2020 Ford Ranger vs. 2019 Honda Ridgeline

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

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The Ranger’s optional driver alert monitor detects an inattentive driver then sounds a warning and suggests a break. According to the NHTSA, drivers who fall asleep cause about 100,000 crashes and 1500 deaths a year. The Ridgeline doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the Ranger and the Ridgeline have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, height-adjustable front shoulder belts, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available four-wheel drive, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems, front and rear parking sensors and rear cross-path warning.

Warranty

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There are almost 3 times as many Ford dealers as there are Honda dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Ranger’s warranty.

Reliability

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A hardened steel chain, with no maintenance needs, drives the camshafts in the Ranger’s engine. A rubber cam drive belt that needs periodic replacement drives the Ridgeline’s camshafts. If the Ridgeline’s belt breaks, the engine could be severely damaged when the pistons hit the opened valves.

A reliable vehicle saves its owner time, money and trouble. Nobody wants to be stranded or have to be without a vehicle while it’s being repaired. Consumer Reports rates the Ranger’s reliability 30 points higher than the Ridgeline.

J.D. Power and Associates rated the Ranger first among midsize pickups in their 2019 Initial Quality Study. The Ridgeline isn’t in the top three.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Ford vehicles are better in initial quality than Honda vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Ford fourth in initial quality, above the industry average. With 15 more problems per 100 vehicles, Honda is ranked 16th, below the industry average.

Engine

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The Ranger’s 2.3 turbo 4 cyl. produces 48 lbs.-ft. more torque (310 vs. 262) than the Ridgeline’s 3.5 SOHC V6.

As tested in Motor Trend the Ford Ranger is faster than the Honda Ridgeline:

Ranger

Ridgeline

Zero to 30 MPH

2.5 sec

2.7 sec

Zero to 60 MPH

6.8 sec

7.3 sec

Zero to 80 MPH

11.4 sec

12.3 sec

Passing 45 to 65 MPH

3.4 sec

3.7 sec

Quarter Mile

15.2 sec

15.7 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

91.3 MPH

89.1 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

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On the EPA test cycle the Ranger gets better fuel mileage than the Ridgeline:

Ranger

Ridgeline

4x2

2.3 turbo 4 cyl./10-spd. Auto

21 city/26 hwy

19 city/26 hwy

3.5 V6/Auto

4x4

2.3 turbo 4 cyl./10-spd. Auto

20 city/24 hwy

18 city/25 hwy

3.5 V6/Auto

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the Ranger’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. The engine is automatically restarted when the driver gets ready to move again. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) The Ridgeline doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

Transmission

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A ten-speed automatic is standard on the Ford Ranger, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a six-speed automatic is available for the Ridgeline.

Brakes and Stopping

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The Ranger’s standard front and rear disc brakes are vented to help dissipate heat for shorter stops with less fading. The rear discs on the Ridgeline are solid, not vented.

The Ranger stops shorter than the Ridgeline:

Ranger

Ridgeline

70 to 0 MPH

190 feet

195 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

127 feet

129 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction, the Ranger has larger standard tires than the Ridgeline (255/70R16 vs. 245/60R18). The Ranger’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Ridgeline (265/65R17 vs. 245/60R18).

The Ford Ranger’s wheels have 6 lugs for longer wheel bearing life, less chance of rotor warping and greater strength. The Honda Ridgeline only has 5 wheel lugs per wheel.

Suspension and Handling

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The Ranger has standard front and rear gas-charged shocks for better control over choppy roads. The Ridgeline’s suspension doesn’t offer gas-charged shocks.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Ranger’s wheelbase is 1.6 inches longer than on the Ridgeline (126.8 inches vs. 125.2 inches).

The Ranger XLT SuperCrew 4x4 handles at .78 G’s, while the Ridgeline RTL-E 4x4 pulls only .77 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

For better maneuverability, the Ranger’s turning circle is 2.4 feet tighter than the Ridgeline’s (42 feet vs. 44.4 feet).

For greater off-road capability the Ranger has a 1.03 inches greater minimum ground clearance than the Ridgeline (8.9 vs. 7.87 inches), allowing the Ranger to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged.

Chassis

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The Ranger is 5.3 inches narrower than the Ridgeline, making the Ranger easier to handle and maneuver in traffic.

As tested by Car and Driver while under full throttle, the interior of the Ranger XLT SuperCrew 4x4 is quieter than the Ridgeline Black Edition 4x4 (76 vs. 77 dB).

Cargo Capacity

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The Ranger SuperCrew has a much larger cargo box than the Ridgeline shortbed (43.3 vs. 33.9 cubic feet).

The Ranger’s cargo box is larger than the Ridgeline’s in almost every dimension:

Ranger SuperCrew

Ranger SuperCab

Ridgeline

Length (short/long)

61”

72.8”

64”

Max Width

61.4”

61.4”

60”

Min Width

44.8”

44.8”

50”

Height

20.8”

20.8”

16”

Payload and Towing

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The Ranger’s standard towing capacity is much higher than the Ridgeline’s (7500 vs. 3500 pounds).

The Ranger can be flat towed on all four wheels (dinghy towed), allowing recreational vehicle owners to bring it with them on the road. When they reach their destination, the Ranger can be unhitched and driven around locally. The Ridgeline can’t be towed flat on the ground.

The Ranger SuperCrew has a much higher standard payload capacity than the Ridgeline (1770 vs. 1465 lbs.).

The Ranger has a much higher maximum payload capacity than the Ridgeline (1860 vs. 1580 lbs.).

Servicing Ease

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The Ranger uses gas struts to support the hood for easier service access. The Ridgeline uses a prop rod to support its heavy hood. It takes two hands to open the hood and set the prop rod, the prop rod gets in the way during maintenance and service, and the prop rod could be knocked out, causing the heavy hood to fall on the person maintaining or servicing the car.

The engine in the Ranger is mounted longitudinally (North-South), instead of sideways, as in the Ridgeline. This makes it easier to service and maintain, because there are no rear spark plugs and the accessory belts are in front.

Ergonomics

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In case you lock your keys in your vehicle, or don’t have them with you, you can let yourself in using the Ranger’s available exterior PIN entry system. The Ridgeline doesn’t offer an exterior PIN entry system.

In case you lock your keys in your vehicle, or don’t have them with you, you can let yourself in using the Ranger’s available exterior PIN entry system. The Ridgeline doesn’t offer an exterior PIN entry system.

The Ranger Lariat’s optional wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically according to the amount of rainfall on the windshield. The Ridgeline’s manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

Consumer Reports rated the Ranger’s headlight performance “Good,” a higher rating than the Ridgeline’s headlights, which were rated “Fair.”

Model Availability

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The Ford Ranger comes in extended cab and crew cab bodystyles; the Honda Ridgeline isn’t available as an extended cab.

Economic Advantages

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IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Ford Ranger will be $17 to $384 less than for the Honda Ridgeline.

Recommendations

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Consumer Reports® recommends both the Ford Ranger and the Honda Ridgeline, based on reliability, safety and performance.

J.D. Power and Associates rated the Ranger first among midsize pickups in owner reported satisfaction. This includes how well the vehicle performs and satisfies its owner’s expectations. The Ridgeline isn’t in the top three.

The Ford Ranger outsold the Honda Ridgeline by 80% during the 2019 model year.

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