2020 Jeep Wrangler vs. 2020 Ford Ranger

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

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Full-time four-wheel drive is optional on the Wrangler. Full-time four-wheel drive gives added traction for safety in all conditions, not just off-road, like the only system available on the Ranger. Four-wheel drive of any type costs extra on the Ranger.

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

Reliability

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The Wrangler has a solid front axle with a floating power axle for durability that the Ranger 4x4’s independent front suspension and exposed front driveshafts don’t offer.

Engine

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The Wrangler’s standard 3.6 DOHC V6 produces 15 more horsepower (285 vs. 270) than the Ranger’s 2.3 turbo 4-cylinder.

The Wrangler’s 3.0 turbo V6 diesel produces 132 lbs.-ft. more torque (442 vs. 310) than the Ranger’s 2.3 turbo 4-cylinder.

As tested in Consumer Reports the Jeep Wrangler V6 is faster than the Ford Ranger (automatics tested):

Wrangler

Ranger

Zero to 30 MPH

2.7 sec

3.2 sec

Zero to 60 MPH

7.3 sec

7.4 sec

45 to 65 MPH Passing

4.9 sec

5 sec

Quarter Mile

15.6 sec

15.8 sec

Fuel Economy and Range

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On the EPA test cycle the Wrangler Diesel gets better fuel mileage than the Ranger 4x4 (22 city/29 hwy vs. 20 city/24 hwy).

Regenerative brakes improve the Wrangler 2.0 Turbo/3.6 eTorque’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The Ranger doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.

The Wrangler 4-door’s standard fuel tank has 3.5 gallons more fuel capacity than the Ranger (21.5 vs. 18 gallons).

Environmental Friendliness

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In its Green Vehicle Guide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the Jeep Wrangler higher (5 out of 10) than the Ford Ranger (3). This means the Wrangler produces up to 16.5 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the Ranger every 15,000 miles.

Transmission

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The Wrangler offers a manual transmission for better acceleration, control and fuel economy. The Ranger doesn’t offer a manual transmission.

Brakes and Stopping

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For better stopping power the Wrangler’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Ranger:

Wrangler

Ranger

Front Rotors

12.9 inches

12.2 inches

Rear Rotors

12.9 inches

12.1 inches

Opt Rear Rotors

13.4 inches

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction, the Wrangler Rubicon’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Ranger (285/70R17 vs. 265/65R17).

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Wrangler has standard 17-inch wheels. Smaller 16-inch wheels are standard on the Ranger.

Suspension and Handling

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The Wrangler has standard front and rear stabilizer bars, which help keep the Wrangler flat and controlled during cornering. The Ranger’s suspension doesn’t offer a rear stabilizer bar.

The Wrangler Rubicon has an active front sway bar, which helps keep it flat and controlled during cornering, but disconnects at lower speeds to smooth the ride and offer greater off-road suspension articulation. This helps keep the tires glued to the road on-road and off. The Ranger doesn’t offer an active sway bar system.

The front and rear suspension of the Wrangler uses coil springs for better ride, handling and control than the Ranger, which uses leaf springs in the rear. Coil springs compress more progressively and offer more suspension travel for a smoother ride with less bottoming out.

The Wrangler has vehicle speed sensitive variable-assist power steering, for low-effort parking, better control at highway speeds and during hard cornering, and a better feel of the road. The Ranger doesn’t offer variable-assist power steering.

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Wrangler is 1.5 inches wider in the front and 1.5 inches wider in the rear than on the Ranger.

The Wrangler’s front to rear weight distribution is more even (51% to 49%) than the Ranger’s (57.3% to 42.7%). This gives the Wrangler more stable handling and braking.

For better maneuverability, the Wrangler 2-door’s turning circle is 7.5 feet tighter than the Ranger’s (34.5 feet vs. 42 feet). The Wrangler 4-door’s turning circle is 2.6 feet tighter than the Ranger’s (39.4 feet vs. 42 feet).

For greater off-road capability the Wrangler Sport 2-door has a greater minimum ground clearance than the Ranger (9.7 vs. 8.9 inches), allowing the Wrangler to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged. The Wrangler Rubicon 2-door’s minimum ground clearance is 1.9 inches higher than on the Ranger (10.8 vs. 8.9 inches).

