The new Ford Ranger is back in America. After an 8 year hiatus, Ford is bringing one of America’s oldest nameplates back, after realizing that not everyone needs as much truck as the Ford F-Series. This new Ranger is based on the worldwide Ranger, which is the best-selling pickup in Europe. It can be had in a four door model, or in a regular two door extended cab. A zippy 2.3 turbo-four cylinder powers the new Rangers, and it has an impressive 270 horsepower and 310 pound feet of torque, mated to a 10 speed automatic, to ensure you get the best possible gas mileage (EPA-rated at 21/26/23 mpg city/highway/combined for rear-drive and 20/24/22 mpg for four-wheel drive).
As most traditional pickups, the Ranger is a body-on-frame, not a unibody like some other mid-size pickups including Honda’s Ridgeline. This makes it more rugged for performing off-road and other truck-like tasks. If you’re using the Ranger to get the job done, opt for the XL or XLT trim, which comes with durable cloth seats. Even if you opt for one of these “base” trims, all Rangers get the same powertrain, so you aren’t missing out on a ton.
If you want something a little bit more fancy, the Lariat trim adds leather seats, and starts at about 32 grand (about eight thousand over the base Ranger’s starting MSRP). If you’re into off-roading, opt for the 4 wheel drive Rnger and the Tremor off-road package, which includes allow wheels, a better skid plat, modified off-road suspension, and different running boards. It has 9.7 inches of ground clearance, which is about an inch more than the standard 4×4 Ranger. Add the FX4 package and get exposed front bash plates and undercarriage skid plates. It will definitely get the job done at Glamis. There is also an optional electric locking rear differential.
Despite its medium size, the Ranger can tow an impressive 7,500 pounds, making it capable of taking care of most boats shy of a small personal yacht. There are a number of appearance packages available, from off-road focused to street, including custom bumpers, fog lamps, different wheels, and body effects.
Inside, the Ranger doesn’t feel like a truck at all. It has an optional Sync system, with navigation, Apple Carplay and Android Auto, and an 8-inch screen. Even the base Ranger has FordPass Connect remote start, a USB charger, and Applink, which allows Smartphone control without fumbling while driving.
The Ranger’s competition includes the Chevy Colorado and the Toyota Tacoma. The Tacoma is by far the most popular truck in the segment, but it doesn’t tow nearly as much as the Ranger, and its comparable trim levels are considerably more expensive, with the Limited package starting at nearly $39,000. Unlike the Ranger, both the Colorado and the Tacoma offer optional V6 engines, though the Toyota engine barely offers more power than the 4-cylinder Ford motor, while the V6 Chevy eclipses it by nearly 40 horsepower. The Colorado is also the most expensive truck of the three, starting at $27,000 and going up into the $40,000 plus range.
Whether you want the Ranger or not will largely depend on what size truck you need. The Ranger doesn’t offer as much seating room for rear passengers as larger full-size trucks, but in terms of power, towing, and performance, it does a decent job of stacking up, at a much lower price.