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3 Reasons Why 2020 Toyota Tacoma is Superior to Ford Ranger

The midsize truck market has been dominated by Toyota Tacoma for over a decade. Find out why it is superior to its newest competitor - the Ford Ranger.


The country’s best-selling midsize truck has a “new” truck in its segment to compete for buyers’ affections. The 2020 Toyota Tacoma has dominated its class for the last 14 consecutive years, and now it will be putting up its accomplishments against the newly-returned Ford Ranger.

Both trucks have a strong reputation for toughness and ruggedness. Tacoma and the Ranger look impressive as well. Here are a few reasons why, though, 2020 Toyota Tacoma should still be considered the superior choice.

Since the 2019 Ford Ranger is the first model year back for this midsize truck, it should remain unchanged for 2020. The 2020 Ranger has not reached dealerships yet. Based on this, I will give my thoughts on 2019 Ford Ranger vs 2020 Toyota Tacoma.

2020 Toyota Tacoma has performance versatility

I appreciate the variety of powertrain choices in the 2020 Tacoma more than the 2019 Ranger (remember, the 2020 Ranger is not out yet, and it should be the same as 2019).

For people in the market for a new midsize truck, Toyota offers 2 different engine choices with the 2020 Tacoma.

Watch the 2020 Toyota Tacoma vs Ford Ranger superiority and click to subscribe to Torque News Youtube channel for daily thought-provoking automotive news analysis.

Buyers can select between a 4-cylinder engine that delivers 159 horsepower and 180 lb.-ft. torque and the more popular V6 engine that brings 278 horsepower and 265 lb.-ft. torque.

2019 Ford Ranger supercrew White color profile

Also, both Tacoma engines can be matched with either a 6-speed automatic or a 6-speed manual transmission. Although some would argue that driving a manual transmission is a dying art, many people out there still love this method and need this as a buying option.

The 2019 Ford Ranger only supplies one engine choice - a 2.3-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine. Although it offers less horsepower than the 2020 Tacoma (270hp versus 278hp), the 2019 Ranger does provide drivers with more torque (310 versus 265). This is matched with a 10-speed automatic transmission.

Toyota Tacoma has better resale value than Ford Ranger

A brand new 2020 Toyota Tacoma will cost buyers less over the full cost of ownership partially due to a superior resale value. According to IntelliChoice, it is estimated that Tacoma will hold 61.41% to 75.5% of its original price after 5 years, but the Ranger only keeps 48.71% to 54.99% of its original value. That is a big difference in value.

Kelley Blue Book supports this logic as well. It ranked the 2019 Toyota Tacoma as Number One overall above all makes and models according to its 2019 Best Resale Value Awards. They predict 2019 Tacoma will have a resale value of an astounding 69.4% after 3 years and 62.2% after 5 years.

Well-build, dependable, popular vehicles are the ones that hold the highest values. I give you the Toyota Tacoma.

Drive Tacoma for hundreds of thousands of miles

I hear from readers on a pretty regular basis about how many miles they have on their Toyota Tacoma trucks. This is not something I am all that surprised to hear drivers brag about, as the Toyota Tacoma has built a solid reputation for reliability and dependability over the long haul of vehicle ownership.

Many have reported hundreds of thousands of miles on their Tacoma odometers and still going strong. I even wrote a story about one 2008 Tacoma owner who has logged over 1.3 million miles on his truck.

Watch as I interview the "Million Mile Tacoma" owner Mike Neal

This is not a fair point for comparison, obviously, as the 2019 Ford Ranger is brand new to the market after an 8-year lapse. There is no way to tell how reliable this Ranger will end up being. It might be fantastic.

However, maybe J.D. Power and Associates can offer some more to the conversation. According to 2019 surveys of owners of 3-year-old vehicles, Toyota is ranked second among all manufacturers in overall dependability. With 38 more problems per 100 vehicles, Ford is ranked 16th.

Time for your thoughts on Ranger versus Tacoma

Everyone has different criteria for evaluating cars, trucks and SUVs. Since I normally follow how long people keep their vehicles and how happy they are over the course of a decade or longer, I think many people who would agree with me that 2020 Toyota Tacoma, along with previous model years, is the safest and most practical choice.

In fact, they must, as Tacoma trucks have outsold the Ford Ranger by 4 to 1 so far in the 2019 calendar year.

What do you think of the debate between Toyota Tacoma and Ford Ranger? Do you own either of them and how is your experience so far?

