I drove a $45,000 Ford Ranger pickup truck to see if it’s ready to take on the Chevy Colorado and Toyota Tacoma — here’s the verdict

Welcome back, Ford Ranger!

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Welcome back, Ford Ranger!
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Matthew DeBord/BI

  • The 2019 Ford Ranger is the Blue Oval’s return to the mid-size pickup-truck market in the US.
  • The Ford Ranger will go up against the popular Chevy Colorado and Toyota Tacoma.
  • Ford has done a great job bringing the Ranger back to the US – the Ranger is every bit a Ford pickup and should make owners very happy.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

The Ford Ranger is back.

After a hiatus, Ford has returned to the US midsize pickup-truck market, ready to do battle with the Chevy Colorado and the stalwart Toyota Tacoma (not to mention the versatile Honda Ridgeline).

At Business Insider, we’ve been avidly anticipating the 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 mid-size 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 sold hauler that’s simply more compact than a big boy.

The market is, in fact, quite large: folks who enjoy what pickups can do, such as haul around mountain bikes and go on Home Depot runs, but who don’t want an F-150 or a Silverado in the driveway.

We’ve sampled pretty much everything the market currently has to offer on this front, so the key question is, what does Ford bring to the party with the new Ranger?

Read on to find out:


Our 2019 Supercrew Lariat 4×4 Ranger was nicely equipped and stickered at almost $45,000. The base-price pickup is a little more than $24,000.

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The Supercrew configuration sports a five-foot bed, but the Ranger can be had with a two-door cab and a six-foot bed,

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The Ranger is a handsome pickup, especially in “Lightning Blue.”

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The Blue Oval and the Ranger nameplate share space on the blacked-out grille.

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Sleek headlights and a bit of styling across the hood define the front end.

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The Lariat series packaging adds about $2,000 to the price tag.

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Ford hasn’t stopped using its push-button entry codes!

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The Ranger boasts a solid four-wheel-drive system — FX4 — with a locking differential. The package adds another grand or so.

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Our tester came with stout offroad rubber.

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But the Range also enjoys Ford’s EcoBoost engine tech, which uses turbocharging to retain power with good fuel-economy. In this case, that 20 mpg city/24 highway/22 combined.

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The Ranger nameplate is a bit larger on the tailgate.

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And the Blue Oval is back there, as well.

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This step bumper enables easy access to the bed.

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I actually used the Ranger to make a run to Costco for a few supplies …

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… And to haul some furniture. The five-foot box isn’t gigantic, but for this sort of weekend duty, it’s perfect.

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The interior of our tester was a no-nonsense “Ebony,” but the upholstery was leather. The front seats are heated.

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The rear bench seat is snug.

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But the rear seats could absorb a decent amount of cargo — the kind of things you wouldn’t want to put in the bed.

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Overall, the Ranger’s interior space and appointments were on par with the well-equipped Chevy Colorado. The Ranger was also much nicer than the Toyota Tacoma.

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Sadly, no sunroof on my tester.

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A bit more Ranger branding.

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And yet more Ranger branding!

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The leather-wrapped steering wheel felt premium, and you’ll notice that the cluster presents a speedometer along — no tachometer, and that’s fine. Tachs aren’t very useful on pickups.

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A ten-speed transmission handles the shifting duties …

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… And the Ranger has a nice, old-school parking brake.

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Ford’s SYNC 3 infotainment system runs on an eight-inch touchscreen.

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SYNC 3 is one of the best in the industry. It provides superb navigation, easy Bluetooth connectivity, and provides AUX/USB device-connection options.

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I sampled both SiriusXM satellite radio and old-fashioned terrestrial radio during my testing.

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SYNC 3 also offers a suite of apps and has both CarPlay and Android Auto available.

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The ten-speaker Bang & Olufsen audio system is a terrific extra. It sounds too good for a truck this small!

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These simple knobs and buttons are welcome!

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Let’s have a look under the hood!

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The 2.3-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder engine is a turbocharged powerplant that cranks out 275 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque. Towing capacity is 7,500 lbs. — enough to tow just about anything owners of the Ranger would want to.

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So what’s the verdict?

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The Ranger is a winner. It’s going to compare favorably with the Chevy Colorado and provide a much nicer package than the Toyota Tacoma (although the Taco is noted for its toughness, so the new Ranger should require some time to distinguish itself on that front).

I actually used the truck extensively, driving it around the New Jersey suburbs, in New York City, and on a long run out to the East End of Long Island. I also loaded up the bed with a variety of stuff.

The Ranger handled everything and was easy to drive on top of it. Sure, it bounced me around on uneven Manhattan streets, but everywhere else, the truck was smooth. The steering was car-like, and the engine pumped power smoothly through the ten-speed without a sense that the Ranger was eager to get to the overdrive gears to boost MPGs.

As equipped, my 2019 Ranger tester was a tad pricey, but it lacked for nothing. The interior was lovely, the infotainment was first-rate, the design is snappy, and other reviewers who’ve had a chance to go offroad have been impressed (I didn’t get to go all down-and-dirty with the FX4 setup.)

The bottom line is that Ford needed to get back in the smaller pickup market in the US, and restoring the Ranger nameplate was an obvious move. The truck has arrived, and it’s exactly what you’d expect for Ford, the pickup king.

So now in addition to a good, old-fashioned full-size pickup-truck war in the US, we have a skirmish in midsize trucks to keep everything lively!