The Ford Ranger still looks pretty fresh after its reintroduction in 2019. We don’t know if the Ranger is getting an electric powertrain like its F-150 Lightning sibling, but a plug-in hybrid looks likely. In any case, the Ranger is still one of the most capable compact pickup trucks you can buy.
It also has many of the advanced tech and comfort features you can find in other nice trucks today. However, the Ranger lacks one essential climate control feature.
No ventilated seats for the 2021 Ford Ranger
Ventilated seats aren’t essential, but they can make a big difference on grueling-hot summer days. In fact, many automakers, including Ford, now offer this comfort feature on some models, if only on top trims.
However, the Ford Ranger doesn’t offer ventilated seats on any trim. The base model still has manual single-zone air conditioning, with optional dual-zone climate control for front-seat riders. This feature is standard on both the Ranger XLT and Lariat models, according to Ford.
The Lariat is the only trim that comes with power-adjustable heated front seats. Every seat features leather trim, and backseat riders can enjoy non-heated power-adjustable seats. The Ranger XLT has manually adjustable seats, but you have to pay extra for those on the base trim.
The Ford Ranger Lariat’s other features
Despite its lack of ventilated seats, the Ranger Lariat is still nicely equipped. A three-month satellite radio subscription comes standard, and it’s the only trim that offers a push-button start. Two digital display screens sit on either side of the speedometer that show helpful vehicle diagnostics.
The Ford Ranger Lariat also comes with ambient lighting, illuminated mirrors, and an outside temperature monitor. There are also some exclusive options on SuperCrew models, like more speakers or a premium Bang & Olufsen audio system. The SuperCrew has the bigger seats of the two cab sizes and can seat up to five riders.
The SuperCrew cab also has bigger door openings so that it’s easier for passengers to climb inside. The SuperCab version accommodates only four riders, but it has a six-foot bed instead of the five-foot offering on the Ranger SuperCrew. The Ranger’s ride is predictably firm but not too bumpy compared to other trucks in its class.
The Ford Ranger Lariat has some exclusive appearance options, like chrome finishing for several exterior parts. The Black Appearance package is available for both the XLT and the Lariat, but only the Lariat gets black mirror caps. A black grille is also available for these two trims on the Sport Appearance package.
Without any optional features, the Ford Ranger Lariat starts at $33,160. That’s way cheaper than a fully loaded Honda Ridgeline, whose Black Edition retails for $43,920. Even the base-trim Ranger is a nice value at $25,070.
However, the standard truck doesn’t have smartphone integration or a nice 8.0-inch touchscreen like the Lariat. Standard safety offerings are decent, but the Lariat has every driver’s aid available.
How well does this compact truck drive?
No matter the trim, every Ford Ranger packs a turbo-four harnessing 270 hp and 310 lb-ft of torque. Its capable 10-speed automatic transmission shifts unobtrusively and smoothly. Autoblog reports that the Ranger’s handling is also impressive, resembling that of a crossover SUV instead of a truck.
The Ford Ranger can also handle some light off-roading if it has the proper equipment. The off-roading package features all-terrain tires, a new suspension, crawl control, a terrain management system, and a locking rear differential.
Every Ford Ranger also has the same maximum towing capacity of 7,500 pounds. Plus, trailer sway control is standard, and attaching a trailer doesn’t decrease the Ranger’s speed.
Ventilated seats would’ve been nice, but it’s hard to be dissatisfied with this truck as a whole.