You may also enjoy seeing a first look at 2020 Highlander Hybrid that comes out next year. Click here to subscribe to Torque News YouTube channel for the latest Toyota news and automotive analysis.

Thanks for reading everyone. See you next story when I show you why it might be the perfect time to buy a 2019 or 2020 Tundra.

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Digitaldoc (not verified)    November 8, 2019 - 3:13PM

The 4-cylinder Tacoma is pretty wimpy, and I don't think too many folks are satisfied with it. The Tacoma V-6 is a nice engine, and one that I had hoped would migrate to their 4Runner. However, it gets hampered with a mediocre 6-spd transmission, that seems to be fighting the engine rather than enhancing it with slow downshifts. The Ranger is a more intriguing choice to me, with the 2.3T and a 10 spd transmission that is faster in testing. Unfortunately, the Ranger is on a much older platform which hampers the overall handling. Truth be told, both could use a serious update, even though the Ranger is new to the US market, it was sold for years in Latin America and Australia.

Trent (not verified)    November 10, 2019 - 7:40AM

In reply to by Digitaldoc (not verified)

Please do NOT wish that on the 4runner. Bad enough the taco has that horrible active learning 6 speed. At least the 4runner still has the 4.0 liter with 5 speed auto with normal shifting behaviors. Even the MT on the taco is screwed up with overally tall gears to max MPG's. Toy should just put their hilux diesel in the taco because they have hit a wall trying to achieve MPG's with their petrol motors.

Travis (not verified)    November 9, 2019 - 5:41AM

I bought a 2020 Tacoma and I've met several Ranger owners that enjoy their Rangers but a lot of them say they wish they got the Tacoma instead.

Robert (not verified)    June 3, 2020 - 8:15PM

In reply to by Digitaldoc (not verified)

he cant answer, I'm quite happy with my 2020 ranger fx4. its faster, more torque, and higher towing capacity and has more head room. the only thing i like about the taco is the look and i believe you can slap bigger tires on it without modification as the wheel wells are bigger. but there is a simple fix, raise the truck slightly also spent way less money then if i bought a taco. BTW Ive had my truck for 6 months.

Chad Guenther (not verified)    November 10, 2019 - 12:20PM

In reply to by Travis (not verified)

I bought a Tacoma new in 2018 with the v6 and it being the first Toyota that I have owned I was excited about the truck since there are several people at work that love their Tacoma's. But I'm not impressed with the truck at all the lack of options on the truck and I have a loaded out TRD off-road and the fact that it gets the same fuel mileage as my full sized Chevrolet with a 5.3 in short I will not be owning another one and plan to get rid of this one ASAP

Peter (not verified)    September 16, 2021 - 4:37PM

In reply to by Travis (not verified)

I've actually noticed the opposite. There seems to be only one type of Tacoma owner, the die hard that would not consider anything else. I've been on similar web sites with this Tacoma vs Ranger type reviews, and in the comments there seems to be many Taco owners that will live and die in their trucks no matter what. Then there are many former Taco owners that have migrated to the Ranger and said the Ranger is light years ahead of the Tacoma and they'll never go back. But I have yet to see someone say the opposite.

In my personal opinion, the Tacoma is an old truck with a new skin. The engine is old, the transmission is old, the frame is old and weird with it's boxed frame up front, passenger space double C-channel frame and single C-channel under the bed. They've been doing this for years and people are willing to pay big money for old tech. Sure the Ranger is not really a new truck, but it's almost just a proven, but much newer design than the Tacoma. Sure Toyota's mantra of "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" makes sense, for Toyota and their pocket book, but then Toyota should be charging 2005 prices for it "2022" truck.

Leisa Foster (not verified)    November 9, 2019 - 8:48AM

I own a 2002 Toyota Tacoma that's just shy of 250,000 miles! I've driven this truck cross country multiple times with zero problems. This truck also got me safely off the the mountain during last year's Camp fire as I was living in Concow the morning of the fire. Do I feel a special love for my truck? You bet! So I'm going to say go for the Tacoma. It's solid, reliable and long lived. It's why you buy a truck in the first place, right?

Pam (not verified)    November 9, 2019 - 9:40AM

I have a 2002 Tacoma excab. It's 4 wheel drive with a 2.7 liter engine. It's not the fastest car on the road, but it is VERY reliable. With 321,000 miles, I'd have to say, I love my Tacoma. Oh, I have to say, I love manual transmission!

