Strong All-New Midsize Pickup Competitor
Two Thousand Eleven was only eight years ago, but in the auto world it is forever. This is the period Ford was not producing the Ranger, its midsize pickup first introduced in 1983. When Ford announced the return of the Ranger, and then its eventual debut as a 2019 model, Blue Oval pickup truck loyalists had high anticipation. They shouldn’t be disappointed.
Power and Performance
The all-new 2019 Ford Ranger comes with a 2.3-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder engine, producing 270 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque. All Ford EcoBoost engines are turbocharged, which is a process of forcing more air into an engine, producing more power. The next element of this engine is the direct fuel injection, which simplifies the fuel injection process, resulting in better efficiency. The Ranger’s 10-speed automatic transmission connects to the rear wheels in the 4X2 configuration, with the 4X4 an option. A manual transmission, and other engines, are not available on the U.S. model of this truck that is sold throughout the world.
Smarticd spent a week in the 2019 Ranger and felt the engine was noisy on idle, but quiet at speed. The acceleration is smooth and torque is readily available, especially when getting onto a highway. Peak performance is in the 3,000-5,000 rpm range, where it pulled strong. The Ranger earns top gasoline engine fuel economy ratings among midsize pickup competitors such as the Chevrolet Colorado/GMC Canyon and Toyota Tacoma. EPA fuel estimates for the 2.3-liter are 21 mpg city/26 highway/23 combined. Over 286 miles of driving throughout Southern California, we averaged 26.1 mpg. However, in a 160-mile all-freeway run with the adaptive cruise control set at 65 mph, we averaged 28.2 mpg. So,if driven steadily over long distances, such as a family road trip, the Ranger did earn its best-in-class honors. Note: The Chevrolet Colorado/GMC Canyon siblings have an optional Duramax turbodiesel that has overall best-in-class fuel economy of all midsize pickups.
The fuel economy numbers reported by Smarticd are non-scientific and represent the reviewer’s driving experience. Your numbers may differ.
Truck or SUV
The 2019 Ford Ranger has a boxed high-strength steel frame, which is the usual design for trucks of all types. The Ranger offered two different driving and ride feels. The front end has a double-wishbone suspension with monotube shocks and electronic power-assist steering that made it feel like driving a SUV. It was smooth, with precise steering and good road feel. The rear end has the more traditional solid rear axle with leaf springs, which delivered a true truck ride, as in it would be smoother if a couple thousand pounds were in the bed. The Bridgestone Dueler 265/60 tires on 18-inch chrome-like PVD wheels gripped well and were quiet at freeway speeds. PVD chrome wheels are a powder-coating process that will not pit, peel or corrode, like the more common chrome plating.
The 7,500-pound tow rating is best-in-class for midsize pickups with a gasoline engine. The payload is rated at 1,860 pounds, with both ratings the same for the 4X2 and 4X4 2019 Ranger. We didn’t get the opportunity to tow a trailer, but a high tow rating is something all the truck manufacturers strive for diligently. Ford also did something that will make Ranger buyers happy; they made the front and rear bumpers out of steel, not plastic, which can crack and offer little to no structural support. Note: The Colorado and Canyon, when equipped with the optional Duramax turbodiesel, have a 7,700-pound tow rating.
Ford has done a good job of designing the Ranger interior to be driver-convenient and comfortable. The interior isn’t fancy or as modern as other pickup trucks, with quite a bit of hard plastic surfaces. It does have convenience features, such as a locking glove box, tilt and telescopic steering column, sliding rear window with defrost and a 4G Wi-Fi Hotspot. Front seat comfort, with well-bolstered padding and a high seating position, made for comfortable long trips. The five-inch rectangular running boards were a nice option on the XLT model we drove.
Clean Fleet Report was driving a Ranger Supercab that had two small doors, hinged to swing opposite of the front doors, to allow for a wide opening to access the rear seats. Once in the back seat, it was a tight fit for two adults, and the severe upright angle of the seat backs made for a less-than-comfortable experience. Short distances are recommended for the back-seat crew.
