Small Truck, Big Deal: 2007 Ford Ranger Review
Towing capacity and fuel economy stir desire for this compact truck
Dec. 01, 2006
If it’s excellent fuel economy you expect in a truck, look no further than the Ford Ranger, the best-selling compact truck for the past 18 years straight. It’s the 2.3-liter DOHC I-4 engine that delivers an EPA-estimated fuel economy of 24-mpg city driving and 29-mpg highway driving.
New for 2007 Ranger model is an optional SIRIUS satellite radio. There is also a Personal Safety System, which is defined by Ford as an “array of sophisticated technology” – essentially, air bags are measured and employed accurately during an impact; or it acts to prevent a break-in with an anti-theft SecuriLock® system. As with the F-150 Series, there is a new Tire Pressure Monitoring System, an instrument panel light that alerts the driver when the system detects pressure loss in any tire.
And finally there are two new 16-inch wheels for most trims and three new truck colors (Pueblo Gold Metallic; Vista Blue Metallic; and Screaming Yellow).All the Trimmings
Introduced in 1982, the Ranger was redesigned more than ten years later and then received a whole new exterior in 1998. The look is distinctly American, and Ford has a competitive list of options and configurations, including the FX4, XL, XLT, SXT, and Sport.
Ford’s supreme offering when it comes to the Ranger lineup is the FX4, targeted to the adventurous, off-road crowd. This trim offers an Off Road or Level II standard equipment package. The Level II has the fixings of the Off Road package (side-step bars, front tow hooks, skid plates), but heavier name-brand shocks and differentials. The FX4 Level II has a Torsen® differential design that sends power to the wheel with the most grip and Blisten® gas-charged monotube shocks to increase strength and stability. The FX4 is also wrapped up in a standard 4-door SuperCab. Standard on FX4 Off Road and FX4 Level II is the 207-horsepower 4.0-liter SOHC 12-value V6 with 238 lb-ft of torque at 3,000 rpm. Pair this with the Class III hitch receiver and you can tow up to 6,000 lbs. Not bad for a little guy.
Dubbed a “no-nonsense workhorse,” the XLT and XL are the only trims with a 7-ft cargo box available on Regular Cab only. The 143-horsepower 2.3-liter DOHC I-4 has 145 lb-ft of torque at 3,750 rpm and is standard on the XL, STX, and XLT models, but you can choose the optional 4.0-liter SOHC V6. Note you won’t get that great mileage anymore – gas mileage for the 4.0-liter V6 is 17-mpg city/20-mpg highway on the 4x4 5-speed manual – but you’ll get that great towing capacity.
The STX and Sport trims are more about customizing exterior features through body-color grilles, side view mirror caps, wheel lips and bumpers. The Sport seems targeted for the weekend athlete; the STX claims an “edgy profile” with unique lighting features desirable for nighttime cruising.
It should be mentioned there is a third engine option for the Ford Ranger, the 3.0-liter OHV V6 with 148-horsepower and 180 lb-ft of torque at 3,950 rpm. Gas mileage for the 4x4 5-speed automatic is 16-mpg city driving and 20-mpg highway driving.Get SIRIUS Sound
Ford put a lot of thought into the sound systems for the Ranger model. All trims but the XL have an optional Pioneer® 290-watt MP3-capable sound system with a subwoofer in center console, as well as the optional (and new-to-2007 model) SIRIUS satellite radio.
The Sport has an optional TREMOR package. This includes a Pioneer® 510-watt AM/FM stereo radio with a 6-disc in-dash CD changer and MP3 capacity. There is also a multi-channel amplifier, a 10-inch subwoofer and four premium Pioneer® speakers.Comfy Inside & Price
The Ford Ranger interior makes a huge effort to keep you comfortable and in style. With a “dress code” that ranges from casual to professional, the model has a tilt steering wheel, 60/40-split bench, and two-toned cloth sport bucket seats with lumbar support. The optional leather-trimmed sport buckets look and feel especially sharp.
The Ford Ranger has always had strong steering and suspension, and the engine has drastically improved since its inception. The handling is fine on and off-road, but the smoothness of the ride gets compromised on the latter. The transmission and driveline has been a hit-and-miss through the years (hit this year). Maximum payloads and horsepower on a few select trims is a little below average, in comparison to other makes and models in its class.
Go with the XLT, the modest of Ranger trim upgrades, and you get a favorable base retail price of $16,830. Combine that with the 2.3-liter DOHC I-4 engine and you’ve ultimately saving a decent sum of money on gas and truck payments.
The primo Ranger FX4 Level II base price is around $24,245 – a great deal for a top-notch equipment package. You’ll be able to tow 6,000 lbs of recreation vehicles or a small work trailer to destinations and listen to some SIRIUS sounds, in style, while doing so.