2019 Ford Ranger

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2019 Ford Ranger Test Drive Review: It's Back

When it comes to pickup truck sales, Ford sits atop the charts with its full-size F-150. But not everyone needs a full-size truck, and for the past seven years, you haven't been able to buy a mid-size pickup from the Blue Oval. That changes for 2019, as the fourth-generation Ranger arrives in the US. In the time since the Ranger has been off the market, the Toyota Tacoma has dominated the mid-size segment, ranking behind only the best-selling full-size trucks. But can the return of the Ranger challenge Toyota's dominance in the mid-size segment? The Tacoma is showing signs of age, meaning the all-new Ranger should be a worthy challenger. There's just one issue. The 2019 Ranger may be new to the US but it has been around in other markets for a few years now, meaning it isn't quite as fresh as you might think. Ford sent us a 2019 Ranger Lariat finished in Lightning Blue to see how well it will challenge the mid-size pickup truck segment.

Read in this review:

8.8
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2019 Ford Ranger Changes: What’s The Difference vs The 2018 Ranger?

For 2019, the Ford Ranger is all-new! After the previous model went out of production in 2011, the world received a new Ranger, but the USA and Canada didn't. 2019 saw that change, however, as a USDM-specific Ranger has joined the Ford line-up. Based on the global T6 Ranger, the fourth-generation US model is sold in two body styles - SuperCab (extended cab) and SuperCrew (crew cab) - and has undergone development to ensure better performance and a higher payload compared to the international variant. Only one engine derivative arrives in the US - a 2.3-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder developing 270 horsepower and 310 lb-ft of torque - and the Ranger is sold in three trim derivatives.

Pros and Cons

  • Impressive payload and towing capacities
  • Strong EcoBoost engine
  • Intuitive infotainment interface
  • High levels of available safety
  • Easy to maneuver
  • Class-leading gas mileage
  • Bits of dated technology
  • Limited in-cabin storage
  • Transmission can produce jerky shifts
  • Some interior materials feel cheap
  • No Raptor model for the US yet

Best Deals on 2019 Ford Ranger

2019 Ford Ranger Trims

See trim levels and configurations:

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
XL
2.3L Turbo Inline-4 Gas
10-Speed Automatic
Rear-Wheel Drive
Four-Wheel Drive
$24,000
XLT
2.3L Turbo Inline-4 Gas
10-Speed Automatic
Rear-Wheel Drive
Four-Wheel Drive
$28,120
LARIAT
2.3L Turbo Inline-4 Gas
10-Speed Automatic
Rear-Wheel Drive
Four-Wheel Drive
$32,390
See All 2019 Ford Ranger Trims and Specs

2019 Ranger Exterior

2019 Ford Ranger Front View CarBuzz
2019 Ford Ranger Rear View CarBuzz
2019 Ford Ranger Side View CarBuzz
See All 2019 Ford Ranger Exterior Photos

Dimensions

  • Length 210.8 in
  • Wheelbase 126.8 in
  • Height 70.7 in
  • Max Width 85.8 in

Exterior Colors

  • Hot Pepper Red Metallic Tinted Clearcoat +$395
  • White Platinum Tri-Coat +$595
  • Lightning Blue Metallic
  • Ingot Silver Metallic
  • Magnetic Metallic
  • Oxford White
  • Shadow Black
  • Saber Metallic

2019 Ranger Performance

2019 Ford Ranger Front Angle View CarBuzz
2019 Ford Ranger Rear Angle View CarBuzz
2019 Ford Ranger Engine Bay CarBuzz

Engine and Transmission

  • Engine
    2.3L Turbo Inline-4 Gas
  • Transmission
    10-Speed Automatic
  • Drivetrains
    4X4, RWD

Handling and Driving Impressions

From the moment we took the Ranger out on the road, we were impressed by its refined ride comfort. Other trucks in this segment can bounce around over rough bumps but the Ranger absorbs them like a car or an SUV would, making it a more comfortable daily driver than many of its rivals - we are looking at you Toyota Tacoma. The steering is light and vague, making the Ranger easy to negotiate around tight parking lots despite its relatively large size. When the road runs out, the Ranger can be equipped with tons of off-road features, making it easy for even a novice driver to traverse rough terrain. We didn't have an opportunity to explore the Ranger's full off-road potential but it is nice to know Ford built it to get dirty.

