Towing with a Half Ton?
There is nothing like a pickup truck for towing an RV on a camping trip. Millions of Americans agree. Today’s half tons manage to be comfortable, practical, and capable. And don’t get me started on their rugged good looks. But not everyone wants to step up to the size, or price of a half ton pickup. Some folks use their tow vehicles as a daily driver and they desire greater MPG than a pickup. Other drivers have no desire to park a pickup truck at their crowded local grocery shop. And just about everyone is shocked by the sticker prices of a new Silverado, F-150, or Ram. They are all are easier to find at the 65K price point than they are at 35K.
Towing with an SUV?
SUV’s are incredibly appealing as daily drivers and Americans are buying them in droves. But for many RV owners, SUVs are more notable for their limitations as tow vehicles than for their capabilities. For some folks an SUV might be the perfect tow vehicle (check out this podcast to hear more on the topic), and when matched with the right trailer the towing experience can be just dandy. But what about those RV shoppers who don’t want the size and price tag of a half ton pickup (or bigger) but still need serious tow capacity and payload?
Enter the mid-sized pickup truck option and the all new 2019 Ford Ranger.
The Resurgence of the Mid-Sized American Pickup Truck
There was a period a few years ago when none of the American car company’s made mid-sized pickup trucks. Dodge killed the Dakota. The Colorado had been discontinued. And the Ranger had been dead on these shores for years. The only continuously produced mid-sized trucks during that time period were the Toyota Tacoma (belovedly nicknamed the Taco) and the Nissan Frontier (no beloved nickname as far as I know…).
But now the mid-sized market is competitive again and filled with interesting choices. The Frontier and Tacoma continue to have their fan bases, while the redesigned Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon turned heads when they both debuted in 2015. Now the current mid-sized flavor of the moment is the all new 2019 Ford Ranger–at least for those obsessed with tow capacity and payload. The all new Jeep Gladiator has less gaudy towing numbers than the Ranger but has all of the macho cool factor that you need if you are towing something small or towing nothing at all. The Gladiator may sound tougher than the Ranger, but the numbers don’t lie. This Ranger is ready for battle.
This week’s podcast is all about the new 2019 Ford Ranger. We invited our good friend, and truck aficionado, Casita Dean May onto the RV Atlas podcast to give us an overview of the Ranger and its class leading towing capacities. Dean tows his Casita with a KIA Borrego, but he is giving a good hard look at the Ranger and the rest of the mid-sized field. To listen to Dean talk about the Ranger click on the media player. To learn more about the Ranger read on….
The 2019 Ford Ranger
The 2019 Ranger comes in three trims (XL, XLT, and Lariat) that all boast the same 2.3L EcoBoost 4 Cylinder engine–which yields some pretty crazy numbers for a mid-sized pickup. Most eye catching is the class leading 7,500 lb. tow capacity and the 1,860 lb. payload capacity (which, according to Ford and Casita Dean, “are independent attributes that may not be achieved in the same truck”). Even so, those numbers beat a lot of the half ton options on the market while still getting 21 MPG City, 26 City, and 20MPG. Those numbers dip a little if equipped with 4 wheel drive, but are still mind blowing for a pickup truck.
The 2019 Ford Ranger’s RV Sweet Spot
The tow capacity and payload of the Ranger make it an excellent choice for towing a wide variety of RV’s. I am particularly thinking of the Ford Ranger’s ability to tow larger hybrids and smaller ultralite trailers that might clock in at about 4,500 to 5,000 lbs. dry. Trailers in this weight range would easily blow past the tow capacity of an SUV with a 5K tow capacity. But towing those very same trailers with a modern half ton that can pull 9K or 10K lbs might feel like overkill. In my mind the Ford Ranger hits a real sweet spot for trailers in the weight range that clearly exceeds the 5K limits of many SUV’s but don’t require the full capabilities of well equipped half ton.
The XL starts at 24K, the XLT at 28K, and the Lariat at 32K. Good luck finding any of those trim levels at those price points. Most dealers are going to deck the trucks out in optional equipment that will make the price tag soar. Or at least jump up quite a bit. In fact, the price of well equipped Ranger Lariat could easily start to look like the price of a modestly equipped F-150 XLT. That same XLT, equipped with the 2.7L V6 EcoBoost engine, could also get about the same MPG as the Ranger. But the Ranger will be easier to park at the supermarket and easier to get through the Starbucks drive in. That much I can promise.
The Ford Ranger SuperCab comes with a spacious 6′ bed. The SuperCrew comes with a 5′ bed. Both will give families ample storage space for camping gear, particularly when compared to a mid-sized SUV. The 2019 Ford Ranger is also attractive both inside and out. But how does it drive? And is the interior comfortable and quiet? We will answer these questions and more on tomorrow’s podcast when we take the 2019 Ranger for a test drive!
See you at the campground,
Stephanie + Jeremy