Ford’s midsize Ranger is completely positive, no extra, no much less.
I need to love the Ford Ranger, I actually do. But I simply cannot. This is not to say Dearborn’s midsize pickup is dangerous. In some methods, this truck simply feels a little bit underdone. It’s certainly not an EcoSport-level rush job, however an additional yr or so of product improvement work may have reworked what is an efficient automobile into a really nice one.
LikeSimple and swift Sync 3 infotainmentTorque-rich turbocharged engineThronelike entrance seats
Don’t LikeMoody transmissionStiff but sloppy rideMushy brake pedal
Fortunately for Ford, the Ranger is a midpack providing in a section of reasonably unexceptional (although in style) merchandise. The Chevy Colorado/GMC Canyon twins are good, however they’re getting old and much from superb. At this level in its life, the ancient-though-soon-to-be-redesigned Nissan Frontier is mainly a lined wagon that occurs to have a spiffy new powertrain; and the Toyota Tacoma, whereas sturdy and massively in style, has by no means endeared itself to me, feeling each uncomfortable and crude. With the exception of Honda’s convention-defying Ridgeline and perhaps the Jeep Gladiator (which might be shockingly costly), I’m not an enormous fan of any midsize truck provided at this time.Somewhere in the midst of this mediocrity maelstrom is that this Ranger. Given Ford’s lengthy historical past of pickup excellence, you’d anticipate this product to be a smash hit, but it one way or the other falls quick.
This truck is obtainable with both an extended-cab physique and a 6-foot mattress, or in a bigger crew-cab configuration with a 5-foot cargo field. Three trim ranges can be found: base XL, midrange XLT and range-topping Lariat. Rear- or four-wheel drive might be had with any body-and-trim mixture.My tester is an XLT crew-cab mannequin with four-wheel-drive and the FX4 bundle. This rough-and-tumble $1,295 possibility group will get you monotube shocks, off-road tires and a locking rear differential, in addition to some further skid plates. Finished in a $395 Rapid Red Metallic paint job, it is a good-looking, if considerably generic-looking truck.
When correctly outfitted, the Ranger’s max tow ranking is 7,500 kilos throughout the board, whereas its payload capability tops out at 1,860 kilos. These scores are higher than what most rivals supply: The Jeep Gladiator and diesel-powered variations of the Colorado and Canyon can tow a little bit extra, as much as 7,700 kilos within the case of these GM twins, however none of Ford’s main rivals can out-haul it.
Capability is without doubt one of the Ranger’s sturdy fits, however that is undermined by some uncommon decisions. For occasion, push-button begin is just provided on Lariat fashions. Other trims include an old school key you stick within the ignition and twist. The obtainable SecuriCode keypad, a Blue Oval staple for many years, seems like an entire afterthought, tacked onto the driving force’s facet door. Even basic items like common outdated cruise management and power-adjustable side-view mirrors are non-obligatory on the XL mannequin. Inside, this truck’s cabin is serviceable, constructed of decent-quality laborious plastics. Interior space for storing is, nonetheless, considerably restricted. There’s a small bin beneath the middle armrest, one other cranny forward of the shifter plus a tray atop the dashboard. A mechanical handbrake gobbles up house on the middle console that would have been used for one thing else; ditto for a row of buttons controlling issues like tow/haul mode and traction management. A rotary dial working the four-wheel-drive system and an unusually lanky gear selector take up much more treasured actual property on this space.My truck’s entrance bucket seats are lined in a robust-feeling material and are supportive in all the correct locations with only a trace of plushness for long-haul consolation. The crew-cab physique has a decently sized again seat, with an excellent if not excellent quantity of legroom. Improving versatility, that decrease cushion additionally flips up, revealing a few storage cubbies and opening the backseat as much as maintain bulkier cargo if essentialThe Ranger’s seats are snug and its tech is pleasant.
