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The 2021 Ford Ranger is a solid performer. As a mid-size pickup, it has the size that many potential buyers are looking for, and it's not burdened by being too large or inefficient. Inside its cabin, there are plenty of things to appreciate. Ford has priced the Ranger so that it can be a reasonable purchase for an average customer. The three trims provide some options in terms of how many amenities people can get with their new trucks.
What's New for 2021?
Ford has mostly kept the Ranger the same when transitioning it over from the 2020 to the 2021 model year. The only changes that have been made are cosmetic. There are four new exterior colors, which are two kinds of gray, a modern orange hue, and a bright blue. There's also a Black appearance package that - as its name suggests - gives the truck a number of dark accents.
Top 10 Reasons to Buy a 2021 Ford Ranger – The Pros
1. Feels Athletic
Powered by a turbocharged engine with a displacement of 2.3 liters, the Ford Ranger feels pretty agile. It's responsive and quick, and drivers will feel that they have the power they need to handle a variety of tasks. The ten-speed automatic transmission helps in this regard. The engine can pump out 270 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque.
2. Capable of Conquering the Trail
Rear-wheel drive is what's standard with the Ford Ranger, and all-wheel drive is available. Many people decide to equip their trucks with all-wheel drive because of its enhanced traction. If someone wants even more capability, there are a few off-road packages available. They can give the truck special suspension, durable tires with aggressive tread, and a locking rear differential, among other components. These elements can make a big difference when it comes to off-roading in tough conditions.
The available Terrain Management System allows the truck to make adjustments to its engine throttle and shifting precision. The terrain modes include mud/ruts, sand, and grass/gravel/snow.
3. Ready to Haul
This truck can tow up to 7,500 pounds. This is quite a bit of weight, and the Ranger makes it seem simple. With Trailer Sway Control, the truck is ready to do what it takes to keep everything steady. The backup camera can be useful when getting the truck into position to hook up to a trailer.
4. Looks Rugged
The Ford Ranger certainly looks like it's right at home in the woods or in the backcountry. It sits high off the ground and can ride on 16-, 17-, or 18-inch wheels. In the various trims, the front grille is some form of black or black mesh, and it gives an extra sense authority to the truck. There are available running boards and fog lamps. Depending on one's preference, the truck can come with chrome or black exterior accents.
5. The Price is Right
Trucks aren't exactly the cheapest types of vehicles out there. Their size and the quality of their mechanical components often makes them fairly expensive.
Price is one reason why the Ranger can appeal to a lot of people. The XL, which is the base model, has a starting price that's less than $25,000. The mid-level trim, the XLT, is about $29,000. This isn't too steep, so this trim should be a popular one. Even the Lariat trim is priced under $33,000, and this could be half of what some other high-end models cost.
6. Multiple Driver-Assist Systems
In the 2021 Ford Ranger, there could be several advanced safety systems in place to keep people safe. In the base model, automatic emergency braking is standard. This gives the truck the ability to slow itself down in an effort to avoid rear-ending another vehicle.
On the other trims, there are also automatic high beams, blind spot monitoring, and rear cross-traffic alert. The blind spot monitoring can take the length of a trailer into account. It can be very reassuring to know that a vehicle can actually work to prevent accidents.
7. Ready to Connect to the Network
Every Ford Ranger has FordPass Connect technology. This gives the vehicle the ability to act as a Wi-Fi hotspot. Anywhere from one to ten devices can connect to the hotspot at the same time. The network has a reach that extends to about 50 feet outside of the vehicle.
A SYNC 3 interface is standard on the top two trims and available on the lowest trim. It provides an easy way to connect a smartphone to the vehicle's infotainment system. People can quickly look up certain kinds of information stored on their phones, make calls and send texts, and more. The eight-inch touchscreen is large enough so that its text is clearly visible, and it's been positioned in just the right spot within reach of the driver.
Navigation and SiriusXM Traffic and Travel Link are optional. It can be wise to get these programs if someone is often driving in unfamiliar territory. They can provide drivers with up-to-date information regarding any traffic congestion, and this can save people a lot of time in the long run.
8. Premium Interior Features
On the top trim, which is the Lariat, there are many nice benefits. This trim feels upscale, thanks to its leather seats, ambient lighting, and leather-wrapped steering wheel. That type of steering wheel is available on the XLT model, which has premium cloth seats that also look great and are quite comfortable. The ambient lighting can come in a few different colors, like red, blue, and green. It illuminates the footwells and provides the cabin with some light, but not in an obtrusive way.
9. Choose A Preferred Cab Configuration
A SuperCab and a SuperCrew body-style are the available choices for the cab configuration. The SuperCrew can fit five people and has two full-size doors on each side. Because it has a second-row leg room of about 35 inches, it's practical for many customers.
The SuperCab isn't as big. For its rear-seat passengers, it has what one could call "half-doors." This type of truck can fit four people in total. There are many people in the market who rarely, if ever, have adults riding in their back seats, so this configuration would make sense for them.
10. The Tremor Package Makes the Ranger Even Tougher
New for 2021, the Tremor Package is something to consider if one wants the best of what's available. This package comes with a heavy-duty skid plate and off-road suspension, along with special running boards and a front grille. Front and rear tow hooks are included, too.
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Reasons Not to Buy a 2021 Ford Ranger – The Cons
1. No Alternative Engine
Many truck manufacturers give their customers options when it comes to the powertrain. In fact, some competitors may come with three, four, or even more engine choices. This gives a buyer the opportunity to customize his/her new truck. Some people may be happy with a standard engine, while others may want a diesel or an engine with a supercharger, for instance. The Ranger has enough power to please most people, but it might not satisfy everyone.
2. Not Very Efficient
No one expects trucks to be super efficient. That being said, the Ranger is not impressive in the efficiency department. Its estimated that this truck can only earn about 20 or 21 miles per gallon in the city. On the highway, the numbers are better, but they still pale in comparison to the fuel economy ratings associated with many modern SUVs.
3. Base Model Has Limited Technology
Some vehicles come standard with smartphone connectivity and large touchscreens, but unfortunately, the Ford Ranger does not. In order to get those features, one has to move up from the entry-level trim. That can be seen as a negative, especially since these types of components are becoming much more widespread these days.
How it Stacks Up to the Competition:
2021 Ford Ranger vs 2021 Chevy Colorado
In many ways, the Chevy Colorado feels pretty similar to the Ford Ranger. However, the Colorado is a bit more expensive than the Ford Ranger is, and its standard engine doesn't generate the same amount of power that the Ranger's engine does.
2021 Ford Ranger vs 2021 Nissan Frontier
The Nissan Frontier is another truck in the same class as the Ranger. Like the Colorado, the Frontier is priced higher than the Ranger is. It's not as strong as the Ranger when it comes to towing capacity. Also, it has a touchscreen that's a bit smaller than the one found on the Ford truck.
When taking all of its advantages into consideration, the Ford Ranger stands out as a good purchase. Ford gives its customers three different trims to think about, and those potential buyers also have the opportunity to enhance their trucks with available packages.
The Ranger is competitively priced, so this should help it catch the eye of a budget-friendly consumer. It handles well, feels strong and athletic, and can be set up with a lot of advanced technology. It might not be the fanciest or the most capable truck out there, but this shouldn't matter to a majority of buyers. Most people, after all, want to make wise investments and are mostly concerned with practicality and overall value.
• Why buy a 2020 Ford Ranger? w/ pros vs cons