Midsize pickups are a great alternative for shoppers who need the utility of a truck but don’t need the size and capabilities of a more expensive full-size truck. Although it’s not the most impressive, the 2022 Ford Ranger is an example of the most recent generation of smaller trucks. Although it’s relatively new on the scene in the U.S., this generation of Rangers has been available worldwide for nearly 10 years, and its age has been showing. For 2020, those vibrant colors of the 1990s are coming back with an updated Splash appearance package and the Splash Limited Edition of the Ranger. For now, the Ranger is a backmarker in the midsize truck category.
How does the Ranger drive?
The Ranger is a vehicle with one key feature. It’s a powerful turbocharged 2.3-liter four-cylinder. It’s not the fastest horsepower in its class; however, it’s not too far from the mark. It’s a powerful engine that packs plenty of power when you’re operating in Sport mode. The 4WD crew-cab test truck was able to reach 0-60 mph in 6.8 seconds, that’s fast for a midsize truck. Beyond that, the Ranger is a bit slow. The 10-speed auto is great in other Fords; however, it’s not responsive and slow to shift down when it’s in Ranger’s normal setting. The steering is light and unresponsive. The suspension can’t be slowed down in corners with bumps, and the vehicle’s nose drops significantly when you apply abrupt brakes.
How enjoyable is the Ranger?
Certain aspects of the ride may be a deciding factor for certain. Even slight road undulations create extremely bouncy and springy riding motions. This soft, undamped sensation can amplify the impact of bumps you ride over, and many of our riders feel uneasy. However, the front seats are well-shaped, comfortably cushioned, and accommodate different body kinds. The rear seatbacks of the crew cab are slightly higher than we’d like; however, they’re satisfactory. The wind, tire, and road noises are well managed. We had a difficult time learning how to control climate control. The four vents can’t be shut off in isolation, and the system comes with many small buttons for control which are difficult to discern.
We like most of what the Ranger has to offer, especially if you buy an XLT or higher. Those come with multiple USB ports and the Sync 3 infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration. Also standard at this level is the Co-Pilot 360 suite of driving aids, which includes forward-collision warning, lane-keeping assist, and a blind-spot monitor.
The Ranger has the best gasoline fuel economy of the bunch. The EPA says you can expect 22 mpg in combined driving (20 city/24 highway) with 4WD. That’s a little bit better than V6-equipped rival trucks. But past experience with other Ford turbocharged engines makes us wonder if this one will deliver that advantage in the real world. Our test truck’s best-observed tank was 20.9 mpg, but more investigation and seat time are needed.
The front seats of the Ranger are comfortable and easy to take out and in. The driver’s seat is well located for easy access to the truck’s controls and look over the hood. However, certain drivers found it difficult to determine an optimal reclining angle for the seat. The bed’s high sides limit the rearview.
The main drawback of the interior of the Ranger comes from the irritant switchgear. The controls are well-organized from a broader perspective, their performance is not up to par at the end-user level. Two instances are the complete absence of control buttons for infotainment and the climate system’s numerous tiny buttons.