Car Buyer Labs

Car Buying Advice, Tips, and Reviews

A red 2021 Ford Ranger STX is parked on the concrete with misty mountains in the background.

What’s So Great About the 2021 Ford Ranger?

What can we say about the new 2021 Ford Ranger? Who is the 2021 Ranger for? At first glance, the Ranger is just another compact pickup truck; there’s nothing special about this vehicle, right? Perhaps. Or maybe, just maybe, there are some pretty unique features that make the 2021 Ford Ranger the best compact truck we’ve seen yet.

Now some might argue with me on this statement. How on Earth do I get by saying the Ranger is the best midsize truck around? It’s not the best in class in anything. Other competing pickup trucks tow more or get better gas mileage, or even cost less. But the Ford has something these other trucks don’t have – versatility.

The Ranger is more well-rounded and serves a wider market than competitors who merely focus on one or two good facets. If you have a specific job that you need to get done, you gravitate towards the vehicle that best completes that one job. However, if you have several requirements you need your vehicle to fulfill, or if you just want your truck to be able to accomplish a little bit of everything, the odds are good the Ranger is the truck for you.

The black interior of a 2021 Ford Ranger STX SE is overlooking the mountains.

Fuel Economy

The 2021 Ford Ranger is not likely to get the best fuel economy out of all the 2021 compact pickup trucks on the market. For example, the 2021 Chevy Colorado gets 23 MPG combined tops. Alternatively, the 2021 Toyota Tacoma merely achieves 21 MPG at its best. While the EPA hasn’t released official stats for the 2021 Ranger, Ford’s midsize pickup truck is expected to get around 23 MPG combined, a number that is similar to its 2020 counterpart.

Not the best, but certainly not the worst, the 2021 Ranger sits comfortably in the range of the three most popular trucks in America as far as fuel economy goes. And let’s be honest: if you were that worried about fuel economy, chances are you were looking at a hybrid commuter car rather than a pickup truck. Nobody gets a truck for its out of this world gas mileage.

Towing Capacity

On the other hand, the Ranger is one of the better midsize pickup truck options when it comes to towing capacity. The 2021 Ranger can tow up to 7,500 lbs, falling only slightly behind the 2021 Colorado, which can tow 7,700 lbs. Honestly, that 200 lb gap is not going to make that big of a difference when it comes to real-world application.

How do other trucks compare? The 2021 GMC Canyon meets the Colorado with a towing capacity of 7,700 lbs, again not much more than the Ranger. On the other hand, the 2021 Tacoma can only tow 6,800 lbs, putting the Ranger in a more appealing position for towing power.

Once again, the Ranger is not the best compact truck for towing, so why would anybody consider a Ranger over its competitors? Well, let’s be honest: if you really want a large towing capacity, you’re going to be getting a full-sized pickup truck, not a midsize truck. Most midsize pickup trucks will fall within the same range for towing, so no matter which one you choose, you will still be able to tow what you need. That means that there is no reason for you not to get a new Ford Ranger.

A red 2021 Ford Ranger Tremor Lariat is shown from the front crawling over some rocks.

Price Point and Longevity

At an estimated starting MSRP of $26,015, the 2021 Ford Ranger has a lower price point than most of the midsize trucks on the market currently. This estimated lower price point makes the Ranger an even more desirable truck for those who don’t need a full-size truck and don’t want to break the bank getting a midsize model. Comparatively, the 2021 Colorado starts at $25,200, the 2021 Tacoma at $26,150, and the Canyon starts at $26,400.

While there is not a huge difference in starting price between models, sometimes a little savings can go a long way. So, what are you getting for this price point, besides that little bit of savings? Let’s talk for a minute about longevity and reliability.

Ford is one of the oldest car brands in America and has been around for quite literally more than a century. But we all know age does not necessarily equate to beauty. What does this 100+ year track record really offer us?

With a track record like Ford, we have the opportunity to look back at what they’ve done right, what they’ve done wrong, and what mistake they’ve worked on fixing. Not all of these 100+ years have been good for Ford: they have a bad run there for a while, just like every good car manufacturer does. However, Ford is still the manufacturer of some of the oldest and highest mileage cars on the road today.

While it’s true that the Ranger had a few years where several trucks came with several complaints and problems, when we look at the whole run of the Ranger, we can see that the earliest models had very few issues. In fact, it wasn’t until the late 90’s that the Ranger began collecting a large number of consumer complaints. To Ford’s credit, it only took them a few years to solve the majority of these complaints, and since 2009 the Ford Ranger has been a highly reliable vehicle that consumers are happy to buy. This is the kind of dependability and reliability you are paying for when you choose the Ranger over its competitors.

Who is the 2021 Ford Ranger Really For?

When comparing the nitty-gritty details, you might find other trucks beat out the Ranger in a number of areas, but when you sit down and compare the 2021 Ford Ranger as a whole, it’s easy to see why Ford has seen so many years of success. Ford has put the driver first for more than 100 years, and when Ford makes a mistake, they own up to it and fix it as quickly as possible. That’s why the 2021 Ranger is the best option for a well-rounded pickup truck on the road today.

If you’re looking for fuel economy, buy a Prius. If you’re looking for towing capacity, spring for the full-sized truck. But if you’re looking for a happy little truck that can haul the family as well as the weekend toys, all without breaking the bank at the trip to the gas pump, then perhaps you should consider the 2021 Ford Ranger.

Who is the 2021 Ford Ranger for? The 2021 Ford Ranger is for the city dweller who dreams of owning some land in the country. The Ranger is for the homeowner who wants to engage in regular home improvement projects but doesn’t want to pay extra for an enormous full-sized pickup truck. The Ranger is for the weary car shopper who just wants a vehicle they know they can depend on for years, or even decades, to come. The Ranger is for any type of buyer out there.

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