2019 Ford Ranger XLT SuperCab 4X2

Every vehicle, no matter how luxurious or expensive it may be, is a sort of tool. Some are more versatile than others. A high-performance sports car is like a pneumatic nail gun. It uses a lot of power to fire you down the road as quickly as possible. A rugged off-road SUV is similar to a sledgehammer because it may lack sophistication, but it gets results.

A truck is more like a multi-tool. There's a good chance you own one. At the very least, you've seen one before. When you open it up, you see a variety of useful implements. There's a pair of scissors and multiple knife blades if you need to cut something. Flathead and Phillips screwdrivers are there to help you tighten things down. Thirsty? Just use the handy bottle opener to crack open an ice-cold drink. You can even use the file to take the rough edges off of that birdhouse you've been working on.

Ford recently loaned me its smallest multi-tool, the 2019 Ford Ranger. Like the Blue Oval's other trucks, it was designed to carry people, haul their weekend toys, and get big jobs done when playtime is over. In the coming weeks, I'll show you how I used a couple of four-wheel-drive Ranger models to get some rest and relaxation outdoors. Today, you'll see how I used a two-wheel-drive Ranger XLT SuperCab to do some dirty work.

2019 Ford Ranger

2019 Ford Ranger XLT Exterior

My dad always has an idea for some sort of home improvement project so I made sure to let him know when I would have the Ranger. He had no problem thinking of something to do with it. Luckily, the Ranger showed up prepared. It had an optional Trailer Tow Package, which included a four-/seven-pin wiring harness and a class IV hitch receiver that enabled it to pull 7,500 pounds.

2019 Ford Ranger

My dad and I didn't need that, though. We needed the Ranger's six-foot bed and optional spray-in bedliner to haul old fence planks and a chunk of pole-anchoring concrete from one of his properties to another so my dad could repurpose them. Altogether, I think the load weighed less than 200 pounds - well below my test truck's max payload of 1,860 pounds. The Ranger's 33-inch load-in height made getting the wood into the bed easy, but I had to stand on one of the Ranger's tires to get the metal pole and hunk of concrete into the right position.

The only other issue my dad and I had popped up after we had everything in the bed. I couldn't close the tailgate because the liner on the inner side of it came into contact with the end of the planks. Fortunately, we had brought a ratchet strap that allowed us to transport everything with the tailgate as far up as it could go.

My Ranger media loaner wasn't all about work, though. Ford dressed it up a little with a set of shiny 18-inch wheels and the Chrome Appearance Package, which added brightwork to the grille, bumpers, tow hooks, door and tailgate handles, and exhaust tip.

2019 Ford Ranger

2019 Ford Ranger XLT Interior

Inside, my press truck had a few upgrades that made the trip up to my dad's property in north Austin and back more pleasant. After gathering all of the planks under the heat of the midday sun and the heavy blanket of Central Texas's high humidity, I was grateful that the Ranger had the 302A equipment Group. In addition to a manual sliding rear window and heated eight-way power front seats, it added remote start. With a few button presses on the key fob, I fired up the Ranger and started cooling off the cabin before my dad and I made the journey down south.

2019 Ford Ranger

Since we knew how to get to the other property, we didn't really need the Technology Package's navigation, which I could activate with my voice or the SYNC 3 infotainment system's eight-inch touchscreen. However, that bundle's adaptive cruise control definitely came in handy and made the drive down more relaxing. The six-speaker audio system was surprisingly good and highlighted one of my favorite features of the Ranger's interior: the large, simple, and effective volume and tuning knobs. My test truck also had a standard 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot so my dad could check his email on the go without worrying about his provider's signal strength.

It's a good thing we didn't need to bring another person with us. Technically, the Ranger had a backseat area, but it was better suited to cargo or the smallest of children. It held a couple of useful surprises, though. The jack sat in a compartment under the rear driver's-side seat; the empty space under the rear passenger's-side seat was the perfect spot to discretely store small items in.

2019 Ford Ranger

2019 Ford Ranger XLT Performance

Ford uses a one-size-fits-all approach for the Ranger's engine, no matter what you do with the truck. All Rangers have a turbocharged, direct-injection 2.3-liter EcoBoost I4 under their hood. That's connected to a 10-speed automatic. Output is 270 horsepower and 310 lb-ft of torque. Those numbers are as good on the road as they are on paper. The Ranger had more than enough power whenever I needed to pass another vehicle or just felt like putting my right foot down hard.

When that combination of hardware is running at peak efficiency, a 4X2 Ranger is capable of delivering 21 city, 26 highway, and 23 combined mpg.* Those figures and the Ranger's 18-gallon fuel tank give it a potential cruising range of more than 400 miles.

2019 Ford Ranger

2019 Ford Ranger XLT Safety

I didn't really care what happened to the fence planks in the bed, but I wanted my dad to get home in one piece so it was nice to know the Ranger was outfitted with a variety of safety features. Standard equipment on the Ranger XLT includes front, front side-impact, and side curtain airbags, as well as AdvanceTrac traction control, Roll Stability Control, and Curve Control to make sure the Ranger isn't going too fast when the road ahead gets twisty.

The Ford Co-Pilot360 package of safety technologies that debuted on the refreshed 2019 Edge is standard on the Ranger XLT. That's filled with features such as blind spot and cross-traffic monitoring for the Ranger and any trailer it's towing, a pre-collision alert system with automatic emergency braking, a rearview camera, lane-keeping assistance, and automatic high beams.

2019 Ford Ranger

2019 Ford Ranger XLT Overall

Whether you need to transport your kids to school, haul a load of bricks to a job site, or pull your jet ski, you can use the 2019 Ford Ranger to do it (sorry, it doesn't have a built-in corkscrew). And you can find it at an AutoNation Ford dealership. Prices for the Ranger XLT start at $28,120.** A truck equipped just like the one you see here will have a sticker price of $34,865.

*Based on 2019 EPA mileage ratings. Your mileage will vary depending on specific vehicle trim, how you drive and maintain your vehicle, driving conditions, and other factors.
**MSRP excludes tax, license, registration, destination charge and options. Dealer prices may vary.
Categories: Test Drive Reviews