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Ridgeline Guy Considers Move to Ranger Land

PoppaT

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Ok group. Don't pile on me too much. Former Taco owner that moved to Ridgeline 4 years ago. Yes. I know it is not a real truck. But it has met all my needs until now. Looking seriously at 2020 Ranger Lariat with FX4 package. Reason for switch. For 6 months of year I travel daily down 3/4 mile gravel camp road. About 500-700 feet of elevation. With no hill descent on RL I have to ride brakes whole way. Also tow 19 foot Four Winns approx 4-6 times per year. About 4-4.5k that I can definitely feel behind me while towing with RL (no issues fortunately I. 4 years but need new underwear each year,) So Seeking real world feedback on Ranger and FX4 package. 1. Will my life be better with new Hill Descent Control.How good is it ? 2. Will I see significant difference in ride quality overall with Ranger vs my RL...good or bad? 3. Any other thoughts about making the switch?
Thanks for any and all help.



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P. A. Schilke

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Ok group. Don't pile on me too much. Former Taco owner that moved to Ridgeline 4 years ago. Yes. I know it is not a real truck. But it has met all my needs until now. Looking seriously at 2020 Ranger Lariat with FX4 package. Reason for switch. For 6 months of year I travel daily down 3/4 mile gravel camp road. About 500-700 feet of elevation. With no hill descent on RL I have to ride brakes whole way. Also tow 19 foot Four Winns approx 4-6 times per year. About 4-4.5k that I can definitely feel behind me while towing with RL (no issues fortunately I. 4 years but need new underwear each year,) So Seeking real world feedback on Ranger and FX4 package. 1. Will my life be better with new Hill Descent Control.How good is it ? 2. Will I see significant difference in ride quality overall with Ranger vs my RL...good or bad? 3. Any other thoughts about making the switch?
Thanks for any and all help.
Hi Dan,

I am not going to pile on you. Your RL suited your needs except maybe trailer tow. Nothing wrong with this, except you might be in a position to put more capability than the RL has at this time. Why a FX4 4x4? Why not a Ranger 4x2? I suggest you visit your Ford dealer and drive a couple. The power of the powertrain of the Ranger is such you will not have any worries on that front. However, there is no guarantee that your trailer tow will be any better if your towing setup is incorrect. Most forum members tell their towing adventures as they do not even know the trailer is behind them.

I am partial to the FX4 as I created this brand at Ford. That said...it may be more truck than you need. Don't know. There are many threads that I suggest you read on these forums that should give you a sense of if the Ranger is right for you.

Forum members here are excellent in answering your questions. Some are caustic and just ignore but the Moderators here keep these forums to being very helpful.

Good Luck with your decision!

Best,
Phil Schilke
Ranger Vehicle Engineering
Ford Motor Co. Retired
 
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PoppaT

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Hi Dan,

I am not going to pile on you. Your RL suited your needs except maybe trailer tow. Nothing wrong with this, except you might be in a position to put more capability than the RL has at this time. Why a FX4 4x4? Why not a Ranger 4x2? I suggest you visit your Ford dealer and drive a couple. The power of the powertrain of the Ranger is such you will not have any worries on that front. However, there is no guarantee that your trailer tow will be any better if your towing setup is incorrect. Most forum members tell their towing adventures as they do not even know the trailer is behind them.

I am partial to the FX4 as I created this brand at Ford. That said...it may be more truck than you need. Don't know. There are many threads that I suggest you read on these forums that should give you a sense of if the Ranger is right for you.

Forum members here are excellent in answering your questions. Some are caustic and just ignore but the Moderators here keep these forums to being very helpful.

Good Luck with your decision!

