Ford Ranger

Like big brother F-150, the Ranger spans a broad price and equipment range, and can be equipped for a wide range of uses. There are three different cab configurations (Regular Cab, and 2- or 4-door Super Cab), two bed lengths (6-foot or 7-foot) and two engines (2.3L 4-cylinder or 4.0L V6). 4-wheel drive is also available.

Two different engines are offered on the Ranger. A 2.3L 4-cylinder engine that makes 143 horsepower and 154 pounds-feet of torque is standard for the base XL and XLT Regular Cab and 2-door Super Cab. A 4.0L V6 engine making 207 horsepower and 238 pounds-feet of torque is also available. Both engines come standard with a 5-speed manual transmission or an optional 5-speed automatic.

The base XL is modestly equipped with manual side mirrors, roll-up windows, black vinyl flooring and air conditioning. The XLT adds a more accommodating interior and improved exterior appearance with sport bucket seats, CD player and a 60/40-split bench seat. The Sport trim further improves the Ranger's appearance with mud flaps and a selection of upgraded wheels as standard. Sport Super Cab trucks offer standard step bars, while the 4-wheel drive Sport Super Cab is equipped with standard skid plates to protect major components on the truck's underbody.

Standard safety features include driver and front passenger airbags, seat-mounted side air bags, seatbelt pre-tensioners, load limiting retractors, driver-seat position sensing and crash severity sensing, side intrusion door beams, tire pressure monitoring system, 4-wheel anti-lock brakes, SecuriLock Passive Anti-Theft System (PATS) and AdvanceTrac with Roll Stability Control.

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Editors' First Take

At a glance, the Hennessey VelociRaptor looks to be the answer to a question many have asked: When will we get a Ford Ranger Raptor in the US? Ford sells a hard-core, off-road version of its midsize Ranger pickup in other countries, but has no plans to offer this decidedly badass truck on American soil (yet). Thankfully, what the Blue Oval denies, Hennessey provides. But maybe don't reach for your checkbook just yet.

Boost, baby, boost

Texas-based Hennessey Performance knows a thing or two about tuning Ford trucks. The company builds several go-fast versions of the F-150, as well as the already-bonkers, fullsize F-150-based Raptor. Here, the Ranger's 2.3-liter turbocharged I4 gets a power bump, too, thanks to new engine management software and a high-flow air intake. The result is a healthy 360 horsepower and 440 pound-feet of torque -- gains of 90 and 130, respectively, over the stock pickup. Hennessey says this shaves more than two seconds off the Ranger's acceleration time, with 60 miles per hour arriving in a scant 4.9 seconds. That's as quick as a base Porsche 718 Cayman.

The Ranger's 10-speed automatic gearbox carries over unchanged. I find this transmission to be a nice match for the stock engine, but it seems a bit dimwitted when tasked with delivering the VelociRaptor's extra power. Peak torque arrives at 3,800 rpm, so there's some lag off the line, and the transmission is a bit too eager to upshift as you dig into the heart of the powerband.

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