2020 Ford Ranger Lariat FX4 4×4: Great for Work and Play!

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By Asian Journal Auto Editor

The 202 Ford Ranger is the Blue Ovals 2019 entry back into the compact truck segment – a fitting replacement for the much loved older version. Not many changes for 2020, the exterior styling on the Ranger is still a high point. While not as in your face as competitors, this truck has handsome, almost graceful lines for a well-integrated look. Short overhangs, a high beltline, steeply raked cabin windshield, trapezoid black honeycomb grill, and big fenders complete a contemporary visage. Our tester looked fabulous in its shockingly bright, Rapid Red Metallic paint.

All Rangers in Canada are 4×4 equipped. The Ranger model lineup features: XL 4×4: $29,993, XLT 4×4: $33,926, XLT 4×4 and the Lariat 4×4: $39,407.  Options and stands alone extra’s will increase the price substantially.

The XLT Lariat as tested had a five-foot box, five seats, and four conventionally opening doors. The engine powering the Ranger is the second generation Ford 2.3L twin scroll turbocharged Ecoboost four-cylinder, making 270 horsepower and 310 lb.-ft. of torque. It’s mated to a ten-speed automatic.—there is no manual transmission option. The Ranger can carry up to 1,650 lb of cargo with the short bed Crew Cab 4 x 4 configuration, and 1,560 lbs for the SuperCrew. All Ranger models have a maximum towing capacity of 7,500 lbs, (When properly equipped with tow package) which Ford says is best-in-class. Also added to our tester was the optional FX4 off Road package with 3.73 ratio electronic rear diff, splash guards, and running boards. A Sport appearance package added a spray in bedliner and the black finished wheels.

The Ranger’s cabin design is neat and well organized. Kudos to Ford for ensuring there are proper button or knobs for major functions as well as a touchscreen. The dash is neat and uncluttered with nice big dials for stereo volume and tuning. The infotainment system is powered by the latest version of Ford’s excellent SYNC3 system with an 8.0-inch touchscreen. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity is also included. There is also dual-zone climate control and heated front seats, but a heated steering wheel and heated rear seats are not available, even as options. The Lariat includes such niceties as front heated leather seats, auto-dimming mirror, satellite radio, lane-keeping assist, and a blind-spot monitoring system that adjusts for trailer length for safer lane changes in traffic. The ebony leather front seats are very supportive and comfortable, and have eight-way power with lumbar support on the Lariat. The rear seats can fold up for some extra cargo space. Storage space up front is good, with decent sized door pockets and cubby holes. The fit, finish, comfort in the interior is far better and luxurious than the Japanese competition- less utilitarian and truck like I have to say, with a more car-like ambience. So well don on that Ford!

On the road, the Rangers 2.3-liter turbo four cylinder engine offers good acceleration and cruising speed. The torque come on strong in the fully useable mid –range. Meanwhile, the manoeuvrable size, and impressive turning circle make it easy to drive. The steering is light and responsive. In typical pickup truck fashion, the Ranger is bouncy and jittery over bumps if unloaded but it’s a generally smooth ride on most surfaces. Note, the 4×4 system is part-time and for less traction situations. Terrain Management, operated by a button on the console, optimizes performance in mud, snow, sand, and other conditions  The Terrain Management system also features Ford’s low speed forward crawl control system that can operate up o to 11 km/h. Fuel economy is pretty decent  with a 10.9 L/100 km combined rating (Natural Resources Canada). Downsides are few, no heated steering wheel, or back seats and the climate control buttons are kind of small and difficult to see.

I was impressed that although you sit high, the narrow cab and smaller size means it’s not a chore to park the Ranger like a full- size truck. All in all, the new Ford Ranger is very well executed. Ford expect customers who perhaps had a Ranger in the past to  once more consider the advantages of a smaller fuel efficient truck that’s easier to drive, park, and will fit in a townhouse or condo parking space. The Rangers handy 7,500 lb of towing capacity (when equipped with its trailer brake controller and towing package) means it’s the ultimate work and play truck. Highly recommended.

2020 Ford Ranger Base priced from: $29,993 – $39,407 Plus options destination and taxes.  Website: www.ford,ca