Best,
Phil Schilke
Ranger Vehicle Engineering
Ford Motor Co. Retired
Thank you Phil. I definitely need AWD or 4x4 bc camp road I travel daily for 6 months out of the year is not passable with 4x2. Also have to get through upstate NY winter the other 6 months of the year. The terrain management and hill Descent features that you have added to the fx4 are what interest me in that package. But I will definitely do a side by side drive of base lariat with 4x4 and then one with the fx4 added. So cool to be able to interact with such knowledgeable pros as yourself. Thx
 

RedlandRanger

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Ok group. Don't pile on me too much. Former Taco owner that moved to Ridgeline 4 years ago. Yes. I know it is not a real truck. But it has met all my needs until now. Looking seriously at 2020 Ranger Lariat with FX4 package. Reason for switch. For 6 months of year I travel daily down 3/4 mile gravel camp road. About 500-700 feet of elevation. With no hill descent on RL I have to ride brakes whole way. Also tow 19 foot Four Winns approx 4-6 times per year. About 4-4.5k that I can definitely feel behind me while towing with RL (no issues fortunately I. 4 years but need new underwear each year,) So Seeking real world feedback on Ranger and FX4 package. 1. Will my life be better with new Hill Descent Control.How good is it ? 2. Will I see significant difference in ride quality overall with Ranger vs my RL...good or bad? 3. Any other thoughts about making the switch?
Thanks for any and all help.
I never test drove a RL, so I can't be sure, but I'd guess that the Ranger ride will be a little more "trucky" just because it is a body on frame vehicle. What I can tell you is the ride in my 2019 is WAY better (less "trucky") than my 2005 Ranger was. It is a VERY quiet vehicle on the road that rides very well. As far as towing goes, I've not towed more than about a 2000 lb U-Haul trailer, but I couldn't tell it was back there. I'm consistently amazed at the 2.3 with the 10 speed. I can tell you that tow/haul mode really does work when towing. The Trail Control on the Ranger is pretty cool as well - I haven't used it a ton, but the few times I've experimented with it, it worked really well.

I think you do need to test drive a couple to form your own impressions. Will be interested to hear what you think.
 
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PoppaT

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I never test drove a RL, so I can't be sure, but I'd guess that the Ranger ride will be a little more "trucky" just because it is a body on frame vehicle. What I can tell you is the ride in my 2019 is WAY better (less "trucky") than my 2005 Ranger was. It is a VERY quiet vehicle on the road that rides very well. As far as towing goes, I've not towed more than about a 2000 lb U-Haul trailer, but I couldn't tell it was back there. I'm consistently amazed at the 2.3 with the 10 speed. I can tell you that tow/haul mode really does work when towing. The Trail Control on the Ranger is pretty cool as well - I haven't used it a ton, but the few times I've experimented with it, it worked really well.

I think you do need to test drive a couple to form your own impressions. Will be interested to hear what you think.
Thx for the great information. Planning test drives over next month and will definitely report back.
 

aeroshots

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Coming from a 4x4 hemi powered Ram I took a chance. Not disappointed in the least. I chose 4x2 with locking diff, since I didn't need the 4x4. I'm, so far, satisfied and actually like my Ranger more than expected. Haven't towed yet, so can't say on that front. Be forewarned that there's no factory installed brake controller. Search on here for further on that.
 
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PoppaT

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Coming from a 4x4 hemi powered Ram I took a chance. Not disappointed in the least. I chose 4x2 with locking diff, since I didn't need the 4x4. I'm, so far, satisfied and actually like my Ranger more than expected. Haven't towed yet, so can't say on that front. Be forewarned that there's no factory installed brake controller. Search on here for further on that.
will do. Thx
 

Tiny

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Dan, good luck on your search, your looking at a great truck. After your test drives do check back here with questions. There are no dumb questions when your looking at a new truck, which you are not familiar with. This forum has been a great resource for me as a new owner, a lot of knowledgeable helpful owners here.

Tiny
 

Texasota

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I tow a 4000 pound SeaRay with my 2020 Ranger XLT 4x4. It handles the boat very well but I do know it is back there. Most (all?) boat trailers have surge brakes so no need for brake controller unless you also tow other types of trailers.

I find the 4x4 a must have when retrieving the boat on a slippery boat ramp. I always put it in 4x4 low pulling the boat out/up the ramp. It pulls out so easily at almost idle speed with less stress on the drivetrain.

The Ranger is a towing beast and continues to impress me when towing our boat. You will save money on your annual underwear bill.
 

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I have a 2019 Lariat FX 4, essentially the same truck you are looking at (the drivetrain / features you care about are identical across both model years). I've used the crawl / trail control a fair bit. While other commenters have addressed towing, I'll share what I know about trail control:

I find that I prefer most of the time to not use it. Let me explain why:
I'm not the most experienced off roader, but I've spent enough time on trails to know a bit about what I'm doing, how to pick the best path through obstacles, and that having complete control over brake and throttle makes me more confident. With trail control, I feel more disconnected when trying to crawl around through the rough stuff. I prefer to control everything myself, most of the time.

