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2009 Ford Ranger Review

This review was written when the 2009 Ford Ranger was new.

When it comes to compact truck capability on a budget, it's hard to find a better choice than the 2009 Ford Ranger. However, competitors are more refined and offer more day-to-day livability.

Several auto reviewers conclude that there are simply better choices than the 2009 Ford Ranger in the compact pickup market. To a degree, it seems like Ford may agree with that assessment.  After not overhauling the Ranger for several years, it looks like Ford will discontinue the model after the 2009 model year, as both plants that build the small truck are being shut down. Autoblog says, "after 26 years, it looks like the compact pickup truck thrill is gone. For you Ranger fans out there, the tune you're looking for is "Taps."

Despite its likely demise, the 2009 Ford Ranger is 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."  

The 2009 model, a carryover from a 1998 redesign and 2006 refresh, represents the fourth generation of the aging truck, which debuted in 1983. The Ranger comes in six trims -- XL, STX, XLT, Sport, FX4 Off-Road and FX4 Level II -- with a choice of two 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 or Nissan Frontier. Also consider the Dodge Dakota if you prefer an American manufacturer. The Ford Ranger shares a platform with and is highly similar to the Mazda B Series.

  • "The Ranger SuperCab models feature two small rear doors, but no crew-cab model challenges similar vehicles from Dodge, Nissan and Toyota. With no V8 option under the hood, the Ranger also falls behind the class leaders in horsepower and towing " -- Kelley Blue Book
  •  -"The 2009 Ford Ranger is affordable and competent off-road when properly equipped. Due to its aged design, however, it falls short in many other areas, making just about any other small or midsize pickup a better choice." -- Edmunds
  • "This basic design is more than a decade old and shows it. Rivals, all much newer, offer better power, refinement, even room and comfort. Still, Ranger and the similar Mazda B-Series are proven workhorses that are attractively priced and often heavily discounted." -- Consumer Guide
  • "Fans of the small truck may be sad to see it go, but after 15 years without a serious model upgrade there just wasn't a lot of motivation in continuing the Ranger. No serious word on a future replacement as Ford seems ready to cede small trucks (and small profits) to the competition in favor of the F-Series and crossovers/SUVs." -- Jalopnik
Review Last Updated: 10/5/09

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