The Ford Ranger is all new… but only for the North American market. This current iteration of the Ford Ranger has been available to markets outside of Canada & the United States since 2015. But for the 2019 model year, Ford decided it was time to reintroduce it to take on the Chevrolet Colorado / GMC Canyon, Toyota Tacoma, and Jeep Gladiator.
Engine – Here in Canada, the 2019 Ford Ranger is only available with one engine. A 2.3L Ecoboost inline-4 producing 270 hp and 310 lb-ft of torque does the job of moving the Ranger. While the Chevy Colorado’s gas V6 engine produces more horsepower, this Ecoboost has class-leading torque among the gasoline engines. Accelerating from a stop or to merge on a highway feels effortless in the Ranger. It doesn’t have the throaty sound of a V6 but it makes up for it by providing a quiet drive during a normal drive.
It’s also a very economical little engine. During my week with the Ford Ranger, I averaged 10.6 L/100km (22.2 mpg) which is 3.2 L/100km better than the gas V6 in the Chevrolet Colorado.
Transmission – Paired to the Ecoboost engine is a 10-speed automatic transmission. Again, it is the only transmission available in the Canadian market. It does a decently smooth job of providing smooth shifts between gears but it is not the smoothest to do so in the Ranger. In the Ford F150 this transmission is both smooth and quick to react to driver inputs but it feels slower and more “dimwitted” in the Ranger.
Braking – The brakes feel good on the Ranger. They provide good stopping power with a firm and confidence inspiring brake pedal. However there is an excessive amount of nose dive under hard braking situations due to the soft suspension. Emergency automatic braking is standard on all trim levels of the Ford Ranger.
Handling – The Ford Ranger feels stable and tracks true on straight roads, even at highway speeds. But when the roads get twisty, the Ranger doesn’t feel as planted. The steering wheel effort to turn is light and doesn’t feel connected to the front wheels. Couple that with the soft suspension and the Ford feels like it could tip over around tight turns (not that it actually would).
Ride Comfort – Over smooth roads with minimal potholes, the Ranger’s ride is comfortable. But once the roads get rougher, the ride comfort is harsh. The rear suspension on the Ford Ranger consists of only 1 leaf spring. By comparison, the Chevrolet Colorado has 3 to support the rear of the truck. As a result the suspension on the Colorado can cope with harsh bumps whereas the suspension on the Ranger is constantly hitting the bump stops when driving over the same harsh road bumps. Load up the bed of the Ranger, and I imagine the rear suspension is basically only supported by the bump stops.
Interior Space – Occupants in the front seats have plenty of head and leg room regardless of their size. The seats have a good amount of adjustments to suit the needs of any driver or passenger. The rear seats in this crew cab configuration are a bit tighter in terms of leg room for those that are over 6 feet tall. But the same can be said of the Chevy Colorado in its crew cab configuration.
Noise, Vibration, & Harshness – The cab of the Ford Ranger is quite well insulated from the elements. Road and wind noise are well muted even at highway speeds and the engine noise is only really noticeable when you’re stomping on the accelerator pedal.
Interior Design – The interior design of the Ranger feels just a bit more upscale than the one in the Chevrolet Colorado. The leather seats are softer, the buttons have a better feel and the ambient lighting gives the cab a nice glow at night. Overall the placement of the controls and the look and feel of the interior is very familiar to other Ford products.
Odds and Ends
Utility – The maximum tow rating of the 2019 Ford Ranger is 7,500 lbs (3,401 kg) which is the most in its class for gasoline engines. In Canada, the Ranger is not available in 4×2 configuration so it does not have the best-in-class payload figure. Instead with 4×4, it is rated for 1,650 lbs (748 kg) in SuperCab & 1,560 lbs (708 kg) in SuperCrew configurations. Those ratings are lower than the Colorado’s 2,000 lbs (907 kg) max payload rating in crew cab configuration but higher than those of the Tacoma in any cab configuration. The Ranger does not have the soft open tailgate that the Colorado / Canyon have and while it does have 6 tie down points, they are bolted on rather than welded on like in the Chevy Colorado.
Gadgets – The Ford trumps the competition when it comes to available safety aids. It comes standard with emergency automatic braking and is available with blind spot sensors, lane departure warning and keep, and adaptive cruise control.
Exterior Design – The Ranger has a European-like look to the front design. It definitely looks like it came from across the pond rather than Detroit. The back of the truck looks a bit more American as there really isn’t much that designers can do to make it look different. One thing to note is that the Ranger does not have the corner bumper steps as on the Colorado / Canyon (non ZR2) nor does it have the integrated step ladder into the tailgate of its F150 brother. So getting in and out of the bed requires some jumping.
At just over $50,000 CAD for this fully loaded Lariat trimmed Ranger, it is a lot of money for a mid-size truck. For the same money you can get a nicely equipped F150 XLT with the 2.7L V6 turbo engine that is more capable than the 2.3L in the Ranger. But compared to other mid-size trucks, the Ford Ranger falls short of its truck capabilities. If you’re just going to use it as a daily street vehicle, then what’s wrong with the Ford Edge? But if you need a truck to haul and tow, the Chevrolet Colorado (non ZR2) or GMC Canyon are better bets.
Thank you to Ford Canada for providing the vehicle. www.Ford.ca