When it comes to trucks, Ford is king. They have been dominating the pickup segment recently, but with so many new models on the market, one has to wonder if they’re indirectly creating competition for themselves? Point in case, Ford’s Ranger and the F-150. On paper they should be relatively similar, but how do they compare in real life? To find that out, we’ve decided to put them head-to-head in this all-out Ford pickup battle.
Line them up side by side, and the size difference is immediately apparent. The Ranger’s 126.7-inch wheelbase is dwarfed by the F-150’s 145.2-inch wheelbase. From end to end the Ranger measures in at 211.1 inches, some 20+ inches off of the F-150’s 232.1-inch. This does mean that you get a lot more room in the F-150, but more on that later.
Styling is subjective, so we won’t comment on it a great deal. It has to be said however, that the F-150 is objectively the more modern-looking of the two. Ford’s most popular pickup has been completely redesigned and overhauled just 3 years ago, but the Ranger hasn’t been that lucky. It’s still got Ford’s last-gen styling, but if you’re a fan of it, you won’t mind. For us, it’s the F-150 all day, every day. It’s got just the right dose of aggressiveness but it somehow manages to still look understated and docile when you need it to. People immediately recognize it as a Ford, and an F-150 to be more precise, but it’s not over the top. The Raptor version keeps turning heads left and right, but with such a capable truck demanding respect, you feel like the truck has earned it.
The Ranger is pretty much a case of you get what you see, i.e. you get what you pay for. You can choose different body styles, but not different bed lengths. This is one of the F-150’s strong sides. Because it’s available in several different body shapes (single cab, dual cab, crew cab), as well as different bed lengths, you can mix and match to create your perfect truck (regardless if it’s a workhorse or an everyday vehicle).
Here’s where things get really interesting. The Ford Ranger is an extremely capable pickup, but you can tell Ford’s skimped out on the interior in an effort to reduce manufacturing costs. It doesn’t feel nearly as well put together as the F-150’s cabin, and the materials aren’t up to F-150 standards as well. Both offer great legroom and headroom, but it’s the larger F-150 coming out on top yet again. Ford’s new Sync 3 infotainment screen has done wonders in most of their new models, including the F-150. It’s a technological master piece. A master-class in what can be done when the end goal in mind is to simply create the best pickup the world has ever seen.
To sum it up, if you don’t mind the slightly more ‘affordable’ interior feeling the Ranger gives off, there’s no use upgrading to the F-150. If on the other hand, luxury and comfort are at the top of your priority list, the F-150 is your safest bet and the go-to truck.
The Ford Ranger’s base 2.5-liter Duratec petrol engine makes right around 160 horsepower and 166 lb-ft of torque. The five-speed manual is good, but the Raptor with this unit lacks some grunt. Then there’s the 2.2-liter Duratorq TDCi diesel engine with 125 horsepower and 244 lb-ft of torque in its most potent form. Last but not least, there’s the largest 3.2-liter Duratorq diesel with 200 horsepower and 346 lb-ft of torque. The six-speed manual is fun, but most people prefer the automatic.
The F-150’s engine lineup is a lot bigger. The base 3.3-liter Cyclone V6 makes 282 hp and 253 lb-ft of torque, with the 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6 producing 325 horsepower and 375 lb-ft of torque. The 5.0-liter Coyote V8’s 385 horsepower and 387 lb-ft of torque are certainly impressive, but if you’re after performance, you want the 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 with its 450 horsepower and 510 lb-ft of torque in the most potent Raptor model. Last but not least, Ford plans to add their brand-new 3.0-liter Powerstroke V6 turbo diesel to the F-150’s engine lineup, but only time will tell if that engine makes an appearance.
The Ranger’s maximum towing capacity of 7,700 lbs. is good, but it’s no match for the F-150’s 12,200 lbs. towing limit when equipped with the 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6. The Ranger can carry a maximum of 3000 lbs. in its bed, with the F-150 trumping that figure yet again with a limit of 3,300 lbs.
MPG figures vary greatly depending on the body style, the trim and the engine in the truck. The thirstiest engine in the F-150 is the 5.0-liter V8, and the most economical one being the 2.7-liter EcoBoost with 18/23 mpg for the city/highway respectively. The Ranger’s diesels can easily manage over 28 mpg on the combined cycle, but they’re significantly slower and less powerful than the F-150 engine units.
The Ranger was primarily designed to be a workhorse, and although it’s capable of light off-roading, it’s not happy when you thoroughly put it through its paces. It wants to live on pavement or a farm road, not a proper off-road track. This is where the F-150 comes in. All of its engines are much more powerful than the Ranger’s units, the four-wheel drive system is much more intelligent and it’s got a significantly taller ride height. The Raptor variant is perhaps the most robust off-roader currently for sale, capable of tackling pretty much anything bar a vertical wall.
The Ford Ranger’s utilitarian character makes it perfectly suited for workhorse duties. It’s a lot cheaper than the F-150 but the weaker engines and more spartan interior aren’t for everyone. Overall, as a complete vehicle, the F-150 is still the better weapon.