If you’re looking for a capable truck that’s a bit more … wieldy than a full-size monster, a mid-size pickup truck like the 2021 Toyota Tacoma or new Ford Ranger is a great bet. Both trucks are strong, reliable machines that can handle most non-heavy-duty jobs. However, chances are that you only need one of these trucks, so which is the better choice? Read on to find out.
2021 Toyota Tacoma advantages over the Ranger
The Tacoma has been a best-selling truck for over a decade, and for good reason. Its 33 model configurations can fit pretty much any need, whether you tend toward towing, off-roading, camping, or construction. If you prefer a stick-shift transmission, the Tacoma provides a six-speed. And the Tacoma holds its value like Toyotas are known to do.
For driver-assistance technology, the Toyota Safety Sense P suite of features comes standard on every 2021 Tacoma. These features include front emergency braking, lane departure warning, adaptive cruise control, and more. Ford has a similar offering with its Co-Pilot 360 suite, but it’s an available feature that you have to shell out more for.
The new Tacoma also comes standard with a 7.0-inch infotainment touchscreen including Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and Amazon Alexa. The Ranger’s standard screen, meanwhile, is a mere 4.2 inches across, and comes only with Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. You can upgrade to an 8-inch touchscreen model with modern features, but honestly, those should be standard in 2021.
Price & Value
While the 2021 Tacoma tends to run a little cheaper than the equivalent Ranger, where the Toyota truck really shines is after your purchase. Toyotas are well-known for holding their value well, and the Tacoma has won the Excellent designation from MotorTrend’s IntelliChoice rating, the highest available.
In contrast, the Ford Ranger gets a Poor rating, which is the lowest. If you want a truck that you can use and abuse, and still keep on truckin’, the Tacoma is your best bet.
2021 Ford Ranger advantages over the Tacoma
In terms of raw engine power, the 2021 Ranger’s 2.3L 4-cylinder edges out the Tacoma’s engines, though the Tacoma does offer two: a base 2.7L 4-cylinder making 159 hp and 180 lb-ft. of torque, and a 3.5L V6 powering 278 hp and 265 lb-ft. If you love manual shifting, you’re out of luck with the Ford, which offers only a 10-speed automatic; the Tacoma, however, offers a 6-speed manual with its V6 option.
With a more powerful engine comes a higher towing rating. The 2021 Ford Ranger is rated to tow 7,500 pounds and has a best-in-class payload. The new Toyota Tacoma, by contrast, can tow up to 6,700 pounds with a payload rating of 1,155 pounds.
The one place where Ford prioritized technology is in its towing system. Its available, innovative blind-spot warning system integrates with a trailer, telling you if a vehicle is next to your trailer. That’s a safety feature we’d love to see other manufacturers imitate.
And the Winner Is …
While the Ford Ranger is a capable mid-size pickup truck, we think the 2021 Toyota Tacoma is the clear winner. Its updated interior, plenty-powerful capability, and top safety and resale ratings give it the edge over the updated Ford truck.
But hey – don’t take our word for it! Come test-drive a new Toyota truck today at Midlands Toyota in Columbia. We’ve got a wide selection of new and used Toyota trucks, cars, and SUVs, and our friendly sales staff will be glad to help you find your next Toyota. If you’re in the Columbia, St. Andrews, Dentsville, or Orangeburg areas, you owe it to yourself to try a new Tacoma today.