With the Ranger, I think Ford has more leash to experiment with design & concepts, compared to the F150…
Ford can’t experiment with the F150 tooooo much, since it’s the bread & butter seller in America. Americans like their trucks a certain way… big, with big shiny grilles. But the Ford Ranger is a more global truck. The low nose is a prime example of design variation from the F150. I’m sure the lower, more car-like nose creates less drag, and is a more efficient design for a truck. Ford can introduce these type of designs to America on the Ranger, see how it’s received over time, and see if Americans warm up to it & begin to rethink the general shape of what a truck looks like. It’s interesting, because the Ranger’s nose seems to drop-off like a sports car… whereas the Tacoma is very snouty. Me personally – I like to see the different designs & shapes in trucks. It’s more inspiring, and gets us more excited for the aftermarket when not everything comes out looking the exact same.
So how does the 2020 Ford Ranger FX4 feel?
Well… pretty good actually. Even better when it comes in this Race Red! (I’ve been having a hard time lately with all the colorless gray/black/white cars on the road.) Just like the Tacoma, this midsize Ranger is easy to run around town in. It’s much more maneuverable & lighter on its feet than the full-size counterparts. And it’s easier to whoop through parking lots, hit drive-throughs, etc.
The Ranger’s 2.3 Ecoboost feels more squirty/boosty than the Tacoma’s linear NA V6…
That makes the Ford Ranger FX4 fun both on AND off-road. As you merge into the flow of traffic, the Ranger surges up to speed pretty effortlessly. Overall I like the 10-speed auto transmission ok, although sometimes it does feel like the truck skips around for the right gear… just because there are so many dang options. It happens when coming to a stop, like when slowing down for a stop sign for example. You can feel the Ranger’s trans downshifting through the gears in rapid-fire… and it almost feels like a light antilock brakes sensation at times.
It’s hard for a lot of Americans to justify the smaller Ford Ranger FX4… when it can run up in price with the F150 pretty quickly.
And let’s be honest – a lot of Americans buy way more truck than they need, just because they can. I guess that’s fair, but I also think the midsize truck has its place in America. And I’ve been told not to let the MSRP scare you on these Rangers if you’re interested… because I hear there are good/fair deals to be had at the dealership. I seriously do wish that the Ford Ranger FX4 came with a manual transmission. The 2.3 Ecoboost in a Ranger with a manual tranny would be something exceptionally fun, elemental, & adventurous in this segment. Maybe we’ll see what happens since there’s a manual Bronco on the horizon.