Summer is in full swing, and adventure seekers can expect an action-packed itinerary full of fun outdoor activities. The thought of off-road conjures up images of giant jeeps, big wheeled vehicles and dune buggies. Who hasn’t at least once imagined themselves going down a sandy slope in the style of Mad Max? However, most of us are limited in our vision, imagining a cage-like body with comically large wheels, the kind of vehicle that needs to be rented and towed because it’s not allowed on the streets. What is often overlooked is how easy it is to get this kind of adventure. Enter 2022 Ford Rangera trustworthy yet affordable pickup that’s versatile enough for city life, country life, and everything in between.
With dozens of options to customize the Ranger to suit your preferences, this mid-size pickup has established itself as one of the best in its class. These days, the pickup truck market is as diverse and unwieldy as any other type of vehicle, available in all sizes and features, and in a wide range of prices from a modest $20,000 to well into six figures. The 2022 Ford Ranger takes it back to basics, combining value and performance and offering options that not only make off-roading possible, but encouraged.
Options, options, options
It is important to understand how versatile modern pickups are. While it may have once been a vehicle for country roads and cargo equipment, pickups are not built with daily commuting in mind. A truck like the Ranger is small enough to park in the city, but tough enough to leave city life behind and head off-road. It’s designed with versatility in mind, offering a comfortable four-door cab and luxurious trim options, while demonstrating its ruggedness and durability off the beaten track.
When you think of a Ford truck, most drivers probably think of the F-150, an icon of the Ford lineup that has captured the attention of pickup trucks for years. To give it credit, the F-150 is a powerful engine and has earned its reputation for towing your RV and fishing boat. Ford has staked its claim among automakers in the pickup truck business. To meet the growing demand, the F-150 spawned even bigger and stronger models like the F-250, F-350 and F-450 with a whopping 37,000-pound towing capacity. But those of us without a boat see no need to house such a behemoth, let alone its appetite for gas.
As a self-proclaimed car enthusiast, I have never considered a Ranger. But after some digging, it became clear that this truck was worthy of a serious performance. Unlike the average 6-cylinder pickup truck, the Range settles for an impressive turbocharged 4-cylinder engine. In particular, it is the only turbocharged gasoline engine in its class. And where it lacks in size, it makes up for in payload and towing ability.
The 2022 Ranger not only comes in three trim levels – XL, XLT and Lariat – but also offers two different volume types for each model. Unique to Ford, these trucks are available in what they call SuperCab and SuperCrew. The SuperCab has four full-size doors and a 5-foot bed, while the SuperCrew is able to accommodate five passengers with two smaller half-doors and a longer 6-foot bed. Both sizes allow you to comfortably spend the night lying on the back of the truck and watching the stars. Rear-wheel drive is standard, but all-wheel drive is also available on all models. Rear-wheel-drive models have 8.4 inches of ground clearance, while the all-wheel-drive version has 8.9 inches of ground clearance, which is essential for all those rocky backcountry roads.
The base Ranger XL is something different, but not base. With an impressive 2.3-liter turbocharged engine and 10-speed automatic transmission, power is available easily and affordably. In addition to reducing the excitement at the pump, the EcoBoost four-cylinder engine also has a best-in-class torque rating of 310 lb-ft. Lightweight yet durable models offer a maximum payload of 1,905 pounds and a payload capacity of 7,500 pounds. For truck enthusiasts looking for the thrill of an off-road cabin but not interested in the price tag of the aforementioned F-150, this is a great starting point. There’s great value without compromising performance, and less standard equipment means it’s not as heavy as other trim levels, boosting acceleration and reducing fuel consumption. The XL is a great companion for camping trips, taking loved ones to an outdoor concert, or just making donuts in a gravel parking lot for fun.
Next in line is the XLT, which comes standard with Ford’s Co-Pilot360 technology. The innovative driver assistance system with Blind Spot Information System (BLIS) and Lane Keeping Assist are key features for driving safety, so nothing stands in the way of all those adventurous plans. The XLT also comes with the FX4 Off-Road Package, which provides off-road monotube shocks, off-road tires with aggressive tread, and a traction-enhancing electronic locking rear differential.
It’s not just Jeeps that get all the fun anymore. The XLT chassis can take a beating. It comes with an exposed steel front plate for rocky terrain. This model also opens up the option to add the Tremor Off-Road package described below.
Last but not least, the Lariat is a fully loaded version of the Ranger. If these models were transformers, then this one is Optimus Prime. Heated, 8-way power leather seats, standard on SuperCrew models, are comfortable for escaping harsh climates and are easier to clean than a cloth interior.
Specifically, the Lariat comes with the Tremor Off-Roading package. This offering includes Ford’s Terrain Control system with four selectable driving modes to avoid adventures. Drivers can drive in modes such as normal, grass/gravel/snow, dirt/rut or even sand. If you can drive it, Ford has equipped a mode for it. The Tremor package also boasts magneto-coated alloy wheels, a modified suspension and a jaw-dropping front grille with red nostril inserts.
On the styling front, the 2022 Ranger returns the Splash trim as an option on the XLT and Lariat models. The Splash Package interior features orange seat stitching and a special stripe, along with orange and black side graphics, 18-inch matte black wheels, gloss black exterior accents, and orange grille surround. If you’re not into subtlety, the Splash finish is retro and eye-catching.
It can be both the chicken and the egg. Does having a car capable of driving off-road trigger a thrill-seeker, or does the desire to drive into the sunset, over cascading hills and valleys, beg the question of what might actually be important to a person in a car? It is a question of exploring passion and comparing it with practicality.
Big wheels mean big options for a truck that can handle a little dirt and a driver that doesn’t shy away from the unpaved road. Perhaps the confidence of driving through the desert comes from the car, or perhaps from the driver. Regardless, the 2022 Ford Ranger makes a great companion, offering key features to make your off-road dreams a reality without limiting you to the obligations of owning an extra-large truck. Ranger deserves some recognition.