Midsize pickup trucks have begun to look more and more impressive. As time goes on, they are performing closer to what we come to expect from the much larger heavy-duty trucks. Towing, payload, and power are becoming easier to package in a more convenient midsize frame. For some truck drivers, they will always want the biggest truck available without needing a commercial license. For many more, the midsize class has become a new arena for next-level strength and performance. Trucks like the 2020 GMC Canyon vs 2020 Ford Ranger are coming onto the market with more power than ever before.
Among some of the class’s top contenders, these two have very different features to offer and breaking down which one is the right pick for you may have to do with precisely what you need your pickup to do and how hard you plan to work it. Let’s do a quick breakdown of each model and find out what they have to offer before going much further, starting with the 2020 GMC Canyon.
2020 GMC Canyon
Once an all-star compact pickup truck, the Canyon has returned bigger and better than ever as an all-star midsize pickup. The 2020 model provides a lot of choices for you to customize it to serve your needs. The exterior looks tough and muscular, with broad features that make it resemble a heavy-duty pick up more than your average midsize. The expansive grille gives it a demanding presence, and the body is dominated by strong accents that maintain its rugged appearance from stem to stern.
Under the hood, you have a few options with the 2020 Canyon. You can go for the base model 2.5 liter 4-cylinder gasoline engine, the coveted 2.8L 4-cylinder turbo diesel engine, or the larger 3.6L V6 gas engine. These choices provide consumers with multiple levels of performance and strength, so you’re only spending money on what you need. With the gas engines, the combined fuel efficiency is 19-22 miles per gallon, which is pretty good for such a strong truck. The turbodiesel provides slightly improved fuel mileage with 23 MPG combined, and a lot of torque maxing out with 369 lb-ft and up to 7,700 lbs of towing strength.
When looking at a surface level comparison between the Canyon and the Ranger, it is worth noting that the Duramax Turbo Diesel Engine is something you cannot find in the Ford Ranger. The blue oval’s midsize pickup seems to have fewer options when it comes to the engines; in fact, it only has one, but it certainly raises the bar on strength and performance.
2020 Ford Ranger
Ford is a name that comes with decades of recognition for producing the sturdiest and most rugged pickup trucks of all time. Like the Canyon, the Ranger was built to compete with smaller trucks from overseas and has recently come back with a larger build. Unlike the Canyon, the Ranger is built with a much more pared-down design. It isn’t as blocky, but it does have a more sleek, no-nonsense look to it that is something of a trademark of Ford with its slow-to-change exterior and interior sensibilities.
Unlike the GMC Canyon, the Ford Ranger does not provide a variety of engines to choose from. Instead, the engineers at Ford have hedged their bets on an impressive drivetrain that swings well above its weight class. The 2.3-liter turbo-4 cylinder gas engine is outrageously powerful, getting 270 hp and 310 lb-ft of torque. For a gas engine midsize truck, the Ranger is best in class for fuel efficiency with the RWD getting 23 MPG combined and the 4WD getting about 22 MPG combined.
When looking at pure performance, the base Ranger seems to outpace the Canyon. However, the Canyon can match or overtake the Ranger on horsepower, torque, and carrying capacity though not all at once. When building out your Canyon, you will have to make some sacrifices on horsepower or torque compared to the Ranger’s impressive, do-it-all drivetrain. Additionally, those sacrifices are going to mean going above and beyond the basic build of the Canyon.
A Tale of Two Engines
Considering the major features for a truck buyer often comes down to power, it behooves us to focus on the engine differences between these two trucks. The 2020 GMC Canyon has several options to choose from, which means if you don’t need a metric ton of towing and payload capacity, you can save some money with the basic build. If you do want power, then the Ranger and the Canyon becomes a little bit of a closer race.
The Ranger has no options aside from its powerful turbo 4 cylinder. Unfortunately for Ford fans, the Ranger does not come with a V6 option like the Canyon brings out. For some extra cash, you are getting over 300 horsepower, overtaking the speed of the Ranger but sacrificing maximum torque and towing. If you plan on going with a gasoline engine and don’t mind being without the V6, then the Ranger is a good pick considering the price. If you need the raw power of a diesel engine, the turbodiesel Canyon is obviously for you. With an insane 7,700 lb towing capacity and improved fuel mileage, the turbodiesel is something the Ranger has a hard time competing with. At this stage, it might be worth asking whether or not you want/need a gas engine or a diesel engine.
You should consider where you will be driving the most. If your work or commute is taking you primarily over highways, the diesel engine’s fuel economy will save you a lot of money. If you work and live in the city, the diesel won’t be doing you any favors when it comes to the miles per gallon versus the gas engine.
Something you should also take into consideration is why you are going to be needing your truck. If it is going to be your workhorse truck and consistently carrying or loading up to capacity, the diesel is built for exactly that. The gas engine of the Ranger will be capable if you occasionally need to do some heavy lifting, but if you aren’t constantly relying on it for towing and payload, you might appreciate the better acceleration and horsepower of the Ranger’s turbocharged 4-cylinder.
Versatility & Variety
Choosing which of these trucks is right for you comes down to priorities. If you prefer to have lots of customization inside and out, and want a more modern truck with advanced tech features available, the 2020 GMC Canyon is going to be a strong frontrunner for your next midsize purchase. If you want something powerful with less fuss and don’t mind a more simple interior with fewer build options, then the 2020 Ford Ranger is an obvious pick to be your favored of these two trucks. Of course, it can also come down to a preference for the engine. Drivers who favor the most cylinders or prefer the reliability of diesel will gravitate to the Canyon, whereas those who are happy with the 4-cylinder of the Ranger and its versatility will need more convincing to spend more money on the added options of the Canyon.
No matter which truck you pick, it is clear that they are both standouts in the midsize category for their performance and capability at a competitive starting MSRP of around $22,200 for the Canyon and $24,410 for the Ranger. If you need a strong work truck, you won’t find a wrong choice between the two.