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A silver 2020 Ford Ranger Is parked in the desert with rock climbers behind it.

The 2020 Ford Ranger – The Most Capable Midsize Pickup?

The Ford Ranger is an old name in American pickup trucks, dating back to 1958. However, after the 2012 model year, it was discontinued for the American market and only returned last year. Today, the 2020 Ranger is Ford’s smallest pickup truck and sits just below the iconic F-150 in Ford’s lineup. Although the Ranger’s starting price is a little higher than those of the competing Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon, the 2020 Ford Ranger stands out for its excellent EcoBoost engine and a good array of features.

The 2020 Ford Ranger can be either a two-door four-seat SuperCab or a four-door five-seat SuperCrew. And since it only has one engine option, the only other significant choice is between a 4×2 or a 4×4. But no matter which options you chose, the Ford Ranger will give you an all-American pickup with rugged body-on-frame construction and leaf-spring rear suspension that can handle the heaviest loads. Whether you need a truck to make the occasional run to the hardware store or if you are regularly pulling trailers and driving off-road, the 2020 Ranger will live up to your expectations.

More Power than the Competition

A white 2020 Ford Ranger is kicking up sand on a dune.

All trims of the 2020 Ford Ranger are powered by a 2.3L EcoBoost engine. But while his turbocharged engine may seem small, it produces an excellent 270 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque. For comparison, the 2.5L non-turbo on the competing Chevy Colorado only offers 200 horsepower and just 192 pound-feet of torque. And despite the Ranger being far more powerful, both trucks get an average of 23 miles per gallon.

A sophisticated multi-mode ten-speed automatic transmission further enhances the already outstanding capabilities of the EcoBoost engine. Not only can you control the gear shifts manually to keep precise control in difficult situations, but the transmission also comes with a special tow/haul mode to maximize towing performance. Together, the engine and transmission allow the 2020 Ford Ranger to tow up to 7500 pounds.

As with nearly all pickup trucks, the 2020 Ford Ranger is available with either rear-wheel driver or four-wheel drive. And if the 4WD option is selected, the truck also gets an extra half-inch of ground clearance, increasing from 8.4” to 8.9.” Controlling the four-wheel-drive system is also extremely easy, with shifting between two-wheel drive, 4-high, and 4-low can be done on the fly by simply turning a dial next to the gear shifter. Another good addition to improve the performance of the 2020 Ford Ranger, is the optional electronic-locking rear differential. This piece of equipment will ensure that in slippery conditions, all the power is going where you need it instead of just spinning the wheels.

A Bare Bones Work Truck…

While the 2020 Ford Ranger does not have many frills on the base model, it has the features that count. All trims come standard with forward collision alert and automatic emergency braking. These features will not interfere with your regular driving, but if something goes wrong, they can step in and prevent a severe accident. And for when you are towing, Ford has included a trailer sway control system to avoid dangerous oscillations. The backup camera, although intended to spot obstacles while reversing, also makes it a breeze to hook up a trailer.

If you desire more safety features in your vehicle, then they are available as options for the 2020 Ford Ranger. The full package includes blind-spot and rear cross-traffic alerts, lane-keeping assist, forward and rear obstacle alert, hill descent control, adaptive cruise control, rain-sensing wipers, and automatic high beams. Together, these systems will work to make driving safer and more convenient, regardless of whether you are maneuvering through a crowded parking lot, changing lanes on the highway, or navigating a trail through the wilderness.

Inside the cabin on the base XL trim of the 2020 Ford Ranger, you will find a no-nonsense truck with manual seats, basic controls for the air conditioning and heat, and an “infotainment system” that consists of an AM/FM radio with a basic screen and four speakers. The only concessions to luxury are the power windows and remote power locks. However, if a simple work truck is not your style, the higher trims of the 2020 Ford Ranger have all the comforts you could want.

…Or a Comfortable Daily Driver

Upgrading to the middle XLT trim of the 2020 Ford Ranger will give you Ford’s excellent Sync 3 infotainment system on an 8” touch screen. This system not only includes both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto but also has support for Waze and Amazon’s Alexa. Even better, Sync 3 also offers voice-activated navigation, SiriusXM satellite radio, and a 4G LTE wireless hotspot for up to 10 devices. On top of the infotainment upgrades, the XLT trim comes standard with dual-zone automatic climate control and has the option for heated power-adjustable seats.

And if you want maximum luxury, then upgrade to the top Lariat trim. This not only makes the optional features of the XLT trim standard, but it also expands the driver’s instrument cluster with a second 4.2” digital display and adds one-touch entry and push-button start. And while the standard sound system is the same as on the XLT trim, the Lariat trim offers the option of upgrading to a 10-speaker Bang & Olufsen setup.

The tan interior in a 2020 Ford Ranger Lariat is shown.

Breakdown of Trims and Options

The starting price for the 2020 Ford Ranger is $24,410 for the SuperCab 4×2 XL trim. Upgrading to 4×4 will add roughly $4,000 to that price tag while changing to a SuperCrew cab will add around $2,000. Because of the high price of 4×4, unless you plan to spend a lot of your time off-road, it is probably better to stick with 4×2 and instead get the FX2 package and its electronic locking rear differential for $595. Not only will this give you most of the benefit of full 4×4, but the better fuel mileage will also save you a bit of money. Other good options are the $495 tow package with a ball mount and 4/7-pin connector, as well as the $625 Co-Pilot 360 package with its full range of advanced safety features. If you do spend a lot of time off-road, then the $1,295 FX4 package will give you skid plates, upgraded suspension, and off-road tires.

The XLT trim starts at $28,460, which effectively equals a $4,000 premium for the superior infotainment system and automatic climate control. To get heated power-adjustable seats and a remote start system requires the 302A package for another $2,450, while adaptive cruise control and navigation come with the $995 technology package. Other upgrades such as 4×4, the SuperCrew cab, and the FX packages cost roughly the same as on the XL trim.

Finally, the top Lariat trim starts at $32,500. When you consider the features included in this price, it is probably a better value to upgrade all the way to the Lariat trim than to put all the optional packages on the XLT trim. And while you can add the basic technology package to the Lariat trim for $895, upgrading to the full 501A package for $2,005 is the better deal since it also gives you the top sound system, remote start, and rain-sensing wipers for just $1,110 more.

Overall, the 2020 Ford Ranger has tons of options and packages that enable you to make the truck of your dreams. Whether you are looking for cost-effective, luxury, or anything in between, the Ford Ranger can be the truck for you.

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