2019 Ford Ranger FX4 ・ Photo by Ford
After eight years off the market, the Ford Ranger is back on duty at U.S. dealerships. The Blue Oval’s mid-size pickup has been completely updated for 21st-century owners and brings an impressive array of benefits.
But guess what? If you’re shopping for a smaller truck, there are still some important Ford Ranger competitors to consider. The segment is quickly heating up, and the other automakers are constantly improving their entries as well. The latest models offer advanced infotainment technologies, including mobile Wi-Fi, plus popular driver-assistance measures like forward-collision warnings. These trucks are plenty capable, too, as some can even tow more than 3.5 tons. So before the new Ranger carries away your business, let’s see how it stacks up against the competition.
If you’re wondering which Ford Ranger competitors to consider for your next truck, it makes sense to start with the Blue Oval’s prime rival. That would be Chevy, of course, which stakes its place in the mid-size pickup segment with the 2019 Chevrolet Colorado.
One Colorado highlight is its affordable MSRP. Stickered from $21,300, Chevy’s midsize truck is priced $3,000 below the Ranger. Yet the Colorado’s maximum tow rating — 7,700 pounds — is 200 pounds higher. Credit for that goes to an optional diesel engine that you can’t get with the Ranger for 2019. Nor does the Ranger’s current lineup boast a dedicated off-road beast like the Colorado ZR2. Additionally, Chevy can match Ford in the cabin with mobile Wi-Fi, Android Auto, and Apple CarPlay.
Photo by Chevrolet
As the best-selling entry in the segment, the 2019 Toyota Tacoma is another of the key Ford Ranger competitors to consider. The Tacoma is notable for its standard safety package, which bundles adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking, automatic high beams, a forward-collision warning, a lane-departure alert, lane-keeping assistance, and pedestrian detection. The bottom line is that the Tacoma is one of the few midsize trucks that can keep up with the Ranger for safety technology.
The Tacoma then targets off-road supremacy with trail-friendly models that are tuned up by TRD (Toyota Racing Development). The TRD Pro also sports high-performance FOX shock absorbers for extreme conditions. A final Tacoma advantage — at least for some drivers — is a standard manual transmission. The new Ranger is without a DIY gearbox option.
Photo by Toyota
If you’re on a budget, the 2019 Nissan Frontier is probably the best of the Ford Ranger competitors to consider. The Frontier actually has one of the lowest entry prices for any new vehicle on the market with an MSRP of a mere $19,090. This undercuts the Ranger by more than $5,000 — making the Ford product 27.3 percent more costly to start.
True, the Frontier entry model is pretty basic, complete with a manual transmission, but that’s exactly what some buyers prefer. And since all owners like reliable trucks, you should also know that the Frontier has been the top-rated midsize pickup in the J.D. Power Vehicle Dependability Study for four years in a row, including for 2019.
Photo by Nissan
The 2019 Honda Ridgeline makes an especially safe choice when you’re wondering which Ford Ranger competitors to consider. That’s because the Ridgeline is the only pickup of any size to earn a 2019 Top Safety Pick rating from the IIHS. Both the RTL-E trim and the Ridgeline Black Edition qualify when they’re equipped with the optional LED low-beam headlights and Honda Sensing package.
The latter brings driver-assistance measures such as adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking, a forward-collision warning, and lane-keeping assistance. The Ridgeline — also the only unibody pickup for 2019 — further carries exclusive bed benefits, ranging from a lockable storage trunk built into the floor to an audio system that converts the bed walls into outdoor speakers.
Photo by Honda
Ford Ranger competitors to consider from GM also include the 2019 GMC Canyon. Sharing its platform with the Chevrolet Colorado, the Canyon has many of the same benefits, too. Two come from the same source: the Canyon’s available 2.8-liter diesel engine. GMC’s mid-size pickup has a higher maximum towing limit than the Ford, along with a higher peak EPA rating, thanks to that powerplant.
The Canyon is also less costly than the Ranger to start. That’s partly due to the manual transmission that comes standard for the Canyon — and Colorado — and not the Ranger. At the other end of the pricing spectrum, GMC showcases the unique luxury cues of the Canyon Denali. The range-topping Canyon features Denali-exclusive perforated-leather upholstery with heating and ventilation for the front row.
Photo by GMC
The newest of the Ford Ranger competitors to consider is the 2020 Jeep Gladiator. The thing is, even though the Gladiator is a mid-size truck, it’s really in a class by itself. The first Jeep pickup in more than 25 years, the Gladiator looks like a Wrangler with a cargo bed out back.
The all-new Gladiator also serves up the same kind of hardcore off-road performance as Jeep’s iconic SUV. You can order the pickup with hardcore hardware like an advanced four-wheel drive system, next-generation Dana axles, a limited-slip differential, and a disconnecting sway bar. It can be electronically detached from the suspension for improved wheel articulation on uneven ground. Finally, the Gladiator’s removable top makes it the only convertible truck on the market.
Photo by Jeep
Before buying a mid-size pickup, you owe it to yourself to check out a full-size counterpart. As a result, we think the popular Ford F-150 is also one of the most notable Ranger competitors to consider.
We can start with the fact that the shortest F-150 is a bit shorter in length than the Ranger. Next, the F-150 and Ranger each offer sophisticated technologies like automatic emergency braking and mobile Wi-Fi. However, if you need serious capability, you’ll want to move up to the F-150. Some models can tow up to 13,200 pounds, giving you 75 percent more pulling power in the bigger truck. The F-150 is also a luxury leader that can be configured with heated and ventilated Active Motion seats, for a calming, climate-controlled massage.
Photo by Ford