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By Jim Flammang
April 20, 2005
Vehicle Overview Ford gives compact-pickup buyers plenty of choices. Rangers are available with a four-cylinder or a choice of two V-6s, and with either a manual gearbox or a five-speed-automatic transmission.
Two configurations have been added for 2005; these include regular-cab XLT models with a 7-foot cargo box and the Ranger Edge, which can be equipped with a special Tremor MP3 audio and wheel package. Aimed at young buyers, the sporty Edge edition conveys the assertive look and ride height of a four-wheel-drive Ranger � but with a lower price.
Exterior Rangers come in three sizes, with a choice of two cabs and bed lengths. Regular-cab pickups are available with a 6- or 7-foot cargo bed. SuperCab (extended-cab) versions are fitted exclusively with a 6-foot bed.
A power dome hood is installed. Two rear-hinged rear doors, which are optional on SuperCab models, can be opened only after the front doors are open.
Regular-cab models ride a 111.5- or 117.5-inch wheelbase and measure 188.5 or 200.5 inches long overall. SuperCab Rangers have a 125.7-inch wheelbase and are 202.7 inches long overall. An optional tubular cargo-bed extension adds 2 feet to the 6-foot bed's length.
Interior Regular-cab Rangers seat two or three occupants on bucket seats or a split bench, respectively. SuperCab models can have a pair of rear jump seats. Like all jump seats in compact pickups, the Ranger's rear seats are too small to hold adults comfortably.
Under the Hood Three engines are available: a 143-horsepower, 2.3-liter four-cylinder; a 148-hp, 3.0-liter V-6; and a 207-hp, 4.0-liter V-6. A five-speed-manual gearbox is standard, and a five-speed-automatic transmission is optional. Rear- and four-wheel-drive models are offered, and a dashboard switch can engage four-wheel drive while the vehicle is moving.
Safety Four-wheel antilock brakes are standard.
Driving Impressions Rangers are pleasant to drive and capable in every significant respect. They ride and handle on par with domestic competitors from Dodge and General Motors. Each model is attractive, well designed, solidly built and reasonably comfortable inside.