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In 1983, Ford introduced the Ranger, a small pickup truck designed to compete with smaller models hitting the market from Japanese automakers. By 2011, consumer demand for small trucks shifted, with drivers wanting a larger heavy-duty work truck for towing and hauling. The Ranger line ended production, making room for sturdier workhorses.

Now more than a decade later, the Ranger is back, and better than ever, with an off-road variant branded as the 2024 Ford Ranger Raptor. While international markets have had access to the Ranger Raptor for over a year, the newest truck to join the Ford pickup lineup has just arrived in the U.S. market.

The all-new pickup offers exceptional aerodynamic performance, getting its inspiration from the unlikeliest of places.

The all-new 2024 Ranger Raptor

The high-performance midsize truck boasts an impressive twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter EcoBoost V6 engine paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission to generate 405 hp and 430 lb-ft of torque.

Ford has plans for the new Ranger Raptor to dominate the off-roading world, offering an upgraded suspension and an electronic on-demand two-speed transfer case with locking differentials for the front and rear wheels.

With a starting MSRP of around $56,900, this truck is somewhat of an off-roading bargain and promises to be a popular choice among adventure seekers. Car and Driver reported both the Bronco Raptor and Ranger Raptor are getting assembled in Michigan, with the Ranger Raptor expected to be available by the end of summer 2023.

How the Mustang helped to improve the aerodynamics of the Ranger Raptor 

Ford got some help from some elements of the Mustang production to help with the aerodynamics of the Ranger Raptor. Before the Ranger Raptor hit the streets, it underwent more than 700 hours of physical and virtual aerodynamics testing. An Australian design team closely examined the Ford Mustang to find ways to enhance the airflow around the wheel arches of the pickup.

The aerodynamics supervisor for Ford Australia explained, “Small changes in design can make a huge difference in aerodynamic efficiency.”

He said they directed their attention on the new truck to several areas, which included “creating air curtains around the front and rear wheels to reduce aerodynamic drag, tuning the C-pillar treatment to improve airflow above the load box, and shaped the box capping and tailgate spoiler to minimize drag from the wake.”

The team also replicated the air curtains from the Mustang to shape the Ranger Raptor’s fog lights to create aero curtains on the front wheels. They also designed fog lamp bezels and a new bumper to help the air flow freely around the wheels to improve performance.

By altering the C-pillar geometry and tuning the roof, they were able to make the 2024 Ford Ranger Raptor more aerodynamic by reducing drag.

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Can this truck live up to its expectations?

All of these changes to the pickup design show how much thought went into the new Ranger Raptor model, and fans of the blue oval hope the truck can live up to its expectations.

With a five-foot bed and four-door crew cab configuration as the only option, the Ford Ranger Raptor seems to be attracting plenty of attention in the off-road community, expecting to go head to head with the Chevrolet Colorado ZR2.