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2020 Ford Ranger Performance Review


Performance: 8.1

The 2020 Ford Ranger comes with an energetic turbocharged four-cylinder engine that provides ample power for just about any driving situation. The standard 10-speed automatic transmission typically finds the right gear with ease and shifts smoothly.

The Ranger has some of the best fuel economy estimates in the compact pickup truck class, as well as excellent towing and hauling abilities. The ride is firm but not uncomfortable, and the Ranger handles reasonably well.

  • "Just as the full-size F-150 proved a turbocharged 6-cylinder could work harder than most V8s, Ford's Ranger pickup for 2020 proves 4-cylinders are all you need to accomplish a hard day's work. … Mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission, the Ranger gets up and goes with authority, even when fully loaded with people and gear." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "On road, the 2019 Ranger drives far better than you’d expect. There’s just enough unladen bumpiness that you never forget you’re in a truck, but the ride is otherwise very composed and comfortable. … Twists and turns presented themselves as if asking why we didn’t bring a proper sports car to play. Yet the electronic power-assisted steering is well tuned and corners are dispatched with minor body roll." -- Jalopnik (2019)
  • "It's a stretch to label the Ford sporty, but its suspension and steering do a better job of communicating the details of any given journey as compared to the Toyota [Tacoma]. Still, both the Chevrolet and the GMC options in its class are a step above in terms of handling smoothness and ride quality, with the Ranger's rear-end wiggle on 2-wheel-drive models occasionally making itself known over rough pavement." -- New York Daily News (2019)

Acceleration and Power

The Ranger features a turbocharged 2.3-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 270 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque. A 10-speed automatic transmission comes standard.

The engine provides quick acceleration, and there's almost no turbo lag. It also feels plenty powerful when the Ranger is towing or hauling, and the transmission delivers smooth, timely shifts. The Ranger can tow up to 7,500 pounds, which is one of the best towing capacities in the class.

According to EPA estimates, the rear-wheel-drive Ranger gets 21 mpg in the city and 26 mpg on the highway, which are terrific ratings for a compact pickup truck. Four-wheel-drive models earn ratings of 20 mpg in the city and 24 mpg on the highway.

  • "On the road, the Ranger drives with all the verve that its spec chart would indicate. Ford’s nicely executed 10-speed auto … keeps the compact, turbocharged I-4 on boil, with smooth shifts that help keep the engine in its powerband when needed. There’s a small degree of turbo lag when stepping off from a standstill, but we wouldn’t be surprised if the Ranger’s torque curve flattened out smartly at anything above, say, 1,800 rpm. It never feels gutless or flat-footed, even when hauling up significant freeway grades with three large adult men onboard." -- Truck Trend (2019)
  • "The Ranger gets up to speed quickly and has more than enough mid-range punch to pass slower drivers on the highway. … Once I hit some twisty backroads, the 10-speed automatic shows its refinement. You might think this thing would constantly be hunting for the right gear, but no, the Ranger's transmission tuning is excellent, downshifting smoothly to eke out more power from the engine, upshifting to top gear when appropriate for maximum efficiency. The 10-speed will occasionally execute a harsh downshift under braking, but it's a small weak spot in an otherwise flawless gearbox." -- CNET (2019)
  • "The turbo-four and 10-speed, which can also be found in the Mustang EcoBoost, each get unique calibrations that suit the truck well. Turbo lag is nearly imperceptible, and torque is always just a blip of the throttle away. Just as it is in the F-150, the 10-speed auto is quick to smoothly kick down several gears on demand, each time landing you in the sweet spot of the engine's powerband and delivering a satisfying rate of acceleration." -- Motor Trend (2019)

Handling and Braking

Like most trucks, the Ranger comes standard with rear-wheel drive and offers four-wheel drive. The ride is stiffer than in other compact pickups, but it's not uncomfortable. The Ranger has sharp steering and poised handling, and some say it feels more like driving a crossover SUV than a truck.

Trailer Sway Control comes standard, and it helps you maintain better control of anything you're towing. A number of features are available to improve the Ranger's off-road abilities. These include an off-road-tuned suspension, off-road tires, a locking rear differential, skid plates, crawl control, and a terrain management system

  • "The suspension is clearly dialed in for work-truck duty because the Ranger's ride is far stiffer than what we've experienced in the Honda Ridgeline and Chevrolet Colorado. The steering, on the other hand, is direct and responsive, helping make driving the Ranger more like driving a midsize SUV rather than a bulky truck." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "The steering is a strong point. It’s quick and direct, but doesn’t feel jittery clambering over rocks or plowing through mud. Ford’s engineers spent a lot of time tuning the steering and chassis for a good combination of on and off-road characteristics. They appear to have succeeded. The suspension appears to be equally multitalented. The on-road ride is smooth with the bed empty or full." -- The Detroit Free Press (2019)
  • "Those mundane errands will be made a bit more pleasant by the Ranger’s impressive body control and quiet ride. At speed, the truck feels very planted, a product of the Ranger’s stiff, fully boxed frame." -- Truck Trend (2019)
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2020 Ford Ranger

MSRP: $24,110 - $38,675

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