One of the vehicles that is especially in vogue and holds major street cred to the 18-35 x-gamer crowd is the Toyota Tacoma.
In the smaller truck market it’s the Ford F-150 of the bunch.

It’s image is that of tank-like solidity, legendary Toyota reliability and a can-do anything image.

And as an owner of multiple Wrangler's, I’ve always thought someday I’d own a Tacoma. 

Well that day came when the latest TRD Pro Tacoma hit dealer lots.

I figured I’d give it a try and if I hated it I could sell and never lose with all the crazy markups, for the discounted price I bought mine for in Kansas.

I owned it for about a month and sold it with 1700 miles or so on it.

WHY, you ask? Because honestly it was THE most disappointing driving experience I’ve had in the last 25 years.

Rather than waxing on about how much I disliked it, I’ll just list what I hated about the Tacoma.

1. Worst seat/driving position of anything on the market.
2. Size of bed virtually useless. It’s TINY.
3. No Apple CarPlay.
4. Driving dynamics on road in day to day driving make a Jeep Wrangler feel like you’re driving a Rolls-Royce Ghost in comparison. (In it’s defense, OFF-road it’s outstanding but unless you drive 90% off-regular roads WHO CARES?!) 
5. Interior makes you feel like you should turn your watch back 20 years when you get ready to start it.
6. No matter HOW hard I tried, the best mileage I could get was 15.7, HIGHWAY. 14.5 city. My 2017 F-150 Supercrew 4x4 Limited with 3.5 Eco-Boost got 18.5 city and 22 hwy for comparison. You could carry the Tacoma in the BED of the F-150! 
7. EXTREMELY underpowered motor. 

Owning a Tacoma requires a LOT of tradeoffs. In the Tacoma’s defense the TRD Pro LOOKS SUPER BADASS. That, its off-road prowess and reliability are honestly the only redeeming factors. 

So I was especially excited when Ford invited us to drive the 2019 Ford Ranger in La Jolla so I could see how the new truck compared.. 

Here are the basics on the Ranger:

Ford Ranger makes a triumphant return for 2019 – a midsize pickup engineered Built Ford Tough, ready for adventure and packed with driver-assist technologies to enable easier driving both onand off-road. Anchored by a high-strength steel frame and powered by a 2.3-liter EcoBoost® paired to an efficient 10-speed automatic, the all-new Ranger is available in either SuperCab or SuperCrew configuration. It can be optioned with 4x2 or 4x4, and comes in three trim levels – XL, XLT and Lariat. Chrome and Sport Appearance Packages are available.

Technology comes built-in, starting with an 8-inch touch screen for available SYNC® 3, while a single or dual LCD productivity screen is available for real-time vehicle, navigation and audio information. Ranger has standard Pre-Collision Assist with Automatic Emergency Braking. A Lane-Keeping System that includes lane-keeping assist, lane-departure warning, reverse sensing and class-exclusive Blind Spot Information System with trailer coverage is standard on XLT and Lariat. Adaptive Cruise Control is standard on Lariat.

Ranger’s muscular body features a high beltline, while a raked grille and windshield lend an athletic appearance and aid in aerodynamics and reduced wind noise. Short overhangs mean better approach and departure angles off-road. Available FX4 Off-Road Package features off-road-tuned suspension, all-terrain tires, framemounted heavy-gauge steel front bash plate and skid plates, rear locking differential, innovative Terrain Management System™ with four distinct drive modes and Trail Control™. Ranger makes for a great piece of off-road gear, but it also gets work done on the pavement. Its rugged steel bumper with available integrated trailer hitch receiver means towing campers, ATVs or watercraft is a breeze.

