Ford, Road Test Reviews

2019 Ford Ranger Lariat – Road Test

This is a special road test for me. I’ve been desperate to get behind the wheel of the All-New 2019 Ranger since it was announced back in 2017/18.
Although it’s “all-new” for North America, it isn’t actually new – it debuted in Australia back in 2012 and hasn’t been upgraded since, so it’s certainly not “all new” and not even close to being “new,” unless 7 years is considered new. Oddly enough, there is an all-new version arriving in 2020 for Australia, Asia and Europe – but not for North America. But all this doesn’t really matter because the 2019 Ranger is All-New for us and that’s all that matters at this point. Two questions come up right away: 1) has it been worth the wait for its return? and 2) is it better than the previous Ranger? Short answers are YES and YES

What Is It?
• Mid-size Pickup
• Available in Supercab (6’ box) and Supercrew (5’ box) configurations
• 4×4 is standard in Canada, 4×2 is an option in the U.S.
• Three available models: XL has Standard, Chrome or XLT Package options,
• XLT and Lariat models have Standard, Chrome or SPORT packages to personalize
• All models have the option of adding an FX4 Off-Road Package, Trailer Tow Package and Bed Utility Package (plastic drop-in bedliner)
• All models come with a 2.3L Twin-Scroll EcoBoost engine producing 270 hp and 310 lb-ft. of torque and 10-Speed SelectShift Automatic Transmission
• 4WD
• Auto Start-Stop
• Stuffed with safety features the 2011 model could only dream of
• Payload Capacity: 1,860 (best in class)
• Towing Capacity: 7,500 lbs (best in class – gas)

How Does It Look?
• I LOVE the look of the Ranger and the size is just about perfect – not everyone wants a big F-150 as a daily driver
• Lariat models come with leather seating as standard
• The standard version has body-coloured lower front bumper (my preference)
• The Chrome Package has a chromed lower bumper and the Sport gets a black bumper
• The rims on the standard version are more appealing to me also
• The test model came in the unique Hot Pepper Red Metallic Tint colour (+$550 and worth every penny) – which I loved, not only because it’s so much different from your usual boring silver/white/black/grey paintjobs that permeate society, but because it looked great in the sun. Note – if you want this colour it’s been discontinued for the 2020 model year

What’s It Like Inside?
• Leather-trimmed heated front seats, with driver’s power (front/back, up/down) and lumbar, manual seatback adjustment
• The seats are VERY comfortable – it’s not often I set a seat at the beginning of my tests and don’t have to fiddle with it all week
• The B&O Sound System (Bang & Olufsen by Harmon) pumps 675 watts of digitally processed sound through 10 high-performance speakers and is a MUST have
• Centre dash is attractive and easy to get used to the various button and knobs
• An abundance of legroom for rear passengers – virtually flat floor
• Flip the seat up and there’s plenty of storage in the back
• Compartments under the seat aren’t very big – I have no idea where I’d store my straps etc. in this truck
• Very quiet and hushed interior

So How Quick Is It & How Does It Handle?
• It’s pretty quick – you won’t lay patches on the tarmac, but it’s more than adequate for every day driving and when you need to enter the highway
• It doesn’t ever feel heavy or lethargic – I can’t say that for my 2011 V6 Ranger
• The 2.3L Twin-Scroll EcoBoost engine is a perfect match to this Ranger
• Steering input is very good
• It feels kind of bobbly at times – it’s just the nature of a 4×4 pickup truck, but most of the time it’s solid and very enjoyable to drive
• Brakes are superb, they just grab and stop without any fuss
• Ranger comes with a standard 3,500-lb. towing capacity, Trailer Sway Control and more
• Best-In-Class Maximum Towing Capacity is: 3, 402 kg (7,500 lbs) with Class IV Trailer Tow Package ($600)
• Tows and hauls more than the V-6 gasoline offerings from GM and Toyota

Horsepower: 270 @ 5,550 rpm
Torque: 310 @ 3,000 rpm
Top Speed: 177 km/h / 110 mph
0-60 mph (sec): 7.3 (estimate)

What Does It Cost? For up-to-date pricing in your region visit: or
To Buy…
The base price for the Ranger starts at a realistic $31,069
The Lariat base price is $42,289
As Tested: $50,059

To Operate…
• Rated at (L/100 km): City -11.7 / Highway – 9.8 / Combined – 10.7
• I averaged 11.3 L/100 km around town and 8.3 L/100 km consistently on the highway
• Auto Start-Stop is a nice bonus to squeeze even more out of the fuel tank while you sit at the lights

• Basic: 3 years/60,000 km
• Powertrain: 5 years/100,000 km
• Roadside Assistance: 5 years/100,000 km

Noteworthy Standard Features
• Leather-Trimmed Seating
• 8-Way Power, Heated Front Seats
• Remote keyless entry with remote tailgate lock
• Intelligent Access with Push-Button Start – makes life a whole lot easier, leave the fob in your pocket and just get on with life
• FordPass Connect (Wi-Fi Hotspot) – works with the FordPass smartphone app to let you control Ranger remotely
• Engine Block Heater
• SYNC3 with AppLink
• Remote start using your smartphone (FordPass app)

