With the re-emergence of the Ford Ranger to the midsize pickup truck scene in the United States, the Chevy Colorado once again has an American rival to compete with. Although full details are not yet available, we’re taking an early look at how these two trucks will stack up. Both offer a lot of utility in smaller packages than their older brothers, the F-150 and Silverado. But each takes a different approach in what they offer to the consumer.
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Ranger vs Colorado: Exterior
Coming to the U.S. as a model year 2015 vehicle, the Colorado’s style has aged gracefully, as it takes a much more modest approach compared to its older brother, the Silverado. Although it still has the typically tough modern Chevy look, it still manages to give off an understated sleekness that is in line with GM’s current global feel. A single gray bar comes across the grille from headlight to headlight, maintaining a streamlined look with the Chevy bowtie badge in the middle. The taillights are traditional and rectangular, while the rear bumper features Chevy’s CornerStep, which are small cut-out steps to make it easier to grab things out of the bed. Overall, the Colorado keeps its lines clean with an underlying sporty and rugged vibe that appeals to a wide range of buyers.
The Ranger also derives style from Ford’s worldwide initiatives. The ruggedness is brought together in the Lariat trim by a signature dark hexagonal grille featuring two floating chrome bars (black in the Sport Appearance Package) that bear the Ford emblem. Lower trims have a more muted look with a blacked out rectangle pattern. Both have the modern Ford honeycomb design on the sides of the grille. Black plastic cladding along the fender flares lend themselves to showing off-road prowess, while subtle chrome accents add the finishing touches. The tailgate has a concave lower third with “Ranger” embossed across it, while the upper lip flares out slightly for a sporty look. To this author’s eyes, the Ranger edges out the Colorado in terms of overall exterior styling.
For exterior paint, the Colorado features a wide variety of colors, eleven in total. The Ranger offers many of the Ford standards, as well as the new Saber color, which is a unique copper-tinged orange. Both offer a good range of colors, from the neutral palette to some bright hues that really pop. Overall, with Ford limiting the Ranger to eight colors, Chevy has slightly more options to stand out from the crowd.
Colorado Paint Colors
Satin Steel Metallic
Silver Ice Metallic
Kinetic Blue Metallic
Deepwood Green Metallic
Centennial Blue Metallic
Cajun Red Tintcoat
2019 Ranger Paint Colors
Hot Pepper Red
Both the Colorado and the Ranger are available in four-door crew cab configurations, as well as extended cab versions with two full doors and two suicide-style clam doors. Ford’s SuperCrew four-door has a 5-foot box, and the extended SuperCab with half doors has a 6-foot box. Chevy’s crew cab has a box just over 5 feet, but a 6’2” “Long Box” is available, unlike the Ranger.
All wheel options for the Ranger, apart from the base XL trim’s ultra-basic 16-inch steel wheels, are of a 6-spoke symmetry variety. Drivers looking for an odd-spoke wheel will have to look to the aftermarket. The Colorado, on the other hand, does offer 5-spoke wheels.
Ranger vs Colorado: Interior
The Colorado’s interior is classic Chevy, with easy to use controls and clear infotainment. Volume and climate control are well-placed and within easy reach of the driver and passenger. With that said, it is already starting to look a bit dated, even when compared to other models that are the same age. Panel fit looks rather clunky, and the steering wheel is reminiscent of antiquated mid-2000’s GM style. However, the Colorado does feature Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, which are sought-after features, especially for younger demographics. The only color for the interior is Jet Black, either in cloth with leatherette or full leather-appointed seat trim. The optional Interior Illumination Package offers a cool vibe with selectable color lights scattered throughout the cabin.
For the Ranger, the interior is fresh and stylish. Contrast stitching lines the top of the dashboard and the steering wheel, while physical buttons and knobs complement the large, optional SYNC 3 screen very nicely.
In higher trim levels, subdued chrome accents provide an additional touch of character. The Ranger offers cloth or vinyl seats for the XL and XLT trim levels, with leather-trimmed bucket seating for top-end Lariat. Both materials come in either Ebony or Medium Stone, which is a lighter, tan option that really helps to brighten up the cabin. The base XL trim comes with a paltry 4-speaker audio system without SYNC. The XLT adds the basic SYNC system with the small 4.2-inch screen, while opting for the Lariat grants the full SYNC 3 system with 8-inch LCD touchscreen.
Both the XLT and Lariat have the upgraded sound system with 6 speakers. A premium Bang & Olufsen system is available in the technology package when choosing the SuperCrew cab. Adaptive cruise control and a navigation system are available in the Technology Package (XLT and Lariat only).
Ranger vs Colorado: Engine
To keep things simple, the Ranger is available only with Ford’s popular 2.3 liter EcoBoost engine, which features auto start-stop technology. This is also mated to the lone transmission for the platform, a 10-speed automatic that should greatly aid in increasing fuel efficiency. The Lariat trim level also comes with Intelligent Access and push-button start. All trim levels are available in either 4x2 RWD or 4x4 drivetrains. For around-town loads and light off-road treks, the 4x2 should work fine for most consumers. Opting for 4x4 will add about $4,000 to the price tag while almost certainly decreasing fuel economy; however, drivers who frequently encounter rough terrain, mud, and snow will greatly benefit from the additional control and safety of 4WD.
Unlike the Ranger, the Colorado is available with a manual transmission, but the six-speed stick-shift only comes with the Base trim level.
The 2019 Ford Ranger is noteworthy for having achieved best-in-class fuel efficiency according to the EPA, scoring 22 mpg combined, 20 mpg city, and 24 mpg highway. The 2018 Colorado 4WD is rated moderately lower overall, with 21 mpg combined, 19 mpg city, and 24 mpg highway.
There are a few other technical details that we’ve noticed separate the two trucks. The Ranger comes standard with a full-sized spare tire, whereas the Colorado just gets a smaller compact spare. The Colorado has the edge in fuel capacity, however, with a 21-gallon tank versus only 18 gallons for the Ranger’s tank. Also, the Colorado uses an old-school twist-cap system, while Ford has implemented their Easy Fuel capless fueling system into the Ranger. A final detail is that the Colorado uses a push-pedal parking brake, while the Ranger goes for more of a traditional car feel with an e-brake lever just in front of the center-console.
Stay tuned as we hear more about the Ranger as additional specs get released, and be sure to keep an eye out for more news on the exciting Ranger Raptor!
2019 Ford Ranger vs Chevy Colorado
For 2019, Ford is once again putting a midsize pickup into the ring to compete against trucks like the Chevy Colorado and Toyota Tacoma. Offering a lot of utility in a smaller package, we're taking a look at how the 2019 Ranger stacks up against its American rival, the Chevy Colorado.