Moving sucks, especially when you’re fresh out of graduate school. When my younger brother asked me if I could get a pickup truck to review so I could help him move into his first place as a member of the workforce, I wanted to help out in whatever way I could. I lucked out when Ford offered to lend us this 2020 Ranger Supercrew 4×4 Lariat, equipped with the Ford Performance Level 3 package, timed perfectly with his move-in day. The truck arrived in our office’s parking lot in El Segundo wearing bright Race Red paint and a ton of off-road accessories.
Moving Day With the Ranger Lariat Level 3
Climbing into this lifted Ranger takes some effort due to the added FX4 Off-Road package ($1,295) and the ride height gains from the Level 3 off-road package. Once inside, the Ranger offers a commanding ride height with a great view of the road ahead. Despite the tall driver’s position, the Ranger remains narrow enough to fit comfortably in most city parking spots with little effort. In a city like L.A. with its concrete crags, steep driveways, and potholes, it’s great to have the peace of mind of a truck with upgraded Ford Performance-tuned Fox suspension bits and beefy sidewalls from the off-road capable BFGoodrich KO2 265/70-17 tires.
I used the backup camera to get into my brother’s steep driveway with no issue and dropped the tailgate to reveal the four anchor points in the truck bed.
The first order of business was getting the mattress strapped down, which was shockingly easy for me, a first-time moving guy. I got it immobilized in every possible direction with ratchet straps and tested the play in the x, y, and z axes with some old-fashioned tugs and hoped it’d be fine on the freeway as we traveled the 30 minutes to the new apartment.
After loading up the rear seats with more boxes, we hit the road. I had some trepidation going into my first-ever pickup truck moving day, but after hitting the speed limit on the 405 Freeway, my concerns were assuaged. The mattress didn’t budge on the course of the 13 miles between the old and new locations, leaving me feeling pretty confident about my ratchet-strapping abilities. With super accurate steering and great brake and throttle modulation, the Ranger instilled plenty of confidence in me as a driver trying not to leave his brother’s things all over the highway.
Ford bumps up the Ranger’s power by 16 percent and its torque by 20 percent as a part of its Level 3 Ford Performance Accessory Package, an add-on for $8,995. This improvement beefs up the turbocharged 2.3-liter engine’s output to a total of 315 horsepower and 370 lb-ft of torque. Over two round trips, there was plenty of oomph to get us going with confidence no matter the load. When it was unladen on the return runs, I had tons of fun gassing it and letting the sport exhaust rumble as the truck worked its way through its 10-speed automatic transmission. Overall, the drivetrain is well tuned to city use, and the shift mapping does a great job keeping the boost going when the engine is called upon for extra oomph.
A Ford That’s also a Flex
I’d planned to also take the truck off road to explore its full potential, but a migraine left me stuck at home on the day I’d planned to hit the trails at Hungry Valley off-road park. That meant that aside from helping my brother move, I spent the majority of my time with the Ranger hauling around on freeways and surface streets. In all, the Ranger’s interior is a nice place to be, even if it isn’t as luxurious as the Lariat version of its bigger sibling, the F-150.
Our test car had all of the benefits of the slick Sync 3 infotainment system, so getting Android Auto and Apple CarPlay set up was no issue at all. The interior has plenty of other great storage spots with my favorite being the little bit up on the dash. It’s a convenient spot to stash small snack packs, keys, or other compact trinkets.
The off-road specific gear from the Ford Performance Level 3 package didn’t improve the experience of living with the Ford Ranger on the day-to-day; in fact, the additional height of the 40-inch LED light bar made it impossible to park in my building’s underground garage. Plus, in L.A. at least, extra lighting isn’t necessary when the city already produces enough light to drown out the stars. The Ford Performance chase rack also held me back when we were moving my brother’s furniture. It was harder to reach the goods stowed in the bed and even more difficult to access the anchor points.
Other cool gear equipped on our test car included sporty red tow hooks and a steel ARB winch-capable front bumper. It had a stainless-steel license plate frame too, with Ford Performance branding to boot. In case people weren’t sure of its credentials, a Ford Performance windshield banner, Ford Performance bedside graphics, and 17-inch Dyno Gray wheels solidify its off-road ready look. Unfortunately, I remained a poser and never got to check out the off-road leveling kit beyond seeing the degree of incline of my brother’s driveway.
As for the non-Ford Performance upgrades on my example, the Lariat trim is a $2,005 upgrade over the regular truck, adding the aforementioned Sync 3, a 10-speaker B&O stereo system, satellite radio, and navigation. It also features remote start and the technology package. The Black Appearance Package also came equipped for $1,995. Other smaller add-ons included the tray-style floor liner ($160), the trailer tow package ($495), and Ford’s odd-yet-iconic keypad ($95).
Ranger Lariat with Ford Performance Level 3 Package: Cop or Drop?
As optioned, this Ford Performance Stage 3 Ranger Supercrew 4×4 Lariat rings up at $55,905, thousands of dollars more than its rival, the Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Bison, which we tested earlier this year. In my week of regular about-town activities, the Ranger proved itself a capable and charming companion. It even managed to serve as a moving vehicle despite being somewhat compromised by its bed size. This is one cool midsize truck, provided you can justify the price.
2020 Ford Ranger Supercrew 4×4 Lariat Review Ford Performance Level 3 Specifications
|PRICE||$39,970/$55,905 (base/as tested)|
|ENGINE||2.3L turbo DOHC 16-valve inline-4/315 hp @ 4,500 rpm, 370 lb-ft @ 2,500 rpm|
|LAYOUT||4-door, 5-passenger, front-engine, 4WD truck|
|EPA MILEAGE||20/24 mpg (city/hwy)|
|L x W x H||210.8 x 73.3 x 73.1 (est) in|
|0-60 MPH||6.6 sec|
|TOP SPEED||110 mph|