By KBB.com Editors
The 2008 Ford Ranger finds itself surrounded by a number of newer and larger competitors, making it necessary for Ford to keep its compact truck competitive by offering numerous upgrades, fresh styling and rock-bottom pricing. In terms of size, only the Chevrolet Colorado, its sibling twins, the Isuzu i-Series and GMC Canyon and the Toyota Tacoma offer a regular-cab configuration, an appealing feature for those looking for a bare-bones truck. The Ranger SuperCab models feature two small rear doors, but no crew-cab model challenges similar vehicles from Dodge, Nissan and Toyota. With no V8 option under the hood, the Ranger also falls behind the class leaders in horsepower and towing capability.You'll Like This Car If...
If you need a compact pickup that is inexpensive to own and operate, the 2008 Ford Ranger is one of the best. Available in everything from base two-wheel drive to highly-capable off-roader, the Ranger is one tough truck.You May Not Like This Car If...
If you need a pickup to haul heavy loads or transport four people on a regular basis, you may want to look at a midsize V8-powered pickup.What's New for 2008
The STX trim is dropped from the lineup, reducing the trim packages to XL, XLT, Sport and FX4 Off-Road.Driving It Driving Impressions
The 2008 Ford Ranger's handling and road manners have seen improvement through a series of suspension changes that include stiffer bushings, springs and shocks. As a result, the Ranger's rear end does not bounce around as much as it used to and the steering response remains firm. To keep the base truck affordable, Ford equips it with a 2.3-liter four-cylinder engine and a five-speed manual transmission. This engine exhibits good acceleration so long as the Ranger is not weighted down with a heavy load. For those not so concerned with fuel economy, the 4.0-liter V6 is the engine of choice. Although not the most powerful in its class, the 4.0-liter engine provides the Ranger with brisk acceleration and a 6,000-pound tow rating when equipped with the 3.55:1 rear axle and automatic transmission.Favorite Features
Pioneer Sound System
The 290-watt Pioneer sound system blows away all other stock systems.
The Ranger's updated interior and steering wheel give an upscale look to the compact pickup.
The Ranger has gotten a bit roomier than in generations past, with front seats that have deeply sculpted backs and new fabric choices. Legroom is not as generous as in some competitors, but SuperCab models do provide plenty of space behind the seats for luggage or groceries. As for backseat passenger room, the flip-down jump seats make for cramped accommodations and are best used for shorter trips. The Ranger features a number of audio upgrades, including a single CD player that can read MP3-formatted discs.Exterior
The familiar Ranger exterior receives a slight freshening, with a bold grille, three bright new colors and two attractive new wheel choices. Last year's extensive exterior reworking carries over for 2008 and includes a raised "power dome" hood and an aggressive front valence. The Regular Cab models feature six- and seven-foot beds, while the extended SuperCab models come with a longer wheelbase and a six-foot bed. SuperCab models also offer rear-hinged half doors, which allow easier access to the cab area.Notable Standard Equipment
The Ranger is equipped with a 2.3-liter engine, a five-speed manual transmission, anti-lock brakes (ABS), a tire pressure monitoring system, two front cup holders, dual side mirrors, AM/FM stereo, 60/40 vinyl split-bench seat, power steering, tachometer and 15-inch steel wheels.Notable Optional Equipment
Trim levels for the Ranger include XL, XLT, Sport and FX4 Off-Road. You can order your Ranger with shift-on-the-fly electronic four-wheel drive, five-speed automatic transmission, power windows, power locks, sliding rear window, cruise control, 290-watt Pioneer audio system, 3.0-liter V6 engine (Regular Cab), 4.0-liter V6 (SuperCab), limited-slip rear differential, fog lamps, 16-inch alloy wheels and leather seats. The FX4 Off-Road Package adds gas shocks, front and rear skid plates, larger all-terrain tires and sport bucket seats.Under the Hood
The base 2.3-liter engine is fine for those who use their trucks to get around town and pull light-duty chores. For those who do serious off-roading, towing or just like the feel of a V6, Ford offers a choice of two. The first is a 3.0-liter V6 that produces 148 horsepower. Though this engine offers only five more horses than the 2.3-liter, you'll find it provides a significant boost in torque. The real meat and potatoes for the Ranger are provided by the 4.0-liter V6 that produces 207 horsepower and 238 pound-feet of torque. If you are going with a V6, we highly encourage you to get the 4.0-liter, which will add about $800 to the price of most V6 trims.
2.3-liter in-line 4
143 horsepower @ 5250 rpm
154 lb.-ft. of torque @ 3750 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 21/26 (manual), 19/24 (automatic)
148 horsepower @ 4900 rpm
180 lb.-ft. of torque @ 3950 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 16/22 (2WD, manual), 15/20 (4WD, manual), 15/20 (2WD, automatic), 14/19 (4WD, automatic)
207 horsepower @ 5250 rpm
238 lb.-ft. of torque @ 3000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 15/20 (2WD, manual), 15/20 (2WD, automatic), 15/19(4WD, manual), 14/17 (4WD, automatic)
A Ranger XL Regular Cab's Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starts just under $15,000, while the XLT trim with the seven-foot bed starts around $17,000. The Ranger SuperCab XL starts around $16,000. Before you start negotiating price, be sure to check the Fair Purchase Price which shows what others in your area are paying for their Rangers. The Ranger line is expected to retain a slightly above-average resale value. Over a five-year period, Kelley Blue Book projects the Ranger to hold its value equal to the Chevrolet Colorado, GMC Canyon, Dodge Dakota and Isuzu i290, but it lags far behind the Toyota Tacoma and Nissan Frontier.