Ford’s Mid-Size Ranger

The compact Ford Ranger disappeared from the scene many years ago, for reasons unknown. Now it’s back in grown-up form, ready to compete in an expanding pickup market where mid-size appears to have a strong and growing appeal. About time.

Growing significantly from its original compact form, Ford’s 2019 Ranger pickup is nearly the same size as a mid-1990s F-150. That means it’s a direct competitor to popular mid-size pickups like the Chevrolet Colorado, GMC Canyon, Toyota Tacoma, and Nissan Frontier. It does well in the efficiency department with EPA ratings of 21 mpg in the city and 26 mpg on the highway.

Ranger is available as a SuperCab or SuperCrew built on a common 126.8-inch wheelbase. The SuperCab comes with a 6-foot bed while the SuperCrew gets a 5-foot bed. Unlike the aluminum-bodied F-150, the Ranger is steel with steel bumpers mounted directly to the frame for durability and crashworthiness.

2019 Ford RangerPower is delivered by a 2.3-liter, turbocharged EcoBoost four-cylinder coupled to a 10-speed automatic transmission. Rear- and part-time four-wheel-drive are available. Electronic “Shift-on-the-Fly” 4WD allows a driver to switch from 2WD to 4WD HIGH at speeds up to 55 mph, and to 4WD LOW at lower speeds.

Electronic-Shift-on-the-Fly comes with a two-speed transfer case, Dana electronic locking rear differential, and Ford’s Terrain Management System. The latter provides a choice between Normal, Grass/Gravel/Snow, Mud/Ruts, and Sand modes. A new low-speed Trail Control off-road cruise control standard on 4WD models can be selected to take over the throttle and brakes, letting a driver steer through rugged terrain.

Power goes through Dana Trac-Lok differentials on both two- and four-wheel drive models. An electronic locking rear differential is optional. A new fully boxed frame is unique to North American Rangers. The Ranger is equipped with electronic power-assisted steering. It has an independent dual A-arm with coil spring front suspension and a solid Dana rear axle with two-stage leaf springs in back.

The Ranger comes in XL, XLT and Lariat trim levels. An FX-4 Off-Road Package available on all of these adds a front steel skid plate, other steel underbody skid plates, off-road shocks and tires, and Magnetic Grey trim accents.

Electronic features include FordPass Connect Wi-Fi with 4G LTE connectivity for up to 10 devices, a Sync 3 infotainment system, LCD gauge cluster screens, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, optional navigation, and USB outlets. The Ranger offers nearly as many driver assists as the rest of the Ford lineup, including standard forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking. A blind spot warning system is available that includes trailer coverage.

Ranger is available at a base MSRP of $24,300 for the SuperCab and $26,520 for the SuperCrew variants, with four-wheel drive an additional $4,160.