Auto review By Veeno Dewan.

The 2032 Ford Ranger is the Blue Ovals compact pickup truck,  a good counterpart to the hybrid Maverick model and the mighty Ford F-150. Not many changes for 2023. The truck still has the handsome, almost graceful lines for a well-integrated look. Short overhangs, a high beltline, steeply raked cabin windshield, trapezoid black honeycomb grill, and big fenders complete a contemporary visage. The  engine powering the Ranger is the second-generation Ford 2.3L twin scroll turbocharged Ecoboost four-cylinder, making 270 horsepower and 310 lb.-ft. of torque. It is mated to a ten-speed automatic.—there is no manual transmission option. The Ranger can carry up to 1,650 lb of cargo with the short bed Crew Cab 4 x 4 configuration, and 1,560 lbs for the SuperCrew. All Ranger models have a maximum towing capacity of 7,500 lbs, (When properly equipped with tow package) which Ford says is best-in-class.

All Rangers in Canada are 4×4 equipped. The mid-range XLT comes in a Super Cab version at $38,290, or SuperCrew at $40,840. The ;top-line Lariat is available in Crew cab format only.  Options and stand-alone extras will increase the price substantially. Our tester XLT model was optioned with the FX4 Package offering beefier tires, front tow hooks, a steel skid plate,  special suspension with off-road-capable dampers, an electronically locking rear differential, and an additional off-road screen in the main instrument cluster. The as tested Supercrew XLT featured  five roomy seats, and four conventionally opening doors. Highlights included the comfortable leather seats, contrasting orange trim stitching and the high spec optional equipment list. Also included was the technology package, FX4 Off-road package, Chrome appearance package, sprayed in bedliner, running boards, auto stop start feature, 18-inch wheels and  trailer tow package. Total options came to a hefty $10,025.

The Ranger’s cabin design is neat and well organized. Kudos to Ford for ensuring there are proper button or knobs for major functions as well as a touchscreen. The dash is uncluttered with nice big dials for stereo volume and tuning. The infotainment system is powered by the latest version of Ford’s excellent SYNC3 system with an 8.0-inch touchscreen. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity is also included. There is also dual-zone climate control and heated front seats, but a heated steering wheel and heated rear seats are not available, even as options. The Rangers  front seats are incredibly supportive and comfortable and have eight-way power with lumbar support on the Lariat model.   The rear seats can fold up for some extra cargo space. Storage space up front is good, with decent sized door pockets and cubby holes. The fit, finish, and comfort in the interior is far better and luxurious than the Japanese competition in this sector- less utilitarian with a more car-like ambience. So, well done on that Ford!

On the road, the Rangers 2.3-liter turbo four-cylinder engine offers good acceleration and cruising speed. The torque comes on strong in the fully useable mid  range. Meanwhile, the manoeuvrable size, and impressive turning circle make it easy to drive. The steering is light and responsive. In typical pickup truck fashion, the Ranger is bouncy and jittery over bumps if unloaded but it is a smooth ride on most surfaces and with a load and occupants.  Note, the 4×4 system is part-time and for less traction situations. Terrain Management, operated by a button on the console, optimizes performance in mud, snow, sand, and other conditions  The Terrain Management system also features Ford’s low speed forward crawl control system that can operate up to 11 km/h.  Fuel economy is rated at   12.3 l/100km city and 9.7 city with  11.1 L/100 km combined rating (Natural Resources Canada). Downsides are few, no heated steering wheel, or heated rear seats and the climate control buttons are small and difficult to see.

I was impressed that although you sit high, the narrower  cab and smaller size means it is not a chore to park the Ranger like a full- size truck. Overall, the new Ford Ranger is very well executed. Ford expect customers who had a Ranger in the past to  once more consider the advantages of a smaller fuel-efficient truck that will fit in a townhouse or condominium parking space. The Rangers handy 7,500 lb of towing capacity (when equipped with its trailer brake controller and towing package) means it is the ultimate versatile family or work and play truck. Highly recommended.

2023 Ford Ranger Base priced from: $40,840 – $43,340  plus options destination and taxes. Supercrew XLT Model as tested with options :$50,865 plus  fees amd destination.