If you’re in the market for a midsize pickup and possess an irresistible urge to tackle the worst terrain you can find, chances are the most rugged variants of Chevy’s Colorado and Toyota’s Tacoma top your list of maybes. Ford would like a word.
The Ranger didn’t enter the segment with the brawniest hardware in tow, but the passage of time has a way of correcting mistakes (if you want to look at it that way). On Tuesday, the Blue Oval debuted a trio of packages designed to deliver more off-road capability — and even power. Raptor Lite?
Apparently, Ranger buyers bought, on average, $650 worth of accessories in 2019, so Ford opted to give them more choice. These packages cost way more than that, but they’re not just appearance-only frills.
Nor does the EPA need to know about them.
The dealer-installed Ford Performance Level 1, 2, and 3 packages all contain a leveling kit (one assumes a 2-inch lift in the front, like with the ROUSH kit already favored by some owners), beefy monotube FOX shocks (tuned by Ford Performance) front and rear, 17-inch Dyno Grey wheels, and look-at-me Ford Performance graphics. That’s all you’ll get on the $2,495 entry package, but the other levels dial up the noise.
Level 2 brings a power upgrade for the standard 2.3-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder, bumping output to 315 horsepower and 370 lb-ft of torque (up from 270 hp and 310 lb-ft), with tow hooks, off-road fog lights, and chunkier BFGoodrich KO2 265/70 R17 tires tossed in the mix. Minus the rugged add-ons, it’s reminiscent of the EcoBoost Mustang’s High Performance Package. Price tag: $4,495.
Moving up to Level 3 ensures the most stares, as the package adds all the aforementioned kit, plus a 40-inch LED lightbar (make sure you have this on at all times, to ensure urban safety), red tow hooks, a winch-capable front bumper, a performance exhaust courtesy of Ford Performance, and a chase rack for that Mad Max vibe. Prepare to spend, as all of these goodies carry a cost of $8,995.
Blue Oval fanatics might just feel such expenditure is necessary to rival various ZR2s and TRD Pros. It’s worth noting, too, that these packages can be added to all existing 2019 Rangers, as well as new buys.
If this thing turns your crank, Level 1 and 2 packages will be available come August, but the full-tilt Level 3 won’t be along until next summer. That’s a drag.