Benoit (not verified)    November 9, 2019 - 1:06PM

Ford is 16th in JD Power but the Ranger is the best in it’s class for the initial quality survey and get 78 points just like the Tacoma. And the Ranger can load more and tow more. And for next year it will come with 2 new motorisation and others updates. So I think that this article is missing a lot of important facts!

pl8to (not verified)    November 9, 2019 - 4:13PM

There's nothing wrong with liking the Tacoma more but I feel like there are a lot better reasons. The resale one and the dependability one really don't mean much right now since the ranger is brand new. I've owned both a Tacoma and a Ranger (each from the 90s) and loved them both. I think I sold both with over 250k on them. I am currently looking for a new vehicle and am leaning towards the Ranger for one main reason, seating position. I drive a lot and the Tacoma sits way to low to the floorboards and is really uncomfortable for a tall person.

Pam (not verified)    November 10, 2019 - 9:47AM

In reply to by pl8to (not verified)

I test drove the 2019, the seats are thin, and low. That is not the case for my 2002. I have the deluxe and the seats are thick and I have plenty of room. I'm 6 ft tall. I do agree with you on the new Tacoma.

ROBERT RODWAY (not verified)    November 9, 2019 - 4:16PM

I have a 2007 Ford Ranger 4x4, 5 speed manual with the bulletproof 4 litre V6 engine. It has regular oil changes, doesn't burn any oil or leak any. It currently has 222,000 miles on it and I would put it up against any comparable Toyota truck. I'm not saying its better but just as good !

pl8to (not verified)    November 9, 2019 - 5:44PM

There's nothing wrong with liking the Tacoma more but I feel like there are a lot better reasons. The resale one and the dependability one really don't mean much right now since the ranger is brand new. I've owned both a Tacoma and a Ranger (each from the 90s) and loved them both. I think I sold both with over 250k on them. I am currently looking for a new vehicle and am leaning towards the Ranger for one main reason, seating position. I drive a lot and the Tacoma sits way to low to the floorboards and is really uncomfortable for a tall person.

Bev Evans (not verified)    November 9, 2019 - 6:54PM

Since 1989 I've only driven Toyota Tacomas. All 4 cylinder, 4x4, all manual transmissions, all regular cabs. It's the one thing in life I can always count on. In 30 years I've owned three. That should tell you how long I kept them. I currently own a 2009. I won't drive anything but a Tacoma.

Trrent (not verified)    November 10, 2019 - 7:49AM

In reply to by Bev Evans (not verified)

They quit making regular cabs. I think the current extra cab with 2.7 may be underpowered compared to a 09. Gear ratios are messed up on their manuals. I prefer the frontiers MT gearbox. Especially the 6 speed with the VQ 4.0. If there is one area that Toyota is failing miserably since the last time you bought, its the transmissions.

Dean E Raynes (not verified)    November 9, 2019 - 7:24PM

I have a 2008 Tacoma. I've put 218000 miles on it. It's been out and back to MT twice(I live in Va). I lived in Wyoming 3 years and it handled those Wyoming winter's beautifully. It's spent weeks on the beach at Cape Lookout NC.
This is my 2nd Tacoma the first had 425000 mile when I sold it in 2008 for $5000. Tacoma's are the best.

Anthony (not verified)    November 10, 2019 - 7:38AM

I currently own two Toyota trucks...
1992 4x2 22RE 4 cylinder 5speed manual....great truck 1.62 million miles and still going...very reliable.

I just purchased a 2020 access cab tacoma.....WOW! Fantastic! 6 cylinder automatic 6’ bed.....Great truck!

Tim (not verified)    November 10, 2019 - 9:06AM

I really don't think this is a fair comparison. I like a lot of things about my Tacoma. But gas mileage and power are not even close to what they should be. And I haven't seen Toyota doing any innovation in those areas...ever. Ford relaxed production of the Ranger to sort out those things and so far I feel they have made a vast improvement over Toyota in those areas. And you proved that point by comparing Ford's 4-cylinder to Toyota's V6. Let's see where we stand in another 3-5 years.

Kelley (not verified)    November 10, 2019 - 11:02AM

I have a 2004 Tacoma with 520k MAIL ROUTE miles. Original motor and transmission and still going strong!

Brett Vedros (not verified)    November 10, 2019 - 12:34PM

6 months ago I bought a 2019 Ford Ranger and love it. I tired the 2019 Tacoma after I test drove a new Ranger and I thought the Ranger seemed less cramped in the inside. The Tacoma had a couple of more features but I really wasn't looking for some features. I upgraded from a 1994 Ford Ranger so I was kinda biased while choosing.