Picking the Perfect 2019 Ford Ranger for Work, Towing, Off-Road and Comfort

Cars.com graphic by Paul Dolan; @marusa.je via Twenty20

By Aaron Bragman

Selecting the perfect pickup truck can be a daunting task — the sheer number of options, powertrains, trims and packages can be intimidating. But no worries, we're here to help, and we'll start by helping you pick the perfect 2019 Ford Ranger for work, towing, off-road driving or on-road comfort.

Related: 2019 Ford Ranger Pricing Breakdown: XL Vs. XLT Vs. Lariat

The Work Truck: Ranger XL 4x2 SuperCab, $26,115

If you want the lower-end Ranger work truck, we recommend specifying the base XL 4x2 SuperCab (two-door) model. It gets you the largest, 72.8-inch bed, albeit at the cost of being able to carry more than two people comfortably, and the highest payload rating (1,860 pounds). If you need four-wheel drive you can upgrade, but it's a hefty $4,160 and sacrifices payload (1,560 pounds). The Ranger already comes with basics like air conditioning, power locks and windows, and a six-speaker AM/FM audio system. We suggest two must-have options: the Bed Utility Package (drop-in bedliner and 12-volt outlet) for $395 and the sliding rear window with defroster for $225. In order to keep the end cost down, we'd skip items like the Trailer Tow Package (this can be added later through aftermarket parts, if desired), and the Ford Co-Pilot360 with driver assistance features including blind spot warning, lane keep assist, forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking and more, which requires the 101A package (remote key fob, cruise control). Note that all prices include destination charges.

The Off-Roader: Ranger XLT 4x4 SuperCrew With FX4 Package, $38,790

Building an off-road Ranger is simple. Since we don't get the Ranger Raptor that's available overseas, the XLT with FX4 Package is the top-spec Ranger for off-roading. The Ranger XLT 4x4 trim brings the Ford Co-Pilot360 safety systems to the party, along with backup sensors, cruise control, body-colored bumpers and a remote locking tailgate. The absolutely necessary package for an off-road Ranger is the FX4, which for $1,295 adds off-road tires; an off-road-tuned suspension; an electronic locking rear differential; exposed front tow hooks; skid plates for the fuel tank, transfer case and front differential; the Terrain Management System with Trail Control cruise control and a sticker on the fenders. We added package 301A ($995) for its power-folding sideview mirrors and satellite radio, both useful features when you're far from civilization on a narrow trail. That's why we also added navigation ($795) because cell signal can often be spotty on the trail, making phone-based navigation problematic. The Bed Utility Package ($395) with its drop-in bedliner and 12-volt power outlet is also handy.

The Towing Champ: Ranger XLT 4x2 SuperCab, $31,815

Mid-size trucks aren't primarily used for towing; their bigger, full-size brethren are more often used for that. But the Ranger has a 7,500-pound towing capacity, and among mid-size trucks only the Chevrolet Colorado diesel tops it, so we optioned the lightest SuperCab 4x2, at about 4,145 pounds, with options to make it street safe and comfortable. Option package 301A ($995) adds Sync 3 multimedia, satellite radio, power-folding mirrors and a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shifter. The Bed Utility Package drops in the bedliner and 12-volt outlet for $395, while the Trailer Tow Package ($495) adds a prewired trailer hitch. Rounding it out is the Technology Package ($795) that brings navigation and automatic cruise control, useful when towing.

The Luxo-Barge: Ranger Lariat 4x4 SuperCrew, $44,685

Sometimes you just want to go all out and enjoy the loaded, nicest truck you can get. For that, we're recommending the Lariat 4x4 SuperCrew, which features leather-trimmed seats, a standard 8-inch touchscreen, dual-zone automatic climate control, interior ambient lighting, an upgraded gauge cluster and a lot more. We added package 501A ($1,795) that bundles the Technology Package's navigation and automatic cruise control with rain-sensing wipers, remote start, a windshield wiper de-icer grid and a 10-speaker B&O premium audio system. We painted it Hot Pepper Red ($395), and the Chrome Appearance Package ($795) blings up the Ranger's look by slathering chrome on the bumpers, grille, wheels, tow hooks, mirror caps and exhaust tip. Another $635 adds chrome running boards. We spiffed up the bed with the Bed Utility Package ($395) and a hard retractable tonneau cover ($995), and added Ford's unique keyless entry keypad ($95). While we specified four-wheel drive, we didn't bother with the FX4 Off-Road Package, as the emphasis here is on on-road civility and the FX4's off-road shocks, tires and added skid plate protection didn't fit with that mission.

These are just a few of the ways you can option up a Ranger to do what you need it to do. Visit Ford's Ranger configurator to build one for yourself or find one already built near you on PickupTrucks.com.

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