Ford’s mid-size Ranger pickup has finally made it to North America. It's a good truck, sized right for most people and I’m impressed. My test Ranger was an XLT Crew Cab 4X4 loaded with options.
There is only one engine at this time, a 2.3 litre, turbocharged 4 cylinder. Which is certainly lively around town but if you put the 10-speed transmission into Sport mode it really comes alive making the most of the 270 horses the engine puts out. If you want to pull something behind, 310 lb.-ft. of torque will get the job done. As for fuel consumption, be gentle and the four banger will deliver over 10.5L/100 km cruising at 120 km/h and perhaps 9.8L/100km in the city. What I got on the highway is good considering we were driving against a brisk wind. As smooth as the engine is however, the driveline has a certain coarseness I can’t put my finger on. This is more prevalent at slower speeds in an urban setting not on the highway.
The Ranger is certainly capable on pavement or off-road with good road clearance and grippy tires. The stiff suspension is actually more compliant than you might expect making the Ranger quite comfortable when driving in an urban environment. I deliberately drove across potholes and road cracks in my quest to find out how good the suspension is. Although my wife drove the truck around the city for a short time, she also praised its road manners. The body is as tight as a drum with no creaks or groans.
Inside, the XLT interior is nice, if a little dated in some respects. After all, this generation of Ranger has been on the market in other parts of the world for a few years. Yet, Instruments and controls are well laid out and easy to use. The optional heated cloth seats offer good support and the seat heaters do their part very quickly. Six-footers like me can be comfortable in the rear with enough legroom depending on where the person in front has set their seat. At highway speed the Ranger’s interior is quiet, the stereo has a good, quality sound, and driver and passenger enjoy big windows to see the outside world. The manual sliding rear window hampers the view out back and for that reason I would forego the option, although it could be argued the rear backup camera provides extra help when you are backing up. The side mirrors are big, giving you a good view out the cab on either side.
There are enough storage cubbies in the Ranger’s passenger compartment and you get a deep centre console and spacious glovebox.
Of course there is what seems to be an endless list of technology you can load up on from remote start to adaptive cruise control and NAV. Depending on your budget many of these items are nice to have although shop carefully when selecting what you want as some features have to be ordered bundled with other options. Sometimes that’s frustrating, but that’s just the way it is.
The optional running boards help get you inside as the 4X4 model makes getting into the cab a challenge for short people. They are not very wide so one has to use a little caution when climbing up. Another option worth having, and saves you from going to the after-market, is a sprayed in box lining. It’s a $600 option if you go that route.
You get to choose from three Ranger models; the basic XL starting at $30,569, the XLT at $35,139 and top of the line Lariat starting at $41,389. My XLT 4X4 was loaded, and I mean loaded, starting at $37,339. At $9,120 in options later the final sticker was $48,259 which included shipping.
Lately there has been a growing criticism of pricing on full-size pickups. Not surprising with a downturn in the economy and pickup owners balking at eight-year loans for tarted up trucks doing little more than commuter duty. A midsize pickup makes sense and there was a time when pickups the size of the Ranger were full-size. Still to come will be compact pickup trucks, perhaps Ford will then dust off the Courier name. If you’re considering replacing your current full-size pickup consider the Ranger as a less expensive and slightly smaller alternative. Even loaded with options, I’d say its good value for the dollar.
Read more of Garry Melnyk’s Auto Talk at stalberttoday.ca/auto-talk