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2020 Ford Ranger vs. 2020 Toyota Tacoma: Compare Trucks

April 23, 2020
2020 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro

2020 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro

Mid-size pickup trucks are the new sport utility vehicles. Owning one also makes you one of the most popular people in the neighborhood. 

The 2020 Ford Ranger and 2020 Toyota Tacoma fulfill their sporting utility in similar ways and earn an identical TCC Ratings of 5.0 out of 10. 

But that’s like saying every house in any subdivision is the same. The difference between these mid-size trucks is in the details. 

The Tacoma benefits from a slew of different models, including the range-topping TRD Pro off-road conqueror. The 2020 Ranger is more modern than the small truck you may remember but it still prides itself on basic work truck bona fides. Here’s a closer look. 

MORE: Read our 2020 Toyota Tacoma and 2020 Ford Ranger full reviews

Style and performance

The “Taco” has aged well, and Toyota’s mild updates keep the bestselling mid-size truck fresh. Flared fenders, a broad but vertical nose, as well as a stamped tailgate give it a general’s presence in the field. It comes with a short 5-foot bed in double-cab configurations or a 6-foot bed with an extended cab. The TRD Pro off-road model adds all the flourishes, including a snorkel and Army Green paint, that gives it an edge the 2020 Ford Ranger just doesn’t have.

 

2020 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro

2020 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro

2020 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro

2020 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro

2020 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro

2020 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro

 The Ranger is no slouch but its front end leans more to the Explorer side of things than the F-150. Body style configurations are the same as the Tacoma, but Ford gussies up the working truck for a night on the town in the Lariat trim, which upgrades from 16-inch steel wheels on the base XL model to 18-inch aluminum wheels and heated leather seats, as well as other SUV-like creature comforts. 

But a soft-riding comfort vehicle the Ranger is not. Its 2.3-liter turbo-4 and 10-speed automatic transmission make 270 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque. The turbo-4 and the 10-speed get the best fuel economy in the mid-size class with EPA ratings of 20 mpg city, 24 highway, 22 combined with four-wheel drive. It’s more potent, more efficient, and more capable than Toyota’s V-6, and the Ranger can tow up to 7,500 pounds when properly equipped. But it is one bouncy ride, thanks in part to a solid rear axle and too much body motion. 

The Tacoma uses a similar independent front suspension and leaf-sprung solid rear axle, so it can be bouncy and loud in the cabin as well. But it’s more composed than the Ranger and better handles double duty as an everyday worker and weekend adventurer. The TRD Pro adds Fox shocks and other off-road equipment such as a snorkel to make it the off-roader of choice, but at a steep price starting above $45,000. The Tacoma comes standard with a 159-hp 2.7-liter inline-4 that is easy to pass over for a 3.5-liter V-6 with 6-speed automatic transmission or 6-speed manual that makes 278 hp and 265 lb-ft. Properly equipped, the Tacoma can tow up to 6,800 pounds. With a V-6 and automatic transmission, the Tacoma is rated by the EPA at 18/22/20 mpg.

The Ranger has a more practical powertrain but the Tacoma has a far greater range for more nuanced needs. 

2019 Ford Ranger

2019 Ford Ranger

2019 Ford Ranger

2019 Ford Ranger

2019 Ford Ranger

2019 Ford Ranger

Comfort, safety, and features

The 2020 Toyota Tacoma comes better equipped than the 2020 Ford Ranger. In addition to standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility with a 7.0-inch touchscreen, the Tacoma comes with automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, automatic high beams, and adaptive cruise control. 

Base Tacoma SR models with the double cab start at $27,170 (including $1,120 destination), while the TRD Pro off-road model with its Fox shocks and 8.0-inch touchscreen tops $45,000. The best value is a step up from the base in the $28,945 SR5 double cab with the short bed, which comes with a power-sliding rear window (V-6 only) and 10-way power-adjustable driver’s seat. Adding the V-6 ($2,975) with four-wheel drive bumps up the price about $5,500 total in the SR and SR5 models. TRD Sport and above come with the V-6 standard.

2020 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro

2020 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro

  

The Ranger doesn’t have the trim spread like the Tacoma, but has a similar price structure. The base XL is really basic, with no touchscreen or smartphone software, though it does have standard automatic emergency braking. The $25,605 (including $1,195 destination) extended cab cost reflects this basic proposition, and the double cab adds $2,400 to make it more expensive than the better-equipped base Tacoma. Four-wheel drive adds about $4,000 across the board. The Ranger can also eclipse $45,000 in Lariat trim with options such as adaptive cruise control, remote start, upgraded sound system, and more. We prefer the XLT with Ford’s suite of safety features, 8.0-inch touchscreen, four doors, four-wheel drive, and the FX4 off-road package for just under $40,000. 

2020 Ford Ranger FX2

2020 Ford Ranger FX2

The 2020 Ford Ranger might be the more practical choice for everyday needs, but the 2020 Toyota Tacoma stands out more in physical presence, standard features, and overall value.


Summary

5.0
Expert Rating
Myriad detail upgrades keep the 2020 Toyota Tacoma competitive in the increasingly competitive mid-size pickup truck market.
5.0
Expert Rating
The 2020 Ford Ranger mid-size pickup is a willing companion to weekend adventures. It’s our worst best friend.

Styling

6.0
Expert Rating
The 2020 Toyota Tacoma checks many of the right boxes in the tough truck styling department.
Read More
6.0
Expert Rating
The Ranger skips pretense and heads straight into our good graces.
Read More

Performance

5.0
Expert Rating
The 2020 Toyota Tacoma offers competitive performance but ride quality leaves something to be desired.
Read More
5.0
Expert Rating
The 2020 Ranger’s small turbo-4 is up to the task, but the ride seems less confident.
Read More

Comfort & Quality

4.0
Expert Rating
The 2020 Toyota Tacoma leaves lots to be desired in the passenger-hauling department.
Read More
6.0
Expert Rating
The 2020 Ranger nails the pickup basics: bed in the back, room in the cab for up to four.
Read More

Safety

5.0
Expert Rating
While updated results haven’t been released, the 2020 Toyota Tacoma manages average crash test scores but includes great standard active safety technology.
Read More
3.0
Expert Rating
Poor crash-test scores don’t help the 2020 Ranger’s safety scorecard.
Read More

Features

7.0
Expert Rating
The 2020 Toyota Tacoma gets some much-needed technology and features updates with its refresh.
Read More
6.0
Expert Rating
Options abound for the mid-size 2020 Ranger, but they can stack up quickly.
Read More

Fuel Economy

3.0
Expert Rating
The 2020 Toyota Tacoma is middle of the road when it comes to its fuel economy.
Read More
4.0
Expert Rating
The 2020 Ranger is fuel-efficient among mid-size pickups.
Read More

MSRP

from $26,050
from $24,110

Invoice

from $24,422
from $23,387

Fuel Economy - Combined City and Highway

21
18

Engine

Regular Unleaded I-4, 2.7 L
Intercooled Turbo Regular Unleaded I-4, 2.3 L

Drivetrain

Rear Wheel Drive Read Full Specs
Rear Wheel Drive Read Full Specs
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