2024 Ford Ranger Supercrew XLT: The Good, The Bad

ford logo - transparent backgroundThere’s so much to like about the Ford Ranger you can immediately tell that it’s made by a manufacturer that has been fine-tuning its truck and pickup design for decades. But… there’s also a question that you’ll ask yourself again and again as you experience the truck: why did you opt to buy a pickup truck? That is, do you want form or function? A polished design, or better towing capabilities and a more rugged truck bed?

Immediately on the heels of a week with the 2024 Nissan Frontier, Ford loaned me a brand new 2024 Ford Ranger Supercrew 4×4 XLT in cactus gray with premium “sandstone” cloth seats. It was pretty tricked out with lots of off-road options, including a pickup box extender that I found terrific.

The Ranger lands between the entry-level Maverick (which I reviewed back in 2023) and the F-150, the most popular truck in the world. Like all modern vehicles, the Ranger has quite a few trim levels and options: The version I drove had a 128″ wheelbase and a 62″ truckbed (without factoring in the extender). The XLT certainly has a lot of curb appeal:

2024 ford ranger supercrew 4x4 xlt - front exterior

It’s rated for 7,500 pounds towing capacity with the Trailer Tow Package (which was included). I did not have a chance to test its towing prowess but there are plenty of controls to ensure a good experience. In fact, here’s the dashboard with its big, bright 12.4-inch vertically oriented display screen:

2024 ford ranger supercrew 4x4 xlt - dashboard

The infotainment screen reminded me of the Tesla screen, though if you look, the lower portion with the white background never goes away, so unlike the Tesla, a map view is not edge-to-edge. Still, it was plenty big enough to make working with it a pleasure, and the 6-speaker audio system was just fine for music and audiobooks. Also, did you catch how the honeycomb design of the air vents echoes the design of the front grill? Also, props for the straight forward/back gearshift. No adjustment is needed for someone even coming from a 1970s Ford vehicle.

Having said that, the steering wheel crossbar controls were basically a clone of every other Ford I’ve driven lately:

2024 ford ranger supercrew 4x4 xlt - steering wheel controls

Easy enough to work with and I greatly appreciate not having the volume and next/prev track controls hidden on the back of the bar, like some other manufacturers seem to think is a good user experience. It is a bit unusual to have the cruise controls on the left hand and the main display screen controls on the right, but that was easily managed.

But look behind the right side of the steering wheel. Can you see what’s inserted into the ignition? The key fob:

2024 ford ranger supercrew 4x4 xlt - key in ignition

By the time you drive it off the lot, this is a $47K truck, but I had to manually insert the key into the ignition every time I wanted to drive it. For a bare-bones entry-level truck that would be entirely acceptable, but this is the first vehicle I have driven in years that didn’t have an RFID keyfob and a pushbutton start. Even more surprising, there’s no button or sensor on the door handle to lock or unlock the vehicle. Sure, the driver’s door has a combo lock…

2024 ford ranger supercrew 4x4 xlt - driver's door combo lock

But again, I was quite surprised that I had to pull the keyfob out of my pocket and push the correct button to lock or unlock the vehicle. As an owner, I would set a PIN code but that’s then required both to unlock the vehicle and to lock it. Why not just have it lock with the push of any of the SecuriCode keypad buttons?

On the upside, I have to give Ford props for the most beautiful button label I’ve ever seen in a vehicle:

2024 ford ranger supercrew 4x4 xlt - towing and 4x4 controls

The knob on the right is the 4×4 control with various towing options, while the left side buttons are for parking, antilock brakes, auto start/stop, and hill control. But look at that hill control button! It’s a tiny work of art. 🙂

The main gauge display was fun and interesting, which I appreciate. The tach is still there, but very subtle:

2024 ford ranger supercrew 4x4 xlt - main gauges

You can see I’m about 1700 rpm and was driving 26mph (yes, in a 20mph zone. Oops). No tachometer, no speedometer, but pitch and roll indicators that are quite helpful if you’re 4×4’ing or otherwise engaged in off-road adventures. Perhaps the most unusual display here is the fuel level, which could have been more compact but is at least visually interesting!

In terms of fuel efficiency, well… the Ranger’s powered by the Ford 2.3L EcoBoost engine with a 10-speed transmission. Remember that towing capacity? You don’t get that with a super fuel-efficient design, so it wasn’t too much of a surprise that the truck averaged about 21.8mpg across the previous 2200 miles across various rural, suburban, urban, and mountain driving. As of this writing, Ford hasn’t released the EPA estimates for the truck but this is in line with previous model years.

As with many modern vehicles, the 2024 Ford Ranger XLT drive experience had good pickup from a stop but rather disappointing acceleration from speed on the highway. This could be tweaked by trying different drive modes because this is often caused by the automatic dropping into a high gear to lower rpms and improve fuel efficiency, but there aren’t many options in this regard. This is a 4×4, not a sedan, after all.

I will say that the interior was very comfortable, though the “supercrew” didn’t leave much legroom for the rear passengers. I know, I know, it’s not an F-150, which is where you really see the benefits of the extended wheelbase, but still, this is going to work fine for the smaller members of your family but might be a bit cozy for four or five adults. The cloth seats were cool in hot weather but seemed susceptible to stains and dirt, something that might be worth knowing about before you decided on a final configuration.

I can’t wrap up this review without mentioning the pickup box extender:

2024 ford ranger supercrew 4x4 xlt - pickup box extender

This is such a simple idea, but a great way to allow you to put more cargo in the back truckbed without just having the tailgate down. It flips 180º to tuck in if you do have the tailgate closed and, surprisingly, it’s a modest optional addition to the truck coming in at just a smidge over $300. This also shows the Toughbed Spray-in Bedliner, something I consider a must-have for pickup trucks you’re going to use to haul cargo.

2024 ford ranger supercrew 4x4 xlt - rear exterior

Finally, I enjoyed driving the Ford Ranger and found that there’s a lot to like with this work truck that includes so many great features. But the entire key experience, both locking/unlocking and having to put it into the ignition to start the vehicle, really surprised me at this price point. Who would buy a truck at this price and not be irked by this choice? With that caveat, if you’re in the market for a pickup and you need something bigger than the Tacoma, Frontier, and Maverick, the Ranger should definitely be on your short list.

Speaking of which, this was a “Not For Sale” truck from Ford and the prices the company shared with me are “for comparison purposes only”, so the final MSRP and option pricing from your local dealer might vary.

2024 Ford Ranger Supercrew 4×4 XLT with 2.3L EcoBoost and 10-speed automatic transmission. MSRP: $39,490. Options included: Fx4 Off-Road, Equipment Group 301A, Advanced Towing Package, Securicode Keyless Keypad, Toughbed Bedliner, Pickup Box Extender. AS DRIVEN: $46,904.00 [please see pricing caveat, above]

Disclosure: Ford loaned me the 2024 Ranger for a week in return for this candid writeup. 


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dave taylor vertigo film swirl backgroundPlanet Dave is run by Dave Taylor, who has been writing about film, cars, games, and his lifestyle for many years. He's based in Boulder, Colorado and assures readers he's only occasionally falling into a gravity well or temporal distortion field.

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