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1997 Ford Ranger Review
A great, small pickup for work and play.
Reviewed by Automotive on
The 1997 Ford Ranger is a compact pickup truck available in a variety of two- and four-wheel drive regular and extended cab models. Since its introduction in 1982, it has been a consistent sales leader in a class that includes the Toyota Tacoma, Dodge Dakota, and Chevrolet S-10.
Drivers get the satisfaction of having a dependable truck with decent performance, nice handling, excellent brakes, and ease of operation. Its roomy interior gives passengers a comfortable ride with plenty of room to maneuver. Overall, it offers great value at a reasonable price, making it an easy sale.
Engines: 2.3-liter four-cylinder, 3.0-liter six-cylinder, 4.0-liter six-cylinder
Transmissions: four-speed automatic, five-speed automatic, five-speed manual
Models: Ford Ranger XL Regular Cab, Ford Ranger XLT Regular Cab, Ford Ranger Splash Regular Cab, Ford Ranger STX Regular Cab, Ford Ranger XL Extended Cab, Ford Ranger XLT Extended Cab, Ford Ranger Splash Extended Cab, Ford Ranger STX Extended Cab
The 1997 Ford Ranger gets a new five-speed automatic transmission. It mates with six-cylinder engines, giving the Ranger greater towing and hill-climbing abilities.
The 1997 Ranger regular cab with a short bed has approximately a 184-inch length, a 69-inch width, a 64-inch height, and a 108-inch wheelbase. Models with long beds measure 15 inches longer. Extended cabs add about 17 inches to the length. The 1997 Ford Ranger features body-colored front and rear bumpers, externally adjustable black door mirrors, complex surface lens halogen headlights, a straight side pickup bed, fixed rear side windows, a rear platform step, and tinted glass. It has a gross weight of 4220 pounds and sits on 14-inch steel or alloy wheels.
The interior of the 1997 Ford Ranger regular and extended cab models feel roomy enough to fit three passengers. In the front, it has a vinyl bench seat with head restraints, cup holders, and a storage box. Pockets on the doors and bins on the seats make for easy storage. The dash has logically arranged gauges that provide clear readability and conveniently placed controls for easy use. Extended cabs have a lockable storage compartment in the rear. The Ranger features front reading lights, three 12-volt power points, a color-keyed glove box, insulated black floor covering, black door sill scuff plates, a coat hook in the rear, and an AM/FM stereo with four speakers. A cassette or CD player, cloth seating, and a tilt steering wheel remain optional.
Performance & Handling
The Ford Ranger contains either a 2.3-liter, four-cylinder engine that produces 112 horsepower and 135 lb-ft of torque; a three-liter, six-cylinder engine that pumps out 147 horsepower and 179 lb-ft of torque; or a four-liter, six-cylinder engine that cranks out 160 horsepower and 220 lb-ft of torque. All three engines mate with either a four- or five-speed automatic or a five-speed manual transmission. Overall performance seems adequate, but both six-cylinder engines tend to be fairly loud and shaky when operating at full throttle. Maximum towing capacity totals 6000 pounds.
The 1997 Ford Ranger uses an independent beam front suspension with a stabilizer bar and coil springs teamed with a rigid beam rear suspension with leaf springs. It provides a relatively smooth and stable ride on most roads. Handling proves adequate, as expected for a truck of its size. Steering responds quickly, allowing for good control at all times.
The 1997 Ford Ranger comes equipped with anti-lock brakes on two or all four wheels. A driver’s-side airbag also comes standard.
EPA Fuel Economy
Ford Ranger, 3.0-liter six-cylinder: 15/21 mpg city/highway
Ford Ranger, 4.0-liter six-cylinder: 15/20 mpg city/highway
- Very reliable
- Smooth acceleration
- Comfortable ride
You Won't Like
- Below average fuel economy
- Engine noise
A great, small pickup for work and play.
If You Like This Vehicle
- Toyota Tacoma
- Nissan Pickup
- Chevrolet S-10 Pickup
- Dodge Dakota
- GMC Sonoma