Updated: Jul 6, 2021
By Tony C. Lesesne
The venerable Ford Ranger is an impressive midsize pickup packed with driver-assist technologies to enable easier driving both on and off-road. My drive experience was surprisingly exhilarating and the diverse features made me its newest fan. To prove it, I’ve done lots of tweets and Instagram posts about it, with more to come.
The body is anchored by a high-strength steel frame with an spirited engine powered by a 2.3-liter EcoBoost® and also paired to an efficient, productive 10-speed automatic. For those of you with varying demands, the Ranger is available in either SuperCab or SuperCrew configuration and can be optioned with 4×2 or 4×4, and comes in three trim levels – XL, XLT, and Lariat. Chrome and Sport Appearance Packages are available. I tested the Lariat Sport package.
Like most drivers today, I’m a geeky kind of guy when it comes to tech. Thus Ranger technology features a built-in 8-inch touch screen for available SYNC® 3, (a single or dual LCD productivity screen is available for real-time vehicle, navigation and audio information).
PERFORMANCE & SAFETY
Ranger’s proven 2.3-liter EcoBoost® engine beats the V6 gasoline engines from midsize truck competitors to deliver best-in-class 310 lb.-ft. of torque while towing and climbing. That engine easily delivers 270 horsepower and the most engine-turning power of any gas engine in the midsize pickup segment, including V6 engines from competitors. Paired with a class-exclusive 10-speed transmission
Unfortunately, I didn‘t do any towing this time, but the power this truck delivers provided me with a level of confidence in its ability to tow. The Ranger boasts a best-in-class gasoline engine towing capability of 7,500 pounds with a tow package that beat V6-powered competitors. Its rugged steel bumper with available integrated trailer hitch receiver offers a best-in-class 1,860 pounds of maximum payload.
Towing? No Problem
Safety –Ranger has standard Pre-Collision Assist with Automatic Emergency Braking. A Lane-Keeping System that includes lane-keeping assist, lane-departure warning, reverse sensing and class-exclusive Blind Spot Information System with trailer coverage is standard on XLT and Lariat. Adaptive Cruise Control is standard on Lariat.
Ford Ranger’s class-exclusive Blind Spot Information System also has trailer coverage. After hooking up a trailer, radar housed in Ranger’s taillights monitors blind spots all the way to the back of the trailer. The system keeps drivers informed of the presence of a vehicle in the truck’s blind spots until that vehicle passes.
Ranger can store up to three trailer profiles, including a trailer’s length, to let the radar system know how far back to provide warnings when another vehicle is traveling next to the trailer.
Ranger’s advanced Blind Spot Information System can tell the driver when vehicles are in the truck’s blind spot when a trailer is not attached as well. And thanks to its cross-traffic alert technology, the system can warn drivers of an oncoming vehicle when they are backing out of a parking spot. Blind Spot Information System is standard on Ranger XLT and Lariat models.
Another big surprise about the Ranger was how attractive it is, even sexy for a pickup truck. It is a head turner so much so that I was caught when the compliments came. Yup, Ranger’s muscular body is like mine…it features a high beltline, while a raked grille and windshield is athletic and aerodynamic. The design cues are there for a reason, For example, short overhangs mean better approach and departure angles off-road, but its also agile and aggressive on the pavement.
I must say that the Ranger I tested was is as ready for the streets as it is the off-road challenges. With the interior space and comfort in both the front and back seats, its one of the most competitive pickups on the market.
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IN THE SPOTLIGHT
The incredible designed #Chevy Trailblazer RS is raising eyebrows and turning heads. Does it have the complete package to compete in a crowded segment? We like it. Why do we like the Trailblazer RS? What makes it special? There’s more to it than good looks. For starters, the Chevy Trailblazer RS is very attractive. It goes from 0-60 mph in 9.4 seconds and hits the quarter-mile mark in about 17.1 seconds with a top speed of 120 mph. Believe it or not, the Trailblazer RS is the most powerful vehicle in the class yet not the fastest. Who cares? Its not made for NASCAR, its made for the roads and even off-road. With all it has to offer, the only issue it has is with the competition in a crowded SUV segment.
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