The Chevrolet vs. Ford rivalry has raged for ages, and a large portion of compact pickup truck buyers fall into one of those two camps. However, the gap between the Chevrolet Colorado and the Ford Ranger is widening. U.S. News ranks the Chevrolet Colorado in the No. 5 spot compared to the Ford Ranger at No. 2.
The 2020 Chevrolet Colorado
For 2020, the Chevrolet Colorado offers various engine choices depending on trim and drivetrain options. The base, WT, and LT trimmed Colorados come standard with a fuel-injected 2.5-liter inline-four cylinder that produces a modest 200 hp and 191 lb-ft of torque. Z71 and ZR2 trimmed Colorados come standard with a 308-hp fuel-injected 3.6-liter V6 that produces 275 lb-ft of torque. This powertrain is optional in LT trim as well.
Truck buyers that choose their Chevrolet Colorado in the ZR2 trim can choose a 2.8-liter inline-four cylinder turbo-diesel engine that produces 181 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque.
Along with a respectable lineup of engine choices, a comfortable ride, and a new, improved infotainment system, the Chevrolet Colorado offers best-in-class available towing of up to 7,700 pounds when equipped with the available turbo-diesel engine. Another plus for the diesel option is its impressive fuel economy estimate at up to 30 mpg on the highway.
Among the downsides from the U.S. News review is that the Chevrolet Colorado cab is somewhat cramped and not very comfortable. The U.S. News team also noted the use of subpar materials on the interior and a below-average reliability rating of two out of five from JD Power.
The 2020 Ford Ranger
Largely unchanged from its reintroduction in 2019 after an eight-year absence, the 2020 Ford Ranger only offers one choice of engine. While a lack of choice is a downside, at least the 2.3-liter turbocharged inline-four-cylinder is a good one, producing 270 hp and 310 lb-ft of torque. When properly equipped, the Ford Ranger is capable of towing up to 7,500 pounds and has a class-leading payload capacity of up to 1,860 pounds.
The Ford Ranger’s fuel economy numbers are impressive considering the power available from the 2.3-liter engine. In the rear-wheel-drive configuration, the Ranger gets around 21 mpg while driving in the city and up to 26 mpg out on the highway. Choosing four-wheel drive will drop the ratings down to 20 mpg city and 24 mpg highway.
Like the Chevrolet Colorado, evidence of low-grade materials on the interior was evident. Reviewers also noted that although the Ford Ranger’s suspension seemed to perform well and deliver a stable ride, that ride was considerably harsher than its competitors.
How they compare
It is difficult to pick a clear winner between the Chevrolet Colorado and the Ford Ranger. Both trucks do certain things well, and they also have some flaws in common. While the Ford Ranger has class-leading payload capacity, the Chevrolet Colorado leads the segment in available towing capacity.
The Chevy Colorado clearly wins the number of engine choices by offering three very different options, but the Ranger’s turbocharged inline-four-cylinder produces plenty of power to do anything the driver needs it to do.
While neither truck has an interior that could be considered plush, the Chevy Colorado is a little better than the Ranger and has a superior touchscreen infotainment system that comes standard across all models. But, the system available in the Ranger works great also.
The Chevrolet Colorado offers three choices of cab and bed configurations including an extended cab long-bed version, a short bed crew cab, and a long bed crew cab. The Ford Ranger is again lacking in choices and is only available in a short bed super crew cab configuration.
Overall, Ford Ranger wins the head-to-head matchup. Although the Chevrolet Colorado offers more choices, the Ford Ranger is more well-rounded and just as capable.