Now, even though I don't always love to use it, occasionally it has come in very handy. For instance, when descending a somewhat moderate gravel / dirt road (as you describe) it can be tiring to have to constantly keep your speed down with your right foot. Flip on trail control, and I can give my leg a rest. If that is what you are looking for, then it may be exactly what you need. Keep in mind that the top speed you can set trail control is around 20-25 (maybe 30?) mph... I'm sure someone will correct me if I'm wrong there. So, if you are hoping to find something that will keep your speed steady at, say, 45 mph down this gravel hill, trail control is not it. However, the regular cruise control on the Lariat FX4 *will* auto-brake for you on descent, so if the truck starts to exceed the cruise control speed set, it will slow it down for you with the ABS. You can set the cruise as low as 20mph, I believe.

If you are concerned about wearing out your brakes early, be aware that both trail control and the cruise control use the ABS system to keep the truck speed in check. All it does is relieve you from having to use your foot - it'll still wear out / heat up the brakes though.

When I've been on long, really steep descents over rougher terrain, I've sometimes put it into 4 low and locked the transmission into 2nd or 3rd gear so it would effectively use engine braking rather than the actual brakes. This lets me rest my leg while being easy on the brakes. I don't believe this is at all damaging to the drivetrain, but again I'm sure someone will pipe up if I've been misinformed.

I look forward to hearing back what you think after you've had a chance to do some test drives. I'd encourage you to see if you can find a dealer who will let you take an extended test drive over an entire weekend, so you can get the truck out on some dirt and see if it does what you need. Good luck!
 

808matt

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having the FX4 sticker was well worth the cost
 

RANGER PRIDE

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"Some are caustic and just ignore "

since I saw this I was compelled to respond.


"hill Descent features that you have added "

Phil personally adds this to every Ranger
as well as the Stickers.
Mines crooked Phil. :confused:


Since Quangdog hit everything I wanted to say, I have nothing further to add.
 
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PoppaT

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I have a 2019 Lariat FX 4, essentially the same truck you are looking at (the drivetrain / features you care about are identical across both model years). I've used the crawl / trail control a fair bit. While other commenters have addressed towing, I'll share what I know about trail control:

I find that I prefer most of the time to not use it. Let me explain why:
I'm not the most experienced off roader, but I've spent enough time on trails to know a bit about what I'm doing, how to pick the best path through obstacles, and that having complete control over brake and throttle makes me more confident. With trail control, I feel more disconnected when trying to crawl around through the rough stuff. I prefer to control everything myself, most of the time.

Now, even though I don't always love to use it, occasionally it has come in very handy. For instance, when descending a somewhat moderate gravel / dirt road (as you describe) it can be tiring to have to constantly keep your speed down with your right foot. Flip on trail control, and I can give my leg a rest. If that is what you are looking for, then it may be exactly what you need. Keep in mind that the top speed you can set trail control is around 20-25 (maybe 30?) mph... I'm sure someone will correct me if I'm wrong there. So, if you are hoping to find something that will keep your speed steady at, say, 45 mph down this gravel hill, trail control is not it. However, the regular cruise control on the Lariat FX4 *will* auto-brake for you on descent, so if the truck starts to exceed the cruise control speed set, it will slow it down for you with the ABS. You can set the cruise as low as 20mph, I believe.

If you are concerned about wearing out your brakes early, be aware that both trail control and the cruise control use the ABS system to keep the truck speed in check. All it does is relieve you from having to use your foot - it'll still wear out / heat up the brakes though.

When I've been on long, really steep descents over rougher terrain, I've sometimes put it into 4 low and locked the transmission into 2nd or 3rd gear so it would effectively use engine braking rather than the actual brakes. This lets me rest my leg while being easy on the brakes. I don't believe this is at all damaging to the drivetrain, but again I'm sure someone will pipe up if I've been misinformed.

