How Well Does the 2019 Ford Ranger Tow a 24-Foot Boat?

2019 Ford Ranger Towing Front View Boat

Cars.com photos by G.R. Whale

By G.R. Whale

In its heyday, Ford's Ranger could tow almost 6,000 pounds with a six-cylinder engine. The 2019 Ranger with a turbocharged four-cylinder has an arguably stouter (because of newer SAE International standards) top tow rating of 7,500 pounds. So, we took the new Ford Ranger towing to see how it does. The short answer to whether a Ranger can tow is yes, but you will probably need aftermarket parts to do so properly.

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What We Towed

2019 Ford Ranger Towing Boat Rear View

Our test Ranger weighed 4,500 pounds, had a max tongue load of 750 pounds, a maximum trailer weight rating of 7,500 pounds and a gross combined weight rating — truck, trailer and everything in them — limit of 12,500 pounds. Interestingly enough, the 6,050-pound gross vehicle weight rating with truck, contents and tow ball load allowed 33 percent more (380 pounds) payload than the last Ford F-150 Limited I tested: 1,550 pounds of payload for the Ranger versus 1,170 for the F-150 Limited. The 24-foot Malibu wakeboard direct-drive boat and trailer put 620 pounds on the tow ball, while hardware and occupants brought truck and trailer total to 10,355 pounds. We could have added two kids, coolers and a large dog without exceeding any parameters, but for this we carried 400 pounds of adults and tools, leaving another 530 pounds of rated payload.

Related: How Much Can My Truck Tow?

The trailer dropped the receiver almost exactly 3 inches, to the point rear bump stops and springs just begin to meet and moderately lift the nose. Since we weren't towing at night, no headlight aim adjustment was done, but it didn't appear it would take long.

2019 Ford Ranger Bump Stop

The Ranger does not offer an integrated trailer brake controller or towing mirror options. The boat trailer's surge brakes circumvented the controller issue, but the factory mirrors gave a view only of the trailer's leading axle and outer arch, nothing behind.

Related: 5 Fixes for the 2019 Ford Ranger

How Well Does the Ford Ranger Tow?

My entire towing loop was done with Tow/Haul mode engaged, a mode I found quite useful even when driving empty in heavy-but-moving traffic where Drive was a wee bit lackadaisical for me and Sport was just too aggressive.

Driving empty, the Ranger never felt completely settled, like there was always up-and-down motion to constantly remind this is an empty pickup. The extra trailer weight settled the truck's rear nicely, with only one bump abrupt enough to remind us bump stops have some travel but their limitations are one big bump away. When attached to the trailer, shifting weight bias rearward had minimal effect on the front axle and steering remained accurate, but it still felt underdamped to my backside.

Related: 2019 Ford Ranger First Drive: Welcome Back to the Stage

Performance isn't lacking at all, as the turbo four is ready to merge easily on uphill on-ramps, while the transmission relies on solid mid-range engine torque on moderate inclines and downshifting to higher-rev horsepower where more urge is requested. The turbo will be working far more when towing, and the nicely formed exhaust system will move a lot of gasses efficiently, but it's noisy enough that you really want the backseat cushion down, which makes it notably quieter.

2019 Ford Ranger 4-Cylinder Engine

My loop's largest hill is just more than two miles at a little more than 7 percent grade, and the Ranger handily went up at 65 mph showing 4,100 rpm in 5th gear. There was reserve, too, as truck traffic brought us down to 50 mph and we quickly got back to 65 mph. All the while, the temperature indicator never varied and it wasn't dripping undercoating at the scales on the other side of the hill.

Related: 2019 Ford Ranger MPG: Real-World Fuel Economy

During this tow testing, which was only on level ground for a fifth of the course and included acceleration runs and idle time, the Ranger averaged 11.2 mpg by the on-board trip computer. Running the same loop empty with the same idle time returned 19.6 mpg. In low-load driving, it logged 16.5-17.5 mpg in town and 24-25 mpg on the highway.

So would I tow 7,500 pounds with a new Ranger? Yes, if I had to and had the aforementioned additional equipment. Would I make a habit of it? No, but if your family/crew fits in a Ranger SuperCrew you don't need a half-ton like the F-150 for a lot of recreational towing.

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2019 Ford Ranger Dashboard and Front Seats

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