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2020 Ford Ranger offers big things in a
small package
By Scott SturgiS
The Philadelphia Inquirer

2020 Ford Ranger XLT SuperCrew 4x4:
Good things in small packages?
Price: $42,410 as tested. Black Appearance
Package ($1,090) added spray-in bed liner,
black running boards, and black wheels;
XLT Series added $2,400: Trailer Tow package,
$495; bed cargo tray, $160. More below.
Conventional wisdom: Says Car and Driver
of the 2021: “Beefy turbocharged engine,
extensive standard driver-assistance
technology,” despite “dated and boring interior,
only moderate off-road abilities, we’re still
waiting for the Ranger Raptor.”
Marketer’s pitch: “Adventure ready.”
Reality: Maybe even better than its big brother,
F-150.
What’s new: After being on hiatus since 2011,
the Ford Ranger midsize pickup rejoined the
lineup in 2019. I’d been lobbying to get a test
vehicle since they first came out, and Ford
finally found one for me.
I’ll say right up front that Fords tend not to
be my favorite vehicles, but that’s not always
the worst place to start. Sometimes higher
expectations mean a bigger disappointment
when review time comes.
And I was lucky enough to put it up against the
old standby Toyota Tacoma.
Driver’s Seat: Once upon a time, pickups were
utilitarian, spartan boxes, with nary an option
available, and seats that sprang more than
they cradled.
Somewhere along the way, automakers saw a
cash cow in these vehicles, and they became
more amenable to the buying public.
The cloth seats in the Ranger I tested offered

great comfort and support _ even my wife
remarked again and again on how much
she liked riding in the Ranger. We even had
a chance to take it up north, and after a day
of riding and hauling furniture and boxes, the
seats offered the perfect respite, even without
fancy massage features and whatnot.
Friends and stuff: “It’s better than the Tacoma.”
That was the answer I got when Sturgis Kid 4.0
was asked about the rear seat. But that’s
the low (to him) standard that he sets for all
midsize pickups; he loathes the
Tacoma Double Cab’s rear seat _
understandably _ while I found the truck a
reasonably pleasant driving experience.
The Ranger rear seat offers decent space all
around _ foot room, headroom and legroom,
but not in great abundance. The middle seat
passenger will be a little cramped. The seat
itself is fairly comfortable and folds up to add
storage, but only as a one-piece. A split would
be better.
Cargo space in the 5-foot bed disappeared far
quicker than I expected. I usually haul mulch
or branches, and there you can pile high and
forget it. Furniture is not nearly as forgiving.
(The SuperCab version offers a 6-foot bed.)
And just one hook per corner made tie-downs
complicated.
The payload ranges from 1,560 pounds
as tested to 1,860 in the 4x2 SuperCab. A
7,500-pound towing capacity is a nice feature
as well.
Up to speed: The 270-horsepower 2.3-liter
EcoBoost engine provides a delightful amount
of power for the Ranger. This truck just wants
to race from place to place _ I felt as if I were
driving a Mustang. The needle gets to 60 mph
in 6.8 seconds, according to Motor Trend, which

says that’s half a second behind the Colorado.
But something about this Ranger felt zoomy.
And the steep hills of Northeastern
Pennsylvania don’t slow it down a bit. Plenty
of power is available for getting up just about
anything.
On the road: Even more delightful is the way
the Ranger handles. I took a first trip on some
country back roads and just settled right in to
my usual driving insanity. And that was even
before I found Sport mode, which livens things
up considerably.
But don’t become complacent. This is a tall,
narrow vehicle, so when the signs say
15 or 20 mph for the curves, pay attention, or
you’ll be lying on your side.
Highway cruising is also a delight. The Ranger
offers smoothness even at extralegal speeds.
Only the giant craters of old Pennsylvania
coal-town roads slow the Ranger down.
Shifty: The 10-speed automatic transmission
seemed to function well through the week
of testing, although I noticed the occasional
uneven power delivery, especially when coming
back to town after long spells on the highway.
The FX4 Off-Road Package added electronic
locking differential for $1,295, and I employed
4H on a gravel road only once.

Play some tunes: The Ranger’s Sync3 stereo
(part of the $995 Technology package, which
also added adaptive cruise and forward
sensing) fixes all the problems with
Ford stereos. There’s a volume knob, and
there’s a tuning knob. Even better, the steering
wheel buttons include a “home” button and a
“settings” button, getting drivers instantly to
some important screens. Nice touch.
The system plays clearly and reproduces sound
well, about an A-.
Keeping warm and cool: The functions here
could be easier. Fussy toggle buttons control
temperature and fan speed, and changing the
source means going into the touchscreen.
Not fun when you’re unfamiliar with the system
at night when the windshield is suddenly
fogging over.
Fuel economy: This is the final piece of great
news _ even with my lead foot, the Ranger still
tallied 22 mpg, in a wild, wild ride worthy of a
sports car. Feed the vehicle whatever.
Where it’s built: Wayne, Mich.
How it’s built: Consumer Reports gives the
Ranger a predicted reliability of 4 out of 5 stars.
In the end: Definitely the most fun and best fuel
economy I’ve seen in a small pickup.

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