- The 2019 Ford Ranger is the Blue Oval's return to the midsize-pickup-truck market in the US.
- The segment is quite large. Folks who enjoy what pickups can do, such as hauling around mountain bikes and going on Home Depot runs, but don't want an F-150 or a Silverado in the driveway.
- The 2019 Lariat SuperCrew four-wheel-drive Ranger I recently tested was nicely equipped and cost almost $45,000. But it was loaded with great features.
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At Business Insider, we avidly anticipated the new Ford Ranger, which is actually a built-in-America version of a global pickup that Ford has been selling outside the US. The Blue Oval is already super-strong in full-size trucks — can you say "F-150"? — and back in the day, the Ranger was a popular starter pickup.
In 2019, the entire pickup-truck market is driving US sales, and the midsize offerings are much improved over the little pickups that used to cover this segment. They're really more like shrunken-down full-sizers, and where Chevy (as well as GMC, with the Canyon) and Ford are concerned, the idea is to offer a solid hauler that's simply more compact than a big boy.
We've sampled pretty much everything the market has to offer on this front, so a key question was, "What does Ford bring to the party with the new Ranger?"
The answer is a great truck, with some great features.
In May, I checked out the impressive 2019 Lariat SuperCrew four-wheel-drive Ranger, nicely equipped and stickering at almost $45,000. The base-price pickup is a little more than $24,000. I couldn't find much to complain about. And I found lots to like.
1. The Ranger's design. The styling of this midsize truck isn't wild or radical. But it is solid, and my tester looked sharp in "Lightning Blue."
2. The "Ranger" call-out across the liftgate. This is a cool thing, as well as a throwback to day when pickups proudly announced themselves to whomever might be in the rearview mirror.
3. The versatile, lined short-box and bed. The SuperCrew configuration that I tested sported a 5-foot bed, but the Ranger can be had with a two-door cab and a 6-foot bed. I used the Ranger for both a run to Costco and to transport some furniture about 120 miles.
4. The 2.3-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder engine is a turbocharged power plant that cranks out 275 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque. Towing capacity is 7,500 pounds — enough to tow just about anything owners of the Ranger would want to.
5. Superb ground clearance. With hefty off-road tires, the Ranger is prepared to leave the pavement.
6. Serious four-wheel-drive. The Ranger boasts a solid 4x4 system — FX4 — with a locking differential. The package adds another grand or so to the price.
7. A no-nonsense, easy-to-care for interior. The Ranger's cabin is comfortable and well-appointed, but far from fussy.
8. The smooth-shifting 10-speed transmission. Combined with the turbocharged engine, this powertrain yields 20 mpg city, 24 highway, and 22 combined.
9. Ford's Sync 3 infotainment system. In the Ranger, it runs on an 8-inch touchscreen. Sync 3 is one of the best in the industry. It provides superb navigation, easy Bluetooth connectivity, and AUX and USB device-connection options.
Sync 3 also offers a suite of apps and has both CarPlay and Android Auto available. And the 10-speaker Bang & Olufsen audio system in my test truck is a terrific extra. It sounds too good for a truck this small!
10. The old-school parking brake!
What a truck!
In my review, I wrote that "Ranger is a winner."
I added, "It's going to compare favorably with the Chevy Colorado and provide a much nicer package than the Toyota Tacoma (although the Tacoma is noted for its toughness, so the new Ranger should require some time to distinguish itself on that front)."
The Ranger has been available outside the US for a while, but with its return to our shores, Ford made sure to outfit the pickup with a nice range of appealing features.