Paired with an 8-inch touchscreen, Ford’s Sync 3 infotainment system is commonplace on XLT and Lariat fashions. It responds swiftly to inputs and could be very straightforward to make use of. This and FCA’s Uconnect system are two of my favourite multimedia choices obtainable at this time due to their simplicity and velocity.Naturally, Sync 3 consists of issues like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Navigation will also be had as a part of a $995 expertise bundle that bundles different options like adaptive cruise management and a forward-sensing system, which is helpful for parking as a result of it lets you know the way shut you’re to obstacles in entrance of the truck. Fortunately, this infotainment providing additionally consists of redundant onscreen local weather controls — far simpler to make use of than this truck’s bodily local weather management switches, that are too low, flat and uniformly coloured to be operated with out inflicting distraction.Keeping everybody’s cell gadgets totally juiced, my XLT-trim Ranger has two USB ports up entrance and one other pair serving rear-seat passengers. Wireless charging is, sadly, not obtainable.Ford CoPilot-360 can also be commonplace on XLT and Lariat trims, however it’s provided as an possibility on the entry-level mannequin as a $625 upcharge along with the $1,135 101A bundle. This suite of driver aids consists of lane-keeping help, automated excessive beams and even blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert that covers each the truck and any trailer you is perhaps towing.Ranger seems good from practically each angle, particularly in burly FX4 trim.
Most of that expertise works properly, as does the Ranger’s obtainable adaptive cruise management. It’s easy to speed up and decelerate, sustaining a secure following distance from the automobile forward.The Ranger’s 2.3-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder engine is smoother than rival vans’ V6s and rather more responsive. With the exception of its huge, mechanically pushed cooling fan, which makes fairly a ruckus at startup, it is fairly quiet, too. The fuel-saving cease/begin system is seamless, restarting the engine with none shaking or judders, typically earlier than your foot is all the way in which off the brake pedal. It works so properly I’ve no want to disable it.One factor I really like is that this powerplant’s torque curve, which is precisely like most Americans: thick within the center. Ford’s force-fed four-pot is strongest from 2,500 rpm to round 5 grand, precisely the place you need a great deal of grunt in a truck. Potent seat-of-the-pants efficiency is backed up by the numbers. This engine delivers 270 horsepower, which is, in some circumstances, an excellent bit lower than V6-powered opponents brandish — as an illustration, the Frontier has 40 extra ponies — however the Ranger presents considerably extra torque, 310 pound-feet in complete. Really, solely diesel-powered variations of the Colorado and Canyon are endowed with extra twist. Underneath all these hoses and plastic is a turbocharged EcoBoost four-cylinder engine.
The different half of the Ranger’s powertrain is a 10-speed automated transmission. Unfortunately, on this software it may be very moody. Sometimes gear modifications are completely easy, different instances they’re lumpier than a bag of potatoes. In truth, for concerning the first 40 miles I drove this truck, the transmission’s shift high quality was horrible. It juddered, surged and was extremely inconsistent from one second to the subsequent. After that distance, issues calmed down significantly and the transmission’s efficiency grew to become livable, if not fairly good. I ponder if somebody disconnected the battery or if the truck had a software program replace and it was relearning its adaptive-shift technique, the place the gearbox adjusts its efficiency after studying how a specific particular person drives.In blended driving and with out a lot effort, I common 21.9 miles per gallon in my take a look at Ranger, a determine that is throughout this truck’s mixed fuel-economy ranking of 22 mpg like sprinkles on an ice cream sundae. In metropolis driving it is rated at 20 mpg and on the freeway it is best to anticipate 24 mpg.The Ranger’s powertrain is certainly a blended bag, however the remainder of its street manners are usually not. At least with FX4 upgrades, this truck is a driving disappointment. Somehow, the trip is each too mushy and harsh on the identical time. Expansion joints and small street imperfections really feel sharp, transmitted in excessive constancy, but, paradoxically, bigger inputs trigger the physique to bob round in an nearly nautical method.Ford’s newest Ranger pickup is strong, however there’s loads of room for enchancment.
Thies brake pedal is laughably mushy, with what appears like 6 inches of journey earlier than pads begin clamping down on rotors. It’s type of like stepping on a moist sponge. Obviously, this isn’t confidence-inspiring, particularly in case you are towing close to or on the restrict.As for the steering, it is moderately fast and has an excellent little bit of heft to it, however in some conditions the bigger F-150 drives like a smaller automobile. You may argue Ford’s full-size truck is the Ranger’s strongest competitor. The F-150 is a bigger, extra snug and succesful rig that may be equally environment friendly and never essentially much more costly. My Ranger overview unit checks out for round $42,805, a sum that features simply shy of $7,000 in choices and $1,195 in vacation spot expenses. You can get a crew-cab, four-wheel-drive F-150 with an non-obligatory EcoBoost V6 for about that a lot, which makes the Ranger a tricky promote. As it stands, this can be a good midsize truck, however, sadly, it falls in need of greatness.