2019 Ford Ranger

2020 Ford Ranger Lariat Review: A Middle of The Road Midsize Truck

2020 Ford Ranger 5
2020 Ford Ranger
In Our Opinion:
The 2020 Ford Ranger seems like its a little late to the party. There is nothing wrong with that, per se, as long as the entrance is grand. As Ford was prepping the Ranger, GM, Honda, and Toyota got a head start in the reemerging midsize truck market. After driving the 2019 Ranger last year when it was all-new, and now driving it again in 2020, we don't see the grand entrance we might have expected from Ford, especially for a truck. The Ranger isn't bad by any means, but it isn't great either. Our advice would be to jump up to an F-150 by the time you spend the money for a Ranger Lariat.
Exterior Styling
Interior Layout
Driving Dynamics
Safety & Tech Features
Everyday Functionality
Fuel Economy
Powerful Engine
Towing Capacity
Ride Quality
Dated Cabin

The Ford Ranger was all-new last year for the U.S. market and has an uphill battle in the midsize truck segment. If you plan on towing or venturing off-road but don’t need or want something big, the 2020 Ford Ranger is a truck you want on your shopping list. The Ranger’s turbocharged four-cylinder engine delivers quick acceleration and has one of the highest tow ratings in the class.

This week, we drove the 2020 Ford Ranger Lariat Supercrew 4×4 with a five-foot box. Here is how our test drive went.

Ford Ranger: What’s New For 2020?

The Ranger gets minor revisions to standard feature availability and a new optional FX2 off-road package, plus three other dealer-installed off-road packages from Ford Performance. Given the Ranger remains mostly unchanged since its debut in 2019, you might be able to save some money looking for a gently used one*. 

Trim levels for the 2020 Ford Ranger include XL, XLT, and Lariat. Iconic Silver, Rapid Red Metallic, and Race Red are new colors for 2020.

2020 Ford Ranger FX2.
2020 Ford Ranger FX2.

Standard Features: Tech & Safety

Our 2020 Ford Ranger Lariat Supercrew 4×4 tester (base price of $38,675) came standard with keyless entry, front and rear parking sensors, foglights, a remote locking tailgate, and a six-speaker stereo. During the week, we frequently used the 110-volt power outlet, USB port, and 4G Wi-Fi hotspot.

The top-trim Lariat comes with 18-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights and taillights, and an LED cargo lamp. On the inside, the Lariat trim includes leather upholstery, power-adjustable and heated front seats, universal garage door opener, and dual-zone automatic climate control. Connectivity features include an eight-inch touchscreen with Ford’s Sync 3 interface, along with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Our test truck also came with Ford Co-Pilot360, a generous suite of advanced safety features that includes things like lane-keeping assist and blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert.

2020 Ford Ranger with the Black Appearance Package.
2020 Ford Ranger with the Black Appearance Package.

Optional Equipment: Some Nice Extras

This Lariat tester came with the optional Equipment Group 501A package ($2,005). It added a remote start, navigation, adaptive cruise control, rain-sensing wipers, windshield wiper de-icer, SiriusXM Traffic and Travel Link services with a five-year subscription, and a 10-speaker Bang & Olufsen audio system.

It also came with the Black Appearance Package ($1,995), including 18-inch black wheels, spray-in bed liner, and black running boards.

What Does The 2020 Ford Ranger Cost?

Total MSRP, including destination, for our 2020 Ford Ranger Lariat was $46,910. By comparison, the 2020 Ford Ranger XL starts at $24,410; the XLT at $28,460; and the Lariat at $32,500.

We think the Ranger is competitively priced, but depending on local incentives in your area, you might be able to save a little more. This free and easy search tool will show you which dealers near you are offering the best price.  

2020 Ford Ranger interior layout.
2020 Ford Ranger interior layout.

Interior Highlights: Plenty of Room

Our Ranger Lariat had comfortable front seats and a high seating position. We found the perfect driving position as this trim comes with the eight-way power adjustments. Similarly, the telescoping steering wheel also offers a good range of adjustment. Legroom is excellent up front for taller drivers, and there’s plenty of elbow and headroom. The SuperCrew offers a good amount of backseat space for adults, and there won’t be any complaints on longer trips.

Our SuperCrew tester came with a five-foot bed that will be handy for weekend projects, but its short length and narrow width will limit what you can carry. You can opt for a longer six-foot box if needed, although the truck’s configuration will change from Supercrew to Supercab. You will have a smaller backseat in exchange for the extra bed space.

Interior Highlights: Average Overall

The leather seats and soft-touch materials are nice, but we think the Lariat still has too much hard plastic overall for a top-trim model. There’s plenty of storage for small items like your cell phone, but the traditional pull-up parking brake seems dated when many new models come with an electronic brake.

The Lariat comes with the larger eight-inch touchscreen and is intuitive for the most part. The controls are generally easy to understand, but there are too many small buttons on the climate control menu for our liking. With the advancements in the midsize truck segment today, the Ranger’s interior still seems middle of the pack.

2020 Ford Ranger: Engine & Powertrain

A 2.3-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder engine powers the 2020 Ford Ranger. The turbocharged engine generates 270 horsepower and 310 lb-ft. of torque and comes mated to a 10-speed automatic.

Towing & Payload Capacity

When equipped with the tow package and a trailer brake controller, the Ranger’s max tow rating is 7,500 lbs. Max payload, when properly equipped, is 1,860 lbs.

Gas Mileage of the 2020 Ford Ranger

EPA fuel mileage estimates come in at 20/24 city/highway and 22 combined mpg. Fuel tank capacity is 18 gallons.

2020 Ford Ranger on the open road.
2020 Ford Ranger on the open road.

Driving Dynamics: Not Always Steady

The first thing we noticed after getting behind the wheel is the Ranger’s high seating position and excellent visibility. The rearview camera and parking sensors are useful for the few times when you cannot see around the truck. However, as we found when we tested the Ranger last year, there is a fair amount of sway as we hit uneven pavement. The cabin bobs back and forth, which can make passengers feel uneasy.

We pushed the 2.3-liter EcoBoost engine at 8,000 feet elevation and dropped the transmission into Sport mode for quicker shifts. As we found last year with the Ranger, the truck has plenty of “oomph” to get you up to highway speeds. On the highway, the Ranger feels stable, but in the tight mountain corners near Denver, body roll is apparent.

Selling Points & Silver Linings

The Ranger’s 310 lb. ft of torque is perfect for towing a small trailer or camper. When driving without a trailer or payload, the 10-speed automatic contributes to the Ranger’s fuel efficiency, a selling point for the midsize truck.

Another selling point for the Ranger is the optional FX4 off-road package. For those doing serious off-pavement work, it’s one of the best in this segment. It adds off-road shocks, all-terrain tires, and a terrain-management system. We recommend the FX4 package for those who live where the snow gets deep, and ice is common.

Conclusion: Shop Around

If you plan on hauling or doing any serious off-roading, the 2020 Ford Ranger will do the job. The Ranger’s EcoBoost engine delivers quick acceleration and has one of the highest tow ratings in the class. However, the interior quality and harsh ride might be dealbreakers. Before deciding on the 2020 Ranger, we recommend taking the Colorado and Tacoma for a test drive first.

Denis Flierl has invested over 25 years in the automotive industry in a variety of roles. All of his firsthand reviews are archived on our test drives page. Follow Denis on Twitter: @CarReviewGuy

Photos: Ford Motor Company.

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