The Ford Ranger is a smaller pickup that ruled the road for decades as a best-selling vehicle, although Ford discontinued it after the 2011 model hit the market. While in production, several different styles were available with two different engine options. The standard engine available for all styles is a four-cylinder, 2.3-liter engine, although you also have the option of going with a V6, 4.0-liter engine.

Your transmission options for the four-cylinder engine are a five-speed automatic or five-speed manual, while the V6 only has the automatic transmission option. Style options range from the XL to the FX4, with the latter geared toward off-road use. Two more options that fall in the middle are the XLT and the Sport.

Variations of the Ford Ranger came and went over the years, although the basic design remained the same. The truck was hearty enough to merit the lowest cost of car insurance for several of its 2010 models and attractive enough for Mazda to borrow the platform for the Mazda B-Series trucks starting production in 1994. Although the Ranger continued to be the best-selling compact truck on the market for several years, it began to take a back seat to other trucks in terms of keeping up with current styles, features, and power.

Relatively low operation and insurance costs, as well as its affordable price tag, helped the truck retain its place as a mainstay in the American car market, but its cons still outweighed its pros as competing vehicles were produced.

What are the overall pros and cons of a Ford Ranger?

The Ford Ranger gets high praise for its comparatively low price, but Edmunds and U.S. News reviewers remain greatly unimpressed by the truck’s other aspects. Reviewers first attack body styles and features of the Ranger, calling them dated, while they also note the small cab size on the standard truck lacks roominess and comfort. A larger cab size is available, but size alone does not make up for the limited styles and outmoded technology.

Off-road handling gets a thumbs-up, as does fuel economy for the four-cylinder engine option, although both engine options remain unimpressive for a truck. The estimated low cost of operating the vehicle gives it a bit of boost, if you don’t mind riding around in a cramped cab with sparse features and exterior styling U.S. News calls passé.

Where does the Ford Ranger rank for safety and stability?

Although earlier Ford Ranger safety features were not up to par with other vehicles in its class, the 2011 edition lessened the gap. Standard safety features included in the Ford Ranger’s most recent edition included traction control, 4-wheel anti-lock brakes, tire pressure monitoring system and seat side airbags. It still lacks side curtain airbags, although it does include Roll Stability Control.

U.S. News gave the Ford Ranger a 7.5 out of 10 ranking for safety, which is not necessarily great, but notable as the highest-ranking category above all the other features. Its reliability and firm construction add to its safety, with Edmunds noting the Ranger may actually join cockroaches as one of the few things that can survive the end of the world. It however, does not mention its passengers.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety says the rear jump seats in the SuperCab model are not recommended as a safe ride, and the roof strength and frontal offset tests only merited acceptable ratings. The Ranger received good ratings during side impact tests.

Results from federal government tests on the 2010 model rated it with the highest five-star rating for driver protection, four stars in the side driver and passenger safety tests and three stars for its rollover safety ranking.

How much is car insurance on a Ford Ranger?

Ford Rangers are noted for their low cost of car insurance, with the 2010 models taking slots six through ten on the top ten lowest vehicles to insure. The Ford Ranger XL with two-wheel drive and a standard truck bed averaged $1,195 per year, a mere shade less than the long truck bed version of the same vehicle with its annual insurance premium of $1,197. The two-wheel drive, long bed version of the Ranger Sport and Ranger XLT were nearly the same price, with annual premiums of $1,198 and $1,199, respectively.

What else should I know before I buy a Ford Ranger?

Because the Ford Ranger ceased production after the 2011 model, unless you find a truck owned by the proverbial little old lady in Pasadena who never drove the vehicle, you are most likely going to end up with a used truck. Not much has changed since the Ranger began production in 1983, which means the truck offers a modicum of stability, but it also means older, well-worn models may not live up to the safety ratings, since they apply to trucks when they were brand new. The federal government tests that were run on the Ranger are also those in place prior to the updated 2011 federal government safety standards.