Ford's compact Ranger truck enters 2008 with a more-aerodynamic front bumper and few other changes. The Ranger is available with a four-cylinder or a choice of two V-6s, with either a manual transmission or a five-speed automatic. While its competitors — like the Chevrolet Colorado, Nissan Frontier and Dodge Dakota — have grown in dimensions over the years, the Ranger has remained relatively the same size for the past decade.
A tire pressure monitoring system and a passive anti-theft system come standard on all models. An audio input jack is standard for all stereos except the base AM/FM receiver. Two 16-inch aluminum wheels are available, and Sirius Satellite Radio is available on the STX, XLT, Sport and all FX4 models. Single-disc CD audio systems have MP3 compatibility.
Trim levels are XL, XLT, Sport and FX4 Off-Road.
The regular-cab XLT model features a 7-foot cargo box, and the Ranger Sport can be equipped with a Tremor MP3 audio and wheel package. Aimed at young buyers, the Ranger Sport conveys the assertive look and ride height of a four-wheel-drive Ranger at a lower price.
The Ranger's front bumper has been redesigned to cut through the air more efficiently, and Ford says it improves fuel economy. New larger fog lights improve visibility, and a Grabber orange exterior color is available for 2008.
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.
Two rear-hinged rear doors, which are optional on SuperCab models, can be opened only after the front doors are open. XL models have black bumpers and a black bar-style grille, while the XLT gets body-colored bumpers and a chrome grille surround. Sport pickups have a honeycomb grille and body-colored bumpers and grille.
Regular-cab models ride a 111.5- or 117.5-inch wheelbase and measure 189.4 or 201.4 inches long overall. SuperCab Rangers have a 125.7-inch wheelbase and are 203.6 inches long overall. An optional tubular cargo-bed extension can add 2 feet to the 6-foot bed's length.
Options include two 15- and 16-inch wheels and body-colored side moldings.
Regular-cab Rangers can seat either two or three occupants on either bucket seats or a 60/40-split bench. SuperCab models can be equipped with 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. Leather-trimmed seating surfaces and sport bucket seats are available.
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 that delivers 238 pounds-feet of torque. Ford's four-cylinder engine is standard in XL and two-door XLT SuperCab 4x2 models. A five-speed manual gearbox is standard, and a five-speed automatic is optional. Rear- and four-wheel-drive models are offered, and a dashboard switch can engage four-wheel drive while the vehicle is moving. When properly equipped, the Ranger can tow 6,000 pounds.
Four-wheel antilock brakes are standard. Dual-stage front airbags are standard, but side-impact airbags are not available.