Safety Features (Standard)

Pre-Collision Assist with Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB) includes Pedestrian Detection and Forward Collision Warning with Brake Support
• Rear View Camera
Trailer Sway Control can monitor the motions of the truck to detect trailer sway and selectively apply the brakes as needed to help you maintain control
• MyKey
Curve Control – if you drive too fast into a corner the system can sense it and reduces throttle response and the ABS system to keep you safe
Traction control
AdvanceTrac with Roll Stability Control
• Hill Start Assist

• Pre-Collision Assist with Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB)
• Rear View Camera with Dynamic Hitch Assist
• Auto High-Beam Headlamps
• BLIS (Blind Spot Information System) with Trailer Coverage and Cross-Traffic Alert
• Lane-Keeping Assist and Driver Alert (can apply steering wheel torque if it detects you drifting out of your lane, and also uses steering wheel vibrations to help alert the driver)
• Adaptive Cruise Control
• Voice-Activated Touchscreen Navigation System with SiriusXM Traffic and Travel Link

Noteworthy Options On Test Vehicle

Sport Appearance Package ($500): 17″ Magnetic-painted aluminum wheels, Magnetic-painted grille surround, bumpers, fender vent surrounds and wheel-lip moldings, SPORT box decals
Equipment Group 501A ($3,000): B&O Premium HD Satellite Radio, Sync3, Navigation Technology Package, Adaptive Cruise Control, Remote Start
– TRAIL CONTROL (acts as a low-speed cruise control, maintaining your selected speed from 1 to 30 km/h. It manages acceleration and braking – sending power and braking to each individual wheel as needed)
– TERRAIN MANAGEMENT SYSTEM (select any of the 4 modes – Normal, Grass/Gravel/Snow, Mud/Ruts and Sand. The system automatically calibrates engine responsiveness, transmission gearing, and vehicle control systems to provide the optimum traction, driveability and performance)
Running Boards ($700)
Spray-In Bedliner ($600) – one thing to note: it doesn’t pray down between the box and tailgate like the aftermarket companies do, that’s just asking to be a rust spot in the future
Rain-Sensing Windshield Wipers
Adaptive Cruise Control
Forward and Reverse Sensing Systems
Heated Wiper Park (Windshield Wiper De-Icer) – this is very handy for those of us in the colder climates

The Competition
Chevrolet Canyon, Honda Ridgeline, Nissan Frontier, Toyota Tacoma

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly
• The Good: Everything – I didn’t think Ford could do it, but I absolutely LOVE the Ranger and want one
• The Bad: No heated steering wheel and only the driver’s window is one-touch up/down
• The Ugly: Interior storage compartments are very limited

2019 Ford Ranger, Iain Shankland,,

Very similar in size to the 2016-19 F-150

What’s The Verdict?
Everyone… and I mean EVERYONE that talked to me about the Ranger said exactly the same thing: “It’s essentially the same price as the F-150, so why would I buy that if it’s only a couple of thousand dollars less?”

I responded to every one of them: “It’s NOT the same price as the F-150 – it’s much cheaper when you compare the options – especially with the new safety features… and YES it’s worth it!”

You can’t compare a fully loaded Ranger to a bare-bones F-150 work truck that nobody wants. The equivalent F-150 STARTS at $4,000 more than the Ranger that arrives fully loaded – the REAL spread is closer to $10,000… maybe more. Hopefully the message is finally getting through to people because in the first half of 2019, Ranger sales have already surpassed 2012 and the very steep discounts Ford were throwing at the 2011 models to clear them out.

If you compare the price of the 2019 Ranger to the 2011 Ranger, they are VERY close in price but the 2019 version has so many more things included as standard – as well as things that weren’t even available back then, such as a 10-speed transmission, backup camera, brake assist, trailer sway control, tilt/telescope wheel, cruise control, lumbar on front seats …and the list goes on. 4×4 is now standard, 310 lb-ft torque (Vs. 238 for the V6) and 270 hp (Vs. 209)

Why Was the Ranger Discontinued In 2011?
Ford’s reasoning for discontinuing the Ranger back in 2011 was they wanted to push people into the F-150 since they are very close in price and it would in-turn increase the sales numbers for the F-150. Only Ford knows if that was a smart move or not.

U.S. sales of the Ranger went from a high of just under 121,000 in 2005 to a low of 55,364 in 2010. The following year – its final model year in 2011, Ford sold a total of 70,832 (more than a 27% increase) PLUS an additional 23,848 in 2012 – making it 94,680 in total for the 2011 model year in sales! What does that tell you? People WANTED the smaller Ranger over the bulky F-150 and they bought them in greater numbers before they disappeared.

I was one of them. I bought a 2011 Ranger Sport in April of 2012 with 42 kms on the clock – most of them by me on the test drive. I still own it today and love it – I won’t sell it because 1) it’s bullet-proof, nothing breaks on these trucks and 2) it’s only got 40,000 kms on it and it is just as mint as the day I picked it up at the dealership – better in fact, because I’ve added a spray-in bed liner, bull bar, step bars and an aftermarket stereo.

Copyright © 2019 by Iain Shankland. All rights reserved.
Text: Iain Shankland / Images: Iain Shankland