2019 Ford Ranger
2019 Ford Ranger
The 2019 Ford Ranger is a mid-size truck that performs its truck jobs better than its competitors in almost every area. It can tow and haul as much as most people will ever need, while still carrying four adults as a crew cab, with a five-foot bed. The extended cab has jump seats in the rear, with a six-foot bed.
The Ranger’s only engine is a 2.3-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder making 270 horsepower, mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission. Acceleration is strong and shifting frequent. It can tow 7,500 pounds, or 500 pounds more than rivals.
The chassis is a conventional truck ladder frame, with independent front suspension and solid rear axle with leaf springs. Electric power steering delivers crisp, linear handling, while the ride is less bouncy than most trucks of this size.
Rear-wheel drive is standard, with available part-time four-wheel drive, a system that’s meant for traction but not control on dry pavement like all-wheel drive in a sedan. There’s an FX4 package with some 4WD equipment such as a locking rear differential, too.
Fuel mileage with rear-wheel drive is EPA-rated at a solid 21 mpg city, 26 highway, 23 combined, and 1 mpg less with all-wheel drive.
The Ranger hasn’t been crash-tested yet, but it comes standard with automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection. Among rivals, only the Toyota Tacoma also has that system standard. Optional safety equipment includes a package with active lane control, blind-spot monitors, and adaptive cruise control.
The three models are XL, XLT, and Lariat.
The XL extended cab costs about $25,400, with the four-passenger crew cab configuration adding about $2,100 and all-wheel drive adding $4,000.
Standard equipment on the base XL includes power windows and locks, air conditioning, automatic emergency braking, a 4G LTE wi-fi hotspot, Bluetooth, a 6-speaker AM/FM stereo and one USB port. Other equipment that is generally taken for granted in a new vehicle (cruise control, power mirrors, and remote keyless entry) is optional in a package for about $1,100. By the time you add a bedliner, tow package, and a locking rear differential, a crew-cab Ranger with AWD tops $34,000.
The Ranger XLT starts at about $35,200 and adds interior carpeting, tinted windows, alloy wheels, and the package with cruise control and power mirrors. Another $995 buys an 8.0-inch touchscreen for infotainment with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, satellite radio, and power-folding side mirrors. With options a Ranger XLT can top $40,000.
The Ranger Lariat crew cab with all-wheel drive costs about $39,500, and comes with leather upholstery, LED headlights, 8.0-inch touchscreen, and keyless ignition. A fully loaded Lariat can top $48,000.
The Ranger’s lines are clean and practical. A deep cut at the bottom of the doors gives the Ranger a bit of flair and its rounded front fascia shows a connection to the Ford Edge crossover SUV. Headlights jut out from a wide grille bearing a big blue oval and the word “Ranger” stamped into its plastic, while the tailgate echoes that theme.
Appearance packages add different wheels, dress the bumpers in chrome or contrasting gray paint, and slap stickers on its bedsides.
Like the exterior, the interior is functional and durable-looking. The black and beige upholsteries are tastefully conservative. The dashboard, console, and door panels are dominated by hard plastics on the XL and XLT, however the Lariat has a nice stitched panel on the top of its dash.
Storage space for small items is limited to wells in the door panels, a pocket in front of the gear lever, a center console bin, and a pair of bins beneath the rear seats on some versions.
The XL and XLT come with a 4.2-inch radio screen flanked by many small buttons. An 8.0-inch touchscreen is optional on XLTs and standard on Lariats.
The XL has reasonably supportive front seats with height adjustment that improves the view out the windshield; there’s a package with more supportive front seats and lumbar adjustment for the driver. The Lariat and some XLTs have height and lumbar adjustment for both front seats.
There’s more cabin space than most mid-size pickup trucks, but the rear seats in the extended cabs are small. The crew cab has more space for passengers, with the rear bench seat accessed through wide doors.
The engine might be small but it’s powerful, turbocharged to 270 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque. The Ranger can easily chirp its rear tires from a standing start, and accelerate toward high speeds without letup. Meanwhile the 10-speed automatic transmission delivers quick smooth shifts, and always seemed to be in the right gear during our early test drive in the Southern California hills.
Besides being able to tow 7,500 pounds, the extended cab with the longer bed has an 1,860-pound payload capacity. It weighs 4,000 pounds, while the crew cab with all-wheel drive weighs nearly 4,500 pounds, so the unflagging acceleration is even more impressive.
Rangers with the FX4 package add some off-road traction control modes and a crawl control system that works from 1 to 20 mph. It’s useful for low-speed towing, too. You’ll need the locking rear differential, activated by a button on the console.
The chassis is a ladder frame with an independent front suspension and a solid rear axle and leaf springs. It’s hardly high tech, but that’s not the Ranger’s game. It delivers a ride that is less bouncy than most rivals. And the electric steering is direct and smooth, with car-like precision that isn’t typical for pickup trucks.
The 2019 Ford Ranger is a highly capable truck that delivers in every area where it should: strong engine, excellent 10-speed transmission, precise handling, decent ride, good fuel mileage, great payload and tow capability.