2010 Ford Ranger: Almost A Classic, Now With Side Airbags

September 11, 2009

This week, TheCarConnection.com updated its full review of the Ford Ranger for 2010, and even though we haven't driven the 2010 yet we've driven countless earlier models and can speak from experience. The Ranger is built on a design that’s absolutely ancient—we’ll get to that shortly—but Ford has finally fit side airbags to the 2010 Ranger.

The 2010 Ranger now has a very respectable safety package, including those side bags, electronic stability control with Roll Stability Control, and anti-lock brakes. About the only top safety feature it lacks—and one that’s not always on the safety list for newer designs—is side curtain bags.

That is about the only thing that’s changed on the Ranger for 2010. It’s one of the few vehicles in the Ford lineup to not yet offer Sync, for hands-free calling and easy audio interfacing, and its lineup is quite limited, with the six-foot bed you end up with in most cabs and trims (a seven-footer is offered for fleets only) just barely large enough for weekend-hauling tasks but not large enough for a 4x8 sheet of plywood.

But we don’t mind those minor downsides. Despite the rather low Overall Rating of 6.2 for its MetaReview, the Ranger remains a longtime favorite of several of us here at TheCarConnection.com because it’s one of the few pickups that keeps it simple. With the base four-cylinder engine and manual transmission, the Ranger is very fuel-efficient and just peppy enough, provided you don’t plan to tow, with low operating costs all around. The seats are disappointing (no indication from Ford that they've been improved for 2010), but the interior is simple and sturdy. It’s quite a deal at about $18k, destination included, and it hits the mark for compact shoppers while other trucks from Chevrolet, GMC, Toyota, and Nissan have become a half-step larger. For now—perhaps until the Mahindra pickup arrives next year—it’s the only true compact.

2010 Ford Ranger

2010 Ford Ranger

And as for the design, we think it’s already becoming a classic. The Ford Ranger is one of the few vehicles on the market that dates back to the early- or mid-1990s, when TheCarConnection.com hadn’t even signed on yet. And our country was more innocent. We hadn’t yet heard about Monica Lewinsky, right?

There aren’t even a handful of models that date farther back without any major redesigns—the Mercedes-Benz G-Class (Gelaendewagen, or G-wagen), the Ford Econoline vans.

Have we missed any? Let us know.

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