The 2021 Ford Ranger mid-size pickup truck now comes with another available package for the base XL model. It's called the STX Special Edition package and Ford announced it this week. That's not to be confused with the STX Appearance package, or maybe it is.
The STX Special Edition costs $995, but it requires the STX Appearance package, which also costs an extra $995 on 2020 models. But the STX Appearance package requires the 101A bundle, which costs $1,135. So the 2020 Ranger XL with the STX Appearance package is $26,540, before destination ($1,195).
The 2021 Ford Ranger XL with the STX Special Edition costs $28,045, before destination and fees. That $1,505 difference adds 18-inch black alloy wheels instead of the unpainted 17-inch alloys in the Appearance package, silver interior accents, and the tech upgrades that come standard on the XLT trim. Those upgrades include an 8-inch touchscreen with Sync3 infotainment system that includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, as well as dual-zone climate control.
The XLT adds Ford's Co-Pilot360 suite of driver-assistance features, including automatic emergency braking, active lane control, blind-spot monitors with rear cross-traffic alerts, and automatic high beams. The XL does come with automatic emergency braking, so an argument could be made that the other safety systems aren't worth the upcharge.
The XLT trim starts at $28,460, without destination, making it $415 more than the XL STX Special Edition. It doesn't have the 18-inch black wheels but it does have a lot more safety tech. It also has body color bumpers instead of the black ones on the XL, and a flip-up rear bench seat on crew cab models.
Ford said 75% of Ranger customers add an appearance package, which makes sense since the STX Special Edition is the ninth appearance package for the truck, by our count. Still, with only one powertrain and two cab sizes, the Ranger can't match the customization of its F-150 full-size, full-price brother.
We'd opt for the XLT, if not for the added features, then for the simplicity in configuring it. The 2021 Ford Ranger Tremor also tempts us, so maybe we shouldn't be doling out financial advice.