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The 9 Best Ford Ranger Models of All-Time

Best Ranger Models Ever

The Ford Ranger truck is one of the more globally recognizable brands in the world. It traces its roots back to 1958. The truck that we commonly refer to today as the Ranger began in 1983 and has undergone quite a few changes since then. As you can imagine, there are quite a few devoted followers out there who would own nothing but a Ford Ranger truck. Quite a few of these are still in operation today, as they were built to be durable and long-lasting. 

It’s no secret that pickup trucks are big news in the USA, but few could have expected them to take hold east of the Atlantic in quite the way they have. The Ford Ranger has particularly captured the imagination of buyers on this side of the pond, consistently being the biggest selling pickup in the UK.

Its success comes in no small part from association with its bigger brother, the North American Ford F-150 – the best-selling vehicle in the world. Yes, not only does it outsell all pickup rivals in its home country, but it also beats every car for popularity – and not without reason. It’s big and attractively priced (in the USA, at least), plus it has road presence to beat all but the biggest SUVs. The more compact Ranger offers much of this appeal in a package that’s rather better suited to European roads, but what does it offer above its Mitsubishi L200, Nissan Navara and Toyota Hilux rivals?

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 Well, the Ford Ranger is anything but a shrinking violet, but it’s the performance-focused Ranger Raptor that turns the most heads; it channels the muscular spirit of the Ford F-150 Raptor, but with a diesel engine for running costs that are rather more compatible with European fuel prices. Top models aren’t short of creature comforts, either – vital when the market for luxury pickups is fast expanding, with the likes of the Volkswagen Amarok and Mercedes-Benz X-Class bringing premium touches to a class that was once more at home on a construction site than on King’s Road. 

Since 1958, the Ranger name has been used on no less than three models of Ford vehicles. It all started with the Edsel Ranger (a classic automobile), followed in 1965 as a trim level name on the F-Series pickup trucks (featuring the well-known, even in the UK, XLT & Lariat trim levels). It’s the compact pickup series first launched in 1983 when the Ranger name began to be synonymous with the vehicles we know today, & by 2006 the Ranger name was applied to all compact trucks.

Over the past couple of years, I’ve actively sought out older generations of this truck to drive so I could accurately track its development. The Ford Ranger Wikipedia page is a particularly good place for you to see how it has kept up with the times – starting life as a basic utility vehicle & evolving with every upgrade into the confident combination of truck & SUV we know today.

The Ford Ranger finally came home from its eight-year overseas stay last year. We couldn’t wait to test it and immediately dropped it into our Farm Truck comparison, in which we put a $43,695 2019 Ford Ranger Lariat 4×4 up against a 2019 Chevrolet Colorado Z71, 2019 Honda Ridgeline Black Edition, and 2018 Toyota Tacoma TRD Off-Road. After our testing, the one question we all asked about the Ranger was, “Is this really what we’ve been waiting for?” Aside from its powertrain, the Ranger felt every one of its eight years old, with awful body control, a cramped, rental-grade interior, and quality not befitting its price.

Is the Ford Ranger a Good Truck?

Yes, the Ford Ranger is a good truck. Its turbocharged engine feels energetic in just about every driving situation, and it handles well on winding roads. Gas mileage is great for the class as well. Inside, the Ranger has comfortable front seats, and SuperCrew models have rear seats with enough head- and legroom for adults. There are plenty of available features, including one of the most user-friendly infotainment systems in the segment.

We’ve told you the good. Now let’s get to the Ranger’s weaknesses. Its ride is decidedly firm, though it’s not overly harsh or uncomfortable. The Ranger’s cabin looks dated, and the quality of the materials is disappointing. Also, there aren’t many standard infotainment features.

One truck in the market that’s serious about dominating its class is the Ford Ranger. From the base all the way to the ultimate form of the blue oval pickup known as the Raptor, Ford Philippines made sure any demand from buyers is covered. We already reviewed a couple of variants of the Ranger’s 2019 iteration and things were well between our expectations and what the American pickup truck has to offer.

There are four trims—eight variants all in all—of the Ranger and these range from manual, automatic, rear-wheel-drive, and four-wheel-drive (4WD) alterations. If you can’t make up your mind on which one to choose, this article might be what you’re looking for. To help you get the best value for your money, we put the entire Ranger lineup side-by-side and aligned each and every spec there is that we know. Let us find out which variant best combines affordability and tech-availability.

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Top Ford Ranger Models

You might now be wondering what the 9  best Ford Ranger models of all time are.

9. 1988 Ford Ranger Pickup 2WD

This truck might have been made way back in 1988, but it was built to last. Many people around the country are still driving it. It is built with a super cab and has a 2.3 litre 4 cylinder engine. You will also find that is has a five-speed manual transmission and air conditioning. That is a major bonus. It might not win any speed records, but it is a good enough model to make the 10th spot on this list.

8. 2000 Ford Ranger Pickup 2WD

This was one of the best selling compact pickup trucks in 2000 and for many good reasons. There was a trailhead option package included with this one. That effectively made the 2WD version look like a 4WD vehicle. It includes 16-inch tires that are made for durability and to go over all types of terrain. There are also fog lamps that can come in handy for drivers in certain parts of the country. The suspension also received an upgrade, giving this truck a more comfortable ride.

7. 2003 Ford Ranger Pickup 4WD

This was an extended cab pickup that has a short bed. It was built with a five-speed manual transmission and two doors. The gas mileage was decent, getting 19 mpg in the city and 23 mpg on the highway. With available seating for five, the truck is also convenient. However, it would be a tight fit. Put two people in this one, and you have a comfortable drive anywhere that you want to go. It is the eighth-best Ford Ranger model of all time.

