Best Used Ford Ranger Years: Models to Buy Plus 1 to Avoid

The Ford Ranger has been around for years. Since 1983, it has been one of Ford’s smaller pickup trucks, and it does have quite a cult following. Back in 2011, Ford did discontinue the Ranger for the United States. But, the brand did decide to bring it back to the States in 2019. So, if you are interested in buying a mid-size truck and want to stick with the Ranger, which are the best models to buy? And, are there any used Ford Rangers that should be avoided?

Which Ford Ranger is best?

If you want a good used truck, the fourth-gen Ford Ranger might be your best option. Although it might lack the charm of some of the older Ranger models, there is a lot to love about it. It comes with a 2.3-liter turbocharged engine that makes ample power, and the ten-speed automatic transmission provides smooth shifting. 

Another benefit of opting for a Ranger built after 2019 is the fact that it will come with modern safety features and technology. The safety of automobiles has come quite a long way, even within the last decade. And if you are shopping for a used pickup, that is something to be appreciated. 

When properly equipped, this generation of Ranger can tow up to 7,500 pounds. And it offers legitimate off-road capability. Because of that, you should overlook a Ranger from the fourth generation. Especially as the 2024 Ford Ranger will mark a new generation for this mid-size truck. 

Generally speaking, the Ford Ranger has always been a decent truck

Buying a newer truck may not be right for everyone. If that is the case for you, looking for a third-gen Ranger might be the right call. This used truck will offer things like an optional V6 engine, and you could still get it outfitted with a manual transmission. Something that some truck buyers may be looking for. 

A 2022 Ford Ranger shows off its capability at a lake.
Ford Ranger | Ford

The third-gen Ranger was first introduced in 1998, with production lasting until 2011. Because of that, you should have no trouble finding a reliable mid-size truck that will fit within your budget. Starting in 2002, Ford even began offering a specific off-road trim for this pickup. So, if you are looking for a used truck that is good at off-roading, the Ranger could be a good place to start. 

Which used Ford Ranger should you avoid?

When you’ve been around as long as the Ranger has, there’s going to be some model years that were a bit problematic. According to the NHTSA, the 2008 Ford Ranger was not the best truck on the road. And now that it is over 10 years old, it probably has not gotten much better. 

A third generation Ford Ranger drives in traffic.
Ford Ranger | David McNew via Getty Images

There are plenty of other Ranger models available, so counting out the 2008 model will not ruin your search. You can easily find a different mid-size pickup from Ford that will make a reliable used truck. And that will save you potential headaches in the long run. Nobody wants a pickup that they can’t rely on.

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