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The Ford Ranger and Toyota Tacoma are both leaders in the midsize truck category. J.D. Power ranked the 2021 Ford Ranger and 2021 Toyota Tacoma in a head-to-head battle, but did either pickup truck steal the crown?

J.D. Power on the 2021 Ford Ranger benefits

2021 Ford Ranger front 3/4 view
2021 Ford Ranger | Ford

J.D. Power noted that the 2021 Ford Ranger and Toyota Tacoma are all about compromise. The mid-size nature of the trucks means these aren’t as powerful as the full-size competitors, but that also means the price isn’t full-size either. Another benefit is that the smaller trucks are easier to maneuver when parking and driving. The Ford Ranger is a fresh take on the old Ford truck, and it shows it.

The price for the new truck ranges from $25,070 to $33,160, with a $1,195 destination charge on top. It comes in a variety of trims, including XL, XLT, and Lariat. Then, the STX, FX2, FX4, and Tremor are also options. Ford also offers two-wheel-drive (2WD) and four-wheel-drive (4WD) for the trucks.

Inside, the cab’s back seat is a bit tight for people, but groceries and cargo would be fine. The FordPass app offers drivers the ability to start the car and lock it from afar. It also has an automatic collision notification option. J.D. Power notes that Ford doesn’t offer complimentary maintenance with the purchase of a new truck, which is a miss.

J.D. Power says the 2021 Toyota Tacoma has a lot of positives

J.D. Power says that the 2021 Toyota Tacoma is the best seller in the class for a reason. It has above-average safety scores and leads in resale value but lacks in areas like towing. The price range for the 2021 Toyota Tacoma is between $26,400 and $44,325, plus a $1,175 destination charge. The trim levels are SR, SR5, TRD Sport, TRD Off-Road, Limited, and TRD Pro. Most of the trims offer 2WD and 4WD, except the TRD Pro only comes in 4WD.

J.D. Power notes that Toyota offers a one-year subscription to Toyota’s connected services. This includes concierge roadside help, collision notification, and remote start. Scheduled maintenance is included two the first two years or the first 25,000 miles, which is an advantage over the 2021 Ford Ranger.

Both mid-size trucks have positives and negatives

When it comes down to it, J.D. Power found these trucks are fairly evenly matched. Where the 2021 Ford Ranger pulls ahead in one category, the Tacoma pulled ahead in the next one. One important area was the safety section. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) rated the Ford Ranger four stars for crash protection. It scored only three stars for the rollover section. The Tacoma earned the same four-star overall crash rating but had four stars for the rollover resistance rating. Both trucks scored an “acceptable” rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).

The 2021 Toyota Tacoma pulled ahead in three categories: price/value, safety/driving assistance, and infotainment and technology. The 2021 Ford Ranger pulled ahead in three categories: reliability/quality, performance/efficiency, and tow ratings/trailering equipment. For comfort/utility, neither truck had an advantage.

In conclusion, these trucks were fairly evenly matched. Both vehicles are safe, reasonably priced, and high-tech. J.D. Power says you can’t go wrong here, no matter what mid-sized pickup you choose.


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