Intro: In a market where supposed "compact" trucks have steadily ballooned in size, the Ford Ranger holds its ground as a truly nimble and utilitarian small pickup. For 2011, the Ranger is unchanged; delivering versatility and fuel efficiency to buyers who don't need the capacity of its full-size workhorse brethren.
The Ranger comes as base XL, XLT, and Sport trims, and is offered with various cab and bed configurations. Our test XLT model featured an extended cab, standard fog lights, tow hooks, 16-inch aluminum alloy wheels, and a bed liner.
Performance: The base engine for the Ranger is a 2.3-liter inline-4 sending 143 horsepower and 154 pound feet of torque to the rear wheels through either a 5-speed manual or optional 5-speed automatic transmission. Our test model came equipped with the up-rated 4-liter V6 sending 207 horsepower and 238 pound feet of torque through either a 5-speed manual or optional 5-speed automatic, to the rear wheels or shift on the fly four-wheel drive with low range.
Fuel Economy: Here are the highest and lowest EPA estimates for fuel economy:
Features: Inside, our XLT features a stylish two-tone cloth interior. Its rear half-doors give way to fold-out jump seats, perfectly sized for children.
The standard stereo on the XLT is an AM/FM/CD/MP3 capable unit with an audio input jack and a 6-month subscription to Sirius satellite radio.
The Ranger has a minimum payload capacity 1,160-pounds, while towing capacity ranges from 1,580 to an impressive 6,000 pounds based on equipment selected.
Safety: Standard safety features include 4-wheel antilock disc brakes; roll stability control with AdvanceTrac, tire pressure monitoring system, and a full array of front and side impact airbags.
Pricing/Warranty: Base MSRP for the 2011 Ford Ranger is $17,935. A 4-wheel drive, extended cab, Sport model starts at $26,025. The Ranger is backed by a 5-year, 60,000-mile powertrain warranty.
Summary: While the large size and hefty price of a full-size pickup truck may deter some buyers,... genuine practicality, a sub-$18,000 starting price, and noteworthy fuel-efficiency, make the 2011 Ford Ranger, an impressive offering as one of the last true "compact" pickups to grace the American road.