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A gray 2024 Ford Ranger is shown parked off-road near water after competing in a 2024 Ford Ranger vs 2024 Toyota Tacoma comparison.

How a Midsize Truck Can Bring Big Time Joy: The 2024 Ford Ranger vs 2024 Toyota Tacoma

Off-roading is one of those things that drivers either enjoy every once in awhile, obsessively adore, or passionately avoid. If you are in the last category, the 2024 Ford Ranger vs 2024 Toyota Tacoma are still excellent choices for mid-size trucks. Each provides plenty of enjoyable drivability, adequate power and performance for their class, and has been designed to be an ideal partner on the road, as well.

For 2024, both Ford and Toyota have designed heavy contenders for the midsize off-road-ready truck market. Both models have been fully redesigned for the model year, with the new Ranger representing the fifth generation of the midsize truck. The new Tacoma ushers in its fourth generation, making the two trucks relatively similar in age and experience, as well.

But for this particular comparison, we’re going to bid adieu to the pavement and explore what the newest Ranger and Tacoma models have to provide for those who enjoy off-roading at least enough to buy an automobile that not only survives, but thrives in the dirt, mud, and sand.

It’s clear that off-roaders will have a tough choice to make when it comes to selecting their ideal 2024 market, so let’s take a look at these two trucks in comparison to help you mull things over. With new design, options, and features, this is one decision you’ll want to go into with all the details.

A white 2024 Toyota Tacoma is shown off-roading on water.


Engineered for Rough Conditions

Both the Ford Ranger and the Toyota Tacoma have a well-established reputation as adventure-ready pickup trucks. For the new generation, both manufacturers have given special attention to their trucks’ capability and reliability.

For the 2024 Ranger, that means a newly reengineered fully boxed steel frame, along with a larger wheelbase and track that creates a more stable base as well as greater room for equipment in the bed. The suspension has been revised for greater ground clearance, with improved approach and departure angles for drivers who are looking to take on hillsides and challenging terrain.

The 2024 Tacoma has also been fully re-imagined, but in almost the completely opposite way. Changes include a boxed steel-ladder frame, a higher lift, and a narrower body. Taking its design cues from the immortal Toyota Hilux, the Tacoma features integrated roof and tailgate spoilers for an athletic, speedier body style rather than the broader, beefier body of the new Ranger.

Technically speaking, neither body style is wrong, and both have been Baja-tested and proven for performance in brutal driving conditions. However, drivers with a strong preference for how their off-road truck handles may want to try out both trucks to see which fits their driving style best.

Taking the Horses to the Wild

Another key component for all drivers is the power and performance of their midsize pickup truck. Regardless of where you do the actual driving, most drivers want to have confidence in the horses under the hood, so to speak.

The 2024 Ranger includes a standard 2.3L EcoBoost engine, a proven favorite that provides an enjoyable 270 horsepower and 310 lb-ft of torque. Those who are looking to tow more, drive harder, or take advantage of a lot more power can select the available 2.7L EcoBoost V6. The same engine that powers the F-150 and the Bronco gives the Ranger 315 horsepower and 400 lb-ft of torque. Both engines are paired to a standard ten-speed automatic SelectShift transmission, an exclusive to the midsize pickup class.

The maximum towing capacity for the 2024 Ranger is 7,500 pounds. The additional two inches of body width create a four-foot wide bed with a maximum payload capacity of 1,805 pounds.

The 2024 Tacoma is again designed with speed in mind. A 2.4L turbocharged I-4 engine is at the basis of most trims. This engine is tuned to provide 228 horsepower and 243 lb-ft on the lower trims. A more powerful version of this engine is also available, paired not only with the standard eight-speed electronically controlled automatic transmission with intelligence (ECT-i) but also a six-speed manual transmission. One powertrain Ford does not offer in the Ranger is a hybrid, but the Tacoma does. Based on the same engine as other models, this brings it up to 326 horsepower and 465 lb-ft of torque. Official fuel economy figures are not yet available, but you can expect this Tacoma to perform as well as the gas pump as it does on or off the road.

Given its more lithe body type, the Tacoma’s maximum tow-and-stow numbers are a bit lower than the Ford. Its maximum towing capacity is 6,500 pounds, and the payload limit is 1,709 pounds.

