By KBB.com Editors
The 2009 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 2009 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 2009
SIRIUS XM Radio is made standard on the FX4 and Sport trims, and a Class III trailer hitch is added to all 4.0-liter V6 series.Driving It Driving Impressions
The 2009 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 and an auxiliary audio input jack.Exterior
The familiar Ranger exterior carries over after a slight freshening last year, with a bold grille, new colors and two attractive wheel choices. A raised "power dome" hood and an aggressive front valence help keep the aging design current. 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 4.0-liter V6 that produces 207 horsepower and 238 pound-feet of torque. If power trumps fuel economy, we highly encourage you to get the 4.0-liter, which will add to the price of most 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)
207 horsepower @ 5250 rpm
238 lb.-ft. of torque @ 3000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 15/21 (2WD, manual), 16/21 (2WD, automatic), 15/19(4WD, manual), 14/18 (4WD, automatic)
A Ranger XL Regular Cab's Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starts around $17,000, while the XLT trim with the seven-foot bed starts closer to $19,500. The Ranger SuperCab XL starts around $18,500. 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 Dodge Dakota, but it falls far behind the Chevrolet Colorado, GMC Canyon Toyota Tacoma and Nissan Frontier.