The Ford Ranger is one of the smallest pickup trucks in the market, which Ford manufactures. Even though it is said that this is a mid-size pickup truck, it still has the capabilities to work as a full-size pickup truck.
This vehicle is well known for its extremely efficient fuel economy, dependability, and affordability. This will surely benefit you in the long run and provide the best driving dynamics.
But you should know that not all models are built equally. Some can be better than others, while others might have various serious issues that can disappoint you.
If you are sure about buying the Ford Ranger, then here are the best and worst years for Ford Ranger that you should certainly know about.
Best Years for Ford Ranger:
Worst Years for Ford Ranger:
So now that you know the years, I will be explaining the reasons so you can have a clear knowledge that will assist you in the decision-making process.
Other than that, make sure to read the article in its entirety as I have also answered some of the important questions asked about the Ford Ranger, which you will find at the bottom of this article, and you do not want to miss out on it as it is quite valuable.
So let’s get into the details!
List Of The Best Years For The Ford Ranger: What Years To Buy
Since you are looking to purchase a Ford Ranger, these models are well known for holding their value.
The models that I have listed below are also the most reliable models I could find, so you do not have to keep searching as that can be a hectic and confusing job.
These model years are less problematic, meaning there are no manufacturing faults, so the vehicle will not break down, have wear and tear, or have any damaged components. It will also provide the best driving experience with comfort and safety, so stay assured.
With that being said, here are the best years that you should buy!
#1 Best Year: 1986 Ford Ranger
According to many car enthusiasts, starting with the 1986 Ford Ranger, this vehicle is said to be the best vehicle manufactured by Ford.
It applauds the very first generation of Ford Ranger and consists of the original design, powerful engine, and some common features of the Ranger.
Keep in mind that this model is quite difficult to find because of the scarcity, but mainly because it’s an old model.
However, people who are the owners of this vehicle have every good thing to say about it. This is the best reason for its reliability and the driving aspects that this model has to offer.
And lastly, you will be happy to know that this model barely has any complaints reported to the CarComplaints.com site, so it is the best choice for you to own.
#2 Best Year: 2000 Ford Ranger
The main reason why the 2000 Ford Ranger is the best model is that the 1999 model was a problematic year for Ford.
This is why they had to make some changes and introduce a more efficient, improved, and reliable mid-size pickup truck with the ability of a full-size pickup truck.
This model is the best choice for you if you want to go off-roading, and some changes were made to make it more durable and fast.
The 2000 model comes with wider tires and equal fog lamps, which makes it easier for drivers to go offroad and have the best adventure. This vehicle also has great reliability and safety ratings which make it the best off-roading vehicle to own.
#3 Best Year: 2010 Ford Ranger
To start with the 2010 Ford Ranger, the great thing about this vehicle is that it got 4 out of 5 for reliability ratings by the Consumer Reports site, making it one of the most reliable vehicles to have.
Keep in mind that this vehicle is said to be perfect for people looking for a simple vehicle and provides the 80s classic touch.
The main reason it is considered the most reliable is that there is no unreasonable modern tech included in this 2010 model. This vehicle is also said to hold the value of money and has an overall rating of 4.3 out of 5.0.
Besides all that, this vehicle also does not have any quality issues, so there will be barely any damages or design flaws. This makes this vehicle more desirable and the best option for you to invest in.
#4 Best Year: 2011 Ford Ranger
Another great option for you is the 2011 Ford Ranger which has been given 4 out of 5 for reliability rating by the Consumer Reports site. J.D. Power also gave this vehicle the highest score, 86 out of 100 in terms of quality and reliability.
According to the US News, this vehicle is the best option because it has the most affordable ownership costs and provides the best yet fastest performance you can expect.
Do keep in mind that this is not designed innovatively, or any upgrades are done in it, but it still has the best quality, which will not wear out quickly, according to many users.
#5 Best Year: 2020 Ford Ranger
The last model in this list is the 2020 Ford Ranger which is given the title of “the best year for Ford Ranger” by the Motor Biscuit website.
The main reason it is the best year is because of its reliability rating and various safety features that will protect the driver and the passengers in the vehicle while driving.
According to the US News, this vehicle is given a 9.1 out of 10 for safety which is an excellent rating compared to other midsize pickup trucks.
