The Ford Ranger hasn't changed significantly in nearly two decades and might very well win the award of being the longest-running model line with the fewest major changes. With only a handful of refinements, the family of compact trucks has carried over with few changes in recent years. That said, the 2010 Ranger remains reasonably competitive for cost-conscious buyers needing a basic pickup, and it's one of the few compacts remaining on the market.
Periodic minor updates have kept the Ranger's front end looking fresh even if the profile is basically the same as it was for 1993, when the Ranger was last redesigned. With overall styling that qualifies as "classic" at this point, it's arguably more attractive than some compact trucks. Materials are better than you might think in the Ranger; the standard cloth upholstery is sturdy (the base vinyl isn't cheerful, though), plastics aren't overly scratch-prone, and it's basic but not bare. The seats themselves in the 2010 Ford Ranger are a weakness, though; they're thin, flat, and unsupportive for longer trips.
The 2010 Ford Ranger remains available in four- and six-cylinder forms, in rear- or four-wheel drive, and in two-door Regular Cab and four-door SuperCab configurations. There's no true four-door version of the Ranger, but the SuperCab has two small access doors for cargo stowage.
The Ranger's 143-horsepower, 2.3-liter four-cylinder engine provides what other compact-truck buyers seek but largely fail to find in the U.S. market: good fuel economy with acceptable performance. The four-cylinder brings ratings as high as 21 mpg city, 26 highway and is a good choice for those who don't tow and only occasionally haul heavy loads. The only other choice is a 4.0-liter V-6, making 207 horsepower; it's standard on XL 4x4 models and most other trims.
If off-roading is what you have in mind, the 2010 Ford Ranger can be entertaining and able when properly outfitted, either with options or with the focused FX4 Off-Road model, which gets standard Rancho shocks, a Class III trailer package, skid plates, sport bucket seats, and an available Torsen limited-slip differential. The six-foot bed in the Ranger is useful for most casual use and some professional tasks, but the gold-standard 4x8 sheet of plywood just won't make it flat (you might see Rangers out there with a seven-foot bed, but it's a fleet-only option).
Safety has been a glaring deficiency for the Ranger in recent years, but it finally gets a huge boost for 2010. Seat-mounted side airbags are standard this year, as are electronic stability control and anti-lock brakes. The Ranger's stability control system helps prevent conditions that might lead to rollover, but the safety list isn't perfect; side-curtain bags still aren't available.
Trim levels of the 2010 Ford Ranger include the XL, XLT, Sport, and the aforementioned FX4 Off-Road model. All models now come with air conditioning, but on the XL you'll find manual windows, locks, and mirrors. XLT models get dressed up with fog lamps, a chrome grille, and step-up bumpers, plus an upgraded sound system with aux input and MP3 compatibility, while the Sport includes trailer-tow hardware, as well as upgrades in the suspension and the interior. A Class 3 trailer hitch comes with all Rangers. Options on most trims are pretty limited, with remote start, a sliding rear window, and keypad entry among the most significant additions.
The Bottom Line:
The 2010 Ford Ranger isn't so modern and refined, but it's a practical, fuel-efficient, and reasonably safe choice for those who just want a truck.