Lots of hype, but it fell flat. The Ford Ranger returned to the American market in 2019, following a resurgence in the small-truck space. Despite being one of the most recent and most anticipated arrivals in the U.S. midsize truck segment, the current Ranger is actually fairly old in the global market, and this age showed once it hit showrooms with a thud.
While it has loads of spunk under its hood, its age shows in its unrefined chassis, limited standard features, and relatively cheap-feeling cabin. But does all this really matter in a pickup truck? See how the 2020 Ford Ranger stacks up to the competition below to find out.
Standard turbo four-cylinder engine delivers loads of pop. The Ford Ranger continues with its standard 2.3-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that produces 270 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque. Not only is this plenty of power for a midsize pickup, its peak torque comes low in the powerband, giving it the grunt it needs to get whatever a loaded trailer moving.
Speaking of towing, this engine and the Ranger’s touch chassis combine for a respectable 7,500-pound towing capacity. This doesn’t lead the class, but it’s the same across the entire lineup, making it convenient to find a Ranger that fits your towing needs.
In other midsize pickups, buyers must wade through endless specs to find a combination that meets their towing requirements. For example, the Chevrolet Colorado’s towing capacity ranges from a paltry 3,500 pounds with the base engine to a class-leading 7,700 pounds with the diesel engine.
While this consistency is nice, having just one engine option vastly limits the ability to customize the Ranger to fit various buyers’ needs. They get just one engine and one transmission option. The only changes they can make to the powertrain is whether they want two- or four-wheel drive.
Nicely equipped XLT, but workers are left out. Most retail shoppers will land on the midrange XLT trim, and it offers loads of tech and features these shoppers will love. The list includes a standard 8-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, two USB ports, dual-zone automatic climate control, 17-inch alloy wheels, and more.
The base XL trim is mostly for fleets, and it largely ignores the wants of the workers who use these pickups, as it comes with a 4.2-inch LCD screen, one USB port, steel wheels, and no smartphone integration.
Companies that like to offer their workers some creature comforts may prefer the GMC Canyon or the Colorado, as they come standard with a 7-inch touchscreen, Android Auto, and Apple CarPlay.
Rugged undercarriage takes a beating, but it gives one too. The Ranger is built like a downsized Ford F-150 with its ladder frame, independent front suspension, and solid-axle rear end. This gives it the travel it needs for moderate off-roading and the strength it needs to handle up to 1,860 pounds of payload.
The Colorado offers just 1,528 pounds of payload capacity, and the Honda Ridgeline checks in with just a 1,580-pound payload capacity.
Buyers seeking a better ride will find a small upgrade in the Colorado. Those who want a truly commuter-friendly ride will find this in the Ridgeline, which boasts a multi-link rear suspension. This delivers an SUV-like ride, which gives daily commuters much-needed relief for their backsides.
Final thoughts. The 2020 Ford Ranger is a great option for buyers who are tired of spending countless hours digging through trim levels and configurations to find the truck that suits their needs. Across the board, it delivers ample power, great towing, and superior payload capacity – you just need to pick the features you prefer.
Buyers who plan to use their truck mostly as a commuter vehicle and will only put it through light hauling duties are better off with the Honda Ridgeline’s SUV-based chassis.
Fleet shoppers who want to pamper their workers a bit with modern tech will appreciate the standard smartphone integration in the GM twins, the Colorado and Canyon.
Buyers who plan to do heavier hauling and need all the low-end grunt they can get will find this in the optional 2.8-liter turbodiesel four-cylinder engine the Canyon and Colorado share. With this engine, which cranks out 369 lb-ft of torque, these pickups can tow up to 7,700 pounds. Plus, at an EPA-estimated 30 miles per gallon highway, the diesel-equipped Canyon and Colorado beat the Ranger by at least six mpg highway.
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