Car Review: The Ranger is the mid-sized answer for a smaller Ford truck without all the bulk

Tired of seeing Toyota and GM having success in the mid-size truck market, Ford brought back the Ranger in 2019. Now going on the third year, the not-so-small truck soldiers on hoping to keep the Ford faithful in the fold. Outside the Ranger is a handsome midsize truck, and if you choose the FX4 off-road package it looks more like a tough truck with tow hooks and wheels shod with beefy tires.

Hitting the road in the Ranger is usually a comfortable affair. However, hit some rough pavement and the truck does feel unsettled at times. Just one engine is available and it is a powerful four-cylinder turbocharged engine that moves the truck smartly. The Ranger is easy to drive when compared to full-sized pickups. Parking and maneuvering it in tight spaces is a breeze. The optional adaptive cruise worked really well, offering smoother acceleration and braking than some other higher-priced rides.

Inside the Ranger, it provides comfortable heated-seats covered in leather, if you choose the Lariat trim. The space inside for a smaller 4-door truck was surprisingly good. Even rear seat riders will fit without complaint. The Sync3 system comes with NAV and a 10-speaker sound system that works nicely most of the time. Sometimes voice recognition commands were not understood when I spoke.

Cost: $38,675; as tested $46,910
MPG: 20 MPG City; 24 MPG Highway. I managed 19.7 in 225 miles of mixed driving.
Options: $2,005 equipment group 501A; $1,195 black appearance package; $160 floor liners; $495 trailer tow package; $95 securicode keyless pad; $1,295 FX4 off -road package; $995 tonneau hard cover
Safety: Rear view camera system; Ford Co-Pilot360; adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go; SOS post-crash alert system; blind spot information system with cross-traffic alert with trailer tow monitoring; pre-collision assist with automatic emergency braking
Things to know: The Ford Ranger is smaller than the F-150 pickup but still has capability. Look for 2020 versions to save a few bucks. New for 2021 is the Tremor off-road package that takes the truck up a notch in off-road ability.

Pros:
• The turbo four-cylinder engine provides surprising power
• Easy to maneuver and park thanks to its smaller size
• A quiet and comfortable cruiser

Cons:
• Power engine isn’t very smooth under hard acceleration
• Cabin seems somewhat dated when compared to some of the competition
• Ride can be upset by not so nice roads

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