Smaller trucks like this may end up replacing an SUV as a more capable family vehicle and in that purpose, the Ranger succeeds. The seats in our Lariat trim tester felt comfortable and we wouldn't mind spending time in the Ranger over a long road trip. We just wish the adaptive cruise control could bring the truck to a full stop - an issue that seems to be prevalent in this segment.

2019 Ranger Interior

2019 Ford Ranger Dashboard CarBuzz
2019 Ford Ranger Gear Shifter CarBuzz
2019 Ford Ranger Steering Wheel CarBuzz
See All 2019 Ford Ranger Interior Photos

Seating and Interior Space

  • Seating capacity
    4-seater
  • Front Leg Room 43.1 in
  • Front Head Room 41.0 in
  • Rear Leg Room 30.4 in
  • Rear Head Room 35.9 in

2019 Ranger Trunk and Cargo Space

2019 Ford Ranger Maximum Cargo Space CarBuzz
2019 Ford Ranger Maximum Cargo Space 1 CarBuzz
2019 Ford Ranger Side View 1 CarBuzz

2019 Ranger Safety and Reliability

Warranty

  • Basic:
    3 Years \ 36,000 Miles
  • Drivetrain:
    5 Years \ 60,000 Miles
  • Corrosion:
    5 Years \ Unlimited Miles
  • Roadside Assistance:
    5 Years \ 60,000 Miles

US NHTSA Crash Test Result

NHTSA safety ratings are not available at this time.

Verdict: Is the 2019 Ford Ranger A Good Truck?

Mid-size trucks do not pack the same level of capability or luxury as their full-size counterparts, which is why we (and most consumers) just spend a bit more on the larger model. But in the mid-size segment, this revived Ranger makes a strong case for itself with handsome styling, an upmarket interior, solid safety and cabin technology, and capable off-road chops. The benefits greatly outweigh the flaws here and we would have no problem recommending the Ranger.

It feels more civilized than the Tacoma, more upscale than the Colorado and Canyon, and more capable than the Ridgeline. Plus, even though it has been around in other markets for seven years it's still seven years newer than the Nissan Frontier. The Jeep Gladiator might be the Ranger's toughest competitor but with a much higher price tag, the removable roof and doors might not be worth it for most truck buyers.

2019 Ford Ranger Comparisons

Chevrolet Colorado Chevrolet
Toyota Tacoma CarBuzz
CompetitorHorsepowerMPGPrice (MSRP)
Ford Ranger270 hp21/26 mpg$25,980
Chevrolet Colorado 200 hp19/25 mpg$26,135
Toyota Tacoma 159 hp20/23 mpg$27,750

2019 Ford Ranger vs Chevrolet Colorado

In the hauling and economy stake, the Chevrolet Colorado is one of the only mid-size trucks capable of rivaling the Ford Ranger, with the optional turbodiesel engine matching Ford's economy figures and besting its towing capacity by 200 lbs at 7,700 lbs in total. With the V6 engine equipped, the Colorado is also a match for the Ranger's straight-line speed. However, the Ranger offers a higher maximum payload, and a more practical cargo bed despite the Colorado boasting a wider range of configurations. Both are similarly cramped and have fairly low-rent interiors, but at least the Colorado has more usable internal storage. It's a close battle between these two, but on-road handling dynamics swing the way of the Ford, especially with a more powerful engine from the start, while if it's off-road prowess you're after, the Colorado is the better bet. However, if your main consideration is price, a bare-spec Colorado starts at $3,000 less than the Ranger.

See Chevrolet Colorado Review

2019 Ford Ranger vs Toyota Tacoma

The Toyota Tacoma is a benchmark among mid-size pickups, offering multiple cargo bed and cabin configurations and a base 2.7-liter engine, but it still starts at $1,550 more than a base Ford Ranger. But it's not the most practical pickup, with its 6,800-pound maximum towing capacity falling short of Ford's 7,500-pound figure. The maximum payload also falls short on the Toyota, although its a little more practical inside the cabin. Ford bests the Toyota in terms of cabin feel and infotainment, with the available SYNC 3 system outgunning the Tacoma entirely. Toyota claws back with higher levels of standard safety across the range, and with the better off-road ability with dedicated off-road trims. However, the Ford is more livable daily, cheaper to purchase, more economical to run and operate, and more user-friendly. It doesn't do anything vastly better than the Tacoma, but it does a lot of things just a little bit better.

See Toyota Tacoma Review
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