The midsize Ford Ranger, a rugged-looking pickup with lots of the right stuff, is back in dealer showrooms after an eight-year hiatus. Its 2.3-liter turbocharged inline 4 provides plenty of acceleration and torque, and its 10-speed automatic shifts smoothly. The ride is comfortable—well damped and relatively quiet over broken pavement—although the steering feels heavy and a bit sluggish. Gas mileage, at 21 city/26 highway/23 combined, is best in class.
The Ranger’s roomy cab is best described as utilitarian, with comfortable seats, legible instruments, and a good deal of hard plastic. Both crew-cab and extended-cab versions are available, but forking over the extra $2,220 for the crew-cab version is definitely the way to go, because the extended cab’s backseat is suitable only for cargo and children. An off-road package, a towing package (7,500 pounds max), and 4-wheel drive are options. Forward-collision warning and forward automatic emergency braking are standard, and other advanced safety features are available.
The Ranger is a solid, substantial truck that can handle pickup duties and serve as a capable daily driver, and it will probably run forever. Its biggest shortcoming? Nothing about it feels novel or surprising or exciting. After an eight-year layoff, Ford could have swung for the fences but settled for a line-drive double instead.
Photos courtesy of Ford
With the Auto Club’s free Car Buying Service, members can enjoy a no-hassle experience when purchasing a new or used vehicle. Get estimated pricing and access to online inventory before visiting a AAA-recommended dealer near you. For details, go to AAA.com/auto or call 800-709-7222.