2002 Ranger New Car Test Drive
Ford Ranger is the overwhelming first choice among compact pickups. Prices for basic work trucks start at less than $13,000, while the availability of a powerful V6 engine with a five-speed automatic, along with a slick four-wheel-drive system and a variety of trim levels and body styles make the Ranger appealing to a wide audience.
Last year, fresh styling, new engines and redesigned components made the Ranger stronger, more practical, more convenient and more comfortable than ever. Those strengths have all been carried over to a largely unchanged 2002 model.
Ranger comes in two-wheel-drive and four-wheel-drive models, spread through three trim designations, three cab configurations, and three wheelbase lengths, with six- and seven-foot beds, and flat Styleside or notched Flareside fender shapes.
Three engines are available, two V6 engines and a four-cylinder. The 2.3-liter four-cylinder with dual overhead cams and four valves per cylinder is rated at 135 horsepower and 153 foot-pounds of torque. The 3.0-liter V6 is rated at 154 horsepower and 180 pounds-feet of torque. The 4.0-liter V6 develops 207 horsepower and 238 foot-pounds of torque.
Five-speed manual or five-speed automatic transmissions are offered with all three engines.
The price-leading base edition is the XL Regular Cab Styleside ($12,270) with the 2.3-liter engine, manual transmission, and two-wheel-drive. Add an extended SuperCab, four-wheel drive, and a 4.0-liter V6, and the price climbs to $21,250. Opt for a SuperCab Flareside XLT with 4WD, and the tab rises to $22,645.
Options include a new five-speed automatic transmission, a limited-slip rear differential, power windows and auxiliary rear doors for the SuperCab, all of which can load the bottom line by as much as $3,000.
Special models supply a surplus of attitude. The Edge sports monochromatic color schemes that include a vivid Chrome Yellow. Edge comes in 4x2 and 4x4, but either way it rides at 4x4 height. Tow hooks, fog lights, and a 60-watt stereo with CD player all contribute to its attitude. Edge prices start at $17,295 with a 3.0-liter V6, but can climb as high as $23,905 with a 4.0-liter, 4WD, and four-door SuperCab.
New for 2002 is an off-road package called the FX4 ($24,830). Based on a four-door SuperCab XLT, FX4 comes with 4WD, 4.0-liter V6, a 4.10 rear end, skid plates, tow hooks, Bilstein shocks, and other serious off-road equipment; interior trim includes a leather-wrapped steering wheel, cruise control, and a host of power luxuries and conveniences.