The 2023 Ford Ranger Is Too Expensive to Be Worse Than the Ford Maverick
Ford offers two pickup truck options for those wanting something smaller than the full-size F-150 for 2023, the mid-size body on frame 2023 Ford Ranger, and the smaller unibody 2023 Ford Maverick. While the Ranger performs better in some ways, the less expensive Ford Maverick is superior in enough categories to win the head-to-head comparison. So the question is, which one does the things you expect from your pickup truck better?
2023 Maverick vs. 2023 Ranger pricing
According to U.S. News, the base front-wheel-drive 2023 Maverick has a starting MSRP of $22,595, making it the most affordable compact pickup truck. Other Maverick trims include the mid-range XLT priced at $24,855 and the range-topping Lariat at $28,355. Optional AWD adds $2,200 and opens up options for FX4 and Tremor off-road packages though compatibility varies with drivetrain options. More on that coming up.
The base 2023 Ranger XL MSRP is only $1,000 less than the top-trimmed Maverick Lariat at $27,400, the XLT starts at $31,460, and the top-tier Lariat MSRP starts at $35,500. While the SuperCab with a six-foot truck bed configuration and rear-wheel drive are standard for each trim level, upgrading the XL trim to the SuperCrew/five-foot box adds $2,185, and the 4×4 driveline adds another $3,645. The SuperCrew/five-foot box upgrade adds $1,960, and switching the driveline to 4×4 adds $3,485 to either the XLT or Lariat trims.
Comparing the Ford Maverick to the Ford Ranger
In the U.S. News head-to-head comparison between the Ford Maverick and Ford Ranger, the 2023 Maverick beat the Ranger in the following categories:
- Interior Quality
- Seat Comfort
- Interior Features
- Fuel Economy
- Ride and Handling
The comparison notes that neither truck’s interior is upscale, but the Maverick’s newer design bests the older one in the Ranger. Despite the Maverick’s plentiful hard plastic surfaces, the interior’s overall comfort, finish, and features exceed expectations for the price point.
While the Ranger’s only available powertrain provides 270 hp compared to the standard 191-hp hybrid system or the optional 250-hp turbo in the Maverick, the Maverick offers better acceleration. In addition, the hybrid Maverick is predictably more fuel-efficient than the Ranger, with an EPA-estimated 42 mpg city and 33 mpg highway. However, the Maverick’s 250-hp turbo AWD drivetrain’s 22 mpg city and 29 mpg highway ratings still beat the most fuel-efficient Ranger’s 21 mpg city and 26 mpg highway estimates.
The Maverick’s unibody construction is a give-and-take affair that gives the compact pickup car-like ride and handling but takes away some of its capacity to work like a pickup truck. However, the Maverick’s modern design outperforms the Ranger in National Highway Traffic Safety Administration front- and rollover-crash testing.
The 2023 Ford Ranger excelled in three areas you’d expect in a more truck-like mid-size pickup, plus one surprising category:
- Towing Capacity
- Payload Capacity
While most people won’t buy a Ranger for its towing or payload capacity, it’s nice to know that it is capable if you need your truck to do some work. A properly-equipped Ranger has a 7,500-lb tow rating and can carry between 1,478 lbs and 1,905 lbs of cargo, depending on its configuration. Compared to the Maverick’s maximum 4,000-lb towing capacity and 1,500-lb payload, the Ranger easily wins this category.
Off-roading provides another easy win for the Ranger in any trim, as its body-on-frame design provides 8.9 inches of ground clearance. The Ranger’s two-speed transfer case also provides a lower-range gear ratio, allowing low-speed maneuverability and sufficient power to navigate difficult off-road obstacles. Adding any of the Ranger’s available FX2, FX4, or Tremor package options increase its off-road prowess and durability.
The Ranger’s superior predicted reliability is a slight surprise given the Maverick’s more modern approach to pickup truck design. However, it is only a slight edge, and both trucks exhibit above-average ratings and identical warranty coverage from Ford when new.
Is the 2023 Ford Ranger worth buying?
The 2023 Ford Ranger will serve you well if you need a small pickup for occasionally towing a lightweight boat or compact camp trailer or hauling supplies for weekend building projects. However, if you’d prefer car-like handling in a vehicle that provides a truck bed capable of moving the occasional refrigerator or picking up a messy load of garden soil, you’ll likely enjoy the comfort and driving characteristics of the 2023 Ford Maverick more.