Caraganza First Drive Review 2019 Ford Ranger: Lead the way

(Ford)

(Ford)

I have a confession to make.  When I was younger, okay very much younger, and was ready to buy my first new car, that car was actually almost a truck.  Not a big truck, but a midsize one. In those days most midsized pickups could be had for under $10,000.  I looked at a Toyota, an S-10 and a Ford Ranger. The Ranger was a 1983 model, the first generation.

I wasn’t interested in a pickup truck because I was a pickup truck type of person.  I didn’t live on farm, didn’t wear cowboy boots, and hated country music. I also wanted to keep my weekends free and avoid helping out all my friends who were moving.  No, it was all about the price for me.  Ultimately, I ended up buying a new Chevy Camaro (1982 model) because my wife couldn’t stand the thought of driving around in a pickup, and she ended up finding a deal on a Camaro that had a few hundred miles on it so technically could not be sold as ‘new’. It’s something we practice to this day.

I do remember having a fondness for that first Ranger. And so I was a bit sad when they discontinued them, at least in America, in 2011.

Well the Ranger is back.  And I am glad of it.

Ford sent me one for a recent week, and it made me reminisce about that first ‘almost’ purchase.

(Ford)

(Ford)

The newly reintroduced Ranger comes in XL, XLT, and Lariat trim levels, rear- and four-wheel drive, extended-cab and full-crew body styles (SuperCab and SuperCrew, in Ford-speak).   All have a turbocharged 2.3-liter four-cylinder producing 270 horsepower and 310 lb-ft of torque.

A ten-speed automatic and rear-wheel drive is standard; and the standard Ranger has 8.4 inches of ground clearance while four-wheel-drive versions have 8.9 inches. Both setups offer electronically locking rear differentials, while the front diff remains open in 4x4s. A Terrain Management system has settings for grass, gravel, and snow; another for mud and ruts; and a sand setting. The system adjusts ABS, stability, and traction-control settings as well as throttle and transmission mapping. With the optional tow package, the Ranger is rated to tow up to 7500 pounds or haul 1860 pounds in its bed.

The nice thing about it, is the fact that it’s still a midsized pickup.  Thus, it drives like one.  There’s plenty of room on the cab (I had the SuperCrew which is the biggest).  My tester for the week was the top of the line Lariat which had 18-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights and taillights, an LED cargo lamp, power-adjustable and heated front seats, leather upholstery, dual-zone automatic climate control, an 8-inch center touchscreen with Ford’s Sync 3 interface, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity. It also had the sport appearance package and a spray-in bedliner.

It didn’t have the tow package or 4X4, but I have little doubt that hauling heavy loads and mild off-roading would not be a problem.

Ford has been the best seller among pickups for many years.  I’ve always been a fan although I don’t exactly know why. In this era when the quality of all vehicles is unquestionable, it comes down to the little things, styling tweaks, the view out of the cab, the knobs, or whatever.  Well whatever ‘it’ is I’ve always liked Ford trucks and this new Ranger is certainly no different.  It almost makes me long for the days of my youth when I was looking for my first new car. Almost, because I still like to have my weekends free.

The 2019 Ford Ranger SuperCrew 4X2 Lariat
MSRP: $34,385
MSRP (as tested): $40,790
Engine: 2.3-liter I-4 EcoBoost 270-hp @ 5,500 rpm, 310 lbs.-ft. torque @ 3,000 rpm
Transmission:     10-speed automatic w/OD and auto-manual
Fuel Mileage (EPA): 21 city, 26 hwy, 23 combined
Fuel Mileage (as tested, mixed conditions): 24 mpg
Curb weight     4,232 lbs.
Towing capacity     3,500 lbs.

Exterior Dimensions
Pickup bed depth     20.9″
Payload     1,770 lbs.
Wheelbase     126.8″
Exterior body width     85.8″
Exterior length     210.8″
Ground clearance (min)     8.4″
Exterior height     71.1″

Interior Dimensions
Front headroom 39.8
Front legroom, maximum 43.1
Front shoulder room 56.7
Front hip room 55.8
Rear headroom 38.3
Rear legroom 34.5
Rear shoulder room 56.3
Rear hip room 53.5
Passenger volume (cu. ft.) 97.6

Warranty
Basic warranty (months/miles)     36/36,000
Corrosion perforation warranty (months/miles)     60/ unlimited
Powertrain warranty (months/miles)     60/60,000
Roadside assistance warranty (months/miles)     60/60,000

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Greg is a published award winning sportswriter who spent 23 years combined active and active reserve military service, much of that in and around the Special Operations community. Greg has been published in major publications across the country including the Los Angeles Times, the Cleveland Plain Dealer and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He was also a contributor to Chicken Soup for the NASCAR Soul, published in 2010, and the Christmas edition in 2016. He wrote as the NASCAR, Formula 1, Auto Reviews and National Veterans Affairs Examiner for Examiner.com and has appeared on Fox News. He holds a BS degree in communications, a Masters degree in psychology and is currently a PhD candidate majoring in psychology. He is currently the weekend Motorsports Editor for Autoweek.

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