Ford builds the best-selling truck in the world, the F-150, but not everybody wants or needs a full-size pickup with immense capability. Whether you prefer something smaller for trail carving or an affordable hybrid for urban yard duties, Ford has you covered with these two extremes of compact pickups.
2021 Ford Ranger Tremor Eats Potholes
Nobody will think the Ranger Tremor is a mere pretty boy by looking at it, but it looks pretty cool with dark grille surrounds, front/rear tow hooks, and off-road tires mounted to dark painted 17” wheels. Red grille accents, Tremor graphics, and integrated step bars add ruggedness. Skid plates protect soft bits beneath. It’s nearly an inch wider and taller to enhance trail cred. If you prefer more street cred, it eats potholes.
Getting kids to school or friends to camp will be comfortable given thickly bolstered sport seats with suede inserts, dual-zone automatic climate control, and intuitive infotainment screen connecting devices through Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and 4G Wi-Fi. Auxiliary switches control winches, light bars, air compressors, or other gear. Safety is enhanced by adaptive cruise, forward collision alert with auto brake, lane keep assist, blind spot warning, and rear cross path detection. There’s even a rear child reminder.
Unlike larger Ford pickups that harbor V8 and twin-turbo V6 engines, the Ranger is plenty peppy with its 2.3-liter turbocharged four-cylinder. Connected to a 10-speed automatic transmission, it puts 270 horsepower and 310 lb.-ft. of torque down through an electronically controlled four-wheel-drive system. Tow up to 7,500 lbs., but even unhitched, fuel economy is a horrendous 19/19-MPG city/highway. All of the off-road fortifications add weight and disturb aerodynamics.
So, what does all of this style and capability cost? A base Ranger starts at an affordable $25,070, but our Ranger Tremor came to a humbling $43,875. If this truck seems a little too extra in cost and capability for your urban homemaking, read on.
2022 Ford Maverick Is Stylish, Efficient
Ford takes its Escape-based crossover architecture that’s also used for the Bronco Sport and parks it under a compact pickup. Your head may be spinning at the thought of a unibody pickup, but it’s actually a pretty brilliant move for young drivers, those with suburban homes, or somebody who just wants an efficient and stylish way to get around town.
If I bought one, I think I’d get the most basic version that comes standard with steelie wheels and rubber steering wheel, but also Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and 4G Wi-Fi that connects up to 10 devices. Owners can check fuel level, lock/unlock doors, and start or turn off the engine from their phone. Automatic emergency braking is standard, but owners can upgrade to adaptive cruise, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, and lane centering steering.
I’d probably get my Maverick with the base front-drive hybrid powertrain that delivers 40-MPG city, but moves out with a stout 191 horsepower and 155 lb.-ft. of torque – enough to tow 2,000 lbs. of watercraft or 1,500 lbs. of payload (37 bags of mulch). You can add all-wheel-drive and a 250 horsepower turbo-four, but the hybrid with front-drive is efficient, peppy, and should handle winter muck without drama.
Creative packaging lets owners configure the Maverick to fit their needs. A multi-position tailgate, 12 anchor points, and slots to insert bed dividers add flexibility. Add on spray bedliner if you actually plan to use it as a truck. Two household 110-volt outlets are perfect for tailgating and campsites.
The Maverick looks cool, drives like a crossover, achieves better fuel economy than compact cars, and can carry almost anything urban homeowners need. All that, and it starts at just $19,995.
Send comments to Casey at AutoCasey@aol.com; follow him on YouTube @AutoCasey.