Chassis

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The Jeep Wrangler may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs up to about 250 pounds less than the Ford Ranger.

The Wrangler 2-door is 3 feet, 8 inches shorter than the Ranger, making the Wrangler easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

Passenger Space

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The Wrangler 2-door has 2.8 inches more front headroom, 5.8 inches more rear headroom, 5.3 inches more rear legroom and 2.5 inches more rear shoulder room than the Ranger SuperCab.

The Wrangler 4-door has 2.8 inches more front headroom, 3.4 inches more rear headroom, 3.8 inches more rear legroom and 3.2 inches more rear hip room than the Ranger SuperCrew.

Cargo Capacity

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A low lift-over cargo hatch design makes loading and unloading the Wrangler easier. The Wrangler’s cargo hatch lift-over height is 29.7 inches, while the Ranger’s liftover is 35 inches.

Towing

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All models of the Wrangler can be flat towed on all four wheels, allowing recreational vehicle owners to bring it with them on the road. When they reach their destination, the Wrangler can be unhitched and driven around locally. Only the Ranger 4WD can be dinghy towed.

Ergonomics

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The Wrangler’s instruments include an oil pressure gauge and a temperature gauge - which could save your engine! Often ‘idiot lights’ don’t warn you until damage has been done. The Ranger does not have an oil pressure gauge.

The power windows standard on both the Wrangler and the Ranger have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the Wrangler is engaged the driver can still operate all of the windows, for instance to close one opened by a child. The Ranger prevents the driver from operating the rear windows just as it does the other passengers.

The Wrangler Sport S/Sahara/Rubicon’s available front power windows lower with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside of the car. The Ranger’s passenger windows don’t open automatically.

The Wrangler’s power window, power lock, power mirror and cruise control switches are lit from behind, making them plainly visible and easier to operate at night. The Ranger’s power mirror switches are unlit, making them difficult to find at night and operate safely.

The Wrangler’s speed-sensitive wipers speed up when the vehicle does, so that the driver doesn’t have to continually adjust the speed of the wipers. The Ranger’s standard manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

To improve rear visibility by keeping the rear window clear, the Wrangler has a standard rear wiper. The Ranger doesn’t offer a rear wiper.

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

The Wrangler Sport S/Sahara/Rubicon’s power mirror controls are mounted on the door for easy access. The Ranger’s optional power mirror controls are on the dash where they are possibly hidden by the steering wheel and are awkward to manipulate.

On extremely cold winter days, the Wrangler Sport S/Sahara/Rubicon’s optional heated steering wheel provides comfort, allowing the driver to steer safely and comfortably before the vehicle heater warms up. The Ranger doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel.

Both the Wrangler and the Ranger offer rear vents. For greater rear passenger comfort, the Wrangler offers optional rear air conditioning vents to keep rear occupants cool in summer or warm in winter. The Ranger doesn’t offer rear air conditioning vents, only heat vents.

Bluetooth wireless connectivity is standard on the Wrangler, connecting the driver and passenger’s cell phones to the vehicle systems. This allows them to use the vehicle’s stereo and hand controls to place calls safely and easily. Bluetooth costs extra on the Ranger.

Economic Advantages

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Insurance will cost less for the Wrangler owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the Wrangler will cost $155 to $1840 less than the Ranger over a five-year period.

The Wrangler will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the Wrangler will retain 67.99% to 87.28% of its original price after five years, while the Ranger only retains 48.71% to 54.99%.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Wrangler is less expensive to operate than the Ranger because it costs $776 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the Wrangler than the Ranger, including $116 less for a water pump, $86 less for a muffler, $306 less for a starter, $168 less for fuel injection and $458 less for a power steering pump.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Jeep Wrangler will be $7571 to $8540 less than for the Ford Ranger.

Recommendations

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/08/05

Motor Trend selected the Wrangler as their 2019 Sport Utility of the Year. The Ranger has never been chosen.

The Wrangler was selected by Petersen's 4-Wheel & Off-Road magazine as their 2012 4x4 of the Year. The Ranger has never been chosen.

The Jeep Wrangler outsold the Ford Ranger by almost three to one during 2019.

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