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Published March 07, 2022

Should I buy the Ford Ranger or Toyota Tacoma?

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Image shows a silver Toyota Tacoma with mountains in the background.

Drivers in the market for a midsize truck have plenty to like when it comes to both the Ford Ranger and the Toyota Tacoma. Rugged, stylish and versatile, both vehicles are equally at home towing and off-roading as they are driving in the city and suburbs.

If you’re trying to decide between the Toyota Tacoma vs. the Ford Ranger, it won’t be an easy decision. It’s key to look at every element of these models before making your choice.

Below we’ll examine all the important elements of both vehicles, including:

  • Specifications - From torque to towing, find out how the Toyota Tacoma and Ford Ranger measure up.
  • Safety - Air bags, seat belts and other safety features to keep you and your loved ones safe on the road.
  • Reliability - Read up on the reliability of both vehicles to make an informed purchase.
  • Interior and infotainment - Stay comfortable and keep the kids busy on every drive.
  • Cargo space - We’ll examine how much each model fits in its truck bed.
Ford Ranger vs Toyota Tacoma
Image shows a blue Ford Ranger parked on grass in a wooded area.
Ford Ranger

As far as midsize pickups come, the Ford Ranger and Toyota Tacoma are well-matched quarter-ton light-duty trucks. They both offer a range of customizable upgrade options, cab styles and bed lengths to suit drivers’ needs.

Both models are almost level when it comes to horsepower, with the Tacoma narrowly outstripping the Ranger at 278 to 270. However, the Ranger offers 310lb-ft torque to the Tacoma’s 265lb-ft and outstrips the Tacoma when it comes to towing capabilities too – the Ranger can tow 7,500lbs to the Tacoma’s 6,400lbs.

2021 Ford Ranger: Price, engine, and specifications

From $24,050

Engine: 2.3-liter engine

Miles per gallon: 20 MPG in the city, 24 MPG on the highway

2021 Toyota Tacoma: Price, engine, and specifications

From $26,150

Engine: 2.7-liter engine

Miles per gallon: 20 MPG in the city, 23 MPG on the highway

Head-to-head: Safety Features

The 2021 Toyota Tacoma offers Toyota’s Star Safety System™. This provides six-driver assistant features, like traction and vehicle stability control, for a smooth ride. The vehicle also features anti-lock brakes, stability control, pretensioners on seatbelts, anti-whiplash head restraints, front and side-impact air bags, overhead airbags and knee air bags.

The Toyota Tacoma also comes with an integrated backup camera and Toyota Safety Sense, which features:

  • Lane departure alert
  • Automatic high beams
  • Pre-collision system with pedestrian detection
  • Dynamic radar cruise control

The 2021 Ford Ranger offers high-end safety technology through the Ford CoPilot360™. This includes features like:

  • Lane-keeping system
  • Blind-spot information system
  • Rear view camera
  • Pre-collision assist with emergency braking
  • Auto-high beam headlamps

The Ford Ranger also features anti-lock brakes, stability control, front, side, and overhead air bags, as well as pretensioners on seatbelts to protect passengers in the event of an accident.

Head-to-head: Reliability

The Tacoma has a loyal fan base thanks to its reliability. JD Power rated the 2021 Toyota Tacoma 81/100 for quality and reliability. The Ford Ranger has a similarly impressive rating of 85/100.

A J.D. Power predicted reliability score ranks Best 91-100, Great is 81-90, Average is 70-80, and Fair is 0-69, considered below average.

Head-to-head: Interior and Infotainment

The Ford Ranger interior complements its rugged and utilitarian exterior, built to withstand plenty of wear and tear. It features premium cloth bucket front seats with manual adjustments and premium cloth bench back seats.

For entertainment, the Ford Ranger comes equipped with:

  • 4.2-inch Color Productivity Screen
  • SiriusXM
  • Six Audio Speakers
  • FordPass Connect with 4G LTE wi-fi Hotspot
  • 911 Assist
  • Applink
  • A smart-charging USB port
  • SYNC 3

The Toyota Tacoma interior is similarly hard-wearing. The interior features climate control, wireless smartphone and mobile device charging, three USB ports, manual day/night rear-view mirror, fabric-trimmed seats with four-way adjustable front seats and a telescopic steering wheel with audio controls.

Both the Ranger and the Tacoma have built-in touchscreen infotainment centers equipped with Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay, and wi-fi, along with A/C regulation and climate control. But the Ranger has four speakers to the Tacoma’s six.

Head-to-head: Cargo space

Both the Tacoma and the Ranger are available in a range of bed lengths and cab designs to suit your needs. Those looking for a work vehicle might opt for a longer bed length, while those in search of a family vehicle might opt for more interior seating.

The Toyota Tacoma offers two cab styles: The 74-inch Access cab and the Double cab measuring in at either 60 or 74 inches. Both cab styles seat five and offer 40 inches of headroom and 43 inches of legroom up front, while the rear measures 35 inches of headroom and 25 inches of legroom.

The exterior cargo capacity for the Tacoma depends on payload and towing, which differs between the Access and the Double – the Access offering a maximum payload of 1,620 pounds, while the Double has a payload of 1,505 pounds.

Ford’s Ranger has three cab styles to choose from: The Supercab at 73 inches or the Supercrew at 61 inches. The Supercab seats four while the Supercrew seats five. The Regular cab is available in XL only, which only has two seats up front but offers a massive 7.5 foot load bed with a maximum capacity of 1,200kg.

Internal dimensions of the Supercab and Supercrew are similar to the Tacoma – 40 inches of headroom and 43 inches of legroom up front, and 36 inches of headroom and 30 inches of legroom in the back. This makes both models pretty well matched in terms of interior space, and with a variety of bed lengths to choose from in both models, there’s an ideal size to suit everyone.

Buy a Ford Ranger or Toyota Tacoma from EchoPark

Pick up a used Ford Ranger or Toyota Tacoma from EchoPark and drive away with a rugged and versatile vehicle suitable for all terrains and adventures.

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