It has also been given first place by J.D. Power in the list of Best Midsize Pickup of 2020. It also has few complaints reported to any car review websites, which is a plus point.
On an important note, it is highly suggested that you pick the base XL trim level because it is the best and will provide the most efficient performance.
However, if you are looking for a more luxurious vehicle with high-tech features, then the XLT and Lariat trims are your choices.
List Of The Worst Years For The Ford Ranger: What Years To Avoid
Now that you have a clear understanding of the best years, you also must know about the worst years to avoid them as they are not the best choice for you.
The main reason why they are the worst models is that they do not have a lengthy lifespan like the other model years. There are some issues in manufacturing them as not all parts of the vehicle are built equally.
Most of them are old models, so it is obvious that they start having issues as they do not have the latest resources installed.
They can wear and tear easily, will have engine or transmission problems, and so on. If you also do not wish to pay extra money for improvements, then make sure to avoid these models.
So here are the worst models years below:
#1 Worst Year: 1999 Ford Ranger
The number one most disliked and problematic year is the 1999 Ford Ranger. It is stated that this is the worst model Ford created by far because of the issues that start developing after a couple of uses.
According to many users, this vehicle will work perfectly initially but then start having serious issues spontaneously.
The 1999 model also has poor reliability ratings, and there are over 1000 complaints reported to various review sites but especially on the Consumer Reports site and CarComplaints.com site.
The problems that drivers experienced are with the emergency brakes and the dome lights. Other issues include doors not staying locked, windshield wipers malfunctioning, tail lights on and off randomly, etc.
These issues are likely to happen when it reaches 51,000 miles on the odometer.
#2 Worst Year: 2001 Ford Ranger
Now coming to the 2001 Ford Ranger, this vehicle is mainly known for its transmission problems, which is why it is the worst model to own.
According to the CarComplaint.com site, this vehicle’s transmission failure issue is given a severity rating of 9.5 out of 10, which is quite concerning.
It is said that this issue mainly happens when the vehicle reaches around 80,000 miles and can cost up to $1800 or more to fix the issue completely.
This issue is not something to take lightly because, in most cases, drivers could not figure out the transmission issue until they realized that it is difficult to overturn the truck or shift the gears.
Another issue with this vehicle is the overdrive light turning on and off, which could be due to many reasons but mainly because of the faulty solenoid.
Keep in mind that it can cost you around $2000 to fix the issue, but the problems keep occurring again in most cases.
#3 Worst Year: 2002 Ford Ranger
The 2002 Ford Ranger is claimed to be the worst year for Ford because it has issues in all of its parts. According to CarComplaints.com, this vehicle is said to be the most problematic and dangerous to drive in.
The main issues found in this vehicle are the tranny and engine issues. This can make the vehicle perform badly and stall, vibrate or break down completely while driving on the road, which can cause serious road accidents.
Besides that, other issues also include interior accessories malfunctioning, brakes failure, body and paint issues, faulty cooling system and fuel system, seat belts, steering and airbags problems, electrical issues, and so much more.
This vehicle is certainly not drivable and must be avoided at all costs. This vehicle has been recalled, has various reported complaints, and is the worst National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
#4 Worst Year: 2019 Ford Ranger
Now coming to the last model year in the worst list, the 2019 Ford Ranger must be avoided because of its poor ratings since it has been given a 1 out of 5 by the Consumer Reports site.
There are also numerous complaints reported which is also why it was discontinued. This 2019 model is the most hazardous Ranger and has many drawbacks that cannot be dismissed.
The main issue with this vehicle is with the engine system since it tends to vibrate a lot while driving, and in many cases, people had to reprogram it but still see no difference.
The corrosion starts after a couple of uses and causes the paint to peel off. These issues cannot be taken lightly because they can cost more than $2000 to fix.
What Are The Most Common Problems With The Ford Ranger?
This information is quite important for you because it will help you quickly find your Ford Ranger problems. Whether you buy a new or a used Ranger, this vehicle is said to have these issues.
However, it is highly suggested that you purchase a model with the best reliability and safety ratings as they will be less problematic.
I will be explaining in detail the common issues that you might face if you end up buying the wrong Ford Ranger model, so keep on reading!
