Returning 2019 Ford Ranger Takes on Top-Selling 2018 Toyota Tacoma: Video

06-2018-tacoma-2019-ranger-group copy A

It's not good enough anymore to simply bring another player to an automotive class that does the same things all the other competitors have been doing for years. You must have unique selling points: At minimum you need to do several things better than the rest, and you must do things that no other vehicle in the class is doing. At least, that's the template we've noticed for a successful vehicle launch or re-launch, as the case may be.

Related: We Pit the 2019 Ford Ranger Against the 2018 Toyota Tacoma in a Real-World Test

Case in point: Some may argue Ford has an advantage bringing the 2019 Ranger back to the mid-size pickup class, mainly because Ford has been evolving and improving the existing global Ranger — quite popular in places like Australia — all over the rest of world even though the Ranger left the U.S. market in 2011.

We decided to see how the new Ranger stacks up to one of its competitors. It seemed natural to put a fully loaded 2019 Ford Ranger Lariat with the FX4 Off-Road Package up against the best-selling mid-size player, the 2018 Toyota Tacoma. Our challenge for this head-to-head contest was to select the most comparable Tacoma trim level. We eventually settled on the mid-level TRD Sport 4x4, which meant it didn't have Crawl Control or the more well-appointed interior details of the Limited, TRD Off-Road and TRD Sport. Still, all the major mechanical comparison points were there: suspension, bed, powertrain, four-wheel drive system, etc.

In the video below, PickupTrucks.com Editor Mark Williams and Cars.com Los Angeles Bureau Chief Brian Wong share their opinions about the two mid-size pickups after spending three days with the trucks in Southern California traversing mountain roads, playing at an off-road park and driving in some of the toughest city and highway traffic Los Angeles to Barstow has to offer.

We know this video is a little longer than usual, but we thought you'd want to hear as much as possible about these pickups. Some of the observations will seem logical, while others might catch you by surprise. No matter how you react, there's plenty to digest here and we'll have more to say about how the Ranger matches up to other mid-size pickups when we have the opportunity for a full apples-to-apples comparison test. More to come.

Cars.com photo by Evan Sears

 

 

 

Comments

*sets out lawn chair, opens cold beer, fires up grill and waits for the idiocy to begin*

I paid around $12K for my 1994 Ranger reg cab, xlt LB 2wd 5 speed. Got 160,000 miles out of it. My son got another 38,000 out of it before selling it.
It never let me down anywhere. Got 22-24 mpg.
I just don't see the $25K difference when all you're doing is moving your butt from one place to another.

@ Dale
Where did you and your son drive this truck?
Was it down the road 20-30 miles or around the corner.
Many people want comfort and refinement in their vehicles.
My Consumer Reports book from 2007 the year we got the Ridgeline.
It says this about 2007 Ranger is clone of Mazda B-series never let you forget your driving a truck ride is stiff and choppy.
Front Seats are thinly padded mounted too low.
So you would want that on a road trip.
Pickup trucks are replacing family sedan read latest articles.

@dale

I wouldn't worry too much about what Ridgeline owners think of your Ranger. I too had a 1994 Ranger XLT and it was a delightful truck that had over 250k miles on it when I sold (traded) it.

Mr 2007 Ridgeline bought a truck that Honda dealers cannot GIVE away.

Ford dealers sold a half million Rangers per year back in the 1990s. Who's the fool here?

I and my son drove it on the freeway a lot. I worked out of town mostly. Anywhere from 25-50 miles on way. I had no AC as Ford didn't install AC in Rangers back then because 100HP wasn't enough for the AC and 2.3 to share at the same time.
That 94 was more comfortable than my 2010 F150 XLT with PW seats. It was a commuter truck for me. With the LB I could haul lots of tools and stuff. I had a FG tonneau cover as well.
It was the cranberry color. Nicknamed the "Cranberry Express".

@mark williams
Very well done video. I really like this type of review and comparison. I'd like to see more videos like this with the bigger trucks. Feels more real. Like I really feel like I know a lot more about these trucks after watching the video. Feels like I've experienced them a little bit myself.

You couldn't pay me to own a Ridgeline. I don't need a Cruck.
I want a truck thats a truck, not a car that thinks it's a truck.
The new RL is about as butt ugly as you can get. I still shake my head when I see one. Like what were those people thinking when they bought it?

