Trucks & SUVs

Who Should Avoid the Ford F-150 and Buy a Ford Ranger Instead?

The Ford F-150 has been the best-selling vehicle in the United States for decades, and for good reason: it is powerful, versatile, and high-performing. Even so, not everyone needs or wants a huge pickup. In fact, for people who are looking for something a little less powerful and a little more convenient for daily life, the Ford Ranger might be the better bet, according to a comparison from The Car Connection.

The biggest differences between the Ford F-150 and the Ranger

Perhaps the most immediately notable difference between the Ford F-150 and the Ford Ranger is the number of options and configurations available for each vehicle. The F-150 is practically overflowing with different trims and cab sizes, and it has a whopping six engine options. The Ranger, on the other hand, has a significantly more limited number of options: it has two cab/bed configurations and a single powertrain with optional four-wheel drive.

Depending on the shopper, this lack of options could either be a detriment or a perk. If you’re just looking for a highly capable truck and you don’t have many highly specific requirements, the relative simplicity of the Ranger could be exactly what you’re looking for. People who need an immensely customizable truck, however, may be better off looking into the F-150.

Another major difference between these two trucks is their towing power. The F-150 has an impressive maximum towing capacity of 13,200 pounds, while the Ranger can only haul up to 7,500 pounds. 

Finally, the Ford F-150 and Ranger differ greatly in their size. While the Ranger theoretically seats five, The Car Connection points out that only four adults can realistically fit into the cab without it feeling unpleasantly cramped. The F-150, on the other hand, offers a much roomier cab in most of its trims — although this also means that it is more difficult to fit into a garage or driveway.

What to expect from the Ranger

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The Ford Ranger has a 2.3-liter turbo I4 engine that makes 270 hp. When equipped with four-wheel drive, it gets 20 miles per gallon in the city and 24 miles per gallon on the highway. This fuel economy is similar to the diesel version of the F-150, and it doesn’t offer a significant improvement over the F-Series. However, for its class, the Ranger is fairly fuel-efficient.

The Ranger has an MSRP starting at $24,110. If you want any modern infotainment features, though, you’ll have to opt for a higher trim level. Like the F-150, the Ranger’s base trims have no touchscreen and will not connect with your smartphone. This may appeal to folks looking for a basic, no-frills truck, but anyone who wants more will need to pay extra for the XLT or Lariat trims. Otherwise, you’ll just have a radio, one USB port, and a Wi-Fi hotspot.

Who should opt for the Ranger over the F-150?

The Ford F-150 may have been the best-selling truck in the United States for the past four decades, but that doesn’t mean it’s the right choice for everyone. If you prefer a smaller, simpler vehicle that can more easily fit in your garage and will still offer a fair amount of power, the Ford Ranger is likely to be more up your alley. Not everyone needs to tow the immense loads that the F-150 can handle; the Ranger is perfectly well-equipped to handle more basic towing needs.

Folks who need significant towing power and plenty of customization will likely prefer the F-150. For everyone else, though, the simplicity and convenience of the Ranger may ultimately be more appealing.