If you’re in the market for a midsize pickup truck, the Ford Ranger is likely high on your list. After a nine-year hiatus, the Ranger rejoined Ford’s North American lineup in 2019 with a grand entrance. The truck has received several industry honors, including J.D. Power’s Performance and Quality awards and being named one of Autotrader’s Best New Cars for 2019. Consumer Reports also ranked the 2020 Ranger as the no. 2 compact pickup truck.
The Ranger earned those awards, honestly. It has everything smaller truck owners want: a powerful turbocharged engine, respectable towing and hauling capacities, excellent fuel economy, a long list of standard driver-assistance features, and an exceptionally user-friendly infotainment system.
There’s no doubt that the Ranger should be seriously considered, but the question is, should you buy a new one or opt for a used model?
Many auto industry professionals recommend buying pre-owned vehicles largely because of cost and depreciation concerns. However, that rule doesn’t necessarily apply in the case of the Ford Ranger.
According to the automotive research company iSeeCars, buying a one-year-old used vehicle saves consumers more than 20 percent on average. A used 2019 Ranger, though, costs just 11.4 percent less than a new 2020. Only the Tesla Model 3 has a lower price differential between used and new cars at 5.5 percent.
Since the purchase price of a new Ranger is just a few thousand dollars more than a used one and most buyers are spreading that amount out over a three- or five-year loan, shoppers are faced with a tough decision.
2019 vs. 2020 Ford Ranger models
Making the new-versus-used Ford Ranger decision even more difficult, the truck changed very little between 2019 and 2020. The only notable updates include the addition of the FX2 trail package, an available box extender, and three new colors. Falling between a standard Ranger and one equipped with the FX4 off-roading option, the FX2 upgrade includes off-road tires, a specially-tuned suspension, and a locking differential.
Shoppers who are only occasional weekend warriors may have a reason to purchase a new 2020 Ranger, but otherwise, you can buy a 2019 model without missing out on anything. Keep in mind that you can also pick up a 2019 model with the heavier-duty FX4 package.
There’s no bad Ford Ranger
Thankfully, you really can’t go wrong whether you choose a used or new Ford Ranger. One of its most attractive features is the 2.3-liter turbocharged four-cylinder EcoBoost® engine. With 270 hp, it’s more than capable, whether you’re commuting to work or adventuring in the mountains.
For all of its capability, the Ranger is also surprisingly fuel-efficient. In rear-wheel drive, it gets 21 mpg in the city and 26 mpg on the highway. Trucks with four-wheel drive get 20 mpg and 24 mpg, respectively.
When properly equipped, the Ranger can tow up to 7,500 pounds. The only trucks in this segment that can tow more are the GMC Canyon and the Chevrolet Colorado, both of which offer a max towing capacity of 7,700 pounds. The Ranger has a payload capacity ranging from 1,560-1,860 pounds depending on the bed size, and the maximum is best-in-class.
There are three Ranger trim levels: XL, XLT, and Lariat. Shoppers choose between the four-seater SuperCab, which comes with a standard 6-foot bed and rear-hinged “suicide” doors or the five-seater SuperCab, which has a shorter 5-foot bed and full-sized doors. Rear-wheel drive is standard, but four-wheel drive is an available upgrade on all configurations.
Both the 2019 and 2020 Ranger models come with an impressive list of standard driver-assist and safety features, including a rearview camera, automatic high beams, and pre-collision assist with automatic emergency braking. The NHTSA also gave both model years a four out of five stars in overall safety.