Trucks & SUVs

The 2021 Ford Ranger Just Outranked the Toyota Tacoma

Say what? The 2021 Ford Ranger outranks the 2021 Toyota Tacoma? Did that information just make you spit out your drink? Well, grab a napkin and buckle up because we’re going to explore why the Ford Ranger was placed ahead of the incredibly popular cash cow known as the Tacoma. 

U.S. News ranks the 2021 Ford Ranger above the Tacoma 

According to U.S. News, the 2021 Ford Ranger ranks above the 2021 Toyota Tacoma. These results appear on their list of the seven best compact pickup trucks for 2021. The Ranger came in second place, while the Tacoma came in third place. 

The 2021 Ford Ranger on the trails
The 2021 Ford Ranger hits the trails. | Ford

Quick sidebar: The 2021 Honda Ridgeline came in first place, but we will save that for another time. The Honda Ridgeline ranks well for having a plush ride and standard infotainment features. Still, it receives negative feedback for having a high starting price and a lower towing capacity than rivals. 

Also, we know that on other lists, the Tacoma ranks higher than the Ranger. U.S.News ranks vehicles according to critic ratings from a variety of sources. They also consider performance, reliability, safety, cargo, towing, awards, and more. The rankings may change as new information is released. So, let’s see what the Ranger has on the Tacoma. 

Why did the Ranger rank above the Tacoma? 

The Ford Ranger ranks well for having high towing and hauling capacities, a potent engine with composed handling, and for getting good gas mileage. Also, the Tremor off-roading package is now available. 

Under the hood, you’ll find a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine with 270 hp and 310 lb-ft of torque. The Toyota Tacoma has a 2.7-liter four-cylinder base engine with 159 hp and 180 lb-ft of torque, so the Ranger initially comes with more power. But with the Toyota Tacoma, you can upgrade to the 3.5-liter V6 engine for 278 hp and 265 lb-ft of torque. 

RELATED: Is the Ford Ranger Tremor Package Worth Buying?

When the 2021 Ranger is properly equipped, it can tow up to 7,500 lb. This is one of the highest towing capacities in the segment. Plus, it can carry a payload of up to 1,860 lb. The Tacoma can tow up to 6,800 lb and carry a payload of up to 1,685 lb. 

The 2021 Ford Ranger gets an EPA estimated 21 mpg in the city and 26 mpg on the highway. The Tacoma gets an EPA estimated 20 mpg in the city and 23 mpg on the highway, so it’s not far behind. 

But the Ford Ranger isn’t perfect. It receives negative feedback for having a firm ride and an uninspiring cabin. The Ranger can’t keep up with off-roaders like the Jeep Gladiator and Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro. 

What does the Tacoma rank well for? 

The 2021 Toyota Tacoma ranks well for its incredible off-roading capabilities, lengthy standard feature list, and user-friendly infotainment system. With the TRD Pro, you get a unique tuning suspension, shock absorbers, a locking rear differential, and skid plates. 

A 2021 Toyota Tacoma parked on sand
2021 Toyota Tacoma | Toyota

While the Tacoma comes with a standard 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system, the Ranger does not. You have to pay to upgrade to an 8-inch touchscreen. The Tacoma also comes with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and more USB ports. 

The Ford Ranger isn’t necessarily better than the Toyota Tacoma. These trucks just have strengths in different areas. According to critics, the Ranger is probably the better daily driver, while the Tacoma is the better choice for off-roading.