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2021 Ford Ranger vs. 2021 Honda Ridgeline: Which Is Better?

While both have sterling reputations for reliability, the 2021 Ford Ranger is a new look for an established nameplate while the refreshed 2021 Honda Ridgeline has a prettier new face.  Which is better?

Quick Facts

  • Ford Ranger: Sleek looks; off-road capable Tremor package; multiple configurations
  • Honda Ridgeline: New look; increased capability; established Honda quality

2021 Ford Ranger

2021 Ford Ranger

2021 Ford Ranger SuperCrew Cab Base Price: $28,015 / Read our 2021 Ford Ranger Review

What we like: Powerful but single-engine offering; strong fuel economy; 7,500-pound tow rating; best max payload

What we would change: Expand bed and cab options; offer other powertrain choices; smooth out the ride

Overview: With a single engine choice, a pair of cab sizes, and two bed lengths, some may claim the Ford Ranger is limited in scope. The hefty tow rating and best-in-class payload do the talking here and mix nicely with the high-tech infotainment and safety features.

What’s new for 2021: The Tremor Off-Road package is new for 2021. 

Features and technology: The Ranger returns to the midsize fold as a very versatile truck that can help others forget the previous model. Power delivers from a turbocharged 2.3-liter inline 4-cylinder engine developing 270 horsepower and 310 lb-ft of torque. It’s then routed to a 10-speed automatic transmission. Rear-seat passengers will appreciate the SuperCrew cab over the tighter SuperCab. Blind Spot Monitoring is now tow-optimized for rearward vision regardless of towed length behind the truck. Combined with the Bang & Olufsen 10-speaker audio system, these are our two favorite options. Ford’s Co-Pilot360 safety suite is available on all models; Optional on the XL, standard on XLT and Lariat trim levels. 

What does the future hold: The trail-busting Ford Tremor is new for 2021. Expect the current design to undergo minor trim changes during the next two or three years. See 2021 Ford Ranger Models for sale near you. 

2021 Honda Ridgeline

2021 Honda Ridgeline

2021 Honda Ridgeline Standard Crew Cab starting price: $36,000 EST /2021 Honda Ridgeline Review

What we like:  Quick acceleration from smooth V6 power; roomy standard crew cab; refined ride; multifunction tailgate; in-bed trunk

What we would change: Not for backwoods off-roading; FWD tows 3,500 pounds; AWD is 5,000-pound tow-capable

Overview: With what has to be the smoothest, car-like ride in the segment, the 2021 Honda Ridgeline oozes comfort. Some capabilities are less than some other mid-sized trucks in the segment, but the Ridgeline is a fuel-efficiency leader. Sadly, we would constantly be worrying about getting it dirty.

What’s new for 2021: The 2021 Ridgeline is new from the window-pillars forward. A new Honda Performance Development (HPD) package butches up the appearance a bit, with flared fenders, a blacked-out grille, and new 18-inch wheels. Small changes inside include a revised infotainment system. 

Features and technology: The Honda Ridgeline has undergone a restyling for 2021. Power is the product of an award-winning 3.5-liter 280-hp V6 producing 262 lb-ft of torque. The standard nine-speed automatic transmission delivers power to the front-wheel-drive system, while AWD is an available option. Ridgeline moves off the line quickly and scores similar mileage that other mid-sized trucks get from a diesel powerplant.

This truck is well-behaved thanks to its unibody construction with coil spring independent rear suspension. This helps it feel more like a car or SUV rather than a body-on-frame truck. That’s also one of the reasons this Honda is less robust off-road than some of its heartier competitors.

Inside there is an 8-inch touchscreen display along with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Specific models can be ordered with an in-bed audio system which will liven up any tailgate party.

What the future holds: Unconfirmed rumors suggest a Ridgeline Hybrid might appear later in 2021 as a 2022 model. Find a 2021 Honda Ridgeline for sale near you

Ranger vs. Ridgeline: Strengths Comparison

Ford Ranger benefits: Great power and max payload; varying configurations.

Honda Ridgeline benefits: Car-like ride; very comfortable interior; decent fuel efficiency.

2021 Ford Ranger vs. 2021 Honda Ridgeline: Which is better?

The Ford Ranger is a new version of an old but capable nameplate. The Ridgeline is a continuation of Honda reliability in pickup truck form. As well as it performs around town, it still doesn’t have the capabilities of the Ford Ranger. For that reason, the Ford Ranger is our pick. Find a 2021 Ford Ranger for sale or Find a 2021 Honda Ridgeline for sale

2021 Ford Ranger 2021 Honda Ridgeline
Popular Powertrains
Engine 2.3-liter Turbo I4 3.5-liter V6
Horsepower 270 hp @ 5,500 rpm 280 hp @ 6,000 rpm
Torque 310 lb-ft @ 3,000 rpm 262 lb-ft @ 4,700 rpm
Transmission 10-speed automatic 9-speed automatic
Fuel Economy 23 mpg (21 city/26 highway) 22 mpg (19 city/26 highway)
Also Available  AWD; Cabs and Beds; Tremor off-road package  AWD
Warranty 3 years/36,000 miles 3 years/36,000 miles
Powertrain Warranty 5 years/60,000 miles 5 years/60,000 miles
NHTSA Safety Rating 4-star 5-star
Max Seating Capacity 5 5
Wheelbase 126.8 inches 125.2 inches
Overall Length 210.8 inches 210.0 inches
Width 77.8 inches 78.6 inches
Height 71.1 inches 70.2 inches
Turning Diameter 42.0 feet 44.4 feet
Headroom, Front 41.0 inches 40.1 inches
Headroom, Rear 38.3 inches 38.8 inches
Legroom, Front 43.1 inches 40.9 inches
Legroom, Rear 34.5 inches 36.7 inches
Shoulder Room, Front 56.7 inches 62 inches
Shoulder Room, Rear 56.3 inches 61.5 inches
EPA Passenger Volume 97.6 cubic feet 109.7 cubic feet
Payload Capacity 2,128 pounds 1,465 pounds

Mark Elias
Mark Elias
Mark Elias is a writer and photographer specializing in automotive topics ranging from new and used cars to classics and motorsports. His first car was a Matchbox Jaguar D-Type. From there, things have only become larger. During his professional career, he has been a staff photographer for the Associated Press, a contract photographer for Bloomberg News, and a contributor to automotive outlets... Read More about Mark Elias

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