2006 Ford Ranger

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2006 Ford Ranger Review

Outdated model falls behind the competition in nearly every category, except for price.

Reviewed by Automotive on

Overview

The 2006 Ford Ranger stems from a model that began its life as a trim level for the F-Series pickup, and it got reborn as an independent model in 1983. This compact pickup as been a best-seller in its segment ever since and still uses the same general build and format as it started with. A number of makeovers over the years have kept the Ranger at pace with the competition, and the broad range of trim levels, engine offerings, and feature packages allow this truck to adapt to a variety of buyer needs and interests. The only significant downfall concerns its lack of a crew cab model.

Reliable offroad performance and a basic, comfortable cabin mark two big factors that continue to work in the Ranger’s favor. However, while it makes a worthy companion for lighter work requirements, the 2006 Ranger falls behind most of its competitors when it comes to responsive handling and interior space. While this long-lived truck shouldn’t be ruled out completely, most buyers should take a good look at the competition first.

The Range

Body Styles: regular cab pickup, extended cab pickup
Engines: 3.0-liter V-6, 2.3-liter four-cylinder, 4.0-liter V-6
Transmissions: five-speed manual, five-speed automatic
Models: Ford Ranger XL, Ford Ranger STX, Ford Ranger XLT, Ford Ranger Sport, Ford Ranger FX4 Off-Road, Ford Ranger FX4 Level II

What's New

2006 brings only a handful of surface-level and stylistic changes to the Ford Ranger. A refashioned exterior trim design has been introduced with some fresh styling details. The FX4 model, which offers two-door and four-door extended cabs for 2006, includes rubber flooring. The former Edge gets renamed as the Sport, although this model shows no physical changes.

Exterior

The 2006 Ranger’s regular-cab models offer either a six-foot or seven-foot bed, while the extended cab only comes with the six-foot bed. Exterior equipment for the XL, STX, and XLT models remains largely the same, with standard offerings including mud guards, a front air dam, and interval wipers. The XLT boasts a classic chrome finish, while the Ranger Sport features body-colored bumpers. The FX4 trims offer the most extensive list of features including 16-inch all-terrain tires, tow hooks, skid plates on the Off-Road and BF Goodrich, all-terrain tires, and Alcoa wheels on the Level II. A running board and full-size spare tire provide options for all models. The availability of most other exterior features differs with each trim level.

Interior

The 2006 Ranger offers both regular- and extended-cab models, with five different trim levels available. The base XL remains truly as basic as they come, with few standard offerings beyond cloth seats and a radio. Nearly everything else, from air-conditioning to cruise control, comes optional. Take a step up to the STX or XLT models and you receive a wider range of basic features, including keyless entry and power locks, windows, and mirrors. These upgraded trims provide a CD player, while the Sport also offers an MP3 hookup. For a real audio boost, consider the Tremor package, which gives you a 510-watt Pioneer stereo system.

The dashboard and controls look straightforward and simple to use, thanks in part to the limited high-tech features. Small rear jump seats provide an option for the extended SuperCab, though they only fit smaller adults or children.

Performance & Handling

The 2006 Ford Ranger provides three engine options. The base offering, a 2.3-liter inline four-cylinder, rates at 143 horsepower and 154 lb-ft of torque. The next step up, a three-liter V-6, pushes 148 hp and 180 lb-ft of torque. The top-of-the-line, four-liter, overhead-cam V-6 generates 207 hp and 238 lb-ft of torque. A five-speed manual with overdrive serves as the standard transmission for all models, with both two- and four-wheel drive offered in most trims.

Both the base four-cylinder and the three-liter V-6 feel a bit weak, particularly when paired with the optional automatic transmission. The four-liter V-6 provides the best performance, though it does not mark the most impressive machine available in this class. The 2006 Ranger excels in offroad driving, though, especially with the FX4 packages. Overall handling and ride quality seem decent, though not up to the standards of newer competitors.

Safety

All Ford Rangers come standard with four-wheel anti-lock brakes. Ford offers no side airbags. Other safety feature options include vehicle anti-theft, a locking tailgate, power windows, and power door locks. The two-wheel drive extended SuperCab earns four out of five stars from the NHTSA for both front- and side-impact crash tests, while the Regular Cab receives a five-star rating for side impacts.

EPA Fuel Economy

Ford Ranger XL: 21/27 mpg city/highway
Ford Ranger STX: 16/21 mpg city/highway
Ford Ranger XLT: 21/27 mpg city/highway
Ford Ranger Sport: 16/21 mpg city/highway
Ford Ranger FX4 Off-Road: 14/18 mpg city/highway
Ford Ranger FX4 Level II: 14/18 mpg city/highway

You'll Like

  • Extensive list of trim levels and options
  • Functionally designed interior
  • Good offroad ability

You Won't Like

  • Outdated platform
  • Weak engines
  • Bumpy ride
  • Few modern features
  • No crew-cab model

Sum Up

Outdated model falls behind the competition in nearly every category, except for price.

If You Like This Vehicle

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