2010 Ford Ranger
Ford keeps its streak alive with its compact Ranger pickup. The Ranger returns for another year with no changes, as Ford prepares to end production sometime in 2011.
The Ranger is a true compact truck, sized below the mid-size Toyota Tacoma, Dodge Dakota and Nissan Frontier. Only GM's truck twins, the GMC Canyon and Chevrolet Colorado, still offer the smaller dimensions in the truck class. That's a vice and a virtue: the Ranger still offers good fuel economy and easy parkability, but can't haul the goods like some of the larger trucks.
The 2010 Ford Ranger remains available in four- and six-cylinder forms, in rear- or four-wheel drive, and in two-door Regular Cab and four-door SuperCab configurations. There’s no true four-door version of the Ranger, but the SuperCab has two small access doors for cargo stowage.
Entry-level versions (and the majority of trucks sold to fleet buyers) come with a 143-horsepower, 2.3-liter four-cylinder engine with fuel economy as high as 21/26 mpg, when equipped with the automatic transmission. An optional 4.0-liter V-6 turns in 207 horsepower, and is standard on XL 4x4 models and most other trims. Four-wheel drive is offered, and the Ranger comes in three bed sizes--a special seven-foot bed is made for fleet buyers--but none will load in the standard 4x8 sheet of plywood.
Three versions are offered--XL, XLT and Sport. The Ranger XL has air conditioning as a plus, but manual windows, locks, and mirrors as a minus. The XLT adds fog lamps, a chrome grille, and step-up bumpers, along with a nicer sound system, an auxiliary jack and the ability to play MP3-encoded CDs. Sport versions come with trailer-towing hardware, an improved interior and a slightly retuned suspension. The short options list includes remote start, a sliding rear window, and keypad entry.
Last year, the Ranger adopted standard seat-mounted side airbags and electronic stability control. Curtain airbags still aren't offered, and likely won't be in the Ranger's lifespan.
The Ranger remains reasonably competitive for cost-conscious buyers needing a basic pickup, and it’s one of the few compacts remaining on the market. For shoppers blending utility with ride comfort and car-like features, the better choices include the Nissan Frontier and even the not-quite-full-size Honda Ridgeline.
For an in-depth review, see TheCarConnection's full review of the 2010 Ford Ranger.