Goldilocks and the One Pickup Truck: The 2019 Ford Ranger XLT Supercab 4X2

Front 3/4 view of 2019 Ford Ranger XLT Supercab
The 2019 Ford Ranger XLT Supercab.
I pulled into the driveway.  Mrs.TireKicker was out front watering the lawn.

"That's a nice big pickup."

"Um...it's supposed to be a midsize."

The pickup in question was the 2019 Ford Ranger XLT Supercab.  As small as "small" pickups get these days, and a return for the Ranger after a seven-year absence.

Now, my wife will be the first to tell you, she doesn't pay much attention to cars.  But as I stood there and looked at this two-wheel drive extended cab pickup with a six-foot bed, it started to look kinda big to me, too.  I looked down the block.  My neighbor, three doors down, has a previous-generation Ranger in his driveway.  It looked small.

So I, as I do---researched.  And found that, except for width, the dimensions of the 2019 Ford Ranger are identical to those of the fullsize 1987-1992 Ford F-150. So the new midsize American pickup truck is essentially a slightly narrower version of what a fullsize pickup always was before it found the steroid supply.

Once upon a time, you had a choice in how big you wanted your pickups to be.  Go back to the 1970s and there were really tiny trucks...the Ford Courier, the Chevy LUV---meant to combat popular small pickups from Datsun (now known as Nissan) and Toyota.

The Americans went away, the Japanese grew their small trucks to midsize, created a new market and Ford and Chevy came back to combat that---this time with the Ranger and S-10, respectively.

But the truck market the past decade or so has been all about big.  Ford's F-150,  GM's Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra, and the Ram 1500  are huge sized and huge sellers.  And then there are the Heavy Duty and Super Duty 3/4 ton versions of those.  The behemoths sucked all the air out of the room for the midsizers.

Toyota's Tacoma and the ancient Nissan Frontier were the only survivors.  Until a funny thing happened---sales started going up.  GM jumped back in with the Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon, and now Ford returns with the Ranger.  Ram is now confirming it will have a new version of the old Dodge Dakota.

Interior view of 2019 Ford Ranger XLT
2019 Ford Ranger XLT interior.
All that said, the Ranger strikes me as being just the right size for most things.  It doesn't take a rope ladder to get in, you don't need running boards to get out and you can park it between the lines in one shot.  The 2.3-liter Ecoboost turbo four-cylinder makes 270 horsepower and 310 pounds per foot of torque, which is more than respectable, and delivers an EPA-estimated 21 miles per gallon in the city and 26 on the highway.  The mileage I saw in a week suggests those numbers are realistic.

Our tester may have been a pre-production model---the window sticker was marked "UNIT NOT TO BE OFFERED FOR SALE" and therefore had no prices, but using Ford's online build tool, here's what comes up:

  • 2019 Ford Ranger XLT SuperCab 4X2 with six-foot box: $28,120.
  • Equipment Group 301 A (SYNC 3, power-folding sideview mirrors with power glass, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shifter, SiriusXM Satellite Radio): $995.
  • Spray-in bedliner: $495.
  • Chrome Appearance Package (17-inch chrome-like PVD wheels, chrome door and tailgate handles, chrome exhaust tip, chrome front and rear bumper, unique chrome grille, chrome tow hooks, body-color wheel lip molding): $795.
  • Technology package (adaptive cruise control and navigation): $795.
Add that up with an extra $1,195 destination charge (ouch---that's a good $300 above most of the vehicles we see), and the bottom line is a very reasonable $32,295.  But Ford already has $250 worth of incentives on the Ranger, so the real as-tested price comes to $32,045.

Sure, you can spend double that (and very nearly triple) and get a rig that will make the neighbors consider a second mortgage so they can try to keep up with you.  But for those of us whom a truck is a utilitarian purchase that should also be nice enough to use as an everyday driver, the Ranger feels just right.