A blue 2024 Ford Ranger Sport is shown parked near a person on a bicycle.


Interior Support

Today’s drivers don’t just want a truck that is tough and reliable. Drivers want a truck that is easy and comfortable to drive. A truck is often a pretty sizeable investment, so it’s important to drivers that they function well as partners at work, play, or while on the road.

The 2024 Ford Ranger interior is designed with the driver in mind. For drivers who need plenty of room for tools or equipment, Ford has stashed large pockets and storage bins throughout the cabin, including under the rear seat. The rear seats also fold flat to provide additional interior storage space.

Technology includes a 10.1-inch or 12-inch touchscreen that connects drivers to Ford’s SYNC4A infotainment system. With the standard 4G LTE modem on board, drivers can not only control their audio entertainment, but review off-road data, navigation, and drive modes as they ramble down the trails. An available 360-degree camera also displays on this screen, helping drivers interpret trails and parking lots alike. The touchscreen also controls the available Zone Lighting, which operates exterior and bed lighting to navigate around your truck in the dark.

The 2024 Toyota Tacoma also has an action-ready interior, with an increased under-seat storage compartment, and flat-folding rear seatbacks if back seats exist. The SR, SR5, and TRD PreRunner trims are offered in XtraCab style, which provides accommodations for the driver and a single passenger. (Fear not, DoubleCab configuration is available on all trims except the TRD PreRunner.) Toyota has chosen to install MOLLE storage/clip panels throughout the cabin in an attempt to increase storage versatility. Whether you love them or hate them, these MOLLE panels are accompanied by a center console and instrument panel shelf.

Tacoma drivers will enjoy a standard 8-inch touchscreen system or the optional 14-inch version. While details about what features drivers will be able to access has not been released at time of publication, Toyota has announced that the Tacoma will inherit the Tundra’s Audio Multimedia system, designed by Connected Technologies.

A green 2024 Toyota Tacoma is shown parked off-road on dirt.

Let’s Talk About the Special 2024 Models

For the 2024 model year, both Ford and Toyota have pulled out all the stops when designing their latest models.

Joining the rest of the Raptor family of Ford vehicles, the long awaited Ranger Raptor includes all of the off-road features that have brought the family fame. From a FOX Live Valve Internal Bypass system that works in conjunction with the Ranger Raptor’s seven drive modes to provide ideal damping, to FOX Live Valve shocks and Watts link rear suspension, this vehicle is fully intended to take on the weirdest and wildest of conditions.

Under the hood is a Ranger Raptor-exclusive 3.0L EcoBoost V6 that calmly provides 405 horsepower and 430 lb-ft of torque. The engine, transmission, ABS calibration, traction, steering feel, and throttle response are all adjusted by the seven drive modes. The touchscreen and instrument displays also update to provide pertinent information. When in doubt, drivers can engage Trail Control and let Ranger Raptor take over.

Comparing the Tacoma Trailhunter to the Raptor is somewhat difficult. It comes with the i-Force Max hybrid engine, whose 326 horsepower falls short of the Ranger Raptor, but 465 lb-ft or torque beats it, thanks to the electric motor. Toyota has also collaborated with some impressive partners, resulting in Old Man Emu position-sensitive 2.5-inch forged monotube shocks with rear external piggyback remote reservoirs, along with opportunities to outfit the Tacoma with ARB accessories, including front and rear bumpers, rock rails, and recovery hooks.

Choosing Between the 2024 Ford Ranger and 2024 Toyota Tacoma

Whether you’re a casual off-roader or you claim to bleed gravel, both Ford and Toyota have created attractive offerings for midsize pickup truck drivers. For some drivers, the decision will be easy, based on specific preferences and needs like an irrational disdain for MOLLE panels or a preference for a hybrid engine.

For other drivers, it may be a matter of exploring the options in greater detail. Both Ford and Toyota have clearly put a great deal of thought into re-engineering and re-designing their midsize trucks for the 2024 year. As this is the dawn of a new generation for both trucks, the structure, power and performance, and interior features have been addressed in detail. The Ranger Raptor has come to America, and the Tacoma Trailhunter has come to life. Carefully consider whether you prefer the wider, more capable, driver-friendly Ford Ranger, or the narrower, more lithe, tech-forward Toyota Tacoma. “Choose your own adventure,” as they say.