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Will the New Ford Ranger Crush the Chevy Colorado?

Updated September 25, 2017

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It’s clear now the , will be built in the US and available in 2018. How will it stack up against the Colorado? Check it out!

The big question everyone has is how will the new T6 Ranger stack-up to the highly-successful . Let’s take a look at some key points of comparison between the two trucks, including dimensions, capacities, powertrain, and sales.

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Background

was designed by for use in that country, Southeast Asia, and South America where customers believed that a F-150 is just too big of a truck. What’s unknown outside of Ford is whether the intention was there all along to bring the new Ranger to the US, or whether the company was prompted by the success of the Colorado.

One thing to think about, though. Even though Ford of Australia designed and developed the Ranger, their only Ford plant is closing in October of 2016. In which case, where was Ford planning on building the Ranger? Mexico was a highly likely replacement, which would make you think that at US version must have been in the cards. Now the new contract with the United Auto Workers specifies the Ford Ranger be built in the US, the American version became a forgone conclusion.

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Dimensions

The base Chevrolet Colorado rides on 128 inch wheelbase, while the Ranger is nearly identical at 127 inches.

The base Chevrolet Colorado has an overall length of 213 inches while the Ford Ranger measures out to 211″, so it’s nearly identical in both length and wheelbase.

In terms  of width, the Chevy Colorado measures just over 74 inches, where the new Ford Ranger comes in at 73 inches – nearly the same.

So in terms of key dimensions, while the Ford Ranger comes up about an inch smaller in every dimension, it is virtually identical in size to the Colorado.

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Engines

The Colorado has a wide selection of engines available to customers, and can match up to nearly any need the customer may have. The current range of engines offered in the Ranger don’t line-up all that well with either American consumer expectations or with Chevy’s offerings. These are our educated guesses as to what Ford may offer.

Base

The Colorado base engine is a very efficient 2.5 L DOHC I4 that produces an impressive 200 hp. Ford has been using an older Mazda 2.5L four cylinder, but it produces only 170 hp. It’s doubtful Ford would give up such a huge horsepower advantage, so look for the newly-developed 2.0 I4 EcoBoost with a twin-scroll turbocharger that produces 245 hp as the base engine. It would also provide the Ranger a huge base engine torque advantage over the Colorado, 275 lb-ft for the Ford versus 191 for the Chevy.

V6

The Colorado offers an available 3.8 L DOHC V6 that produces 305 hp. Look for Ford to counter that with its 3.7 L DOHC V6 that can be tuned to match the Chevy motor, though the Chevy may come up a little short on torque (269 Colorado versus  276 Ford). The other option might be to go the 2.7 L EcoBoost route, achieving 325 hp and 375 lb-ft of torque. Or maybe offer both.

Diesel

Chevrolet created a great buzz when the achieved 31 mph highway in EPA tests, the first pickup to break the 30 mpg barrier. The four cylinder Duramax produces 181 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque. The five cylinder 3.2 L Ford , already in use in the US  in the Ford Transit, produces 185 hp and 350 lb-ft of torque. As the Transit is the first application in the US, expect hp and torque numbers to rise for the Power Stroke.

If we’ve predicted Ford’s engine decisions correctly, Ford Ranger engines would be equal to or better than the offerings for the Colorado.

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Capacities

When properly equipped, the Chevrolet Colorado has a maximum towing capacity of 7,700 pounds. The maximum for the Ford Ranger (with a smaller engine than we expect will be installed in the States) has a trailer towing capacity of  7,717 pounds, which may go up.

The Ford Ranger was specifically engineered to deliver a high payload capacity, as it’s asked to do the work of a full-sized truck in many areas of the world. Whereas the Colorado’s highest payload rating is 1590 lbs, expect the Ranger to come in above 2000 lbs., perhaps as high as 2500 lbs. Towing and payload appear to be two of the biggest point of differentiation between the two  trucks.

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Sales

Since the introduction of the T6 Ford Ranger, Ford in the US has feigned any interest in the truck, claiming issues regarding importation, size, and price would make the T6 impractical for the US market.

Either Ford has changed its tune, or we’ve been snowed all along. But regarding the market for mid-sized pickup trucks let me share this information from Chevrolet:

While the number one remains Chevy’s target, the presence of the Colorado has actually expanded the market for mid-sized trucks.

While some full-size Chevy truck customers have stepped into a  Colorado, the midsize truck has brought new customers to  Chevy dealers (an enormous plus for dealers).

The bad news for Ford is that nearly half of the buyers switching from another brand are doing so from the F-150. So while Ford would like to draw new customers to its stores (the way the Colorado has for Chevy) Ford also want to hold onto their existing owners, even if it means them stepping down from a full-size truck to a mid-size.

So look for Ford to make the Ranger as competitive as possible as it would have both an engine power advantage (torque and horsepower) as well as payload and towing advantage over the Colorado. Let the midsize truck wars begin!

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Chris Riley
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I have been wrecking cars for as long as I've been driving them but I keep coming back for more. Two wheels or four, I'm all in. GearHeads.org gives me a chance to give something back to the automobile community.

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