2008 Ford Ranger Review
The Ranger offers a traditionally rugged ride and good off-road capability on a budget, but ranks at the bottom of the compact pickup class because it can't match the refined performance, interior quality or safety features of its competitors.
The 2008 Ford Ranger is a middle-of-the-road option in the compact pickup class. According to our analysis, it's an affordable option that's useful for off-roading and light hauling or towing, but its ride is too truck-like and stiff to appeal to many modern truck drivers. Automobile Magazine concludes: "When driven after any newer offering, it quickly becomes obvious that the Ranger dates back to a time before pickups migrated toward the mainstream; today, buyers are looking for more carlike handling, comfortable ride, four full-size doors, and quiet engines. The Ranger offers none of these attributes." In addition, many feel the Ranger is too small to carry more than two people comfortably, and even with three engine choices, the lack of an available V8 undermines towing capacity. Despite these shortfalls, the Ranger does have the best fuel economy in the class.
The 2008 model, a carryover from a 1998 redesign and 2006 refresh, represents the fourth generation of the aging truck, which debuted in 1983. Changes for this model include a more-aerodynamic front bumper, but generally the Ranger carries over from the previous model year. The Ranger comes in six trims -- XL, STX, XLT, Sport, FX4 Off-Road and FX4 Level II -- with a choice of three engines, two cab sizes (Regular Cab and Super Cab) and two bed sizes. If you're in the market for a compact pickup truck, also consider the Toyota Tacoma. Also consider the highly ranked Dodge Dakota if you prefer an American manufacturer.
- Writing of the Ranger and the similar Mazda B-Series, Car and Driver notes, "The Ranger and Mazda B-series offer only modest power and load carrying, but if affordability is the prime concern they're worth a look." -- Car and Driver
- "It will haul your junk to the dump, or your gardening supplies to the backyard. And generally speaking, it'll do it for a moderate price." -- Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
- "As a work truck, the Ford Ranger offers serious truck capability at affordable prices." -- New Car Test Drive