New colors: Shadow Black, Oxford White, Ingot Silver, Magnetic, Blue Lightning, Saber, Hot Pepper Red, White Platinum Tri-Coat


  • 18.0-gal. fuel tank capacity
  • Auto Start-Stop Technology
  • Black vinyl floor covering
  • Cargo box tie-downs (4)
  • Carpeted flooring (XLT and above)
  • Co-Pilot 360 (XLT and above)
  • Daytime running lamps
  • Electronic shift-on-the-fly (ESOF) (4x4)
  • Engine – 2.3L EcoBoost®
  • Mirrors – Power sideview (XL and above)
  • Power windows and door locks
  • Seats – Front buckets with flow-through console
  • SYNC® with 4.2-inch color LCD screen (XL, XLT)
  • SYNC 3 with 8-inch color LCD capacitive touchscreen with AppLink,® 911 Assist® and 2 smart-charging USB ports (XLT 301A and above)
  • SYNC Connect
  • Transmission – 10-speed SelectShift® automatic
  • Airbags – Dual-stage driver and right-frontpassenger front
  • Airbags – Front-seat side
  • Airbags – Safety Canopy® System with side-curtain airbags and rollover sensor
  • Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB)
  • Brakes – Anti-Lock Brake System (ABS)
  • MyKey® (XLT)
  • Rear view camera
  • Remote Keyless Entry with remote tailgate lock (XL and above)
  • SecuriLock® Passive Anti-Theft System
  • SOS Post-Crash Alert System™
  • Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS; excludes spare)
  • Trailer sway control
  • All-weather floor mats
  • Cab steps – 5-inch rectangular
  • Carpeted flooring (XL)
  • Cruise control
  • Electronic-locking rear differential
  • Engine block heater
  • Forward Sensing System
  • Manual-sliding rear window with defroster
  • Navigation System
  • Rear seat delete (SuperCab)
  • Remote Start System
  • Reverse Sensing System
  • SecuriCode™ keyless entry keypad
  • Splash guards/mud flaps
  • Spray-in bedliner
  • Bed Utility Super Value Package
  • Co-Pilot 360
  • FX4 Off-Road Package
  • LARIAT Chrome Package
  • LARIAT Sport Package
  • STX Appearance Package
  • Technology Package
  • Trailer Tow Package
  • XL Chrome Package
  • XLT Chrome Package
  • XLT Sport Package
So what were my impressions of the Ranger?

Let’s cut to the chase…Of all the smaller pickups, THIS is the one to get because it’s the best total package that gives you the best of everything.

You can daily drive the Ranger and unlike Tacoma it’s comfortable on a 200 mile drive and offer things Tacoma doesn’t like Active Cruise Control. In my opinion the Rangers best attribute is the suspension. So much more sophisticated and European feeling than the competition. If you closed your eyes while driving (we don’t recommend that!) the drive dynamics felt almost identical to the Ford Fusion I lease for my son. And that is a compliment. The Fusion is a great daily driver in town and on long road trips. My off-road tests showed the Ranger to be very respectable. 

Looks wise I was underwhelmed when I first saw it at the Detroit Auto Show but in person it looks like a baby F-150. Not overly busy like Tacoma and Colorado/Canyon.

Real world gas mileage was decent…Just under 22mpg in mixed driving for my few hours behind the wheel.

Interior was comfortable, respectable and decent looking. But in the higher end units like Lariat it should look more expensive and special than it does. 


We predict the 2019 Ford Ranger will be a winner for Ford and is the best of the trucks all around in the segment. It has the perfect balance of good drive dynamics, off-road capability, styling and amenities of the trucks in the mix. Hands down it would be my choice over the other midsize rivals. The only wildcard is it’s biggest competitor might not be Tacoma or Canyon/Colorado but heavily discounted F-150’s, RAM’s and Silverado/Sierra. It’s a VERY competitive marketplace and if you shop right and buy at the right time, you may end up with one of those for less. Welcome Ford Ranger. Welcome to the jungle BABY.

Enjoy the best gallery of real life shots of the Ford Ranger.

 CAR WARS! Ford Ranger Review By A Former Toyota Tacoma Owner

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