If you have ever gotten behind the wheel of a pickup truck, then you already know, it is a driving experience that you won’t be likely to find in any other body type. Apart from the added benefit of having a truck bed, pick up trucks offer the kind of power and versatility of an SUV, with far less handling weight. Although, it is hard to disregard the incredible utility that these kinds of vehicles offer. While SUVs have the word utility in their name, the pickup truck is the true ultimate utility vehicle. There is a wide range of pick up trucks hitting the market in 2019, and two standouts to compare are the 2019 Ford Ranger vs the 2019 Toyota Tacoma. These two pickups are the epitome of what drivers have come to expect out of the modern truck, however, if you’re stuck choosing between the two you’ve come to the right place. We’ll compare these two compact pick up trucks, and hopefully, by the end, we’ll show you which one is the superior vehicle.
Engine Power: The Defining Factor of the Pickup Truck
Traditionally pickup trucks are expected to be work vehicles, hauling cargo, passengers, and trailers from point A to point B. While this expectation has changed a lot over the years, reasonable engine power has continued to be a defining factor for pickup trucks. So, it only makes sense that when comparing the 2019 Ford Ranger against the 2019 Toyota Tacoma, our first focus would be all about engine power. Well, both of these vehicles are compact pickups, so you can only expect so much in terms of horsepower, that said, any good compact truck leaves room for engine performance improvement in higher trim options.
The 2019 Toyota Tacoma comes standard with a 159 horsepower 2.7-liter four-cylinder engine, which pumps out 180 lb-ft worth of torque and offers a max towing capacity of 3,500 pounds. The Toyota compact pickup can also support a payload of up to 1120 pounds and offers a standard truck-bed length of 60 inches. While we can only expect so much fuel economy from something like a pickup, the 2019 Toyota Tacoma falls a little short in this area of performance, earning an EPA-rated 20 mpg in the city and 23 mpg on the highway.
On the other hand, the 2019 Ford Ranger offers a somewhat smaller 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine. However, Ford still managed to provide plenty of power from this compact engine, as the baseline Ford Ranger can pump out 270 horsepower and 310 lb-ft worth of torque. The 2019 Ford Ranger also has a max towing capacity of 3,500 pounds and can handle a payload of up to 2,128 pounds. Starting iterations of the Ford Ranger also offers a similar truck bed size, starting at 60 inches.
While the standard version of the 2019 Toyota Tacoma may appear underpowered when compared to the Ford Ranger, the Toyota Tacoma can be equipped with a 3.5-liter V6 engine. This V6 engine offers the Toyota pickup 278 horsepower and 265 lb-ft worth of torque. While this upgraded Toyota offers marginally greater horsepower, it doesn’t provide too much leverage over its American competitor. However, towing capacity in this higher end of the Toyota Tacoma is certainly worth noting, jumping up to 6,800 pounds over the Ford Ranger’s 3,500 max.
So, which pickup wins the battle of the performance? Well, while the 2019 Toyota Tacoma has a marginally higher benchmark, you’ll likely have to spend more money to compare with the base model of the 2019 Ford Ranger. Although if towing capacity is your main concern, then the Toyota Tacoma may already be piquing your interest.
Exterior and Interior Styling
If there is another thing pickup trucks are known for, are their exterior styling. Both the 2019 Toyota Tacoma and the 2019 Ford Ranger bring plenty of original design to the table. However, the Toyota Tacoma offers a rather uninspired look. Far too classic to be considered bleeding-edge modern, and far too modern to be considered classic, the exterior stylings of this Toyota pickup sit somewhere in a messy gray area.
On the other hand, the 2019 Ford Ranger exists in an area that is, for some, shockingly modern. Offering a slim profile, and plenty of rounded edges, it is a style that more and more pickup trucks are moving towards, but the Ford Ranger does exist at the far edge of this changeup. Charming yes, although, some may find the Ford Ranger’s styling a little isolating.
When it comes to interior comfort, standard models of the Toyota Tacoma leave much to be desired. While the seating is quite padded and comfortable, the lack of extra headroom can feel claustrophobic, especially if you are on the taller side. Beyond the lack of headroom, the Toyota Tacoma offers a rugged yet appealing interior styling.
Alternatively, the 2019 Ford Ranger offers a little more than just supportive front seating. Even the tallest of drivers will find plenty of headspace, and wiggle room. The Ford Ranger also provides plenty of truck bed configurations featuring a 6-foot bed at the maximum. All that considered, the interior styling of the base model of the Ford Ranger is pretty spartan. If you’re looking for more premium furnishings, you’ll have to opt for higher trim options.
Safety and Pricing
Safety is a significant factor for pickup trucks. Although both the Toyota Tacoma and the Ford Ranger offer some pretty middling packaging in the safety department. When it comes to features, the Toyota Tacoma is the clear winner, as standard models hit the lot with adaptive cruise control, lane-departure warnings, and pedestrian detection. To be fair, the Ford Ranger comes standard with a number of dependable safety features such as automatic emergency braking and pedestrian detection, although it is hard to compare to Toyota’s full package. Unfortunately, the Toyota Tacoma’s four-star safety rating from the NHTSA tarnish Toyota’s formerly impressive safety package.
So, that brings us to pricing. How do these two compact SUVs compare in cost? Well, the Toyota Tacoma starts at $25,850 MSRP, while the Ford Ranger’s sticker price begins at $24,300 MSRP. Considering what you can find in the base model of the 2019 Ford Ranger, Ford certainly takes the cake with this one. While you can pay more for a more substantial Tacoma pickup from Toyota, the overall value that Ford provides is tough to pass up.
So, Who’s the Winner?
It’s fair to say that these two compact pickup trucks are in similar lanes. While the 2019 Ford Ranger offers greater power at the jump, the 2019 Toyota Tacoma can exceed the competition, but only if you pay more overall. Based on this fact alone, the 2019 Ford Ranger is the clear superior pickup truck. For the average car buyer, value is essential, and we would be doing a disservice if we were to ignore that. Although, you shouldn’t take just our word for it. We recommend that you pay a visit to your local Ford and Toyota dealership to see what both of these pickups have to offer in person. Your opinion matters just as much as ours, and judging for yourself, is the best way to determine which vehicle is best.