I look forward to hearing back what you think after you've had a chance to do some test drives. I'd encourage you to see if you can find a dealer who will let you take an extended test drive over an entire weekend, so you can get the truck out on some dirt and see if it does what you need. Good luck!
Awesome information. Will do as you suggested. Thanks
 

the1mrb

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I'm not the most experienced off roader, but I've spent enough time on trails to know a bit about what I'm doing, how to pick the best path through obstacles, and that having complete control over brake and throttle makes me more confident. With trail control, I feel more disconnected when trying to crawl around through the rough stuff. I prefer to control everything myself, most of the time.

Now, even though I don't always love to use it, occasionally it has come in very handy. For instance, when descending a somewhat moderate gravel / dirt road (as you describe) it can be tiring to have to constantly keep your speed down with your right foot. Flip on trail control, and I can give my leg a rest. If that is what you are looking for, then it may be exactly what you need. Keep in mind that the top speed you can set trail control is around 20-25 (maybe 30?) mph... I'm sure someone will correct me if I'm wrong there. So, if you are hoping to find something that will keep your speed steady at, say, 45 mph down this gravel hill, trail control is not it. However, the regular cruise control on the Lariat FX4 *will* auto-brake for you on descent, so if the truck starts to exceed the cruise control speed set, it will slow it down for you with the ABS. You can set the cruise as low as 20mph, I believe.

If you are concerned about wearing out your brakes early, be aware that both trail control and the cruise control use the ABS system to keep the truck speed in check. All it does is relieve you from having to use your foot - it'll still wear out / heat up the brakes though.

When I've been on long, really steep descents over rougher terrain, I've sometimes put it into 4 low and locked the transmission into 2nd or 3rd gear so it would effectively use engine braking rather than the actual brakes. This lets me rest my leg while being easy on the brakes. I don't believe this is at all damaging to the drivetrain, but again I'm sure someone will pipe up if I've been misinformed.
All good points that I agree with as well. I've only used Trail Control a few times, basically for the reasons stated. I'm so used to just doing it all myself that I've gotten relatively good, comfortable, and used to just doing it this way. Most of the time I forget I even have the feature. I've basically only turned it on to see what it does.

As far as keeping speed under control going down hills, this powertrain also engine brakes really well too. In cruise control on the highway it'll downshift multiple gears on steep hills to keep the speed under control. It's even more aggressive at downshifting in tow/haul mode, which is very nice for towing. You can also manually downshift gears as wanted too. Keeps less wear on the brakes that way.

Most hills, on or off road, I've just been downshifting to engine brake and I hardly have to use the brakes at all. Just every once in awhile if it starts to creep up, but certainly not riding them all the way down.

Coming from a Ridgeline I'm not sure you'll enjoy the FX4 ride is really my only concern for you. It's a very divisive topic. I personally don't mind the ride, but it is very different from my previous vehicles, and that can be a turn off to some people. A regular 4x4 will ride differently, maybe better, maybe worse depending on what you like. Something you'll obviously check during the test drives.

In the end, I'm just glad to see someone actually putting time and effort into researching their next vehicle. Good luck and enjoy the bounds of information here! haha
 
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PoppaT

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All good points that I agree with as well. I've only used Trail Control a few times, basically for the reasons stated. I'm so used to just doing it all myself that I've gotten relatively good, comfortable, and used to just doing it this way. Most of the time I forget I even have the feature. I've basically only turned it on to see what it does.

As far as keeping speed under control going down hills, this powertrain also engine brakes really well too. In cruise control on the highway it'll downshift multiple gears on steep hills to keep the speed under control. It's even more aggressive at downshifting in tow/haul mode, which is very nice for towing. You can also manually downshift gears as wanted too. Keeps less wear on the brakes that way.

Most hills, on or off road, I've just been downshifting to engine brake and I hardly have to use the brakes at all. Just every once in awhile if it starts to creep up, but certainly not riding them all the way down.

Coming from a Ridgeline I'm not sure you'll enjoy the FX4 ride is really my only concern for you. It's a very divisive topic. I personally don't mind the ride, but it is very different from my previous vehicles, and that can be a turn off to some people. A regular 4x4 will ride differently, maybe better, maybe worse depending on what you like. Something you'll obviously check during the test drives.

In the end, I'm just glad to see someone actually putting time and effort into researching their next vehicle. Good luck and enjoy the bounds of information here! haha
Much appreciated. Thanks
 

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