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Toyota Tacoma vs. Ford Ranger, Part XII



  • At this point I don't even know why I'm wasting my time with you. Honestly.

    Toyota's 3.4 has been around since 1995. This engine is 7 years old and produces 190 horses and 220 lb/ft torque. Before Ford updated their 4.0, this engine made 160 horses and 220 lb/ft torque (SAME AS TACOMA) as well - pretty pitiful considering its .6 litre displacement advantage. So for the past 6 years, before Ford's updated 4.0, the Tacoma's engine was the stronger of the two.

    Of course, you're going to say, "well, that's in the past, let's look at the present." As you well know, the HP war is always raging on, and competitors continually update their engines, as Ford has just done. And so will Toyota with its 3.7. But the fact remains that for 6 out of the past 7 years, the Tacoma's engine was stronger than the Ranger's, and since about 1998 a supercharger was offered to boot.

    At any rate, you really put your foot in your mouth when you said Toyota needs superchargers to remain competitive due to their lack of cubic inches. They've been more than competitive, and all the supercharger did was make a top-notch super-reliable engine all that much better.

    Of course, I could post a link saying how comparisons between the Tacoma and Ranger resulted in the Tacoma winning EVERY PERFORMACE CATERGORY - acceleration, braking, skidpan/turning, suspension, etc. But you would whine about something else...
  • Tacoma. It was competing against the Ranger:


    Although the compact Tacoma XtraCab itself is not completely new, the Toyota Racing Development (TRD) suspension and locking rear differential package is. The TRD Off-Road Package offers oversized fender flares, alloy wheels, 31-inch tires, Bilstein shocks, slightly softer spring rates, and an electromechanical, button-actuated rear locking differential, all for $1,690.

    Our Surfside Green test unit came with the 3.4-liter, dual-overhead cam, 24-valve engine and five-speed manual transmission. The Tacoma came factory-equipped with the lowest axle gears of the test: 4.10:1. It was this combination of excellent gearing (First gear for the factory five-speed is 3.83:1) that made testers comment about how readily the Tacoma jumped off the line. In fact, during track testing, the Tacoma was substantially faster than the others, both loaded and unloaded (see page 30). Tract ion came courtesy of a more aggressive tread in the 31x10.50 Goodyear Wrangler three-stage GSA. We found it supplied surprisingly good cornering power on pavement, with plenty of potential for aired-down trail running. As well as the Tacoma performed on the track, it was on the trail where the premium import seemed most comfortable. Best-in-class ground clearance, the most aggressive tread of the bunch, and a crawl ratio of better than 40:1 made the Tacoma everyone' s choice for hill climbs and steep backside descents. Even our resident auto-tranny diehards had to admit that the lively throttle response, sure-grip clutch, and built-to-work gearing meshed together as well as any championship-caliber team. In each perf ormance-related category of our test, the Toyota won.

    It's not often that our collection of testers agree on anything (in fact, never), but this year's Pickup Truck of the Year was a unanimous decision. Praises relating to the TRD suspension mentioned its ability to control rutted, seriously choppy terra in better than any other vehicle we'd driven. One tester went so far as to note that during a few moments of an effortless dry-wash run, it seemed the spirit of Ivan Stewart had taken over his body. This is a truck that can go slow or go fast, on pavement or off.

    Ultimately, in addition to a strong engine, good tires, and supremely tuned suspension, the clutch defeat switch (the only one in a truck sold in the US.), lever-operated transfer case, and pushbutton locking rear differential were the icing on a toug h-truck cake. Although you have to pay a premium for a premium package, the TRD Tacoma, dollar for dollar, is the best on- and off-highway compact package (maybe of any truck) we've seen. This truck has features the others just don't offer, and they all w ork. And that's why it's our 1998 Pickup Truck of the Year.

    Copyright © 1999 Petersen Publishing L.L.C. All rights reserved.

