Cars.com photo by Christian Lantry
We've been impressed with the turbocharged four-cylinder engine and 10-speed automatic transmission that go in all trim levels of the 2019 Ford Ranger mid-size pickup truck. However, there's one characteristic of the Ranger's drivetrain — a mild vibration/shudder at low speeds under light acceleration — that's been bothersome both to us as well as Ranger owners who've voiced their complaints on Ranger5G.com, a forum for the all-new Ranger.
We've tested three different SuperCrew versions of the 2019 Ranger — a mid-level XLT trim with the FX4 Off-Road Package, and two high-end Lariat models, one with the FX4 Off-Road Package and one without — and all three trucks had the low-speed shudder. When the shudder occurs it's relatively brief, lasting just a second or two, but it happens enough during normal driving to be troublesome — particularly in a brand-new truck. It's most pronounced when accelerating from a stop; as you pass 10 mph or so there's often a brief shudder from somewhere behind the driver's seat. One Ranger driver wrote on the forum that it's like "running over the rumble bumps on the side of the road (just less intense)," which is as good a description as any.
This isn't the kind of thing that can be explained away as a common truck characteristic; our 2019 Mid-Size Truck Challenge included two other body-on-frame pickups, the 2019 GMC Canyon and 2020 Jeep Gladiator, and neither exhibited this type of vibration. The 2019 Honda Ridgeline, a car-based unibody pickup, didn't have it, either.
We wanted to know what could be causing this shudder and what owners who've experienced it can do to reduce or eliminate it, so we reached out to Ford. The automaker told us it sent two Rangers we tested to engineering for evaluation, but after following up we haven't received any information since then regarding what, if anything, the analysis found. We will update this story if we get any new information from Ford.
In the meantime, if you're shopping for a new Ranger we'd recommend paying close attention during the test drive to determine whether the truck you're considering has this vibration (it's unclear whether it affects all Rangers or just certain ones), and if it does whether you find it objectionable. We do, and we hope Ford will have a fix for it soon.
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