1. Transmission Problems
This is the most common problem that you will find in the Ford Ranger. You will notice it when you have a hard time shifting gears, losing gears, the overdrive light illuminating, and then turning off randomly.
They could happen because of low or either contaminated transmission fluid levels, which is why you would have a hard time shifting the gears since the pressure is also low.
Another reason could be worn-out transmission because the bands and clutches are worn out and eventually make it hard to switch gears.
Lastly, if your torque converter is damaged, this can ruin the transmission. These would need an immediate repair and can cost you more than $500 to fix.
2. Engine Misfiring Continuously
Many drivers have reported another problem that is quite common in the Ford Ranger. The engine misfiring a lot can cause the vehicle to lose its power, have random yet mild tremors, and stall the engine.
The main reason why the engine might misfire can be due to a clogged fuel injector which can prevent the fuel from delivering to the combustion chamber.
Another reason can be poor ignition foil packs because the wires can wear out easily and will not spark at all.
Some other issues also include malfunctioning engine control modules, vacuum hoses, gaskets, or valve seals leaking as well as poor catalytic converters, etc.
3. Stalling At Idle
There have been various reports on this issue because the vehicle tends not to start from cold, making it difficult to idle.
The issue is commonly found in the 90s to earlier 2000s Ford Ranger models. This could happen because of malfunctioning engine coolant temperature sensors, as they may get stuck or show inaccurate results.
Another reason could be a damaged air intake temperature sensor as the IAT delivers wrong signals, which ruin the fuel delivery. Besides that, this problem can also happen due to a damaged manifold absolute pressure sensor or poor EGR valve.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q1. How Many Miles Is Too Many For A Ford Ranger?
According to the Motor and Wheels, the Ford Ranger will easily last up to 300,000 miles.
However, it depends on how you drive this midsize pickup truck or whether or not you maintain it regularly. In some cases, this vehicle can last from 200,000 to 250,000 miles.
Q2. What Is The Top Model Ford Ranger?
There are a lot of Ford Ranger models that are said to be the best, but the top model has to be 1988, 1986, or the 2020 Ford Ranger because of its reliability and durability to last for a long time.
Even though there are two old models, they can still provide the best driving experience.
Q3. Is The Ford Ranger Cheap To Fix?
Yes, the Ford Ranger is the cheapest midsize pickup truck to maintain. According to Consumer Reports, this vehicle can last up to 30 years with the best care and is the most desired yet well-known brand in the market.
People also say that you will be happy to own this vehicle because it has the lowest maintenance and repairs costs.
Q4. Which Is Better; Tacoma Or Ranger?
Both the Tacoma and the Ford Ranger have their advantages. But the Tacoma has a 2.7-liter engine that can produce 159 horsepower, and the four-cylinder V8 can produce 265 horsepower.
But the Ranger can provide more horsepower as well as towing capacity. The Tacoma TRD off-road has the power to tow 6400 pounds, and the standard SR package can tow 3500 pounds. It is still 50% less than what the Ranger base model can tow.
Q5. What Is The Difference Between Ford Ranger Wildtrak And Raptor?
It is said that the Raptor utilizes the same 2.0 liter as the Wildtrak, but the Raptor has a heavier engine. Other than that, the Raptor is also quite larger than the Wildtrak.
The Raptor’s engine is also better and more efficient. The Wildtrak has a lower towing capacity than the Raptor.
I hope with the help of the best and worst years for Ford Ranger. You can pick the right model year which is more reliable and safe to use, and has the least problems.
The Ford Ranger is the perfect vehicle for an off-roading experience and has many great features to offer. This vehicle also has outstanding reviews on various websites, so it is certainly worthy.
But buying a used vehicle can still be challenging, so make sure to check the vehicle’s history before you purchase it.
Hi there! I am Tahir Azam, and this is my blog. WVDOT Automotive is a website dedicated to creating high-quality content for car enthusiasts. I am also an avid car driver. I own and drive a Porsche for my daily tasks. It is the perfect vehicle for my family. I am a proud father of two boys. I spend my mornings and evenings catering to clients at my very own software hub. After getting home, I dedicate a few hours of my time to create an article every day. Well, this is a short introduction about me and I am also a publisher on Amazon. I hope you enjoy reading through my articles, and I also hope that I may have helped you choose an upgrade for your vehicle.