The Ranger Edge targets young buyers. The Ranger Edge is precisely the kind of truck that young buyers like. It sits tall, and in the chrome yellow of the test truck, it attracts attention like a sports car. In terms of price and where it fits in the
product lineup, Ford has positioned the Edge between the XL and XLT trim models. It is offered in regular or SuperCab models. There are two V-6 engines: a 150-horsepower, 3.0-liter and a 207-horsepower, 4.0-liter. A four-cylinder is available on the
short-bed, regular-cab model. The Edge package is $2,200 and consists of essentially cosmetic changes such as monochrome paint, wheel flares, bolder hood, mesh grille and the tall stance. The front bumper is covered with body-color material and has
fog lights built in. The test truck was a four-wheel-drive SuperCab equipped with the 4.0-liter V-6. The SOHC engine has been used in the Explorer SUV, and this is the first year it has been offered in the Ranger. It has 47 more horsepower than last
year's overhead-valve unit, and that shows up in improved drivability. Performance is on par with other compact pickups. A manual transmission is offered, but most folks will prefer an automatic, especially with the SOHC V-6. This five-speed unit has
closely spaced gear ratios that make the most of the engine's power, and does so with shifts that are nearly imperceptible. Because the Edge is aimed at a young audience, standard equipment includes a six-disc, in-dash CD changer that has good
sound. Ford worked to make the Ranger's cabin quieter. The instrument panel uses laminated steel and the floor has noise-absorbing material. A more efficient insulating blanket keeps engine noise under the hood, and new engine mounts dampen
vibrations so they don't reach the driver and passenger. Inside, the Ranger remains much as before. The instrument panel has readable analog gauges and the radio and heating controls are grouped into a single panel in the center of the dash. Some of
the radio's buttons are pretty small and the green, digital readout can be hard to see in bright sun. The front seat is a 60/40 unit that pivots forward for access to the small area behind the front seat. If there is one knock on the Ranger, it is the
size of the extended cab. Tiny jump seats are only suitable for tiny children and most of the time will be left folded up to maximize the small storage space that exists. A small, rear-hinged door on each side of the cab gives easy access to the second
seating area. The two-wheel-drive Ranger Edge uses stiffer springs than the regular model to keep it sitting tall, but the four-wheel-drive models are the same across the model line. The 125.9-inch wheelbase gives a pretty decent ride on all but the
choppiest of pavement. Unloaded, two-wheel-drive pickups can be pretty skittish on slick streets. Four-wheel drive not only enhances all-weather performance, but it also gives the Edge off-road capability. Anti-lo
ck brakes that apportion the balance of stopping power from front to rear depending on load and conditions are standard on all models. More powerful brakes would be welcome. Both the regular cab and SuperCab have a 6-foot-long pickup box. A tubular
cargo extender that folds out onto the open tailgate is optional, and it creates a cargo space nearly 8 feet long. Until a new Ranger comes along, changes to the current model, such as this year's face-lift, continue to keep it competitive with other
trucks in the compact segment. The spunky look and competitive price give the Edge an advantage. Price The base price of our test vehicle, a SuperCab, four-wheel-drive Ranger Edge with the largest V-6 engine, was $23,940. The only options were a
4.10 rear axle ratio and a class III trailer hitch. The sticker price was $25,010. Warranty Three years or 36,000 miles. To get in touch with Tom Strongman, send e-mail to email@example.com.
Point: The Ranger Edge is a good value package. A styling facelift adds attitude and sportiness to the compact Ranger, plus the Edge package is available on a wide range of models. The SOHC V-6 engine's extra power and smoothness are most welcome.
Counterpoint: The space behind the front seat is quite small and will only be used by tiny children. The brakes could be stronger.
SPECIFICATIONS: Engine: 4.0-liter, V-6 Transmission: automatic Four-wheel drive Wheelbase: 125.9
inches Curb weight: 3,658 lbs. Base price: $23,940 As driven: $25,010 Mpg rating: 15 city, 19 hwy.