup Assist
  • Class-exclusive 2.5-inch Fox shocks
  • 12-inch center touch screen and 12.4-inch digital driver display
  • Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
  • 360-degree camera system
Ford Ranger Raptor

A row of Ranger Raptors looking bright-eyed and bushy-tailed on a cold and rainy morning. Photo: Allison Bell

So… Is the 2024 Ford Ranger Raptor the Best Truck for Moms?

Obviously, what’s “best” for you largely comes down to personal preference. There will always be reasons to buy something — and reasons not to buy something. If you want the most fuel-efficient, low-cost pickup available, the Ranger Raptor is not for you. But if you’re ready to break out of the traditional SUV or minivan shell and treat yourself to something special — dare I say fun — this truck makes a pretty strong case for itself.

If you’re going to jump on the pickup truck bandwagon, this isn’t a bad place to start.

Disclosure: I was Ford’s guest for this driving event. All opinions are my own.

Have a thought or comment? Share it with us on social media! You can find us on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. And be sure to sign up for our email newsletter!

Allison is a freelance writer, a mother of two, and the wife of a car-obsessed husband who got her... More about Allison Bell