Ranger wins shootout review against Gladiator, Tacoma and Colorado

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Full review @ https://www.autoblog.com/2019/06/12...ma-ford-ranger-jeep-gladiator-chevy-colorado/

Autoblog Midsize Truck Shootout | Toyota Tacoma, Ford Ranger, Chevy Colorado, Jeep Gladiator

We test four likable pickups — but one we liked just a little bit more

autoblog-mid-size-truck-comparison-1.jpg


First place: 2019 Ford Ranger XLT FX4 — 244.9 points

It was a close finish. Closer than any of us thought it would be going into the week. If the Gladiator was less expensive or the Colorado had a better interior, we might have had a different outcome.

"The Ranger did a lot of things well, and that's why it won," Migliore said. "It's an attention-getter, and it scored well in our metric tests. It was tops in payload, cargo/bed area and fuel economy, and a close second in several other areas. Ballgame."

The Ranger is new for America, though its base architecture is roughly as old as the Colorado's. Like the Chevy, it hides its age well thanks to a bevy of updates for the U.S. market. The exterior was heavily restyled with new front and rear facias, to great effect — the global Ranger looks a bit too soft and car-like. The blue-and-gray Ranger FX4 drew nearly as many looks as the Gladiator, although we wished the interior was a little less drab. It's clean and certainly better than the Chevy's, but it lacks pizzazz compared with that of the Toyota and the Jeep. Fault it for being a bit boring, not bad.

The suspension is soft, and we knocked it for some mild body roll, but it was easily the most comfortable truck in the test. We found the ride to be smooth, perhaps isolating — although not as competent on-road as the Colorado. The seats are arguably the best here, and there's far more room inside than in either the Tacoma or the Gladiator. The Ranger scored high on utility, too, thanks to the most voluminous 5-foot bed in the segment and generous interior storage.

The Ranger is the only truck here powered by an inline-four rather than a V6, but turbocharging brings it to parity with its naturally aspirated V6 competition — and there's lots of torque available way down low, which is a boon for any truck. It feels quick, especially around town, and delivers excellent fuel economy, at least on paper.

Our main issue with the powertrain is the 10-speed automatic's lack of refinement. It works well when paired with the Mustang's 5.0-liter V8 or the F-150's 3.5-liter turbo V6, but it stumbles with this 2.3-liter turbo-four. We've experienced similar behavior in Mustangs with the 10-speed automatic and a version of this EcoBoost engine. The low-speed hesitation was almost enough to lose the test. Almost.

"My experience with the Ranger is the perfect example of why we do these comparison tests," Kierstein said. "In isolation, I love the Ranger — its torquey, eager powertrain; its comfortable ride; its handsome exterior. I walked into the testing thinking that it'd decimate the competition. But you can't drive the Ranger back-to-back with the other trucks and not see where they best it. The Colorado's got better on-road manners; the Gladiator's powertrain is way more refined; the Tacoma handles better off-road. It was amazing how each truck seemed to have a strength that bested the Ranger. That said, when price is factored in, I think the Ranger might be the best combination of traits of all the trucks here."

Our testing bore that out. The 2019 Ford Ranger wins.

Read the full review @ https://www.autoblog.com/2019/06/12...ma-ford-ranger-jeep-gladiator-chevy-colorado/
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joeb427

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Not a convincing win but it's a win.
 

RedlandRanger

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Not a convincing win but it's a win.
I'm really surprised at the comment about the transmission. I think the combination of the engine and transmission are incredible. Wondering if they got one with some sub par injectors or lacking the TSB for the rough shifts? I would never characterize the powertrain as "stumbling" - EVER.

It is interesting to note they say the Gladiator's powertrain is more refined and yet the TFL guys did a tow test and the powertrain in that video was not what I'd call refined. It struggled to tow their trailer up the mountain. The Ranger flew right up with no issues at all.

Nevertheless, I found it to be an interesting review.
 

