Auto review by Veeno Dewan
The 202 Ford Ranger is a Blue Ovals e compact truck that is a good counterpart to the mighty Ford F-150 in the larger segment. Not much has changed for 2022, the truck still has nice, almost sleek lines for a well-integrated look. Short overhangs, a high beltline, a steeply raked windshield, a trapezoidal black grille and large fenders complete the modern look. There are only a few trim changes and a new Splash Package is available with 18-inch matte black wheels, orange and black side graphics, gloss black exterior trim and orange seat stitching. Our tester was bright yellow with a contrasting black stripe. package and the FX4 package, which offers beefier tires, front tow hooks, a steel skid plate, a special suspension with off-road shocks, an electronic locking rear differential, and an optional off-road screen on the dash.
All Rangers in Canada are equipped with all-wheel drive. The mid-range XLT comes in Super Cab for $38,290 or SuperCrew for $40,090; while the top-line Lariat is crew cab only, starting at $44,640. Options and individual additional services will significantly increase the price. The tested Lariat had a five-foot box, five roomy seats and four doors that opened as standard. Highlights included perforated ebony seats in the cabin, contrasting orange stitching on the trim and a list of premium equipment.
Powering the Ranger is a second-generation turbocharged Ford 2.3L Ecoboost four-cylinder that produces 270 horsepower and 310 lb-ft. torque It is paired with a ten-speed automatic transmission. There is no manual gearbox. The Ranger can carry up to 1,650 pounds of cargo with the short Crew Cab 4 x 4 and 1,560 pounds for the SuperCrew. All Ranger models have a maximum towing capacity of 7,500 pounds (when properly equipped with the towing package), which Ford says is the best in its class.
The design of the Ranger cabin is neat and well organized. Kudos to Ford for having appropriate buttons or knobs for basic functions, as well as a touch screen. The dash is neat and clean, with nice big dials for volume and stereo settings. The infotainment system features the latest version of Ford’s excellent SYNC3 system with an 8.0-inch touchscreen. There is also Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity. There’s also dual-zone climate control and heated front seats, but a heated steering wheel and heated rear seats aren’t even available as options. The Lariat includes niceties like heated leather front seats, an auto-dimming mirror, satellite radio, lane-keeping assist and a blind-spot monitoring system that adjusts trailer length for safer lane changes. The ebony leather-trimmed front seats are very supportive and comfortable, and have eight-way adjustment with lumbar support on the Lariat. We had the optional premium Bang and Olufsen system with 10 premium speakers. The rear seats can be folded down for additional cargo space. Front storage is good, with decent-sized door pockets and cubby holes. Fit, finish and cabin comfort are much better and more luxurious than the Japanese competition – less utilitarian and truck-like I have to say, with a car-like feel. So good that on this Ford!
On the road, the Rangers 2.3-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine provides good acceleration and cruising speed. The torque becomes strong in a perfectly usable mid-range. At the same time, the maneuverable size and impressive turning radius make it easier to manage. The steering wheel is light and responsive. Like a typical pickup, the Ranger is bouncy and shakes over bumps if not loaded, but is generally smooth on most surfaces. Note that the 4×4 system works part-time and for situations with less traction. Terrain Management, controlled by a button on the console, optimizes performance in mud, snow, sand and other conditions. The Terrain Management system also includes Ford’s Low Speed Forward Control, which can operate at speeds of up to 11 km/h. Fuel economy is pretty decent at 11.9 in the city and 9.7 in the city with a combined estimate of 10.9L/100km (Natural Resources Canada). The downsides are few, there is no heated steering wheel or rear seats, and the climate control buttons are small and hard to see.
What impressed me was that even though you sit up high, the narrower cab and smaller footprint mean that parking the Ranger as a full-size truck is a breeze. Overall, the new Ford Ranger is very well done. Ford expects customers who may have owned a Ranger in the past to reconsider the benefits of a smaller, economical truck that’s suitable for parking in a townhouse or apartment. The Rangers’ comfortable 7,500-pound towing capacity (complete with trailer brake controller and towing package) means it’s a versatile family or work/leisure truck. Highly recommended.
Ford 2022 Ranger Base Price: $35,505 to $43,340, plus destination options and taxes. Lariat model as tested: $43,340 plus options, fees and destination.