A red 2021 Ford Ranger STX is parked with mist and mountains in the background.

The Anticipation Builds: What We Know So Far About the 2021 Ford Ranger

2021 is going to be a big year for Ford. While the sedate sedan manufacturer of yesteryear has modified its lineup to feature power and function – as dictated by the demands of the American public – this is not Ford’s first time adapting to the needs of the many. Since 1903, Ford has cleverly manufactured vehicles that anticipate the trends and desires of American drivers. The 2021 model year will bring many changes to the Ford lineup, including a new Bronco and the Mustang Mach-E, but some existing models will also be updated in a way that makes them even better for drivers – such as the 2021 Ford Ranger.

Ford has kept a tight lid on announcing the full features of the Ranger lineup so far, but a few key details have been revealed. This information demonstrates that Ford is right on top of public demands. As noted by Ranger marketing manager Chad Callander, “Ranger customers are asking for new options to help make their trucks their own, and we hear them.” While some fear the midsize Ford pickup truck may again disappear from the market, current information indicates this couldn’t be further from the truth. There will be some fantastic upgrades for 2021 and a possible complete redesign for 2022. Let’s take a look at the Ford Ranger we know, what to expect for 2021, and a few of the key changes to look forward to.

The black interior on a 2021 Ford Ranger SE is overlooking mountains.

The Ford Ranger As We Know It

Since Ford is being a bit coy with the details of the 2021 Ford Ranger, we need to look at the 2020 model for clues and hints about the Next Best Thing. While many drivers are overwhelmed by manufacturers offering too many choices and options for each midsize pickup truck, the 2020 Ford Ranger is offered in three trims and two bed/cab configurations. The SuperCab is the extended cab and includes a 6-foot bed, while the SuperCrew is the crew cab version and comes with a 5-foot bed.

All 2020 Ford Rangers are equipped with a 2.3L EcoBoost four-cylinder engine and a 10-speed SelectShift automatic transmission with a tow/haul mode. This engine boasts 270 hp and 310 lb-ft of torque, providing an exceptional towing capacity of up to 7,500 lbs. While that may be far short of the 14,000 lbs offered by the newest F-150, it is more than enough to handle almost any job you will encounter in daily life.

The base trim is the LX, which includes such standard equipment as automatic headlights, automatic dimming rearview mirror, a WiFi hotspot, forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, and trailer sway control. Extra features can be added through the optional packages, such as cruise control, power-adjustable seats, and an even more robust Co-Pilot360 driver assistance package.

Stepping up to the XLT adds many optional features to the Ford Ranger, including rear parking sensors, a 110V power outlet, and keyless entry. You will also find a large 8-inch color touchscreen infotainment system, which provides connectivity options, including both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

The Lariat is the top trim for the 2020 Ranger and includes such convenience features as remote engine start and automatic windshield wipers. Leather upholstery and a premium sound system make the interior more luxurious, while forward parking sensors and dual instrument cluster productivity screens provide additional driver assistance.

New Features for the 2021 Ford Ranger

Early reports indicate that there will be a few significant updates to the standard Ranger offerings in 2021, as Ford gears up for a potential total redesign of the model in 2022. Production of the 2021 Ranger is slated to begin in December 2020 at the Ford Michigan Assembly Plant, so further announcements and details will likely soon be available.

The 2.3L turbocharged inline-4 engine is expected to remain. Early specs indicate this engine will have a fuel economy of 21 MPG city and 26 MPG highway for rear-wheel drive models, dropping slightly to 20 MPG city and 24 MPG highway for all-wheel drive models. This would continue to make it the most efficient gasoline truck in its class. The 2021 Ranger also leads its class with a maximum payload capacity of 1,860 lbs.

Inside, the XL trim will remain largely unchanged. The XLT and above will continue to receive full infotainment systems with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, but there have been some murmurs about updates to make these features more user-friendly. The back seat of the SuperCrew configuration has been designed to provide a significantly larger space than many vehicles in the class offer. Underseat storage is available for the rear; however, the seatbacks do not fold. Instead, the Ford Ranger offers an array of small-item storage throughout the cabin, which can be even more appreciated by those who find themselves working from their truck.

A red 2021 Ford Ranger Tremor Lariat is driving through the mud.

The 2021 Ford Ranger STX and Tremor

On 23 September 2020, Ford announced that an STX Special Edition Package would be added to the 2021 Ford Ranger lineup. “STX Special Edition hits a really compelling and affordable sweet spot for a lot of Ranger buyers looking for just the right combination of tech and style,” noted Callander. Therefore, drivers can look for a lot of luxury, accompanied by even more functionality than your basic truck.

The STX Special Edition Package builds upon the base XL trim and is offered for SuperCab and SuperCrew configurations, as well as both rear-wheel drive and all-wheel drive versions. This stand-alone package can even be combined with other packages, allowing drivers to build their own “ultimate” Ford Ranger. Ranger STX will include special edition 18-inch black-painted wheels and silver-toned interior accents. Privacy glass and a rear defroster are just a few higher-end features within the cabin, which will also include an 8-inch touch screen, SYNC 3 with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, SiriusXM radio, AppLink, and dual-zone climate control.

Those looking to head off the road most traveled can look forward to the Tremor Off-Road Package. According to Todd Eckert, the Ford truck group marketing manager, “Ranger Tremor can be your daily driver during the week then transform into your off-road adventure vehicle come Saturday morning. With its added off-road capability combined with the six-switch auxiliary bank and more than 200 Ranger-specific dealer-installed available accessories, Ranger Tremor is a very capable overlanding rig.”

We would have to agree with that assessment. Featuring a lifted suspension to accommodate 32-inch Continental General Grabber all-terrain tires, the Tremor has a wider stance and 9.7 inches of ground clearance. Included in the Tremor package are off-road specific FOX 2.0 monotube dampers and rear piggyback reservoirs, two recovery hooks in the front and the back, and reinforced skid plates. Inside the cab, you will find Miko suede exclusive Tremor seats and a suave black interior.

The Ranger is Ready for 2021

One of the most cherished features of the Ford Ranger is the ability for drivers to make their ride their own. Though there are only a few trims and configurations, optional add ons and customizable packages allow drivers to create the midsize truck of their dreams. While details about the 2021 model are slowly becoming available, there definitely appears to be a commitment from Ford towards improving the optional packages offered on this highly capable and affordable truck. Given the robust nature of both the STX Special Edition package and the Tremor Off-Road Package, it appears that Ford is taking its customers’ words to heart, allowing even more flexibility in a truck that already offers drivers as many options as they’re willing to consider.