When it comes to trucks, it’s often hard to make a decision on which brand new make and model you should choose. Each year, manufacturers promise to reveal the newest, greatest, best, and boldest version of each vehicle, and when it comes to well-loved models like the Chevy Colorado and Ford Ranger, the decision-making process gets even harder. With new design elements, re-engineered mechanics, and features that reflect the latest in safety and technology advances, these brand new vehicles always catch our eyes. But making a decision between two long-standing favorites can be maddening, especially with all the new bells and whistles to make each option more appealing than before. When choosing between the 2020 Chevy Colorado vs 2020 Ford Ranger, the intrepid shopper will need to focus on comparing apples and apples, so to speak.
While both mid-sized trucks offer abundant towing capacity, power, cargo room, and comfort, there are features on each vehicle that will appeal to different crowds. Each vehicle is also offered in a variety of trims, which can add additional options that might be a huge help for those who have very specific needs from their truck.
The Newest of the New
Both Chevrolet and Ford have tweaked their popular mid-size trucks for 2020 with features that will appeal to a wide variety of drivers. The second generation of Chevy Colorado was introduced in 2015, and the 2020 model continues in the footsteps of its older siblings, with a few new additions. There have been quite a few changes to the standard and optional equipment line up for each trim level. In fact, the previously minimalist Base trim now offers a rearview camera, infotainment system, two USB ports, and compatibility with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.
Upper trim levels include a plethora of re-imagined features as well; however, one brand-new feature for 2020 is the remote-locking tailgate, which can be added to Work Truck trims and above. This feature gives drivers more control and security for valuable payloads. Additional safety features like Tire Fill Alert on all trims or the full Safety Package on the Z71 will help drivers feel more confident on the long haul, as well.
The 2020 Ford Ranger continues the manufacturer’s dedication to high tech features, abundant standard safety features, overall fuel economy, and plenty of towing and hauling capacity. As a result, each trim features plenty of standard and optional features, allowing drivers to customize their Ranger to their exact specifications.
New features for the 2020 Ranger include an exciting FX2 off-road package, which is available on the rear-wheel drive versions. Much like the Chevy Colorado, Ford has redistributed standard features among the trims. Both XLT and Lariat trims now include dual-zone climate control and entertainment options like SiriusXM and Sync 3.
Looking Under the Hood
Mid-size trucks are often the sweet spot between high-load capability for work and easy maneuvering for regular transportation purposes. As a result, drivers in this class look for vehicles that can handle a lot of cargo, a heavy payload, and also have a significant towing capacity. A truck that does all that work needs to have something substantial under the hood.
The 2020 Chevy Colorado is offered in both an extended cab and crew cab body styles for Work Truck trims and above. The standard engine is a 2.5L 4-cylinder that offers 200 horsepower and 191 lb-ft of torque. This engine has a towing capacity of 3,500 lbs, yet yields an impressive 20 MPG in the city and 26 MPG on the highway, making this engine a great choice for situations that require long drives with smaller loads.
Two optional engines are offered for the 2020 Colorado trims above the Work Truck. The first is a 3.6L V6, which offers a best-in-class 308 horsepower and 275 lb-ft of torque. This engine is paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission and tows a maximum of 7,000 lbs. Fuel economy on the V6 is 18 MPG in the city and 25 MPG on the highway.
Historically, an engine that was capable of towing heavy loads and an engine with best-in-class fuel economy were two very different options, but the 2020 Chevy Colorado’s Duramax 2.8L Turbo-Diesel engine manages to be both. With 369 lb-ft of torque, this engine can tow up to 7,700 lbs while still having a fuel economy of 30 MPG on the highway.
The 2020 Ford Ranger is available in SuperCab and SuperCrew body styles, but only one engine is available, regardless of drive type or trim. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as the available engine is incredibly capable. A 2.3L turbocharged 4-cylinder engine is paired with a ten-speed automatic transmission in all 2020 Rangers. The 270 horsepower and 310 lb-ft of torque results in a towing capacity of 7,500 lbs, making it a worthy competitor of the Colorado.
While towing capacity, power, and payload limits are often among the highest priorities of truck shoppers, it’s hard to ignore the safety, technology, and comfort features in a truck, especially for drivers who spent a large part of the day behind the wheel.
The 2020 Colorado features Chevy’s innovative and intuitive infotainment system, which includes compatibility with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay for hands-free navigation and communication options, as well as access to all of the audio selections that keep you focused and motivated on the road.
As noted, the standard features for each trim level have been enhanced for 2020. Work Truck models include options like keyless entry, cruise control, OnStar, a 4G LTE hotspot, and EZ lift tailgate. The LT is a more luxurious trim, with features like a leather-wrapped adjustable steering wheel and options like heated front seats and automatic control or upgraded stereo system. The Z71 is a more rugged version, with all-terrain tires, a locking rear differential, and off-road suspension. The ZR2, however, is the true off-road trim, with raised suspension, off-road-ready dampers and bumpers, huge all-terrain tires, and spray-in bed liner.
The 2020 Ford Ranger also comes ready to play with a full range of features. The base XL trim has minimal features but includes a four-speaker AM/FM audio system and a 3.5-inch infotainment screen, but also includes USB and auxiliary cable inputs. Safety is clearly the primary feature on this truck, as even the base Ranger includes a forward-collision warning system that detects objects, vehicles, and pedestrians in front of the vehicle, and provides an alert and automatic braking in order to avoid a collision.
The XLT model is equipped with a full range of features, including the Ford CoPilot360 safety system that monitors blind spots, assists with lane keep technology, and trailer views. It also includes front and rear parking sensors and a full infotainment system with an 8-inch touch screen, smartphone app compatibility, and a 4G WiFi connection. The Lariat steps up these features with luxury leather interior and heated power front seats, LED headlamps, and optional safety features.
Two off-road packages can be added to all Ranger models. The FX4 for all-wheel drive models adds an electronic locking rear differential, off-road-ready suspension, skid plates, and terrain select system. The FX2 package is available on rear-wheel drive models and adds a locking rear differential, skid plates, and off-road tires.
Finding Your New Truck
When picking out a brand new truck, drivers should first consider power and capacity. At the same time, it’s just as important to consider comfort and safety, especially for drivers who will spend a significant amount of time on the road. When it comes to comparing the 2020 Chevy Colorado and Ford Ranger, there are a few places in which each vehicle stands out. For those who need a diesel engine, the Colorado is the clear choice. But for those looking to create the ultimate vehicle for work and play, the time has come to compare these vehicles line by line, feature by feature.