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Ford’s Indomitable Pickup Trucks – 2021 Ranger, F-150, and F-250

by Decisive Media

After eliminating sedans, but keeping the Mustang, the electric Mustang Mach-E, and Ford GT, Ford has been busy launching a slew of new trucks and SUVs to meet growing consumer demand. With a host of celebrations for its latest vehicles, there are no memorial services for the late Ford Taurus, Fiesta, Fusion, Lincoln MKZ, and Continental.

Next year, a smaller Ford Maverick compact pickup truck launches. According to Ford, the new Bronco SUV relaunch was delayed until later this year due to coronavirus and supplier issues.

The Blue Oval’s North American lineup covers the spectrum of midsize, light-duty, and heavy-duty pickup trucks. Dominating the entire vehicle market is the number-one-selling vehicle in America, the F-150, its big brother the F-250, and its little brother, the Ford Ranger.

Deciding on which one fits your needs varies from price, fuel economy, bed size, hybrid, gasoline, or diesel engines. They are all workhorses that can come loaded with luxury features and technology and are comfortable enough for daily commuting.

Recently, I test-drove all three and rated them equally in quality and performance. Although I didn’t get the chance to go off-road or haul a trailer, I evaluated their family attributes in an Urban environment.

2021 Ford Ranger

The F-150 and F-250 have more options to consider than the smaller Ford Ranger. The new 2021 F-150 with its new hybrid powertrain offers a host of trims and options to fulfill many needs. However, Ford introduced the Ranger for customers looking for a smaller, more basic pickup.

Price: The Ford Ranger XL 2WD’s base price starts at $24,820 and goes up to $29,000 for the midlevel XLT. The Lariat starts around $33,000 and gets up to $38,785 for the 4WD SuperCab. The optional four-wheel-drive is $4,000 more.

Engine: Powered by a 2.3-liter turbocharged Inline 4-cylinder engine, the Ranger gets 270 horsepower with 310 pound-feet of torque, which can tow up to 7,500 pounds. It is mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission.

Configurations: Trim levels for the Ranger includes XL, XLT, and Lariat. The SuperCab comes in a four-door and four-seat configuration with a six-foot bed or a larger five-seater with a five-foot bed for the SuperCrew model. The XLT and Lariat models offer automatic braking, an 8.0-inch touchscreen, power windows and locks, and smartphone compatibility. An off-road Tremor and sport package is also available with lifted suspension, off-road tires, skid plates, a locking rear differential, and more.

EPA Rating: EPA-rated 20 mpg city, 24 highway, 22 combined.

2021 Ford F-150

Although the Ford F-150 is America’s preferred light-duty pickup with a host of options and packages, the Ranger is for those who want less and a pickup that can easily fit in a garage.

Price: The 2021 Ford F-150 starts at $28,940 for the base 2WD and ends at $74,250 for the Limited 4WD SuperCrew model.

Engine: The F-150 includes six different engine options, including a hybrid.  The base 3.3-liter six-cylinder engine generates 290 horsepower with 265 pound-feet of torque; the 2.7-liter EcoBoost six-cylinder gets 365 horsepower at 425 pound-feet of torque, while the 5.0-liter V8 gets up to 400 horses.

The 3.5-liter PowerBoost hybrid, which just joined the lineup, combines a 3.5-liter EcoBoost powertrain with a 35-kW electric motor and a 1.5-kWh battery pack integrated into the 10-speed transmission. Altogether, they help achieve 430 horsepower with a 700-mile battery range. That includes 12,000 pounds of towing capacity and 265 pound-feet of torque.

Configurations: The F-150 comes in regular cab, four-door extended cab, or larger crew cab. There are three-bed sizes to choose from – five, six, or eight feet. You can upgrade rear-wheel drive to four-wheel drive. The F-150 can tow various amounts up to 13,200 pounds. The smaller two-door F-150 XL regular cab with a 6-foot-6 box measures 210.8 inches, which is just one inch shorter than the Ranger.

Fuel Economy: The fuel economy in the F-150 ranges from 25 mpg for the six-cylinder hybrid and 24 mpg for gas. The eight-cylinder averages only 14 mpg with E85 fuel and up to 20 mpg for gasoline.

2021 Ford F-250

Ford moves up the line to the Super Duty Ford F-250 for those who want more from a truck, including hauling capacity and towing power. The F-250 Platinum Super Crew Cab I tested came loaded with luxury features and conveniences. It included leather seats, an 8-inch touchscreen, trailer backup assist, Bang & Olufsen stereo, adaptive steering, adaptive cruise control, voice-activated navigation, and much more.

Price: The F-250 starts around $36,000 for the base XL model and goes up to $86,000 for the Limited model.

Engine: The F-250 comes standard with a gasoline 6.2-liter eight-cylinder engine that generates 385 horsepower and 430 pound-feet of torque, or a 7.3-liter 440 horsepower V8 with 475 pound-feet of torque. The diesel engine gets 475 horsepower from a 6.7-liter eight-cylinder and 1050 pound-feet of torque. A fully equipped Super Duty can tow up to 37,000 pounds and haul up to 7850 pounds of payload.

Configurations: The F-250 comes in six types that include the XL, XLT, Lariat, King Ranch, Platinum, and Limited. They are available in single- or dual-rear-wheel configurations, with regular, extended, or crew-cab body styles, depending on trim level or model. The SuperCab Platinum I tested included the Tremor package and seated five comfortably with plenty of room to stretch out.

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