2020 Ford Ranger: The globetrotter comes back home

The tale of the tape

The Ranger Lariat is the top-tier trim level for the midsize Ford pickup, offering a few more creature comforts than what you’d find in a base/fleet-level ride. Base MSRP is $38,675, $45,715 as tested during the week it was with me.

This example rocked a fine shade of Lightning Blue with the optional Black Appearance Package mixed in. Said package includes blacked-out trim, spray-in bedliner, and 18-inch aluminum wheels in black, each one wrapped in Hancook AT M white-letter tires. The optional FX4 off-road package makes good use of those all-terrains, too, though the package wouldn’t be called up for duty this time around.

Under the hood is the Ranger’s sole engine choice, a 2.3-liter EcoBoost turbo-four with start-stop. The turbocharged unit delivers 270 horsepower and 310 lb-ft of torque to the rear or all corners through a 10-speed automatic.

With the tow package installed upon the fully boxed steel frame, the Ranger can pull 7,500 pounds behind it. However, payload drops to 1,560 pounds when the 4×4 version is chosen; the 4×2 SuperCab holds the most at 1,860 pounds.

For comparison, the 2020 Chevy Colorado pulls 200 pounds more but can only hold 1,578 pounds in the bed through all configurations. Its twin, the 2020 GMC Canyon, fares a little better in payload capacity, topping out at 1,599 pounds; towing is the same. The Ranger outpaces the Toyota Tacoma (1,095 – 1,155 pounds/payload, 3,500 – 6,400 pounds/towing) and Nissan Frontier (1,460 pounds/payload, 6,620 pounds/towing), though.

Inside, the Ranger’s Lariat trim means black leather seating for five, each place stitched together with white thread. The gauge cluster consists of a single analog speedometer in the center, plus two small TFT screens on either side to provide information as needed.

In the middle of it all, the SYNC 3 system not only provides navigation and audio functions, but also additional climate control. Of course, if the stock satnav doesn’t do it for you, just plug in your iPhone or Pixel for access to Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, respectively.

Speaking of plugging in, two USB ports under the big touchscreen, a pair for your friends in back, and a pair of 12-volt connections guarantee your phone or tablet will never run out of energy on the open road.

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