Ditto what beebe said. I very much enjoyed the video, keep up the great work PUTC!

@dale milner, agree with what you said on a personal level, but if someone paid me, I would take one...just wouldn't drive it much. My father in-law used to own one, and they really liked it...it worked well for them for light loading, no towing etc. Indeed from my perspective it was ugly, but to each their own.

Like I really feel like I know a lot more about these trucks after watching the video. Feels like I've experienced them a little bit myself...Posted by: beebe | Dec 28, 2018

Completely agree!

This is the best online resource for those of us who enjoy our pickups. Most online content regarding pickups is embarrassingly bad. PUTC rules.

@ Dale & PapaJim
Why do you think Tacoma and Ranger are trying to strike the perfect
balance between off-road, on pavement daily driving use ect.
The pickup truck is not just for contractors tradesmen anymore.
The days of using it on the farm only are long gone.
The Ridgeline drives much better on the pavement then Ranger or Tacoma. It may well be the best or 2nd best that Ram with air suspension sounds good.
PapaJim keeps talking about sales.
Most of the sales are coming from average Joe not towing off roading or contractors.
People purchased Ridgeline for quality, smooth ride comfort safety.
For all around truck it's pretty good.
Tacoma trying to get more refined I wonder why.

You couldn't pay me to own a Ridgeline. I don't need a Cruck.
I want a truck thats a truck, not a car that thinks it's a truck.
The new RL is about as butt ugly as you can get. I still shake my head when I see one. Like what were those people thinking when they bought it?

Posted by: dale milner | Dec 28, 2018 1:25:37 PM

Totally agree ^^^^

This feels like a 12 minute Ford commercial. They seem to make excuses for the Ford short comings and hit the Toyota harder for it's short comings. Although I do think Toyota not having Apple car play or Android auto is going to be a bigger issue than payload by along shot.

As for the payload numbers, I think Ford is being very optimistic and Toyota is being very conservative. You guys even mention in your test the Toyota felt more stable at max payload.

Why do you think Tacoma and Ranger are trying to strike the perfect balance between off-road, on pavement daily driving...?

@2007 Honda

Answer is simpler than you might think---it's all about competition. Today's executive suite in Dearborn realizes that they missed out on millions of truck sales in 7 years since they dropped the Ranger.

When you take into account that Ford management really "gave up" on the Ranger back in the late 1990s it's even a darker secret.

Ranger sales had really petered out by 2009 or so, during a time when gas was expensive and midsize trucks would have been an attractive space for fuel-conscious customers.

@2007 Ridgeline owner--You have to realize papajim hates Honda and Toyota. He has made several derogatory remarks about my wife's 2013 CRV which has been a very reliable vehicle. My wife had a 77 Accord for over 17 years and it too was a very reliable vehicle. Hard to teach an old dog like papajim new tricks--he is very set in his ways and still believes the Earth is flat.

As for the Ranger it will do very well in the market but the Tacoma will most likely keep its Number 1 status. Glad you like your Ridgeline and I have yet to find a Ridgeline owner that doesn't like their Ridgeline. That says more than papajim's opinion which I wouldn't give 2 cents for. Buy what you like and if it gives you good service and you like it that is enough and not some old geezer's opinion.

Ouch! Papajim you better put some ice on that

Rear end sticks up too much on the Ranger and the Colorado unlike the Tacoma that is more level...

Perfect truck for the NH wilderness. I can get to my fishing spot with zero issues with this truck . Ford hit it right the hell out of the park except for it being a little too pricey but generally ford offers incentives so I'm not to worried about it. I do have a few questions: How reliable will that Ecoboost engine be? I hear head gasket rumors here and there. Also, is this trucks height and relative narrowness an issue for easy roll over on the trails? Time will tell on this and when i set eyes on it which should be soon. For all you whiners out there who complain that this truck is also to big, then wait for the Focus based trucklet which should satisfy the wimp in you without issue. A truck for everyone! what more could a ford guy ask for

I find myself highly interested in the new Ranger, even though I'm not much of a Ford fan.
There are a few things that get me about this video though:
1. They use the top of the line Ranger and only the midgrade Tacoma. Top of the line Tacoma has an outstanding interior that the midgrade lacks on.
2. The beds of the trucks. The Tacoma bed is not anywhere slippery as described in the video. ( I have a Tacoma). Also having a power outlet in the bed is quite useful when using power tools far from a building. Not to mention that the sliding tie-down hooks come in handy as all hell when strapping down a load of fire wood (or anything else really).
3. My Tacoma V6 has over 203k miles on it and running strong. A small I4 running a good amount of boost to reach the new Ranger's #'s isn't likely to last near that long.

