The Ford Ranger pickup truck's return was met with heaps of anticipation from both the enthusiast crowd and everyday customers, but for some reason, that hype hasn't cashed in when it comes to sales. The new midsize model is up against stiff competition such as the Chevrolet Colorado and Toyota Tacoma, and on paper, it looks to be a worthy opponent to the pair. However, it's being outsold by leaps and bounds—and even more surprising is the fact that the Ranger is also losing out to the Nissan Frontier, a truck that was last redesigned 15 years ago.
Starting sales in January, Ford has moved just 15,169 Rangers through April 2019; that's enough to beat the GMC Canyon (9,374 sales) and Honda Ridgeline (9,606 sales), but nothing else. When pitted against the top players in the segment, it gets a bit disconcerting. The Chevy Colorado, which has been around for a handful of years already, achieved 45,149 sales in the year's first quarter while the also-familiar Toyota Tacoma notched 78,558 sales. At that rate, the Tacoma has outsold the Ranger by more than five-to-one.
As for the Nissan, 24,479 customers have taken new Frontiers home in the same timespan. So what gives?
While some may point at high pricing as a knock against the Ranger, in reality, it's listed at a comparable cost to its rivals. It starts around $25,000—near par for midsize pickups—and can be optioned north of $40k, just like the Colorado and Tacoma.
In terms of capabilities, the Ranger is no slouch, either. While it falls just short of the class-leading Jeep Gladiator in tow rating (7,500 pounds to the Jeep's 7,650), it boasts impressive horsepower and torque from a 2.3-liter Ecoboost four-cylinder and delivers a best-in-class 26 miles per gallon on the highway. Cabin space is up-to-snuff as is off-roading attributes such as ride height, so in theory, it's just as good as the rest if not better in some respects.
Ford boasted of its decision to pick up "massive overtime" in order to supply the Ranger's supposedly booming demand early on, but that's hardly saying anything as the company only expected to sell 1,200 units in its first month on dealer lots.
While this slow start isn't necessarily an indicator of things to come, it's odd to see such a seemingly suitable pickup struggle to take off in a hot midsize truck segment.
h/t: Car & Driver