Before pickup trucks became bloated luxury vehicles, they were small, affordable, and highly capable. The Ford Ranger is, in many ways, a return to form for the brand as its cheapest pickup truck. Despite offering good lucks and off-road capability, the Ranger has 1 major flaw. Consumer Reports tested the 2020 Ford Ranger and found that it has a very stiff ride.
The Ford Ranger offers decent value for $24,410
Let’s face it, despite whatever off-roading aspirations you might have, the Ford Ranger will most likely be your daily driver. This is the biggest hurdle small trucks face. While a strong set of specifications used to be enough to sell trucks all day long, consumers now want luxury features, a smooth ride, and a quiet cabin.
In this regard, the Ranger offers decent value for its $24,410 starting price. As standard, you’ll get a 2.3-liter EcoBoost engine developing 270 hp and 310 lb-ft of torque. The only transmission available is a 10-speed automatic.
In terms of safety tech, the Ranger comes standard with Roll Stability Control and Collision Assist with Automatic Emergency Braking. While they may not be the most comprehensive systems ever offered as standard, they should come in handy for low-speed crash scenarios.
The interior is fairly barren in the base model, offering cloth seats, a dashboard covered in cheap-looking plastics, and a tiny infotainment screen that offers Bluetooth streaming. Since all of the money is spent on how the Ranger performs, corners have to be cut in the luxury aspect.
Better off-road performance results in on-road stiffness
While the very best pickup trucks benefit from magnetic suspension and adaptive dampers, the Ford Ranger’s price-point doesn’t exactly allow for that. Instead, the Ranger has to be great on and off-road with a non-adjustable suspension setup. As a result of high ground clearance, the suspension must be fairly stiff to keep that high-riding weight in check.
During Consumer Reports’ testing of the 2020 Ranger, they noted that it had a fairly stiff ride. CR also noted that the small truck could feel bouncy going over hard bumps. While the Chevy Colorado is hardly a Rolls-Royce Phantom, CR claims that GM’s small pickup has a much smoother ride.
While this may seem like a small tradeoff for someone who utilizes their Ranger primarily for off-roading, it isn’t exactly ideal for commuting to your office. Nothing ruins a commute quicker than an uncomfortable car. This pickup truck drawback leads many consumers to opt for SUV-based trucks like the Honda Ridgeline.
Is the Ranger still worth buying?
Absolutely! Despite scoring poorly in ride quality, the Ford Ranger excelled in other areas of Consumer Reports’ testing. CR noted that the Ranger had excellent acceleration and a very smooth shifting transmission.
To the Ranger’s credit, plenty of its interior drawbacks can be remedied by opting for a higher trim level, albeit for more money. While the suspension is identical for all models, nicer creature comforts can make all the difference.
If the stiff ride is a dealbreaker, look at the aforementioned SUV-based Honda Ridgeline. While it may not have the high-riding truck aesthetic. It will be a significantly nicer daily driver. So if you have your eyes set on the Ranger, you can now approach it knowing exactly what you’re gonna get.