Ford Ranger fans finally got their wish. After years of non-existence, Ford reentered the midsize truck segment with the all new 2019 Ford Ranger. Did they get it right? Is it a worthy entry into the growing midsize segment? Let’s take a look.
The first thing fans of the old Ranger will notice is that it’s considerably bigger than its predecessor. Midsize is the new compact, and with four others vying for dominance in the segment, Ford has banked on two of its strengths to propel the Ranger over the top.
First, we get to take advantage of of 305 lb-ft of torque which enables the Ranger to tow more than its prime competitors, the Toyota Tacoma and Chevrolet Colorado. Rated for 7,500 lb towing, its 10-speed automatic transmission compensates for its lower 270 horsepower.
Second, the Ranger’s 2.3-liter EcoBoost 4-cylinder makes it the most fuel economical midsize truck available, offering up to 26 mpg on the highway. As a “lifestyle” truck, this will come in handy in fending off the competitors.
Perhaps the most compelling element of the new Ranger is its exterior aesthetic. It’s a great looking truck, arguably more attractive than its big brother, the F-150. While not having the same ground-clearance as its competitors, the overall look and feel of the exterior makes it seem more roadworthy while not betraying the potential for some off-road fun.
Unfortunately, the interior is where things seem to go downhill for the Ranger. Fans of plain and simple will not be disappointed, but those who are looking for more curves, better gadgets, and the type of comfort they’ll find a comparable SUV won’t find it in the Ranger.
Essentially, it’s a basic modern-day truck with just the minimum interior benefits.
As Dan Edmunds (or is it Dan from Edmunds?) points out in his first-drive video, things don’t get much better in the backseat. While the driver’s seat fits nicely for the 6’2″ reviewer, the backseat of the crew cab didn’t make it easy for him to go on long trips. The rear seat is not split, making for nearly worthless folding. But not all was bad. They have a standard SYNC 3 infotainment system that includes Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, and there are plenty of outlets in both the front and back. Minimalist design isn’t common in today’s vehicles, but it works.
Overall, it should fair nicely against its main competitors, plus the novelty of the returning legend is nice, but there’s one competitor that could give the Ranger unexpected trouble. The new Jeep Gladiator is a pretty epic entry into the segment which will steal some of the Ranger’s thunder.
The midsize truck field is getting pretty crowded. We’ve gone from not very many options to suddenly too many, but that’s what consumers want. How they all pan out in the sales department at dealerships will determine if they’re here to stay.