Compared: 2022 Toyota Tacoma vs. 2022 Ford Ranger

These two midsize pickups have different strengths. We compared powertrains, price, and towing.

Toyota Tacoma undefined Ford RangerToyota/Subaru

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In the midsize-pickup market, the Toyota Tacoma reigns supreme, selling a quarter-million examples last year. The Ford Ranger didn’t do as well, attracting fewer than half as many buyers. But since popularity doesn’t equal perfection, you’ll want to understand each truck’s features and attributes to determine which is best for you.

Toyota Tacoma vs. Ford Ranger: Powertrain

The Tacoma—or Taco, as the truck's zealous owner community affectionately calls it—has proven its reliability and durability across the world for decades. This legacy perhaps explains why the truck is still so popular today. It's certainly not for the anemic 159 hp 2.7L four-cylinder engine that's standard on the low-level SR and SR5 trims or the six-speed automatic transmission that shifts early and is slow to respond to throttle inputs. The lineups’ 278 hp 3.5L V6 labors almost as hard as the four, but at least it can get the truck up to highway speed in a reasonable amount of time. As for the Ranger, it’s less stressful to drive than the Tacoma thanks to its 270hp turbocharged 2.3L four-cylinder and quick-shifting 10-speed automatic, which keeps the engine's 310 pound-feet of torque on tap, allowing for easy acceleration.

More expensive Tacomas include off-roading aids such as a locking rear differential, selectable driving modes to adapt to the terrain, and a crawl function that acts like a low-speed cruise control. Certain models with the six-speed manual allow the driver to restart the truck and get it moving without depressing the clutch, an incredible convenience when you're stalled on an incline. The Ford offers similar off-road goodies but no manual transmission.

Ford Ranger interiorFord

Toyota Tacoma vs. Ford Ranger: Price

The Ranger starts at $26,795 and comes in three trims: XL, XLT, and Lariat. You can order a SuperCab—which has two full doors and two half-doors—with a six-foot bed or the four-door SuperCrew with a five-foot bed. Ford offers the Tremor Off-Road package on SuperCrew 4x4 versions of the XLT (for $5,960) and Lariat (for $4,290). The Tacoma opens at $27,715 and comes in six trims: SR, SR5, TRD Sport, TRD Off-Road, Limited, and TRD Pro. The Tacoma offers the same cab and bed configurations as the Ranger, plus you can order the four-door Double Cab with the longer six-foot bed on certain trims. The Trail Edition package on the SR5 Double Cab 4x4 gives owners many of the TRD Off-Road model’s kit, like a suspension lift and locking differential, for $3,765.

On the Tacoma, adaptive cruise and lane-departure warning come standard, as do Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. You can find luxuries such as wireless phone charging, heated seats, navigation, and a JBL stereo on high trim levels.

Avoid the base Ranger XL and its teensy 2.3 inch dash screen. The XLT and Lariat come standard with Sync 3 infotainment, which, despite being a generation behind what’s in other Ford vehicles, still works better than Toyota’s system. Ford includes a few driver assists such as lane keeping and automated emergency braking on every model. Both trucks are well equipped in the mid- to upper $30,000s but don’t necessarily come with all of these features at those prices.

Toyota Tacoma TrailToyota

Toyota Tacoma vs. Ford Ranger: Towing

The Toyota can handle a decent amount of trailering with the V6, with maximum tow ratings between 6,400 and 6,800 pounds. If you opt for a four-cylinder Tacoma, though, you’re looking at 3,500 pounds tops. The Ford handily beats this, supporting up to 7,500 pounds behind the bumper, when properly equipped.

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Clifford Atiyeh
Clifford Atiyeh is an independent writer, photographer, and creative consultant. He has reported for dozens of websites, magazines, and newspapers in his 20-year journalism career, during which he has tested more than 650 new vehicles. His automotive expertise focuses on product development, market analysis, and the litigation and legislation affecting the industry. Clifford is vice president of the New England Motor Press Association and runs a marketing consultancy.