    Oh, and by the way, this wasn't a supercharger equipped Tacoma; rather, it was one of those non-competitive small-displacement lacking cubic inch engines you keep talking about.
  • eagle63eagle63 Posts: 599
    I know I've said this before, but do we really need much more power than these already good engines provide? I mean, really - compact trucks aren't built for towing big loads so a huge HP engine won't matter in that respect. I'd rather they spent their money making these engines more fuel efficient. If I want/need a big block, I'll get a full size truck. Maybe I'm just getting old....
  • But the article did state that loaded and unloaded, the smaller 3.4 outperformed the 4.0.
  • saddaddysaddaddy Posts: 566
    Great article but did you count the Toyota ads within 6.5 pages of the article. I think you wil realize what's up with this one. JEES. LOL, I really enjoyed that article. I'm sure the Ranger guys won't, but I put alot of stock in the Petersen magazines. The feel of these trucks really is magical, like they said. I think they backed up alot of what I have been wanting to convey these last few months. YOTA 4 LIFE. Take it EZ, man!!
  • tbundertbunder Posts: 580
    can't you guys talk about something else? isn't it getting a little old? you all can say what you want. repeat things as often as you like.
    but the facts remain- ranger has more power than tacoma. ranger sells more than tacoma (always has). ranger is a better value than tacoma. i think the tacoma is a nice truck. but really pluto, dont you think your precious trd article is getting a little old? that article is 4 years old. these days, the best a trd truck can muster is 3rd place. there are new trucks with new engines with new features like mp3 players and such. joking on that last part. im sure your truck is nice and capable, but come on, its getting a little old to say that it is still #1. it is now down on power, towing capacity, and interior features. lets just hope toyota offers something new for '03, like a new more powerful engine, because the ranger is going to be all new with a V8 and boatloads of torque, not to mention the new chevy colorado with its 275 horse engine. a supercharger isn't going to cut it for the toy in '03.
  • sc0rpi0sc0rpi0 Posts: 897
    If new Chevy cars of the past are any indication, then 275 hp engine won't help Colorado at all when it gets recalled in the first 6 month.

    You are also repeating yourself with the "we just got a new engine that makes more power than yours", "our truck is a #1 seller". We are all repeating ourselves, since there arent any new facts that will be popping up anytime soon.
    This should very well wait until September when new Toys with 3.7L are out, then we'll see. What I don't understand is why Ford is jumping the gun again and giving Ranger yet another engine? New 4.0L went into Ranger when? Either this year or last, I don't remember correctly, and already they give it yet another engine. And honestly, how is V8 going to help Ranger? They'd probably have to drop it so people can make a hotrod out of them. S-Ranger, anyone?
  • saddaddysaddaddy Posts: 566
    I would tend to think that a v8 would send the ranger and colorado out of their current compact class. Who compares dakotas with compacts? I mean will it seriously be classified as a compact after emissions and all that? I would kinda be afraid about how well the Ranger will stand up to that added weight and power. They will surely have to beef up the tranny, rear end, in order to maintain the same quality standards. Then it will really be with the dakota, alone (a comparison I know it will win). I can still think of about $2000 worth of work on the 3.4 that would run that v8 in the ground (it WILL cut it), I know how much you discount that and thats not the point of this post. The v8 will give the Ranger name something to boast about, but I think it would be like comparing the tundra to the raner now (I still think the tundra is NOT a fullsize). Oh, and I can't wait to see how many dozens of weeks it will take b4 GM has buttloads of recalls on their newest truck. Haha, they are constantly getting themselves in too deep. Just something to think about...
  • tbundertbunder Posts: 580
    ranger will be totally re-designed for '03. rumors are the F150 will be too. ranger will jump to mid-size, along with the new colorado. as far as recalls, id assume gm would have stuff figured out on the new engine.

