2020 Ford Ranger vs. 2020 Ford F-150: Compare Trucks

2019 Ford Ranger and F-150 with self-leveling kit

In most places, bigger is considered better. This should apply to pickup trucks, too, but half-ton trucks like the 2020 Ford F-150 are America’s preferred vehicle of choice over massive heavy duties. While the F-150 might be the right-size truck, the 2020 Ford Ranger mid-size truck presents an option for those who want…less. Who need less. 

The F-150 is the better truck; it comes in more sizes, styles, powertrain options, and it has better creature comforts, is better equipped, and has more capability. Our 6.2 TCC Rating reflects the popular opinion of America’s bestselling vehicle. Likewise, our 5.0 rating for the 2020 Ford Ranger reflects its average capability, equipment, and style.  

Most truck owners know what they need, and have a good idea of what they’re willing to pay to get what they want. If you’re leveling up from an SUV, or downsizing from a larger truck, how the F-150 and Ranger stack up on paper may illuminate why bigger is not always better, and sometimes better is not always best for you. 

More: Read our full reviews of the 2020 Ford F-150 and 2020 Ford Ranger

2019 Ford F-150 with self-leveling kit

2019 Ford F-150 with self-leveling kit

2020 Ford F-150

2020 Ford F-150

2019 Ford Ranger with self-leveling kit

2019 Ford Ranger with self-leveling kit

2019 Ford Ranger with self-leveling kit

2019 Ford Ranger with self-leveling kit

 

The 2020 Ford F-150 is available with more options than a Chinese lunch buffet. Remember those? Starting for less than $30,000 in base XL trim, it comes in XLT, Lariat, King Ranch, Platinum, and fully loaded Limited trim that scrapes the $70,000 stratosphere. Then there’s the Raptor off-road model. The F-150 can have a regular cab, four-door extended cab, or larger crew cab; and there are three bed options, 5-foot-6, 6-foot-6, or 8-foot. Rear-wheel drive can be upgraded to four-wheel drive for up to about $4,500, and there are six engines to choose from that are good across the board, mated to either a 6-speed automatic or more efficient 10-speed automatic transmission. What a spread. It can tow up to 13,200 pounds, which should handle just about every need. 

The 2020 Ford Ranger is much easier to configure, and easier to fit into a garage in most cases. Ironically the smallest F-150—the XL two-door regular cab with the 6-foot-6 box—is one inch shorter than the Ranger, which measures 210.8 inches in either configuration. Go (con)figure.

The Ranger either comes with a four-door extended cab with a 6-foot bed or a larger crew-cab with a 5-foot bed. The powertrain choices are even simpler: it’s powered by a 2.3-liter turbo-4 with a 10-speed automatic transmission, and four-wheel drive is optional for $4,000 more. It makes 270 hp and 310 pound-feet of torque, and can tow up to 7,500 pounds, which makes it plenty capable for most weekend needs. The four-wheel-drive model gets an EPA-rated 20 mpg city, 24 highway, 22 combined, which is on par with the diesel F-150. The 2.7-liter turbo-6 F-150 in four-wheel drive gets 18/23/20 mpg, so there’s not much of a fuel economy gain with the Ranger. 

2019 Ford Ranger

2019 Ford Ranger

2019 Ford Ranger

2019 Ford Ranger

2019 Ford F-150 Limited

2019 Ford F-150 Limited

2019 Ford F-150 Limited

2019 Ford F-150 Limited

Ford claims the Ranger is roomy enough to fit five in the crew cab, but four adults are going to max out the tolerable space inside the cab. The plastic interior of the Ranger can feel compromised, and the base XL work truck is as basic as it gets, with no touchscreen or smartphone software. For a very reasonable $25,605 starting price, it comes with automatic emergency braking, a USB port, and power features. For our money, we’d get the Ranger XLT if we were intent on the smaller, more limited Ranger as our truck of choice. 

We’d likely opt up for the 2020 F-150 unless we were confined by garage, driveway, or street space. The F-150 is more spacious, comfier, and better equipped with a dizzying array of available options. It’s the bestselling vehicle for good reason—but it’s not perfect. Base trucks are even more basic with the Ranger; they lack automatic emergency braking, a touchscreen, smartphone compatibility, or even power windows and locks. It’s the fleet truck. Here, too, we would step up to the XLT and its power features, 8.0-inch touchscreen, smartphone compatibility, and we might even throw in a sport appearance package or off-road package and keep the total cost under $50,000. 

That is the risk in choosing the F-150 over the Ranger: it’s tempting to add packages or a la carte options that can get pricey quickly. The Ranger might be all the truck you need, but the F-150 is the one we want.

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