2019 Ford Ranger first drive review: The mid-size pickup truck pace-setter Page 2


2019 Ford Ranger

2019 Ford Ranger

Ford says the Ranger Raptor sold elsewhere isn’t headed here anytime soon, but a standard four-wheel-drive model is plenty capable off-road. The part-time four-wheel-drive system operates at the twist of a dial. A $420 electronic locking rear differential is one of few standalone options, or buyers can spend $1,300 on the FX4 package that adds specially tuned shocks, skid plates, off-road traction control modes, and an off-road cruise control system that lets the pickup lope along at speeds up to 20 mph.

Building the 2019 Ford Ranger

Bringing the Ranger back to the U.S. wasn’t as simple as moving the steering wheel and rewriting its owner’s manual in American English, but it didn’t require a full redesign either. The American Ranger is built in Michigan and doesn’t offer the turbodiesel engines and manual transmissions sold elsewhere. There’s no bargain basement version for the U.S., but the $25,500 Ranger XL with rear-wheel drive and the extended-cab body and 6-foot bed isn’t exactly lavish with its rubber floors, basic radio, and keyed door locks. Standard automatic emergency braking and a built-in wi-fi hotspot are unexpected niceties, but Ranger buyers will pay for the privilege of driving the best truck unless they shop wisely.

The four-wheel-drive 2019 Ranger Lariat crew cab I drove carried a hefty $43,500 price despite lacking cooled seats and power seat back adjustments.

2019 Ford Ranger

2019 Ford Ranger

2019 Ford Ranger

2019 Ford Ranger

2019 Ford Ranger

2019 Ford Ranger

Many buyers will build on the Ranger XL and XLT by spending a staggering $4,200 more for four-wheel drive and Ford figures that most will drop an additional $2,200 for the four-door crew-cab body with a 5-foot bed rather than the smaller extended cab.

It’s a shame that Ford forces buyers to pony up for a $1,000 option package on the XLT trim for its terrific 8.0-inch touchscreen for infotainment, which includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility and a built-in Waze app. The  4.2-inch display for the AM/FM radio standard on XL and XLTs is outdated.

The 2019 Ranger makes a solid case for itself as a compelling, rational alternative to the comparatively gargantuan F-150. With the Jeep Gladiator on the way, however, the Ranger has its work cut out to keep the top perch among mid-size pickup trucks to itself.

Ford provided travel and lodging to Internet Brands Automotive to bring you this firsthand report.


 
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