No, I'm not a Tacoma fan boy. I do like my truck, but would be more than willing to trade it in when the time comes for a Ranger or another Tacoma depending on what's offered at the time. It just seemed to me that the video focused on the positive Ranger aspects and ignored or overlooked the positive aspects of the Tacoma (other than the shifter). Oh....and the Tacoma can, will, and does handle a over 1k payload rather well.

This new Ranger will do well. Ford will give it more as time goes by. They just testing the waters right now. Say what you want but Fords done this before. As long as its a Ford truck it will sell. People still got em from years ago and they love em. This one will be loved too. Look out!!!!!!!!!

Ridgeline:
I have a 92 Accord and a 91 Prelude. Honda makes a good product. But not perfect. Someone said on PUTC that Ridgeline's platform could accommodate a longer bed. I'm waiting to see if that comes to fruition, but not holding my breath. More choices is good because everyone has different needs. Maybe Ranger n Ridgeline will both come out with a long bed crew cab, and if I understand correctly, that needs a longer wheelbase. If this midsize category continues to grow at the 20+ % rate, I'd bet we see more choices. Only few more days to wrap up the 2018 sales #'s

The ranger is garbage. These guys have to be paid by Ford. I would take a taco with 150k miles over a new ranger lol

I have a 92 Accord and a 91 Prelude. Honda makes a good product. But not perfect.

@angelo

Is your direct experience with Honda's limited to the two 25+ year old cars referenced above?

Lariat is not the best take-off point to compare Ranger to Tacoma equal trim if you want to highlight the most advantageous Ranger versus the competition. If you want to show value in this new offering to it's maximum, then it has to be between the most basic XL with rear-seat delete, starting at $25.1K including destination up through XL STX Crew Cab 4WD. It's at these lower price points where the new Ranger will be the most attractive to buyers, because that's where only Ford gives a high-performing, and highly-capable four cylinder turbo engine mated to a ten speed with class-leading torque, payload, towing, and fuel economy all in one power train choice from just over $25K to $32K depending on how many persons you need to seat and whether or not you need or want 2WD or 4WD. My choice would most likely be the most basic Ranger. Then I'd get after market spray in liner for half the cost of this option through Ford, and I'd get new or used aluminum wheels for a quarter of the cost of adding the STX package. The only thing missing from this most basic pickup from Ranger that I'd really prefer are: (a) a manual transmission, which would be so easy to offer, since that exact set up is already available in Mustang, and (b) cruise control. They can keep all that other crap for the price that all manufacturers charge ridiculous prices for but that most customer feel like they have to pay anything to get features and comforts that really have no bearing on whether or not a truck is good or not! I have to admit though that the XL STX package for around $28K is still a tremendous value. At the STX level, you can have that cruise control, a higher-quality cloth seat, 17" aluminum rims; a carbon black appearance package that looks as good to me or better than a version that's $16K higher. My only problem with the STX package is that I'd prefer the 16" rims and I'd trade a few dollars off the price for some of those fancy electronic features that I don't need.

the most basic XL with rear-seat delete, starting at $25.1K

@Greg

You make reference to a pure unicorn. Ford dealers want no part of a Frontier fighter. Dealers are aching for the fully trimmed $38K-and-UP Crew Cab pickups with gadgets galore. The most expensive components in a $44k Ranger are the very same bits found in the non-existent $26k Rangers (engine/trans).

Dealers make their money on option packs that can be marked-up 30-40 percent (leather, nav systems, electronics). the XL has virtually none of those. In fact, the XL is so blacklisted by Ford that any popular options, like 4WD, are insanely expensive if you try to include them in a base model. You can trust me on this.

