Shopping for a new Ford Ranger?
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PERFORMANCE | 6 out of 10
acceleration is adequate
Car and Driver
With three different engine options, buyers can choose the power they need out of their 2008 Ford Ranger, but no engine—nor its handling—earns the Ranger strong notices.
With the Ranger, Ford offers three engines. The base engine makes 143 hp from a 2.3-liter four-cylinder; stronger versions use a 148-hp, 3.0-liter V-6 or a 207-hp, 4.0-liter V-6. Even with over 200 hp available, though, Car and Driver says that the "flexy chassis and tepid powerplants reduce fun-to-drive index to almost zero."
ConsumerGuide has a slightly different opinion, stating, "acceleration is adequate with the 3.0-liter V-6, but we prefer Rangers with the 4.0 for its extra power." They also believe that the ride quality is "decent for trucks," reporting that Rangers "jiggle on rough roads but absorb big bumps pretty well." It is also notable that ConsumerGuide believes 2008 Ford Rangers "handle competently, with good steering feel and directional stability." They aren't the only reviewers who feel this way. Cars.com lists "maneuverability" and "driving ease" as two of the predominant "likes" about the performance of this truck.
As with most trucks reviewed by TheCarConnection.com, there are also other options available on the Ford Ranger, including rear- or four-wheel drive. The four-wheel drive can be turned on even while the truck is moving, and operates by a simple switch on the Ford. Ranger pickups have up to 6,000 pounds of towing capacity; ConsumerGuide calls them "proven workhorses."
TheCarConnection.com’s editors have driven many Rangers in the past, and have owned one as well. The 4.0-liter V-6 is the easiest version to live with, in terms of power and engine noise; conversely, there’s almost no reason to recommend the 3.0-liter V-6, since it’s not much more powerful than the four-cylinder and gets considerably worse fuel economy. In the Ranger, Ford’s workmanlike performance can be a virtue, and its steering is not bad, but those buyers looking for a cheap economy car would be better served with a real economy car—not a pickup priced like one.
The 2008 Ford Ranger’s performance isn’t bad, but if you really need an economy car, buy a car instead.