The New Ranger Needs to Be Part Tacoma, Part Colorado, All Bad-Ass

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New Ford Ranger 2_Front 3qtr

Midsize pickup trucks are doing pretty well these days when it comes to sales. On paper it’s a bit surprising because midsize trucks are inherently a compromise. Despite those reasons why a midsize truck doesn’t make a lot of sense, people are snatching them up like crazy. Two of the best currently on sale, the Toyota Tacoma and Chevrolet Colorado, are great trucks but they serve different purposes. I’d like to see the new Ranger take the best of both of an ultimately bad-ass pickup truck.

But first, why are midsize trucks inherently flawed? When it comes right down to it, most midsize trucks aren’t significantly cheaper than their full size counterparts. That means that you can get a full size truck with more space and capability, and in some cases more power, for roughly the same price you’re paying for the midsize. Also fuel economy, a main reason for wanting something smaller, isn’t inherently better in a midsize truck over a full size.


For example, I’ve recently been in both a midsize Toyota Tacoma and a full-size Toyota Tundra. Which truck over a week of testing got the better fuel economy? The Tundra. The 5.3L V8 in the Silverado is, in many cases, more efficient than the V6 in the Colorado. We were able to get 24 mpg out of the 2.7L in a F-150 I tested last year. The only midsize getting that number is the Colorado diesel, which is a $35,000 proposition for a 2-wheel drive, relatively base model.

So again, why are midsize trucks so popular? They just are. Having been in all of them recently, I can tell you I do like driving the midsize version of a brand’s truck over the full-size. That’s why I’m looking forward to the new Ranger. But who should the Ranger target?

The Tacoma is the off-road truck. Even in non-off-road trim, the truck is adored by enthusiasts who are adventurous and head out into the woods. The only truck or SUV with a more rabid fanbase is the Jeep Wrangler. Because of the love by so many enthusiasts, the Tacoma holds its resale value extremely well.

2016 Chevrolet Colorado Diesel

The Colorado, on the other hand, is more of a work truck. It’s designed to be driven back and forth to the job site, tow things, and function the way most others use a pickup truck. There is the off-road-focused Trail Boss Z71, but even then an obtrusive front air dam really makes off-roading a challenge.

We can reasonably assume the new Ranger will be capable of the work truck stuff. There’ll be all sorts of best-in-class numbers Ford will be looking to beat with the new Ranger, so it’ll be able to tow and haul with the best of them.

While I’m hoping for a full-on, off-road Raptor version of the truck, I think the truck still needs to be capable the way the TRD Off-Road Tacoma is. That means a bit of a lift, skid plates, and an off-road look.

But I still want the truck to be able to tow 7,000+ pounds. Is it possible to get the best of both worlds from the new Ranger? Probably, especially if they use a diesel!

What do you think? Let us know your thoughts over in the forums!

Chad Kirchner is a regular contributor to Corvette Forum and Ford Truck Enthusiasts, among other auto sites.

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