Since the manufactures all like to one-up each other with max torque and payload numbers strictly for marketing purposes knowing full well VERY few truck owners ever haul or tow at those numbers, it would be nice to see some sort of torture test where the trucks are all tested towing and hauling at their max numbers for a week or so to see each performs and what level of confidence they instill in the drivers when under heavy load. Personally I think the Tacoma would give the driver a considerably more confident feel which I would take over MPG and 0-60 times.

Disclaimer: I'm not tied to any one particular brand (I've owned a Datsun pickup, a Toyota pickup, two Dodges, two Fords and a Chevy).

Since the manufactures all like to one-up each other with max torque and payload numbers strictly for marketing purposes knowing full well VERY few truck owners ever haul or tow at those numbers, it would be nice to see some sort of torture test where the trucks are all tested towing and hauling at their max numbers for a week or so to see each performs and what level of confidence they instill in the drivers when under heavy load. Personally I think the Tacoma would give the driver a considerably more confident feel which I would take over MPG and 0-60 times.

Disclaimer: I'm not tied to any one particular brand (I've owned a Datsun pickup, a Toyota pickup, two Dodges, two Fords and a Chevy).

Ranger seem a bit more basic than the Global Ranger

OK well bend over!

more basic than the global Ranger

@Robert Ryan

Ok, suggest something that might spice things up

it would be nice to see some sort of torture test where the trucks are all tested towing and hauling at their max numbers for a week or so

@Average Joe

Ok, Joe. Your mission---should you choose to accept it:

Why don't you set up a Go Fund Me page and raise the money it would cost to buy representative models of each tested truck. I'm guessing that $500,000 will suffice.

@angelo--Papajim missed your point. You still see 25 year old Hondas and Toyotas on the road but very few 25 year old Escorts, Cavaliers, Taurus, and Luminas on the road.

Angelo made a statement. Based entirely on his statement I asked him a question. Why's that a problem for Jeff S?

Here at Ford nation we love to compare new vehicles against 20 year old designed. That way most of the time, we are sure to win!

Next we compare the new Ranger against the 1955 Chevrolet Task Force Pickup! Can wait to see the results of that test!

And now for some real world reviews:

CarBuyer: the Ford Ranger 2.7 stars....lol

Common problems:
Brakes (4)
Electrics (11)
Engine (18)
Gearbox / clutch (10)
Suspension (3)
Other (11)

https://www.carbuyer.co.uk/reviews/ford/ranger/sports-utility-vehicle/owner-reviews

Consumer Affairs: the Ford Ranger 2.4 stars....lol

https://www.consumeraffairs.com/automotive/ford_ranger.html

The Kelley Blue Book Best Resale Value Awards are among the most coveted honors in the automotive industry, and the Best Brand and Best Luxury Brand trophies are the program's pinnacle prizes.

The winner is: Toyota

Toyota swept the podium in the Top 10 portion of this year's Best Resale Value Awards, with Tacoma, Tundra and 4Runner finishing one-two-three. On top of that, the automaker claimed three category awards. It's on the strength of those wins that Toyota has claimed Best Brand honors for the second year in a row. Durability and reliability are especially important to used car buyers, and Toyota's sterling reputation blankets its wide range of cars, trucks and SUVs (and a minivan). If you want to spend less on a new car, buy one that will be worth more when you sell it as a used car. When you buy a Toyota -- any Toyota -- that's what you get.

Need I say more...lol


@Really!

I won't argue that Toyota's got a very good reputation for product quality, but it's easy to score these points if your cars and trucks are VERY mature designs.

Both the Tundra and the Tacoma are 10 year old platforms that have only gotten fresh lipstick from Toyota management during the last five years. Since this is a 'trucks' website I won't go into all of the issues with Toyota's mature coup/car/sedan lines.

This was a given, even the Aussies declared the global Ranger with a recent comparison with the best from the rest.

https://youtu.be/Z2eWQ6AHxyU

So with the improved US version sporting a more powerful power plant, it will roll over the aging taco & twins...yeah go Ford!!

@Lionel
US version has less towing and considerably less payload than the Australian version( 7500lb , 7800lb versus 1500lb, 2700lb)
4x4 Australia ranked the Hilux by far the best Off Road Pickup in Australia.
Still it will give the Tacoma a shake

4x4 Australia? "rankings"

@Robert Ryan

Does 4x4 Australia accept advertising revenue from Toyota? The question answers itself.