    as far as the new SOHC 4.0 going in the ranger as late as '01, is beyond me. i think space was an issue. plus, they probably had millions of older 4.0 blocks cast and since it was selling no matter the engine, they didn't really care. i wished they would have put that engine in as early as '97, when the 5spd auto came out. the ranger SOHC i have is downright a fast truck. especially when it is floored at about 60. very torquey as well. i wish it had 4 real doors. stupid ford people. later dudes, time for three's company.
  • saddaddysaddaddy Posts: 566
    You think those redesigned Fords will come out like later on this year or in 2003? I love it when redesigned trucks come out for the first time. Don't know why. Maybe, here b5 too long, Toyota will make the Taco a little bigger for the midsize class. Or maybe Tundras already there - OMG did I say that? Take it EZ!
  • tbundertbunder Posts: 580
    i don't know when they'll be out. no word yet. i wouldn't be surprised if they weren't out by september though. i think ford is just living day by day. there is also word that there is going to be a 2-door suv built off the new ranger chassis. and i read some time ago that it will be as capable off-road as the wrangler, or at least in that segment. ford needs something new to the ranger crowd. '03 should be interesting for small trucks.
  • kbtoyskbtoys Posts: 62
    You keep talking about how the ranger is a better value but did you think about resale value? The Tacoma will most of the time have a higher resale value than a ranger. If you want I can get proof. Most everybody knows imports have a higher resale value than domestics
  • I thought you were not supposed to post copyrighted material... but that is nickpicking.

    Further nickpicking would also say that the 1998 vehicles didn't include the Ranger's rew(er) 4.0l.

    And pluto and his dime a dozen reviews. I wonder when he realizes that you can find a review by some group contrary to a review by another. Save the web-searches pluto, all they do is prove you can use a search engine.

    tbunder--->Do you know if the new model is due for 2003, or will be introduced in 2003(as a '04 model)?
  • tbundertbunder Posts: 580
    you're right. tacoma may be a better resale value. but imo, id rather save thousands at initial purchase, and get a ton more options than lose a couple thousand when i sell it. when i sell, i just make sure i at least get my payoff on the loan. if you can do that, i don't see how anyone can complain. you can't expect to drive a vehicle for free. now if someone would put a huge down payment down on the initial purchase, then one may try and get what they have into the truck. but if you check, the resale values from nissan, toyota, chevy, ranger are all real close. to be honest, the nissan has the highest i believe. regards

    stang- i believe i read that the ranger will be out in '03 model year. so it should be out this fall. ill check into this more in depth later.
  • eharri3eharri3 Posts: 645
    Your time is wasted with me and my time is wasted with you. I think the main difference between us is I've always been aware of that
  • eagle63eagle63 Posts: 599
    I've heard the tacoma will be resdesigned in '03 as well - possibly becoming larger too. I wonder why the auto companies wan't to make the compacts bigger? Is that really the direction the market is going? It seems to me that if you make it much bigger you start to lose the differentiation between full-size and compact. personally, I like the size they are now.
  • kbtoyskbtoys Posts: 62
    Where did you hear the info about the Tacoma being redesign in 03? I am thinking about trading in my Tacoma for a double cab Tacoma but if they are changeing in 03 than I will wait to see the new design. I was at the Detroit auto show and asked about anything new coming out in 03 for the taco and he no, but he did say the 4runner is being redesign so that would make me think the taco would too. Oh-well I really don't think they really know what is going on anyway?
  • tbundertbunder Posts: 580
    a page i dug up. dont know where it's source is. but here it is:
  • eharri3's words:

    "Your time is wasted with me and my time is wasted with you. I think the main difference between us is I've always been aware of that"

    I know better than to try and convice truck loyalists to believe something other than what they own might be better. I'm here for the sport of it. I like a good debate.

    I've never said the Ranger was a bad truck. Yes, it's a good value. It's definitely one of Ford's better vehicles, especially lately. But I don't think it's the BEST. And for the BEST, yes, you will have to pay more for it, just like Petersens' article stated: "Although you have to pay a premium for a premium package, the TRD Tacoma, dollar for dollar, is the best on- and off-highway compact package (maybe of any truck) we've seen."

    I'm sorry, but there is multitude of media sources available out there which, when considered collectively, definitely shows the Tacoma as being more reliable, more capable (especially off-road) and better able to hold its resale value than the Ranger. I find it amusing the Ranger folks discredit each and every media source supporting these statements by claiming they're biased because such sources inevitably have awarded non-Toyota products with honors, and carry advertisements for Toyota competitors as well.