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I'm really surprised at the comment about the transmission. I think the combination of the engine and transmission are incredible. Wondering if they got one with some sub par injectors or lacking the TSB for the rough shifts? I would never characterize the powertrain as "stumbling" - EVER.

It is interesting to note they say the Gladiator's powertrain is more refined and yet the TFL guys did a tow test and the powertrain in that video was not what I'd call refined. It struggled to tow their trailer up the mountain. The Ranger flew right up with no issues at all.

Nevertheless, I found it to be an interesting review.
If they didn't have a Ranger that's been used for awhile, the transmission wouldn't have had a chance to learn the driving characteristics. Mine was tourqy when I first got it but it's settled down after my driving it for a month or so. And there's NO hesitation when it's in SPORT Mode!
 

VAMike

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I'm really surprised at the comment about the transmission. I think the combination of the engine and transmission are incredible. Wondering if they got one with some sub par injectors or lacking the TSB for the rough shifts? I would never characterize the powertrain as "stumbling" - EVER.

It is interesting to note they say the Gladiator's powertrain is more refined and yet the TFL guys did a tow test and the powertrain in that video was not what I'd call refined. It struggled to tow their trailer up the mountain. The Ranger flew right up with no issues at all.

Nevertheless, I found it to be an interesting review.
I've had the same question about a number of reviews. I wonder if they're forming an opinion from low-mileage trucks that are still in the transmission adjustment phase?
 

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One point nearly always ignored by these comparisons is 2WD on-road performance.
Since this is probably 98% of all miles driven it would seem to be relevant.
HANDS DOWN the Ranger is by far the best in this group for real world everyday service, including towing, hauling, comfort, quality and appearance.
Let's take a 500 mile road trip with the base version of all four and see who ends the trip rested and relaxed.
I could hardly stand 50 miles in the Jeep, or a hundred miles in the Tacoma.
Of course the group might get tired after the trip waiting for the Chevy to arrive late!;)
 
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I think the transmission is better with the TSB done, but I tend to agree, it's a little pokey at low speeds.
 

Anthony

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Mine hangs in 1st a shade too long when first starting out in the morning. 1st then dumps into 3rd. Really makes the fan ROAR even more when the revs are getting up there.
 

Arc Ranger

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Mine hangs in 1st a shade too long when first starting out in the morning. 1st then dumps into 3rd. Really makes the fan ROAR even more when the revs are getting up there.
I've noticed the same thing when first starting my morning drive. The fan roars very loudly at low speeds, but this seems to go away after the car has been driven for a few minutes. Not sure what that is about, but it is a truck, so it's allowed to be loud sometimes.
 

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The fan has an electric clutch, I'm sure it runs at full speed during startup for some reason, but it's completely "normal".
 

DannyL

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One point nearly always ignored by these comparisons is 2WD on-road performance.
Since this is probably 98% of all miles driven it would seem to be relevant.
HANDS DOWN the Ranger is by far the best in this group for real world everyday service, including towing, hauling, comfort, quality and appearance.
Let's take a 500 mile road trip with the base version of all four and see who ends the trip rested and relaxed.
I could hardly stand 50 miles in the Jeep, or a hundred miles in the Tacoma.
Of course the group might get tired after the trip waiting for the Chevy to arrive late!;)
I totally agree! 100%
 

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I have had zero problems with the transmission
 

TacoHawkRanger

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The Colorado's got better on-road manners; the Gladiator's powertrain is way more refined; the Tacoma handles better off-road. It was amazing how each truck seemed to have a strength that bested the Ranger. That said, when price is factored in, I think the Ranger might be the best combination of traits of all the trucks here."
That right there is one of the reasons I chose the Ranger, I want a comfortable all-rounder.
 

saintpauljeff

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interesting article; as someone who is contemplating a couple of the vehicles on the list, it gave me some items to be mindful whenever I start test driving
 
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