Trucks

How does the 2019 Ford Ranger's price stack up to its rivals?

The midsize truck segment is heating up again after a long period of cooling off and we're curious how the newest kid on the block can compare to more established competitors.

Ford

The return of the Ford Ranger is no small thing and if the companies that manufacture its competitors aren't nervous, then they probably should be. With the release of pricing information for Ford's tiny terror we thought it would be worth comparing it with the usual suspects in the midsize pickup crowd and seeing how it stacks up.

Let's start by talking about the trucks that we see as competitors for the Ranger. The biggest competitors in terms of sales are the Chevy Colorado and the Toyota Tacoma. Following those would be the Nissan Frontier and the Honda Ridgeline. These trucks all start at under $30,000, are available in two or four-wheel drive and have the ability to range way up in price from there.

The base model Ranger is the XL Supercab with six-foot bed and two-wheel drive. It comes standard with a 2.3-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder engine paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission. This starts at $24,300 and for that you get steel wheels, cloth seats and a whole lot of black plastic. Conversely, going to the Nissan Frontier which has a four-cylinder non-turbo engine and a five-speed manual transmission, you're going to pay just over $18,000.

But this is America and nobody buys the base model unless it's a work truck, so how do these trucks stack up when you open your wallet a little further? Well, the story starts to change. The Ranger with a crew cab, short bed and four-wheel drive in middle-of-the-road XLT trim will cost you around $35,000. You still get the same engine and transmission combination as in the base model but you get significantly more tech and a much more livable interior. Also gone are the steel wheels.

For similar money in Toyota town you get a bigger, simpler engine that makes less power, a nicer-looking interior, a worse infotainment system and probably a little more off-road prowess thanks to increased ground clearance. If you want something totally different, you can also look at the Honda Ridgeline Sport AWD which has a six-speed automatic, a naturally-aspirated V6 that makes around the same power as the Toyota, less off-road cred than any of the trucks we're talking about but arguably the best on-road manners and tons of clever features to make living with it easy.

At the top end of the food chain, you can get the Ranger Lariat in FX4 trim (because Ford won't give us the Ranger Raptor in the US) which has all kinds of off-road goodies including advanced terrain management software, electronic locking differentials, a bevy of skidplates and specially tuned suspension. Fully loaded, this uber-Ranger will run you just shy of $45,000. Not bad compared to a moderately optioned F-150, right?

The Chevy Colorado ZR2 goes even further than the Ranger FX4 with Multimatic Spool Valve shocks and an available diesel engine which, when you tick a few other options boxes, makes it easy to exceed $50,000. You're getting some serious off-road ability for your money but don't expect it to be quite as nice on-road as the Ranger in similar trim.

The Tacoma's top-trim is the TRD Pro is unique in that it still offers drivers the chance to get their off-road rig with a manual transmission. It too has all the requisite skid plates and crazy suspension upgrades for blasting through the desert at highly questionable speeds and it will run you just over $40,000 assuming you can keep yourself away from the TRD accessories catalog.

Nissan and Honda don't really do the performance off-road thing to the same degree as the others, so if this is what you're looking for, look elsewhere.

While we haven't yet driven the Ranger, we can say that based on pricing and features alone, it looks like a pretty good deal when put up against well-established competition and we have a sneaking suspicion that with its highly tunable EcoBoost engine that it is going to become a darling of the aftermarket in a way that the others in the category aren't.