2019 Ford Ranger Lariat Sport: Return of the Ranger

Posted by Shane Kalicharan about 3 years ago

Canadians love pickups. In fact, last year (and many years prior), the Ford F-150 was the bestselling passenger vehicle in the country. But as regulations change, the pickup has gotten bigger and bigger. You even need to use the step on the side rails to get in to an F-150 these days. Trucks grew, but we cannot say the same about streets, lanes and parking spots.  So is Ford’s new Ranger a return of the compact pickup? Let’s find out.

Ford hasn’t offered the Ranger in North America since 2012. They still made them. Just not for us. The Ranger continued to be sold globally until last year when Ford once again graced our market with their compact pickup. Fans of the old Ranger will notice it’s definitely grown in size. But compared to rivals like the Toyota Tacoma and Nissan Frontier, it’s just the standard for compact pickups now. With increasingly strict safety and emissions standards in our vehicles, even the most humble compacts have grown in size over the years, and the truck is certainly no exception.

Ford offers the new Ranger in either a ‘Supercab’ or ‘Supercrew’ configuration. The Cab configuration gives you a larger bed, folding rear seats and two rear suicide doors. While the Crew setup gives you a smaller bed, full rear seats and four proper doors. Buyers will need to decide – is this a work vehicle with the occasional rear passenger? Or a family hauler? You won’t be able to get a factory 2-door ranger in North America, but they do exist elsewhere in the world. Both trims are powered by the 270hp, 310 lb-ft, 2.3L turbo 4-cylinder from the Mustang Ecoboost, paired to the F-150’s 10-speed gearbox.

This new Ranger commands a much larger presence over the last model to hit our market, but on the road, it doesn’t feel that way. Visibility is great and the handling is responsive enough. The ride can be a little soft and bouncy – but that’s to be expected from a pickup. Ford claims best-in-class numbers with payload capabilities of up to 748kg (1650lb) and towing capacity of up to 3402kg (7,500lb), when properly equipped with the optional trailer tow package ($600).

Inside, the Ranger is well laid out – but not what we’d call luxurious. Hard, plain plastics make up the majority of the dashboard – which is fine, but with a sticker cost that can easily push $50,000, we’d expect a little more. Some soft-touch materials, visual contrasts, even a decorative plaque would do wonders to spruce up the sparse interior. It is well laid out, though. Ford’s Sync3 infotainment system, which comes standard on the Lariat Sport trim, is easy to use, intuitive and supports Android Auto and Apple Carplay, too.

We’re glad to see the Ranger return to North American roads. It’s not perfect, but it’s still a very good package. Pickups were once meant to be a utilitarian vehicle, but have since crossed over into lifestyle territory. Compact trucks like the Ranger fill that need nicely, giving all the capabilities of larger trucks like the F-150, but without much of the drawbacks that come with daily driving a full-sized pickup. Ford’s new Ranger does just that. The price racks up faster than we’d like with the various options and packages, and we would have liked a less aged interior, but it’s a great start that we hope will only get better down the road…and the dirt trail.

Tags:
Ford, Ford F150, Ford Ranger, Pickup Truck, Pickups, Truck

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