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Midsize trucks like the Ford Ranger or Honda Ridgeline are smaller and have lower towing capacities compared to half-ton pickups. Even so, these trucks can still pull more than most SUVs and feature a convenient cargo box for larger items. This makes them very appealing to drivers who need an affordable truck for daily driving or light towing jobs here and there. Staying relevant in the truck segment is still a challenge, but it seems that the Honda Ridgeline is faring better than its rivals, especially when you look at the Ford Ranger’s sales numbers.

The Honda Ridgeline’s popularity is growing

GoodCarBadCar recently posted automotive sales totals for last month, showcasing the Honda Ridgeline’s year-to-date growth. It sold over 4,000 units in July alone and a total of 31,605 units so far this year. Despite no major changes to its design between model years, the Honda Ridgeline is nearly 33% more popular compared to 2022. 

It’s a bit of a surprise, considering that the Honda Ridgeline isn’t as capable as a few other compact pickup trucks. Your only cargo box option measures 5-ft-4-in, and its towing capacity maxes out at 5,000 lbs. The Honda Ridgeline also doesn’t feature any off-roading trims or even packages, a TrailSport model has been confirmed for the 2024 model year. 

What the Honda Ridgeline does have is a capable 280-hp V6 engine paired with standard all-wheel drive. The Ridgeline is also a unibody truck, meaning that it has better insulation and smoother ride quality compared to body-on-frame pickups. The bed features a multi-function tailgate and an in-bed trunk to increase its overall utility. If you get the Honda Ridgeline RTL-E, you’ll also get an in-bed audio system with power outlets.

Every Honda Ridgeline has a crew cab, plus leather-trimmed seats on almost every model. Its convenience and safety technology features are somewhat limited, but automatic emergency braking and forward collision mitigation are still standard. All of these factors lead to the fact that its sales are growing compared to its rival, the Ford Ranger’s sales.

Fewer drivers bought a Ford Ranger in 2023

GoodCarBadCar reports that 4,315 Ford Ranger sales occurred in July, which is an 8% increase compared to last year. However, the Ford Ranger’s overall year-to-date sales are down by nearly 25%.

The 2023 Ford Ranger features a turbo-four engine with 270 hp on tap, and it can be had in both rear-wheel-drive and four-wheel-drive configurations. Ride quality can be hit-or-miss due to its body-on-frame construction, but it has an excellent towing capacity of 7,500 lbs. 

The Ford Ranger has both a 5-ft and 6-ft bed option, but the latter can only be paired with the SuperCab model. The SuperCrew model is bigger and more comfortable, but both can be had with either of the two off-roading packages. The Ford Ranger Tremor package is the newest one, upgrading the Ranger’s ground clearance to 9.7 inches.

However, like the Honda Ridgeline, the Ford Ranger doesn’t have many standard driver’s aids. At least the Ridgeline has smartphone integration and a touch display in the base trim. These can only be had as upgrades on the Ranger XL.

How can Ford Ranger sales rebound to reclaim its popularity?

The Ford Ranger’s high towing capacity and capable off-roading abilities are its two biggest appeals. If the Honda Ridgeline Trailsport really does get released, that might turn even more buyers away from the Ranger. The upcoming Ford Ranger Raptor could turn things around. This Raptor promises to have a twin-turbo 405-hp V6 engine with 4WD, as well as a long-travel suspension and next-gen FOX bypass shocks. Ford also says that this Ranger model has a reinforced frame, suspension, and shock towers. 

The 2024 Ford Ranger Raptor is expected to go on sale before summer ends as a part of the Ranger’s redesign year. The next-gen Honda Ridgeline should also make its debut before the end of the year. It’s too soon to tell which redesign will be the most appealing for shoppers browsing the compact pickup segment, but current Ford Ranger sales indicate that it needs the help more.