Truckin’ on in a 2020 Ford Ranger 4×4 Lariat

Just as a lot of SUV owners never actually offroad, it’s hard not to be at least a bit suspicious about people who would purchase a Ford pickup truck with 4×4 off-road capabilities: Are owners really driving through mud, streams, rock-covered canyons and other rough terrain? Either way, sometimes it’s enough to know that a vehicle can manage tough terrain, regardless of what actually constitutes a daily drive.

And the 2020 Ford Ranger Lariat 4×4 SuperCrew is definitely one off-road ready truck. It features a 2.3L ecoboost engine with 10 speed auto transmission, 126-inch wheelbase, 7,500 pound towing capacity and with the SuperCrew configuration, comfortable seating for 4 and potential seating for up to five adults. All with a very attractive exterior:

2020 ford ranger lariat 4x4 supercrew - exterior front

This striking color is “Race Red” and surprisingly, there’s not actually an additional charge for this color. Too many auto manufacturers are learning that they can sneak $400-$800 onto the price tag. Props to Ford for not doing that with the Ranger!

Look closely too; this particular model has the optional Securicode Keyless Keypad over the front door handles. It’s a 5-button keypad right out of a 60’s sci-fi film that lets you punch in a code and unlock the vehicle even if you’ve lost the keys. It will let you lock or unlock the doors, recall saved seat and mirror positions and arm and disarm the anti-theft alarm. It won’t let you start the vehicle or drive it away. And security-wise, you set a 5-digit code so there are 5**5 or about 3100 combinations. Reasonably secure and definitely helpful in a crisis.

In addition to the front tow hooks, this has a full tow package installed, so you’re definitely ready for that boat, snowmobiles, or trailer. What I liked a lot was the tonneau hard fold cover, which neatly closed to cover the entire truck bed or folded up and clipped so you could have 80% open as needed, without having to remove the cover entirely:

2020 ford ranger lariat - tonneau cover

Perhaps unsurprisingly, I took advantage of having a pickup truck to head over to the local Home Depot to grab a few things for the house. Having a pickup truck was great and made the chore considerably more fun!

In addition to the tonneau cover, this Ranger also had a Toughbed spray in bed liner:

2020 ford ranger lariat toughbed tray liner

Great for keeping your truck from getting damaged, but because of the torque of the back of the bed when driving, the liner isn’t solid and instead has a big seam, as you can see above. That collected dirt and dust in the week I drove it, and what I imagine is a drain pipe was disconnected on the side too. Perhaps a user repair, but it was odd to have the pipe connected to the top on one side, but not on the other.

Moving into the truck, having the SuperCrew meant that there’s more space for the rear passengers at the cost of a shorter truck bed. The two Ranger models are the SuperCabs, which have 89 cubic feet of passenger space and a 6-foot bed. max payload is 1860 pounds. The SuperCrew seats five in a much bigger 97.6 cubic feet of passenger space. The SuperCrew, however, has a 5-foot bed and a max payload rating is 1,560 pounds on the 4×4 model. More passenger space, but less payload and less truck bed space. Trade-offs.

So let’s have a look at the interior!

2020 ford ranger lariat - dash layout

A nice, simple design laid out for maximal driver efficiency with a lot of buttons pushed onto the steering wheel. The SYNC3 infotainment system was a bit bare-bones, however, and the lack of physical buttons was a bit of a surprise:

2020 ford ranger lariat - infotainment system

I liked the simple design, but it was a bit small and austere for a truck that costs almost $50,000. And yes, as you might be able to see, it includes CarPlay and Android Auto. The model I drove also included a wifi hotspot, but no word on how much each month you’d need to pay for it to be usable after an initial trial period. If you have that data, please do leave it as a comment for everyone else’s benefit.

Notice above that the music controls are physical buttons and dials, which ended up feeling like a very natural interface, particularly after driving cars with pushbutton radios and a volume dial on one side and tuning dial on the other for many, many years. Of course, my first few cars also had push buttons for favorite AM/FM stations, but we don’t need to travel that far back in time, do we?

Here’s a closer shot of the steering wheel buttons – with display controls on each side! – and main gauge display:

2020 ford ranger lariat - main gauge display

As is probably obvious, the speedometer is an old-school gauge while both side displays are screens, each independently managed for your preferences as the driver. The display options include some great 4×4 gauges…

2020 ford ranger lariat - 4x4 offroad gauges sensors

and the ubiquitous fuel efficiency display:

2020 ford ranger lariat - fuel efficiency display mpg

Which brings us to fuel efficiency. Turns out that the 2020 Ford Ranger Lariat SuperCrew 4×4 is surprisingly fuel efficient for a five-seater pickup truck. The official EPA numbers are 20/24 so I was getting just about the theoretical best possible fuel efficiency. It’s not the fabled Tesla pickup, but then again it’s an attractive truck you’d be proud to have in your driveway too 🙂

With the SuperCrew, how’s the back seat leg room? I’m glad you asked:

2020 ford ranger lariat - rear seating leg room

It’s not a luxury SUV, but this is an entirely sufficient amount of legroom for five adults to get to a work site, and plenty for a family of four to be comfortable on the day trip to grandma’s house while toting every toy your kids have ever owned in the back.

Before we leave the interior, however, one more photo of all the 4×4 and offroad controls:

2020 ford ranger lariat - 4x4 controls

Notice the dual 12V power adapters (so helpful to have two!) and the dual USB-3 power ports that offer CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity. On the dial you can see 2H, 4H and 4L, along with a number of other drive modes on the 3×3 button panel for towing and offroad both. They don’t let me take these loaners off road for any rugged adventures, but if they did, I’d definitely have been pushing and experimenting with some of these features!

And, finally, another exterior rear photo:

2020 ford ranger lariat 4x4 exterior rear

In this photo the Tonneau cover is closed, as you can see. It’s a snazzy truck, no question, and if you never drive it off road, at least having the 4×4 package means you won’t have bad weather slow you down on the way to the hardware store or supermarket, right? More seriously, I like the chance to drive pickup trucks and this is a great example of a mid range truck that offers a balance of passenger space, bed capacity, good towing options and a very attractive appearance. The drive experience was okay, but it felt a bit underpowered going from a stop, though once you got some momentum it was fun for highway driving at speed. Definitely one to check out if you’re looking for a cross between a family friendly SUV and a job friendly pickup, but do also be aware that the truck is pretty high off the ground for the little ones to manage.

CONFIGURATION: 2020 Ford Ranger Lariat 4×4 SuperCrew, Race Red exterior. Powered by a 2.3L ecoboost engine with 10-speed automatic transmission. BASE PRICE: $38,675. Accessories as driven: Group 501 Lariat Edition, Black Appearance Package, Floor Liner – Tray Style, Trailer Tow Package, Securicode Keyless Keypad, FX4 Offroad Package and Tonneau CVR-Hard Fold. AS DRIVEN: $46,910.00. Learn more at ford.com.

Disclosure: Ford loaned me the 2020 Ranger Lariat for a week in return for this writeup. Darn nice of you, Ford. Thanks.

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