    Is the Ranger a good truck for the money? Yes. Is it the best compact truck out there? No. The Tacoma is, but it will cost you a little more. That's like everything in life. The best will cost you more.
  • kg11kg11 Posts: 530
    Why does there need to be a "best"other than best suits your particular purpose?My '95 Taco 4X4 is the best motorized toolbox I've ever had ! If I had bought a ranger instead,it would have been the most comfortable motorized tool box,at the of off-road capability.It's ALL good!
  • Why do we discredit some sites, Pluto? Like, run by someone who has owned solely Toyota's for the past 17 years? Someone who basically took a Comsumer Reports grid for several years, did some factoring and calculations, and removed several categories to come up with a graph showing Toyota #1? That same author that refers to the domestics as the "Bottom Three"?

    You're right, I see NO bias on part of that author. :)
  • tbundertbunder Posts: 580
    im sorry, but if the tacoma is the best, and in your opinion is in the same area pricewise as the ranger, why doesn't the tacoma even challenge the ranger in sales? i dont think this question has ever been answered, no matter how many times i ask it.

    like i said lastnight pluto, your trd tacoma is now four years old, that article is circa '98-pluto. that's like me saying that my '93 dallas cowboys are still the best, even though the rams would play them pretty equally ('cept in the super bowl where the rams suck). there is now new blood out there, its called FX4, or an xlt with better shocks and BFG tires stock. your precious TRD was put to the test this year, and the best it could muster was 3rd place. and to think, it got beat by a dodge truck. please stop calling your '98 truck the 'best' (maybe back then), since it's now old and there is new competition for it. hinging on an old magazine article is like saying the mustang gt will smoke a Z28. maybe back in '87 it would, but now there is new blood and a Z will kill any stock mustang gt with its horsepower and torque advantages. with time, everything ages and the new take over. its called evolution.

    can anyone believe the vehicles nissan is putting out. freakin unbelievable. car of the year with the altima. sentra that is under $16000 and will smoke anything in its class with a 2.5 4banger, 180 horses, and lsd front diff. maxima that will top out at 150. that company has got its shee88t together. now if only they can find some extra power for the frontier.
  • eharri3eharri3 Posts: 645
    >>>>I'm sorry, but there is multitude of media sources available out there which, when considered collectively, definitely shows the Tacoma as being more reliable, more capable (especially off-road) and better able to hold its resale value than the Ranger. I find it amusing the Ranger folks discredit each and every media source supporting these statements by claiming they're biased because such sources inevitably have awarded non-Toyota products with honors, and carry advertisements for Toyota competitors as well.<<<<<<

    At least we respond to your arguments, the first step of good debate. Whenever I post anything indicating the Ranger might have an edge or that the Tacoma or Tundra may not have the rock solid reliability Toyota loyalists swear, my posts get completely ignored. The toyota people just respond by picking on some other aspect of the Ranger or shifting the argument to deflect attention away from anything that contradicts their views without even bothering to acknowledge my evidence or respond to my posts. I post a whole long list of Tundra and Tacoma complaints from, it gets ignored. Post about how the Ranger 40 is stronger in every way than the non supercharged 3.4, and all of a sudden power isn't as important anymore and its all about this fuzzy warm Toyota quality thing you guys feel. Then there's the consumer reports article Tacoma lovers used to talk about as if it named the Toyota the top truck, but if you read it they trashed to Tacoma pretty badly and gave the Ranger the nod. I mentioned that a couple times awhile back, and all of a sudden people just stopped mentioning that particular article without acknowledging that they totally misconstrued it to support their point of view.

    Again Pluto you seem to have this block against just acknowledging that they're both great trucks and shutting up. You always want to slip in something to make sure you get the message across that the Tacoma is supposedly superior. Talk about your publications all you want. I decide what I like for myself. No magazine will do it for me.

    By the way... Im a fan of Nissan too. I think they got good things in their future... they helped set a trend by realizing the secret to success in the car bizz is to manufacture desirable vehicles, not to try to manufacture a bottum line. It's only a matter of time before they pay off their debt and put themselves in the black big time.
  • tbundertbunder Posts: 580
    i know exactly what you mean. it seems the toyota guys like to quote these magazine articles and such. but whenever a fact about the ranger's superiority over the tacoma in any category comes up, they totally ignore it.

