Although many buyers will balk at the 2011 Ford Ranger's lackluster interior and Spartan features, it does offer utility and function for budget-minded consumers.
Many reviewers conclude that there are simply better choices than the 2011 Ford Ranger in the compact pickup market. The 2011 Ford Ranger is an affordable option that’s in its element when it’s taken off-road or used for hauling and towing. However, its ride is too truck-like to appeal to many modern truck drivers, and its interior lacks space and comfort when compared to rivals.
Although it is a useful truck for light towing and hauling, its poor handling and lack of interior comforts make other vehicles simply more ideal for commuting and around-town use. Additionally, Ford has not given the 2011 Ford Ranger a major redesign in more than ten years, and reviewers note that this seriously holds the 2011 Ford Ranger back in its category. Edmunds sums it up, saying, "We've all heard the fondly spoken cliché about something being ‘an oldie but a goodie.’ But sometimes an oldie is, well, just old, with little ‘good’ to recommend it. A prime example would be the 2011 Ford Ranger."
Ford has also announced their plans to stop producing the 2011 Ford Ranger after the 2011 model year, as they are closing the Minnesota plant where the Ranger is produced. Some say that Ford may try to fill the gap with its F-150, especially since it will probably also be discontinuing the Explorer SportTrac, its sport utility truck.
The compact pickup that many reviewers say offers most of what the Ranger lacks in interior luxury, comfortable driving, and power is the Toyota Tacoma. Not only is the Tacoma ranked higher for interior comfort, towing capacity, and car-like drive, but it starts out over $1,500 less than the 2011 Ford Ranger. Additionally, the Tacoma gets only one mile per gallon less in the city, and has a true backseat available in its Double Cab models, in contrast with the side-facing jump seats that are the Ranger’s only rear seating option.
Also worth a look are close cousins Nissan Frontier and Suzuki Equator. These two trucks are made side-by-side in the same factory and are nearly identical. Both start around the same price as the 2011 Ford Ranger but outshine it in towing capacity by 700 pounds. An added benefit is the seven-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty that comes with the Suzuki Equator. The Suzuki’s warranty far outstrips Ford’s five-year/60,000-mile warranty.
If you’re looking to buy American, you may also want to take a look at the GMC Canyon or its near-twin, the Chevrolet Colorado. These trucks also offer similar capabilities and bare-bones features, with a starting price close to the 2011 Ford Ranger's. However, most reviewers say the same about these two compact pickups as they do about the Ford: what they sacrifice in comfort, they make up for in price bare-bones utility.
Another way to save money while comparison shopping is to check out the 2010 Ford Ranger, which is almost exactly the same as the new 2011 Ford Ranger. Dealers should still have some on their lots, which will be discounted in order to make room for the new models.