@ jim hackett, what a stupid comment. Its not Fords fault toyota hasn't changed their truck in 10+ years. Its still offered for sale as a new vehicle. The 55 chevy task force is not. Where was your stupid comments when they compared the Colorado to the Yota??? Just what i thought. your an inbred too.

Apparently Angelo's statement is a problem with papajim otherwise why is papajim making a big deal out of 25 year old Hondas unless he is working in the car industry and doesn't want vehicles to last. Old Hondas and Toyotas seem to last and last and that is not because the owners are more diligent about maintenance. There are still a number of 1997 Accords and 1992 thru 96 Camrys on the road. That is the point that Angelo is making which either papajim is either dense or is looking for an argument. The 1992 thru 96 Camry is considered on of the best car that Toyota has ever built. The following generations of Camry were good but not as over built as the 1992 thru 96.

Papajim seems to hate Toyotas and Hondas and maybe that is because relatives that were in the car business didn't sell them.

Toyota does have on the average a higher resale value. Does that mean that all the newer Toyotas are better than any other brand on the road? Not necessarily so because it took years for Toyota to establish that reputation during that time that the Detroit Big 3 had a reputation for building some very bad cars. Takes a longer time to build a good reputation than it does to ruin a reputation. GM and Ford have built much better cars in the last 5 to 10 years but because of their past reputations for poor quality that has hurt the perception of many that they have improved. The Ranger might actually be a better truck than the Tacoma but it might take Ford a few more years to change some of the Tacoma owners that the Ranger is a better truck if in fact it is better.

@Robert Ryan, about four months ago, the house across the street was sold to a "father and son" — or so we thought. We later learned it was an older man about 50 and a young fellow about 24. This was a respectable neighborhood before this "odd couple" moved in. They have all sorts of strange-looking company. Men who look like women, women who look like men, blacks, whites, Indians. Yesterday I even saw two nuns go in there!... Robert, these weirdos are wrecking our property values! How can we improve the quality of this once-respectable neighborhood?

I find it funny that people are blasting the ridgeline as a car trying to be a truck and here they are buying a truck wanting it to ride and drive like a car.

They have all sorts of strange-looking company. ........, blacks, whites, Indians. Robert, these weirdos are wrecking our property values! How can we improve the quality of this once-respectable neighborhood?

Posted by: Tailgate | Dec 30, 2018 9:43:50 AM

I knew you were a racist.

Papajim seems to hate Toyotas and Hondas and maybe that is because relatives that were in the car business didn't sell them

@Jeff

If you even had a fraction of a brain you would know that new car dealers make most of their money selling used cars; if not for that they would refuse to take trade-ins.

On the other hand selling new cars is a low margin business with high costs, franchise liabilities and heavy customer satisfaction obligations that are spelled out in great detail in the contracts they have with Ford, GM etc.

Yes, my relatives sold a ton of Asian cars and it was profitable business.

And your point is?

GMSRGREAT - I'm not a racist snowflake, just looking for some advice. But I've always regarded most marital mix-ups as very humorous until now, that is, when the noose is tightening around my own neck. We have been married 10 years and have two sons. I like Paper Airplane Throwing, but my wife has no interest in it, so I've always gone without her.

While Paper Airplane Throwing, I've fallen for a woman with three children who is also very fond of Paper Airplane Throwing. Her husband is ignorant and impossible. This may sound corny, but I think she would be a wonderful companion for me. GMSRGREAT I suppose you think I'm a louse but I am stumped (not a racist)!

@tailgate

Your answer is easily found. Exodus, chapter 20, verse 14

Ahhh yes I know it well! Exodus, chapter 20, verse 14..."Man who put head on railroad track to listen for train likely to end up with splitting headache."

if you have any disagreement with the 10 Commandments I suggest you take it up with the Author.

Papajim's relatives may have sold a used Toyota Corolla or two but they didn't in fact sell any new Hondas. That appears to be one of reasons papajim hates the Tacoma and hates Hondas. The Ranger might be the better truck in the mid size category, but it will in fact take Ford many years to sell more Rangers than Toyota and Honda sell Tacomas and Ridgeline combined.



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