The user-friendly gauges are large and easy to read, with black backgrounds and white numbers. All controls, including the dual zone climate control wheels, are within easy reach of the driver. The six-speaker infotainment system includes navigation and SiriusXM/FM/CD/HDAM with MP3 playback capability. USB ports with iPod connectivity, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, music streaming via Bluetooth wireless technology and hands-free phone capability complete the system. All this is viewed through an 8.0-inch, high-resolution LCD touch-screen that comes on the XLT trim package. A 4.2-inch display is standard.
Convenience and Safety
The 2019 Ford Ranger has available features of a rear view camera with reverse sensing, power tailgate, 110V outlet, four-wheel disc brakes, halogen headlights, tow hooks, spray-in bedliner, power exterior mirrors, power windows, keyless start and entry, a passive entry system and a theft deterrent system.
Safety features include frontal and side impact airbags, electronic stability and traction control, rear park alert and assist, curve control, lane keeping, blind spot with cross traffic alert, pre-collision alert with automatic emergency braking and a tire pressure monitor system.
Pricing and Warranties
Clean Fleet Report’s 2019 Ford Ranger XLT Supercab 4X2 had a base price of $27,940. With optional equipment, the MSRP came to $34,540. All prices exclude the $1,095 destination and delivery charge.
The 2019 Ford Ranger comes with these warranties:
Bumper-to-Bumper – Three years/36,000 miles
Powertrain – Five years/60,000 miles
Roadside Assistance – Five years/60,000 miles
Corrosion (perforation) – Five years/Unlimited miles
Observations: 2019 Ford Ranger XLT Supercab 4X2
During the eight years Ford did not produce the midsize Ranger, they concentrated on the massively successful F-150 pickup. This full-size pickup has been a best seller for years, with keen competition from the Chevrolet Silverado and Ram 1500. Ford had very good reasons to put all their eggs in the F-150 basket, as it is an excellent truck. But abandoning the midsize pickup truck category was always risky, leaving it to the Nissan Frontier and Toyota Tacoma. Then along came the Chevrolet Colorado/GMC Canyon siblings in 2015 that changed the way Ford looked at this size truck.
What Ford has done with the 2019 Ranger is make a very good truck that will appeal to owners who don’t need the size or towing and payload capacities of the F-150. With Ranger configurations of 4X2, 4X4, SuperCab and SuperCrew, and a 5-foot or 6-foot bed, there should be something to like for all truck buyers.
When visiting your Ford dealer, tell the rep you want to drive the Ranger and the F-150 back-to-back. This way you will know which of these fine pickups are right for you.
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Whatever you end up buying, Happy Driving!
In order to give you the best perspective on the many vehicles available, Clean Fleet Report has a variety of contributors. When possible, we will offer you multiple perspectives on a given vehicle. This comes under SRO-Second Road Test Opinion. We hope you’ll enjoy these diverse views–some are just below—and let us know what you think in comments below or at.
Road Test: 2019 Ford Ranger (Gary’s view)
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Road Test: 2018 Chevrolet Colorado Duramax
First Drive: 2015 GMC Canyon
Road Test: 2017 Honda Ridgeline
Smarticd is loaned free test vehicles from automakers to evaluate, typically for a week at a time. Our road tests are based on this one-week drive of a new vehicle. Because of this we don’t address issues such as long-term reliability or total cost of ownership. In addition, we are often invited to manufacturer events highlighting new vehicles or technology. As part of these events we may be offered free transportation, lodging or meals. We do our best to present our unvarnished evaluations of vehicles and news irrespective of these inducements.
Our focus is on vehicles that offer the best fuel economy in their class, which leads us to emphasize electric cars, plug-in hybrids, hybrids and diesels. We also feature those efficient gas-powered vehicles that are among the top mpg vehicles in their class. In addition, we aim to offer reviews and news on advanced technology and the alternative fuel vehicle market. We welcome any feedback from vehicle owners and are dedicated to providing a forum for alternative viewpoints. Please let us know your views at.