    the big one being that the ranger has more stock power and torque, and it takes a $3000 piece of aftermarket equipment (may have toyota's name on it, but its still modifying a perfect engine) to surpass the ranger's power output. the ranger sells hundreds of thousands more, has more standard equipment, can tow more, has higher gvwr, larger axles, tougher transfer case, larger stock tires, higher safety ratings, etc. all of these things have been sidestepped by the toyota crowd. im not surprised though. they are all facts, and proves that the ranger is a better buy and more capable. yeah, unohoo will brag about the locker they can get, well heck, i can get a powertrax lock right locker that operates automatically at any speed and will last forever for $350. a simple bolt in item. they're not that exclusive.

    whenever i even bring up the sales thing, they have some excuse as to why the tacoma can't come close to the ranger, but then they claim their truck is considered the best by the general public (why then won't it sell more?). the resale value issue is dead in the water as well, just punch up comparably equipped trucks for the '01 year. and the clincher has to be that four-wheeler article unohoo posts daily from 1998. in that year, the ranger came stock with 29 inch tires on the off-road package. the trd had 31's, like i said, put on comparably equipped tires, and any truck will run with most any other truck.

    there is no doubt in my mind that the tacoma is an awesome truck. but to call it the 'best' is overstating it a bit. when it can't even come close to the ranger in sales, something tells me that it may not be what its all cracked up to be. it does offer a crew cab option though, kudos to toyota for that. and to charge extra for the abs option, like toyota does, is like asking your customer if they want a better chance of avoiding an accident or not. that's crazy. ford includes it standard.
  • eharri3eharri3 Posts: 645
    Whenever you mention the Ranger's extra standard equipment, the Toyota boys will tell you it's all stuff you don't need in a truck, even though most of us use our trucks like cars at least part of the time.
  • sc0rpi0sc0rpi0 Posts: 897
    Ok, one at a time:
    1. Ranger engine being stronger. Sure, it is. But as tbunder has once said himself (defending his then-decision to buy's only 20 hp, and we are all spoiled anyway by all this power).
    2. Standard equipment: if you Ranger boys think you are not paying for it, you are in for a surprise. There is no such thing as free lunch. Especially when you are buying something. All your standard equipment is paid for in the cost of the truck. Perhaps I am a minority here, but I like to have a choice when I make a purchase like this. I was considering to get a truck without AC (I know, no AC in TX is a killer, but I drive without it in the summer anyway). Toyota could have sold a truck like that to me (finding it is another matter, though). What would I have to do with Ranger? Quote tbunder "Buy one with AC, then take the whole thing out and sell it". Yeah right.
    Larger stock tires? Well, I suppose so...but then again, noone in their right mind would (Actually, I take that back....There was a guy) buy a 4x4 with 225 tires. And this is just my opinioin, but
    having leather and 6-CD changer in a truck is just outrageous (And no, I still do not believe tbunder when he said he could really use a CD changer so that he "doesnt have to take his eyes off the road" with his new baby on the way.)

    3. Safety: We've been down this road before. Ignoring obyone, the conclusion is: each party uses the results that are better for them. Lets put it this way: we've arrived at that Ranger and Tacoma are equally safe. I am ignoring obyone, because he's stuck somewhere in the past.

    4. Locker: Tbunder, go to the ttora site, just for the heck of it, and seach for "Another powertrax bites the dust" message. Also, my locker, if I remember correctly cost me somewhere close to $300, so pretty much same as yours. But then again, you don't offroad, according to your ebay ad, so why would you need one.

    5. Ahhhh...sales. I can't explain it, but I have a feeling why Toyota does what it does. Toyota sells as many Tacomas as they need. THe sales are increasing every year, but not at an insane rate.
    A comfortable growth for a company....steadily growing in this time of recession. Ford had flooded the country with cheap vehicles, and see where it got them? Yeah, they sold thousands more cars and trucks, but how about those layoffs. Somebody is running out of money.
    Toyota doesnt need to get to #1 spot (whatever it may be) fast. They are pacing along, making enough money as they need/want, taking their time, watching others fall. Thats my take on it.
    But of course, I am dead wrong. If I am, why is it the only thing I see at the used car dealerships are Chevys and Fords? I don't see any Toyotas there. (And don't tell me it's "because Chevy and Ford make a lot more vehicles", yes they do, but if they are as good as everybody is making them to be, why arent they sold yet?)
  • stang:

