A new truck does not have to be an enormous beast with a V8 engine and a price tag that approaches $75,000. Many truck drivers want a mid-size truck, a nimble runner in the neighborhood and on the highway, and one capable of hauling quite a bit of lumber or material when necessary.
Welcome to the world of mid-size trucks where we compare the reigning mid-size king, the Toyota Tacoma against the competitor, the Ford Ranger.
If you are in search of a mid-size truck, this article based on Car Expert is for you.
Resting on their laurels?
One should note that Toyota had virtually captured the market after Ford decided to eliminate the Ford ranger from global production in 2012. However, 8 years later, Ford decided to reimage in producing mid-size trucks, with the first new Ford Rangers being produced for the North American market rolling off the assembly line in October of 2018.
Some say that Toyota, which shot to the top after Ford stopped North American production in 2012 has been sort of resting on its laurels, and that the new Ford Ranger is better equipped and runs better than a Tacoma.
Others say that not only has Toyota kept up but has long since passed even the new Ranger. We’ll see what you think.
The first thing of course is price.
According to Cargurus.com, the average price paid for a Toyota Tacoma is $39,907, while the average price of a Ford Ranger is $35,137. That’s over $4,700 cheaper, and the price difference can hardly be pooh-poohed away by saying the Tacoma is a better truck.
Score this one for the Ford Ranger.
Payload and towing
A truck is not a truck without considering payload and towing capacity. While in no way comparable with the big boys, the Toyota Tacoma has a maximum payload of 1,095 pounds while the Ford Ranger has a max payload of 1,650 pounds.
In terms of towing, the Toyota Tacoma will pull up to 6,400 pounds. Impressive, but in comparison to the maximum towing capacity of the Ford Ranger, 7,500 pounds, the Ford Ranger leaves it in the dust.
Score another point for the Ford Ranger
A tale of the tape
This is actually an odd comparison and we’ll tell you why. The Toyota Tacoma is actually around 2.5 inches longer than that Ford Ranger. And although it is just a fraction of an inch, the wheelbase is also a little longer.
However, the Ford Ranger sits about 1 inch taller and is another inch wider.
Where the two trucks really vary however is in the bed size. The bed size of the Toyota Tacoma is 60.5 inches while the bed size of the Ford Ranger is 72.8 inches, or more than a foot longer than the Toyota Tacoma.
If you will actually be using your truck to load up equipment, that extra foot of the bed will be appreciated.
Score another point for the Ford Ranger.
Engines and Powertrain
Toyota offers a 6-speed manual transmission for the Toyota Tacoma. A powertrain that has been described by some auto writers as adequate but not very inspiring.
Meanwhile, Ford, in Tacoma does not offer a manual transmission at all but instead offers a 10-speed automatic transmission.
For some old-school truck fans, the lack of manual transmission tosses the Ford Ranger out of contention entirely. “Me, Drive an Automatic transmission,” goes the logic. “Not in my life.”
For those who think this way, we have just one thing to say. Test drive the 10-speed transmission for itself. It’s silky smooth and will power your vehicle just fine in the lower gears when necessary.
As to the engine, Toyota does indeed have a more powerful engine in the Tacoma with a 278 horsepower 2.7 Liter Engine. Meanwhile, the 2.3 liters turbocharged 4 cylinder engine in the Ford Ranger only puts out 270 horsepower.
However, as they say, the devil is in the details, and in the case of comparison engines, the Ford Ranger has 310 ft of torque as compared with 265 ft of torque for the Toyota Tacoma.
This additional torque really comes in handy, when towing, and also when passing vehicles on the highway.
Higher resale value
On paper then, the Ford Ranger seems to have proved some auto sellers opinion that
Toyota has been resting on its laurels, yet Toyota is the number 1 automotive and truck manufacturing company in the world and Toyota has a world-renown reputation for
In fact, the vast majority of people reading an article touting the Ford Ranger as a better vehicle than the Toyota Tacoma said, “wait until the vehicle is 10 years old, then compare.”
And how can you argue seeming as to how Ford took a hiatus for 8 years between vehicles.
So we’ll definitely give Toyota the edge here.
In 2023, the Ford Ranger did not do extremely well in its safety tests. The Ford Ranger was rated four out of 5 – rare for new trucks in safety and received 3 stars for rollover rating.
This is certainly an indicator that the Ford Ranger has some work to do in terms of safety as compared to the Toyota Tacoma.
Many auto writers reported that Toyota is way ahead of Ford in the infotainment sphere, and we’ll just accept their word for it.
Personally, we’re in favor of the Ford Ranger because of that $4,700 price differential as compared to Toyota Tacoma.
On the other hand, we can see how that number would shrink from the depreciation difference when you wish to sell the vehicle. After all, the Ford Ranger just reappeared again with the 2019 model year, and so it hasn’t really proven itself as the Toyota Tacoma has.
In our opinion, Toyota has made enough innovations over the years to keep its spot as the mid-size king.
Ask us in three or four years, however, and we are liable to tilt toward the Ford Ranger as the new number 1.