Ford Ranger Named Top Pick for Families But Consumer Reports Ratings Say Otherwise

When shopping for a good family pickup truck, you’ll likely look for comfort and safety in addition to a truck’s regular benefits, like cargo space. In April 2019, U.S. News released its list of the year’s best pickup trucks for families, ranking the Ford Ranger at No. 4. Consumer Reports, however, suggests the Ranger may be a less-than-ideal choice as a family truck.

Why the Ford Ranger was chosen as a top truck for families

Although it made the list, even U.S. News admits the Ranger’s performance outweighs its family friendliness. However, it still lists a number of reasons why the vehicle is a good choice for families. Many of the Ranger’s perks center around its safety features.

These include a standard rearview camera and automatic emergency braking. The Ranger also offers many optional safety features, including blind spot monitoring, lane departure warnings, and driver attention monitoring. U.S. News gives the Ranger an overall score of 8.3/10 and a predicted reliability rating of 3/5. 

Consumer Reports rates the Ford Ranger

While the Ranger is a powerful vehicle with a number of benefits, Consumer Reports ratings indicate it may not actually be the best choice for a family truck. It has an overall score of 58, with a road test rating of just 55/100. Its emergency handling is rated at 2/5.

Ford Ranger pros

Regardless of its pitfalls, the Ranger has some pros. As U.S. News notes, the Ranger has many standard and optional safety features that benefit families. Consumer Reports specifically notes the value of the truck’s standard automatic emergency braking. Additionally, the Ranger has excellent climate control and a Sync 3 infotainment system. 

The Ranger is also useful to folks who want a maneuverable vehicle that still has the hauling benefits of a pickup truck. At 73 inches in width and 72 inches in height, the compact truck is more manageable while still having a towing capacity of 7,500 pounds. It also gets 20 MPG, which is fairly good mileage for a vehicle of its size.

Ford Ranger cons

According to Consumer Reports, the Ranger is simply uncomfortable.
In fact, its ride is rated at just 2/5. It is loud at low speeds, has imprecise steering, and its suspension leads to a “jumpy” ride that impacts passengers in the cabin.

Additionally, the Ranger has a very tall step-in height, making it difficult even for adults, let alone children, to get in. While the infotainment system may be easy to use, many other controls are not. They are frequently positioned too low to reach or are difficult to find at all.

With only 28 inches of rear legroom, the back of the Ranger is acceptable for smaller children, but it doesn’t offer a lot of room to grow. Some of the seating also lacks back support, making it uncomfortable to sit for an extended period of time.

Overall, the Ranger is a compact pickup truck — something that may appeal to families who want a maneuverable yet powerful vehicle. It also offers many appealing safety features. However, the Ranger’s uncomfortable ride, poor emergency handling, and negative Consumer Reports ratings may give parents reason to pause.