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When Ford brought back the Ranger to the North American market, many people jumped for joy at the return of this venerable truck.  Once we learned the Ranger only came with one powertrain, a bit of a collective groan was heard around the country.  How could Ford, a brand known for offering an extensive list of options for its vehicles, bring back the Ranger name and not give us more than one powertrain?

Midsize pickup truck competitors offer more engine options

The Toyota Tacoma driving on a dirt road
The Toyota Tacoma | Toyota

Did Ford miss the memo that the midsize truck market was meant to have options when it comes to power?  You can select from two different powertrains for both the Nissan Frontier and Toyota Tacoma, while the GM pair, Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon, offer us three choices for power, one of which is a diesel engine.  How then could Ford possibly expect the Ranger to compete with these other trucks when only one powertrain is found under the hood?

The simple winning formula for Ford

New Tremor Off-Road Package available on 2021 Ranger creates the most off-road-ready factory-built Ranger ever offered in the U.S., adding a new level of all-terrain capability without sacrificing the everyday drivability, payload, and towing capacity Ranger owners expect. | Getty Images
Ford Ranger Tremor Off-Road Package | Getty Images

The Ford Ranger didn’t come back to the market in 2019 with just any powertrain under the hood.  This truck arrived with an engine that we’ve admired in the Mustang as the base choice for power in the muscle car.  According to MotorTrend, every model of the Ranger benefits from a 2.3-liter EcoBoost turbocharged four-cylinder engine that makes 270 horsepower and 310 lb.-ft. of torque.  This incredible engine is the one that’s still being offered as the only one used for 2022.

The secret sauce of the Ford Ranger powertrain

The power offered by the EcoBoost engine is routed to the wheels of the Ford Ranger by an impressive ten-speed automatic transmission.  This transmission is smooth, shifts right, and puts the power where you need it.  Towing for this midsize truck reaches 7,500 pounds, which is truly impressive for a truck that only uses a four-cylinder engine.  With this level of capability, you can see how the Ranger has enough to be an excellent truck in this class.

Admire the spacious cabin

A copper Ford Ranger is on display | Atilgan Ozdil/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
Ford Ranger | Getty Images

Ford built the new Ranger to compete with the Chevy Colorado, and it certainly can do that.  The Ranger appears to have upscale seat materials, plenty of room in the cab for four people to ride along together (when the SuperCrew model is selected), and a package of technology that will make your drive pleasant.  You can connect to the latest version of the Sync system and listen to your favorite music, make use of the voice recognition features, or find directions to where you need to go.

Capability matters, the Ford Ranger delivers

Even though its direct competition can tow up to 7,000 pounds, the Ranger can pull more.  That seems impossible considering the Chevy has a V6 and a diesel engine as part of the options, but Ford has developed the Ranger to pull a heavier load.  There are two bed sizes for the Ranger, giving you plenty of room for the cargo you need to carry to your next destination.

Does fuel mileage matter to you?

Another comparison factor is fuel mileage, and the Ranger takes the lead once again.  The four-cylinder engine of the Colorado only reaches 25 mpg on the highway, while the Ranger can reach 26 mpg.  The diesel engine of the Colorado is the only engine that offers better fuel mileage at 30 mpg, but this fuel is much more expensive than regular 87-octane fuel. 

One powertrain is all you need

When you consider the tow rating, fuel mileage numbers, an impressive level of power, and the overall build of the Ford Ranger, you can see that this truck is perfectly built to be ideal for driving with its single powertrain.  You don’t need added options, although we would certainly welcome them, all you need is a great truck that can handle everything you throw at it, and that’s precisely what the Ford Ranger is.

Next, check out these 5 special edition pickup trucks, or watch the Ford Ranger in the video below:

This article was updated on 8/30/2022.


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