The 2021 Ford Ranger is smaller than the F-150 but still a capable pick-up. It comes in a variety of trims and with two different cabs and beds so you can choose the compact truck that works best for you.
Base Price: $31,075
As Tested: $37,205
Mileage: 20 mpg city/24 mpg highway/22 mpg combined
Ford brought back the Ranger for 2019 after a break of several years. The 2021 Ranger gets the new Tremor off-road package – that’s the only major change from the 2020 model.
The 2021 Ranger comes in SuperCab (extended cab) and SuperCrew configurations and three trims: XL, XLT and Lariat. The SuperCab has room for four passengers with small, rear-hinged rear doors and has a six-foot bed. The SuperCrew has room for five and normal rear doors with a five-foot bed. Starting prices range from $24,820 to $39,035. These are low for the class.
You can add four-wheel-drive for around $4,000, and there are several different packages and options, including appearance packages, a bed utility package and trailer tow package, so you can get the features you want. The Ranger has payload capacities of 1,560 to 1,860 pounds, which is impressive for a small pick-up, and a towing capacity of up to 7,500 pounds, also excellent for the class.
All Rangers get the same engine: a turbocharged 2.3-liter four-cylinder that makes 270 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque, paired with a 10-speed automatic. The Ranger is quick off the line with little turbo lag, and there’s enough power for most driving situations, including when the Ranger is hauling or towing. Steering is responsive and the 10-speed shifts smoothly and quickly. The ride is fairly stiff but not jarring. Visibility is good all the way around. The Ranger is easy to drive and handles more like an SUV or crossover than a pick-up.
The Ranger doesn’t have the off-road prowess of some rivals but it’s no slouch when equipped with the FX2, FX4 or Tremor package. The Tremor package features a lifted, off-road tuned suspension, 9.7 inches of ground clearance, 32-inch Continental General Grabber all-terrain tires, and six-switch auxiliary power pack to manage accessories including winches, light bars and air compressors. Ford says the Tremor package creates the most off-road-ready factory-built Ranger ever offered in the U.S.
Fuel efficiency is pretty good for the class. EPA ratings for my tester are 20 mpg highway and 24 mpg highway with a combined rating of 22. I got 21 mpg during my week with a mix of city and highway driving.
The interior is pleasant and functional but not as upscale as some competitors. There’s a fair amount of hard plastics. My SuperCrew tester has comfortable seats and decent leg- and headroom in both rows. Controls are laid out in a logical fashion and easy to see and reach.
The base model doesn’t have many standard features. They include a rearview camera, cloth upholstery, a USB port, Bluetooth, four speakers, and a Wi-Fi hot spot.
Available features include remote start, push-button start, dual-zone automatic climate control, premium cloth upholstery, vinyl upholstery, leather upholstery, power-adjustable front seats, heated front seats, SYNC infotainment system with 4.2-inch screen and voice-control, SYNC 3 infotainment system with eight-inch touchscreen, navigation, six- or 10-speaker audio system, 10-speaker Bang & Olufsen audio system, satellite radio, HD Radio, two USB ports, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, and Ford’s MyKey system, which lets you set things like vehicle speed and audio volume limits for your teen drivers.
Standard driver assistance technologies include forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking.
Available driver assistance technologies include cruise control, adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitoring, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, rear cross traffic alert with trailer coverage, and front and rear parking sensors.
It’s probably worth upgrading to the larger SYNC 3 infotainment system with eight-inch touchscreen instead of the SYNC system with a 4.2-inch screen. The SYNC 3 system looks great, responds quickly to commands, and also comes with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.
Excellent towing and hauling capabilities for the class
Easy to drive
Good fuel economy
Available with two cabin and bed sizes
Available Android Auto and Apple CarPlay
Cabin not as upscale as rivals
Not many standard features
My tester starts at $31,075. Equipment Group 101A is $1,135 and adds XL Series and cruise control. STX Special Edition Package is $995. Ford Co-Pilot360 is $625. Trailer tow package is $495. Securicode keyless keypad is $95. STX Appearance package and fog lamps are $1,095. Toughbed spray-in bedliner is $495. Delivery fee is $1,195 bringing the grand total to $37,205.
The 2021 Ford Ranger is a well-rounded small pick-up. It’s easy to drive, has good towing and payload capabilities, gets decent fuel economy, and can be outfitted for off-roading. It’s worth checking out if you want a compact truck.