6. 2010 Ford Ranger

The 2010 Ford Ranger is inexpensive all around. It was at the lower end of the price range for trucks in its class, and it was conservative on fuel. It came available in a 2WD model that was capable of being driven off-road. It is a tough truck that many people have been proud to own. It came with options leather seats. It also had an advanced Pioneer audio system that was quite appealing to many drivers.

5. 2001 Ford Ranger Pickup 2WD

The 2001 Ford Ranger was built with new metal being placed in front of the windshield area. This gave the model a new and compact look that had not been there before. This one was a sporty 2WD model that came with a monochromatic outside. It also has 16-inch tires. This gave it an aggressive look that many drivers noted looked like a 4WD. It has a 2.3 litre and four-cylinder engine along with an extension for the cargo bed. This model also came with anti-lock brakes as a standard feature. For 2001, you could choose between a three-piece split front bench seat and front bucket seats. That is a nice option to have.

4. 2008 Ford Ranger

The 2008 Ford Ranger is one of the top models because of the changes that were made. Compared to earlier models, you will notice that this truck had an improved and more aerodynamic bumper in the front. Owners also benefit from a passive anti-theft security system that was made standard with the 2008 model. There was also an audio input jack included, and you could choose between manual and automatic transmission. To round things out, this Ranger came in two different styles of the cab, three choices for the engine, and two different 16-inch wheels to choose from.

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3. 2011 Ford Ranger

The 2011 Ford Ranger continues to be wildly popular even today. This was an extended cab truck that came with two doors. Even with that extension, the bed size is still impressive for this size of the truck. It also contains room for five passengers should you choose to haul more precious cargo.

 2. 1999 Ford Ranger Pickup 4WD

The 1999 Ford Ranger Pickup 4WD is the second most popular truck for this model. It is a five-speed manual transmission truck that is built as a regular cab with a short bed. If you own this one, you can expect to get 22 mpg in the city and 27 mpg on the highway.

1.Ford Ranger Wildtrak

On the farther part of the price, the spectrum is the Wildtrak variants that are tagged between P1,390,000 and P1,695,000. These are the top-tier form of the blue oval brand, which, if not because of the Raptor’s introduction in September 2018, would be sitting at the top of the podium. The most obvious advantage of opting for the Wildtrak is the power you’d get from the 2.0-litre single turbo and turbo diesel engine, plus 18-inch alloy wheels.

Both the XLS and XLT has 158 hp and 385 Nm of torque under their hood. Not to mention, both utilizes 6-speed manual and automatic gearboxes. For the Wildtrak variants, specifically the Single-Turbo and Biturbo automatic variants, Ford has introduced a more capable and efficient 10-speed automatic transmission. With the new transmission comes increased power outputs of both automatic Wildtrak variations were amped up; the Single-Turbo 4×2 AT is at 178 hp and 420 Nm of torque, while the Biturbo is at 210 hp and 500 Nm of torque.

Other variant-exclusive features include HID headlights with daytime running lights (DRL), LED fog lamps, London Gray exterior accents, hoop sports bar, roof and bed rails, tailgate lock, and Wildtrak scuff plates. These exterior details separate the base Rangers from the real deal variants. However, the excitement of choosing the Wildtrak does not stop there.

Comfort and convenience in the Wildtrak are obviously far better than the other two trims with built-in navigation, Dual-zone Electronic Automatic Temperature Control (EATC), smart keyless entry feature, and ambient lighting. The trim also offers front parking assist along with the standard rear parking sensors and an added rearview camera for easier reverse parking. 

Connectivity is made more accessible with two USB ports and a 230-volt inverter. You’ll also feel safer with the front side and curtain airbags, as well as hill-start assist and seatbelt reminders.

Meanwhile, the top of them all, which is the Biturbo 4×4 AT gets adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning and keeping aid, forward collision warning paired with autonomous emergency brakes, active park assist, hill-descent control, and auto high beam control. The driver seat also features 8-way electrical adjusting, way better than the 6-way manual adjustable seats in the other variants.

Modern pickup trucks are extraordinarily expensive. Back in 1983, its first year of production, a brand-new Ranger started at $6,203, which is about $16,000 in 2019 dollars when accounting for inflation. Nowadays, the average transaction price for a midsize pickup truck is cresting $33,000, so our Ranger’s $27,625 base price and $29,445 as-tested price seem like bargains. True, you don’t get anything in the way of creature comforts, but if you’re looking for nothing more than a simple, honest, affordable work truck to add to your garage, the Ranger XL STX 4×2 is worth considering.

Should I Buy a New or Used Ford Ranger?

The Ranger rejoined Ford’s lineup for 2019, so you might be hard-pressed to find any used models for sale. If you find one, you can spring for the used Ranger and not miss out on much because the 2020 model sees few notable updates.

There’s a new FX2 package available in rear-wheel-drive models for 2020, and it adds some off-road-oriented features. There’s also a bit of feature shuffling between the three Ranger trims. Otherwise, this Ford is unchanged from the 2019 model.

The 2019 Ford Ranger was an all-new version of the long-running nameplate. Prior to 2019, the truck was last available in North America in the form of the 2011 Ranger.

If you’re considering an older model from the current generation, be sure to read our 2019 Ranger review to help make your decision. Also, check out our Used Car Deals page to learn about savings and discounts you can find on used vehicles.

Best Ford Ranger Models

Should I Buy the Ford Ranger?

The Ranger is a worthy choice for buyers. This is one of the most capable, well-rounded vehicles in the compact pickup truck class. That said, this segment features many good options, so you may want to explore some of them before heading to a dealership. Good trucks to compare against the Ranger include the Chevrolet Colorado and Toyota Tacoma.

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