Eight years ago, Ford pulled the plug on the Ranger in the US and Canada and now after a brief hiatus, the American manufacturer has re-introduced the midsize pickup to a legion of off-road enthusiasts awaiting its return. The result is a sophisticated and well-rounded truck that is best in class in towing and payload with top-notch fuel economy.
The re-designed Ranger’s exterior is a bit more sleek and only slightly smaller in stature than its immensely popular big brother, the F-150. With many truck owners demanding the utility, but lacking the budget or the physical space of a full-size truck, the midsize truck market has exploded in the past few years, and Ford wanted back in on the action.
The Ranger is packed with features to meet the high demands and standards to live up to the “Built Ford Tough,” slogan. The front bumper is frame-mounted and made of steel for ultimate durability. The standard 10-speed transmission is the same one shared by the F-150 and is powered by an efficient 2.3L EcoBoost engine that puts out 270 horsepower.
The Ranger does not lack in the technology department and can be equipped with an 8- inch touchscreen navigation outfitted with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, FordPass Connect with Wi-Fi hotspot, Ford+Alexa, and more. Additional safety technology includes a lane keeping system, BLIS (Blind Spot Information System) with Cross-Traffic alert, and Pre-Collision assist.
For those looking to hit the trails, the Ranger is available in an FX4 Off-Road package, 4x4 SuperCab, and SuperCrew configuration that is outfitted with a Terrain Management System and Trail Control, all-terrain OWL tires, heavy-gauge steel bash plate, exposed front tow hooks, and front air dam delete. The Terrain Management System worked well through the off-road course where we encountered steep inclines, angled berms, highly uneven surfaces, and a water feature. Using Trail Control we were able to set the speed (similar to cruise control) and simply steered the truck and let it do the rest, which comes in handy if you’re creeping uphill or downhill.
We tested the truck through the backroads of San Diego and couldn’t get enough of the new Ranger. It felt solid behind the wheel with the modern amenities we’ve grown accustomed to and it’s a highly capable vehicle that would be great as a daily workhorse or for off-road adventures. Now, if they'd only bring the Ranger Raptor to the US.
From $24,300, fordvehicles.com