It would be a shame if the 2020 Ford Ranger were lumped into a category to include “all trucks.”
The 2020 Ranger is not a diesel-swilling, lifted, train-sized hauler that hardly fits in your driveway. The Ranger is not a profane sticker with a comic character or an ill-advised tattoo.
The Ranger isn’t faultless, but it is good at being a small truck.
Review continues below
It’s a 5.0 on our overall scale that bends toward the base models that aren’t full of creature comforts that our scorecard rewards. We have beef with the Ranger’s safety scorecard and ride quality, but that’s true for all trucks. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
Like last year, the Ranger is available in XL, XLT, and Lariat trims with options scattered among the three like chocolate chips in cookies. The new addition this year is an FX2 option that adds the FX4’s electronically locking rear differential to rear-drive-only pickups—a boon to smile-state buyers.
The Ranger’s honesty is worn on its sleeve. There are interesting curves and stamps, but the Ranger’s open box is an empty promise—outdoor adventure, help with moving, or all of the above.
The base turbo-4 makes 270 horsepower and drags up to 7,500 pounds when properly equipped. It’s sweetly paired to a slick 10-speed automatic and we couldn’t be happier with its performance. No really, it’s fine.
Four-wheel drive will be a common but pricey upgrade (more than $4,000, to be honest) and it’s a good system for getting lost.
The four-door crew cabs are more common, and comfortable for up to four adults. We’d prefer some better differentiation between the models and trims—top trucks don’t feel like $40,000 vehicles.
We’d also like better safety scores. The IIHS is mostly complimentary, but the NHTSA puts the brakes on any good feelings with relatively low scores.
Base XL trucks are work spec. Skip them if you’re not spraying for bugs regularly.
We’d opt for an XLT with off-road hardware, four doors, and four-wheel drive. Those trucks get a standard 8.0-inch touchscreen with smartphone software, automatic emergency braking, 17-inch alloy wheels, better options, and durable cloth for about $35,000.
They’re not the cheap Rangers they were in the last decade, but they’re better trucks.