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2019 Ford Ranger Performance Review

Scorecard

Performance: 8.4

The 2019 Ford Ranger is a well-rounded truck with a potent turbocharged engine that gets great fuel economy. The Ranger also boasts a high towing capacity, balanced handling, and a good ride quality.

  • The 2019 Ford Ranger is smooth and quiet. … The EcoBoost four pulled nicely in the mid- to upper rev ranges, though from a standing start, there’s a definite turbo lag enhanced by the engine stop-start system. You can mitigate this by brake-torquing the Ranger’s EcoBoost and revving it up to roughly 2,800 rpm; doing so evens out the acceleration considerably." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "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
  • 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. 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

Acceleration and Power

The 2019 Ranger comes standard with a turbocharged 2.3-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 270 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque. A 10-speed automatic transmission is also standard. The Ranger gets up to 21 mpg in the city and 26 mpg on the highway, estimates that are among the highest in the class. The Ranger can tow up to 7,500 pounds, which is also one of the best capacities in the class.

Acceleration is quick and seamless, with little noticeable turbo lag. The Ranger also has good passing power at higher speeds. The automatic transmission is refined and usually finds the right gear with little effort.

  • "On the road, the Ranger drives with all the verve that its spec chart would indicate. Ford’s nicely executed 10-speed auto (codeveloped with GM) 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. The story is the same for both the Ranger 4x2 and the slightly heavier Ranger 4x4." -- Truck Trend
  • "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
  • "If you're going to pick one drivetrain to serve an entire model lineup, the 2.3 EcoBoost/10-speed combo is a pretty decent choice. 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. … Going uphill, the transmission would usually pick a gear and stay in it, though there were a few occasions when it needed to hunt for the right gear." -- Motor Trend

Handling and Braking

The Ford Ranger comes standard with rear-wheel drive, and four-wheel drive is optional. Handling is poised and balanced, with direct steering and good body control around turns. The ride is comfortable in most situations.

  • "The solid axle in the rear means the Ranger isn't the smoothest thing on four wheels -- folks who like a 'trucky' ride likely won't mind. Aside from the unibody Ridgeline, though, the Ranger has a ride quality not unlike every other midsize pickup. … On these winding roads, the Ranger handles the various bends like you'd expect from a pickup. The body rolls a bit, and the softer suspension setup of my FX4 tester makes it a bit bouncy over pockmarked pavement. The steering has nice weight to its action, even if there isn't a whole lot of communication through the wheel. Really, the Ranger feels as nice to drive -- if not a little bit more mature -- than its Chevy and Toyota competitors." -- CNET
  • "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
  • "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
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