The 2023 Ford Ranger Falls So Short

2023 Ford Ranger XLT Supercrew

Price: $50,865 CAD

Colour: Azure Grey

I was a huge fan of the Ford Ranger we had in North America for many years. It was a basic, simple and small pickup truck. I had two of them and miss them everyday. When Ford announced they were discontinuing the Ranger in 2012 I was heartbroken. After I talked it through in therapy I decided to settle in and wait until Ford saw the error of their ways and brought the Ranger back. I’d heard whispers of the Ranger you could get in Mexico for years. It caught flack for build quality and design but the pictures I saw left me optimistic. In 2019 Ford heralded the return of the Ranger. The design was the one I’d heard about (designed in Australia as it turns out). I’ve been waiting four years to get behind the wheel. Imagine my disappointment then when reality crushed my hopes.

The new Ranger feels old. It features technology that is at least a generation behind what is currently on offer elsewhere. The worst example of this is the dash cluster. It features a static tach and speedo, nothing wrong with that. The little digital display in the middle is the problem. Not only is it too small but it also has old looking menus and designs. This struck me the first time I climbed into the Ranger and it really sucks. The infotainment is small and features Sync 3 which was a system that spends most of its time making you want Sync 4, which is still sloppy but way better than this. The plastics are cheap in this truck. They’re too hard and too shiny. They feel very early 2000’s and date this vehicle hard. This isn’t a budget truck that demands lower development costs. Ford should have found an extra $10 to spruce up the soggier design elements of this truck as it would have benefitted from it immensely. 

For me, the old Ranger was great in a lot of ways. One of the things I loved the most was that it was small. It had a narrow stance and a tiny wheel base. It was just so driveable. The new Ranger is none of these things. It’s way bigger than its predecessor. You feel it when you drive it and given how it handles you really feel it when you have to thread it into a tight parking spot. Why did they have to make this thing so big? The whole point of the Ranger was that it was small and nimble. 

It’s not all bad with the Ranger. You do get a proper shifter, no buttons to select gears. I like that a great deal. You also get a real hand brake. These are becoming so hard to find in current cars. Both items are also mounted nice and high in the centre console. See, I can be fair.

I was so happy when Ford announced the Maverick a couple of years ago. That’s the true spiritual successor to the old Ranger. This new Ranger is aimed squarely at mid-sized trucks like the Tacoma, Frontier, Colorado etc. That’s all well and good but it completely misses the point. It’s also made from old and low-grade materials. That’s a bad combination for a car with so much hope.

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