    You do have a point with that website being that it was created by a Toyota loyalist, and we all know how statistics and figures can be manipulated to show anything you want them to. Hey, I work for the government, I know all about that, trust me...but what about all the other media sources? That's why I used the word "collectively."

    tbunder's words:

    "like i said lastnight pluto, your trd tacoma is now four years old, that article is circa '98-pluto...your precious TRD was put to the test this year, and the best it could muster was 3rd place. and to think, it got beat by a dodge truck"

    tbunder, it is perfectly obvious among four-wheeling enthusiasts that the Tacoma TRD is the most capable off-roader in stock form. Just recently, it outperformed a Jeep, Land Rover and Hummer in a comparo (I forget who did it, but it was one of the major 4x4 publications) because it's still the only stock vehicle with a locker. I don't care if they put a 300HP V8 in your Ranger, it isn't going to help you if you don't have the traction a true locker provides. And I've heard about that comparo with the new Dodge Ram and a Tacoma. Ram versus Tacoma? Huh? Full-size versus compact? Does that make any sense to you? Are you REALLY going to tell me a Ram will outperform the Tacoma off-road? Well, I'm sure it tows more and has more room, as it's full-size. Maybe that's why it rated better than the Tacoma? Either way, I wouldn't buy a truck that sucks gas like there's no tomorrow, only to have the engine detuned because the tranny on those trucks are so weak.


    Now it seems your debate is supported solely by the Ranger's newly updated 4.0. Yes, this engine has SLIGHTLY more power than the Tacoma's 3.4 which has been in service for 7 years now (making the Tacoma's engine the stronger of the two for 6 of the 7 past years). This is an advantage you will enjoy for one year, as the updated Tacoma is due in 2003 with a 3.7 litre engine which I'm more than sure will outperform the 4.0.

    I apologize if the tactics used by the Toyota fans upset you and you wish they would just "shut up." Personally, I would find your posted links from sources like nonsensical. You can post all the problems you can find with Toyota trucks, but that doesn't change the fact that Toyota trucks are rated WELL ABOVE THE INDUSTRY AVERAGE for quality, reliability and lack of problems. This just tells me for every Toyota problem you can find, there's 10 more problems with the Fords or Chevys.

    Besides, do you really expect nonsensical comments like "Toyotas are reliable because they're lighter duty and fewer are made" or "Toyotas need superchargers to be competitive due to lack of displacement" to go unchallenged? With all due respect, those rank as some of the most erroneous, ignorant and even humorous statements in this debate.
  • I don't think you can include both best off-roading vehicle in stock trim, and vehicle with best re-sale value. I think if you have one, you don't really care about the other... :)

    Pluto--->Some would say that a 351 has SLIGHTLY more power than the 302. When looking at peak values, you wouldn't see a huge difference. But Cubic inches will give you more power, and this is seen with the low end torque and abundant power through the 4.0l's RPM range.

    Scorpio--->The value of options are indeed in the eye of the beholder. I understand you have more spartan desires, but I can safely say that the truck buying majority will appreciate A/C, a 6 disc changer, and ABS. I can understand about the leather, but I don't think you can get many (if any) Rangers with that option. That may be in the FX4 however...

    Locker's are great for those looking for the "ultimate stock off-road vehicle". However, those who don't live in "God's Country", really don't have much use. I think the argument can be had that more people need a LSD than they'll ever need a Locker(or otherwise open diff).
  • If you don't want the locker, you don't have to buy the TRD package. Just like if you don't want the supercharger, you don't have to buy it. At least Toyota gives you the option.

    Personally, I'm more interested in lockers and superchargers than 6 disk CD players...

    As far as resale value goes - look in the classifieds, wheel-deals, or what other auto-trader publication is in your area. No contest - Tacomas hold their value extremely well. Perhaps your reasoning behind your statement of "off-roaders not holding their value" is due to the fact that, before the Tacoma TRD, such vehicles had after-purchase modifications that most people wouldn't be interested in. The Tacoma TRD comes from the factory already equipped...
  • saddaddysaddaddy Posts: 566
    Don't forget about the mp3 player.
This discussion has been closed.