2010 Ford Ranger

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The Car Connection
The Car Connection

The Car Connection Expert Review

Bengt Halvorson Bengt Halvorson Senior Editor
September 8, 2009

Buying tip

The 2010 Mazda B-Series remains virtually identical to the 2010 Ford Ranger, with only slightly different styling; if you can find one of those at a Mazda dealership, you might be able to get an even stronger deal.

features & specs

2WD 2-Door SuperCab 126" Sport
2WD 2-Door SuperCab 126" XL
2WD 2-Door SuperCab 126" XLT
15 city / 21 hwy
22 city / 27 hwy
22 city / 27 hwy

The 2010 Ford Ranger isn’t so modern and refined, but it’s a practical, fuel-efficient, and reasonably safe choice for those who just want a truck.

In order to bring you a complete set of information on the 2010 Ford Ranger, the experts at TheCarConnection.com collect highlights from some of the Web’s leading review sources in the Full Review on adjacent pages, along with editors’ firsthand driving impressions and shopping advice in this comprehensive Bottom Line assessment of the Ranger.

The Ford Ranger hasn’t changed significantly in nearly two decades and might very well win the award of being the longest-running model line with the fewest major changes. With only a handful of refinements, the family of compact trucks has carried over with few changes in recent years. That said, the 2010 Ranger remains reasonably competitive for cost-conscious buyers needing a basic pickup, and it’s one of the few compacts remaining on the market.

Periodic minor updates have kept the Ranger's front end looking fresh even if the profile is basically the same as it was for 1993, when the Ranger was last redesigned. With overall styling that qualifies as "classic" at this point, it’s arguably more attractive than some compact trucks. Materials are better than you might think in the Ranger; the standard cloth upholstery is sturdy (the base vinyl isn’t cheerful, though), plastics aren’t overly scratch-prone, and it’s basic but not bare. The seats themselves in the 2010 Ford Ranger are a weakness, though; they’re thin, flat, and unsupportive for longer trips.

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.

Review continues below

The Ranger's 143-horsepower, 2.3-liter four-cylinder engine provides what other compact-truck buyers seek but largely fail to find in the U.S. market: good fuel economy with acceptable performance. The four-cylinder brings ratings as high as 21 mpg city, 26 highway and is a good choice for those who don’t tow and only occasionally haul heavy loads. The only other choice is a 4.0-liter V-6, making 207 horsepower; it’s standard on XL 4x4 models and most other trims.

If off-roading is what you have in mind, the 2010 Ford Ranger can be entertaining and able when properly outfitted, either with options or with the focused FX4 Off-Road model, which gets standard Rancho shocks, a Class III trailer package, skid plates, sport bucket seats, and an available Torsen limited-slip differential. The six-foot bed in the Ranger is useful for most casual use and some professional tasks, but the gold-standard 4x8 sheet of plywood just won’t make it flat (you might see Rangers out there with a seven-foot bed, but it’s a fleet-only option).

Safety has been a glaring deficiency for the Ranger in recent years, but it finally gets a huge boost for 2010. Seat-mounted side airbags are standard this year, as are electronic stability control and anti-lock brakes. The Ranger’s stability control system helps prevent conditions that might lead to rollover, but the safety list isn’t perfect; side-curtain bags still aren’t available.

Trim levels of the 2010 Ford Ranger include the XL, XLT, Sport, and the aforementioned FX4 Off-Road model. All models now come with air conditioning, but on the XL you’ll find manual windows, locks, and mirrors. XLT models get dressed up with fog lamps, a chrome grille, and step-up bumpers, plus an upgraded sound system with aux input and MP3 compatibility, while the Sport includes trailer-tow hardware, as well as upgrades in the suspension and the interior. A Class 3 trailer hitch comes with all Rangers. Options on most trims are pretty limited, with remote start, a sliding rear window, and keypad entry among the most significant additions.


2010 Ford Ranger


The 2010 Ford Ranger has gone so long without an exterior redesign that if you’re young enough, you might even think of it as a classic.

Although periodic minor updates have kept the Ranger's front end looking fresh, the 2010 Ford Ranger appears pretty much the same as it did back in 1993, when the truck was last fully redesigned (although the interior has been updated since). That said, the design has aged well and it’s almost reached the "classic" stage at this point.

Some reviewers like the Ranger’s classic tough-lite styling, but others just can't get past the lack of a complete update.

ConsumerGuide says the "basic design is more than a decade old and shows it," and MyRide.com opines that this "truck desperately needs an update." Cars.com likes the look of the Ranger Sport trim, asserting that it "conveys the assertive look and ride height of a four-wheel-drive Ranger at a lower price."

Cars.com also notes that the Ranger’s "larger fog lights improve visibility." Automedia labels the Ranger’s look, after a few minor updates, "a tad tougher and bolder." In certain trim levels, the Ranger does a good job of faking tougher credentials.

Compliments are even fewer and further apart regarding the interior of the Ford Ranger. "The Ranger's interior was last overhauled during the Clinton administration,” snipes Edmunds, “and the first term at that." The Edmunds reviewer goes on to note that "due to its aged design, it falls short in many other areas, making just about any other small or midsize pickup a better choice."

Review continues below

2010 Ford Ranger


The 2010 Ford Ranger maneuvers well and offers decent performance with the V-6, and the four-cylinder model is the choice for fuel-efficiency-minded buyers, but nearly all the pickup alternatives perform better.

