The Ford Ranger Is the Only Pickup on This List That’s Declining
The Ford Ranger has had a few close calls with death before, even taking an eight-year absence. This compact pickup truck received another fresh makeover for the 2024 model year, so it’s probably safe for now. Still, troubling sales figures indicate that the Ranger may have fallen out of favor with consumers yet again.
The Ford Ranger fell behind all of its rivals
The 2023 Ford Ranger was pulling in decent sales for most of this year, averaging around 4,000 sales for almost every month. Disappointingly, it finished out August with 2,069 sales. While it was still more popular than a few other trucks that month, it was the only one to experience such a massive dip in popularity.
Even more troubling, only 1,001 people bought a 2023 Ford Ranger in September. That pushes its yearly sales total to 31,503 units so far. Despite zero notable changes to its design or feature availability, this Ford Ranger’s sales year to date are down by about 32%.
GoodCarBadCar reports that the Toyota Tacoma is still thriving, with over 154,000 units sold for 2023. The Ford Maverick, despite being smaller than the Ranger, is twice as popular amongst consumers. The Ranger is also greatly overshadowed by its F-150 cousin, which has sold close to 574,000 models this year.
Why would so many buyers avoid this truck?
On paper, it certainly looks like the Ford Ranger sales should reflect it being a popular choice in the compact pickup segment. Its sole engine option, a 270-hp turbo-four, is more powerful than the Tacoma’s base 159-hp four-cylinder. The Ford Ranger also has two bed options and a maximum towing capacity of 7,500 lbs.
When optioned with four-wheel drive, the Ford Ranger has a ground clearance of 8.9 inches. However, other compact pickup trucks with off-roading variants have anywhere between 1-3 inches of extra lift. To its credit, you can have multiple trail-ready features on the Ford Ranger via packages, even with the rear-wheel-drive configuration. Those models can be equipped with a locking rear differential and an off-roading suspension setup. The Tremor package has both of these features, along with a terrain management system, FOX shocks, and another suspension upgrade.
While some drivers are perfectly fine without an off-roading truck, they may not want to settle for the Ford Ranger’s dated interior. Edmunds describes the overall quality as average due to a confusing manual control layout, puny interior storage cubbies, and limited adjustability for the seats. Using the infotainment system eventually becomes a chore because there are no shortcut buttons.
Of course, depending on what Ranger trim you buy, you might not have a touchscreen interface at all. The Ford Ranger XL, despite having a similar price point to technologically advanced rivals, has just a tiny 3.5-inch display at the center stack. Unless you opt for the Co-Pilot360 package, the base truck’s only advanced safety feature is forward collision warning. Smartphone integration can also be added to the Ranger XL, though you can still only get a touchscreen inside the XLT and Lariat models.
The 2024 Ford Ranger could steer itself in a better direction
As it stands, the 2023 Ford Ranger’s value isn’t as great compared to other segment entries. Fortunately, the new Ford Ranger has a standard 10.1-inch touchscreen complete with the latest version of SYNC 4. Car and Driver photos also confirm that the Ranger’s interior styling has seen a massive improvement.
Oddly enough, you still have to pay extra if you want to gain access to more safety features. While you’re looking at upgrades, consider the off-roading Raptor trim or the available 315-hp V6. The 2024 model was released last summer, so it may be able to improve the Ford Ranger’s sales somewhat before the year is over.