The 2010 Ford Ranger has a lineup of just two engines: a base 143-horsepower, 2.3-liter inline-four or a 207-hp, 4.0-liter V-6. The four-cylinder engine is bound to impress those looking for fuel efficiency and low operating costs, while the V-6 is disappointing compared to most rival powertrains. Maneuverability is good thanks to the compact size, but don’t expect much else.

Car and Driver says the "flexy chassis and tepid powerplants reduce fun-to-drive index to almost zero" in the 2009 Ford Ranger. ConsumerGuide has a slightly different opinion, preferring the 4.0-liter engine "for its extra power." Also notable, ConsumerGuide believes that Ford Rangers "handle competently, with good steering feel and directional stability." They aren't the only reviewers who hold this opinion. Cars.com lists "maneuverability" and "driving ease" as two of the predominant "likes" about the performance of this truck.

In the 2010 Ford Ranger, simple workmanlike performance is a virtue; the Ranger’s 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. But TheCarConnection.com's editors have driven many Rangers in the past and owned one as well, and this vehicle has some redeeming qualities, especially its low maintenance costs. The 4.0-liter V-6 is the easiest version to live with, in terms of power and engine noise, but TheCarConnection.com appreciates the honest simplicity of the base four-cylinder model.

Ranger pickups offer up to 6,000 pounds of towing capacity; ConsumerGuide calls them "proven workhorses." Like most pickups, the Ranger comes in 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.

Review continues below

2010 Ford Ranger

Comfort & Quality

The 2010 Ford Ranger isn’t very comfortable, spacious, or impressive inside, but it’s solid and well built.

The 2010 Ford Ranger clearly lags behind rivals in terms of space and comfort, but it’s not as far behind its rivals in refinement as you might think.

With the Chevrolet Colorado, Toyota Tacoma, and Nissan Frontier moved into a larger size class, Ford arguably retains the only true compact pickup. With the Ranger, Ford offers SuperCab models with two rear-hinged doors and Regular Cab versions with very little space between the seats and the rear glass. ConsumerGuide criticizes the rear seat in SuperCab Rangers as "skimpy, cramped, and thus best used for toddlers or cargo," and adds that "entry and exit borders on awkward." Edmunds concurs, claiming the truck's "inward facing jump seats are a quaint reminder of days gone by, but are terrible as a seating option."

In front, the space story is a bit better. ConsumerGuide says the truck has "good headroom and legroom up front," but "three adults are a tight squeeze" for the front. The basic front seats are, in truth, not bad; Edmunds finds them to be "acceptable unless you're of tall stature."

Ford installs better materials into the Ranger than are found in many compact trucks. It may not be roomy, but Cars.com lists "build quality" as one of its favorite things about the truck. ConsumerGuide even states, "all models we've tested have been solidly built."

A tight, jarring ride is pretty much expected in a pickup, but the Ranger isn’t so bad in this respect. ConsumerGuide indicates that the ride quality is "decent for trucks," reporting that Rangers "jiggle on rough roads but absorb big bumps pretty well."

Review continues below

2010 Ford Ranger


The 2010 Ford Ranger has lackluster crash-test scores, but bolstered safety features—including new side bags—should improve them somewhat.

Safety has been a glaring deficiency for the Ranger in recent years, but it finally gets a boost for 2010.

Thanks to Ford, several features not previously offered are now standard across the model line. Seat-mounted side airbags are included on all Ranger models for 2010, as are electronic stability control and anti-lock brakes. The Ranger’s stability control system helps prevent conditions that might lead to rollover, but the safety list isn’t perfect; side curtain bags still aren’t available.

Although the body structure of the 2010 Ford Ranger hasn’t significantly changed, the new side bags should improve the Ranger’s side-impact safety scores, but other scores aren't great. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) gives the 2009 Ford Ranger "acceptable" and "poor" ratings for frontal and rear impacts, respectively, in its assessments. Side impact tests result in a "marginal" rating. In federal-government frontal-impact tests, the Ranger previously earned four out of five stars for frontal protection.

You might want to keep one detail in mind if you’re thinking of carrying children in the small backseat of the extended cab models: The IIHS says “the side-facing rear jump seats weren’t tested because they are not recommended for safe transport.” That arrangement hasn’t changed for 2010, so beware.

Anti-lock brakes and electronic stability control are now standard on the 2009 Ford Ranger.


2010 Ford Ranger


Though the feature set is simple, value for the money is especially strong for the 2010 Ford Ranger, especially at the affordable end of the model line.

Most drivers looking for a basic compact pickup won’t be disappointed with the feature set in the 2010 Ford Ranger.

One reason is its very appealing price. Air conditioning is standard across the model line. And when comparing it to other trucks in the same class, it's no wonder Car and Driver calls it "attractively priced." The 2009 Ford Ranger costs less than most competitors.

From a functionality standpoint, there might be a few disappointments related to its size. All versions of the Ranger sport a six-foot bed that's useful for some weekend and professional needs, but the ubiquitous 4x8 sheet of plywood won't fit.

Trim levels include the XL, XLT, Sport, and an FX4 Off-Road model. In the Off-Road edition, Ford has an entertaining vehicle, if that's the purpose you have in mind. The 2009 Off-Road Edition Ford Ranger gets standard Rancho shocks, a Class III trailer package, skid plates, sport bucket seats, and an available Torsen limited-slip differential. Edmunds calls the vehicle "competent off-road."

Edmunds lists one of the main options as the bed size of the Ranger; Ford offers a six-foot bed "on all cab styles and trims, but a seven-foot bed is optional on the regular-cab XL and XLT." The standard material on the seats for most trims is cloth, but vinyl is standard on the base XL and leather is available at the top of the range. Satellite radio is available on all 2009 Ford Ranger pickups.

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