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Toyota TACOMA vs Ford RANGER - VII



  • spoogspoog Posts: 1,224

    Following in the footsteps of its close relative, the '98 Ranger adopted many of the mechanical modifications incorporated into the Explorer two years earlier. Among the biggest changes include an entirely new double A-arm front suspension with light-duty torsion bars. The new IFS, combined with an all-new rack-and-pinion steering setup (which offers its own steering fluid cooler), won high praises from our testers over our 800-mile test. Specifically, the Ranger scor ed well in Highway Performance categories that centered around maneuverability and long-distance cruising. Testers noted the new steering proved especially quick to react in tight-chicane situations. No doubt about it: This new Ranger out-handles, out-ste ers and out-corners any Ranger before. By a mile.

    We would characterize the drivetrain, specifically the transmission, as biased for highway performance as well. All 4.0-liter Rangers (and Mazdas, for that matter) ordered without the manual tranny get the first five-speed automatic transmission offer ed for any pickup. Our testers split over the need and/or usefulness of a mileage-biased transmission geared for empty-load flatland running. Those in favor noted the nearly seamless transitions from one gear to the next, and how the transmission itself c ould, if the vehicle was driven right--no jackrabbit leadfoot starts--tack on another 50,000 miles of life to the engine.

    On the trail, we found the automatic transmission to be a double-edged sword. The smoothness of the First-to-Second shift, combined with the inherent low-end grunt of the engine, was almost enough to overcome the taller gearing. And in the end, voting followed individual preferences for manuals versus automatics. Two testers noted both the manual transmissions (Mazda and Toyota) felt more "in control" on the twisty low-range trails of Truckhaven, where face-down compression braking was very helpful o n steep-trail crawling. In low-range, our automatic Ranger offered a rather delicate 22.8:1 crawl ratio (First x axle gear x low-range); the Mazda and Toyota offered 34.4:1 and 40.4:1 gearing, respectively.

    Likewise, where the stiffened front suspension cleanly handled all paved-road obstacles thrown in its path, the Ford IFS had trouble keeping up with the broken terrain of dry washes, hill climbs, and washboards. Admittedly, it is a rare vehicle that c an manage all the extremes with equal aplomb, but several testers commented that the Ford liked to spring a little bit quicker (and hop higher) off the rolling whoop-de-doos. For the most part, we found the sacrificed off-highway capability to be greater than the gained on-highway performance, and for that reason it didn't score well in the parts of our test that are most heavily-weighted; however, that isn't to say testers weren't squabbling among themselves to get into the Ranger for the highway drives up the mountain.

    Finally, testers showed their traditional colors by not favoring the dash-mounted rotary dial ("looks a lot like an A/C control--and no Neutral") of the Borg-Warner 44-05 electronic transfer case. The 44-05 never gave us a lick of trouble--we submerge d the gearboxes under freezing water, as well as subjecting them to high-heat, dust-blasted wash runs--and by going to a dial, floor space opens up, but our scorers' preference is for a lever-actuated system, or anything with a Neutral position, regardles s of the floor space it takes up.

    Like any good four wheeler, we found the Ford Ranger could do several things quite well, scoring highly in On-Road Ride and Handling and Interior Comfort. To us, the new Ranger is a nice-looking, comfortable truck that is easy to drive and easy to own . And it's made in plants with a reputation for quality. But the Pickup Truck of the Year has to do it all pretty damn well, and it has to be great off-highway. And so we introduce our 1998 winner
  • spoogspoog Posts: 1,224


    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
  • spoogspoog Posts: 1,224

    Ford's 4.0-liter overhead-valve V-6 gave our Regular Cab Ranger plenty of off-the-line motivation with 168 lb.-ft. of rear-wheel torque at 2500 rpm. Mazda's 3.0-liter/five-speed manual transmission gave the Regular Cab B-truck the slowest 0-60 time, but the best fuel economy of the group. Although the middle-sized V-6 of the group, the Toyota 3.4-liter DOHC 24-valve V-6 pulled all the way through the torque curve like most small-blocks.

    The Ford five-lug 8.8-inch rearend comes standard with the 4.0-lite/five-speed auto combo. Leaf springs and 3.73:1 axle gears are rated to carry 1,180 pounds. Mazda's 7.5-inch rearend is standard with the 3.0-liter V-6. Not surprisingly, our ride-quality vastly improved with 12 bags of landscape rock in the compact's bed.
    Toyota's TRD Tacoma comes with the only factory offered rear locking differential on any (full-size or compact) pickup. We found it a huge asset for trail adventures.

    Ford's new compact frontend uses F-150-style short- and long-arm IFS, with torsion bars. The setup offers big gains on pavement--but not without trail sacrifices.

    The new Pulse-Vacuum Hub (PVH) used exclusively on compact Fords and Mazdas allows for true in-cab-controlled shift-on-the-fly capability.

    Toyota's double A-arm/coilover frontend handles pavement cornering and trail flex with equal skill. We like the six-lug axles and big-caliper front discs.
  • spoogspoog Posts: 1,224
    It's our assumption that pickups are made and bought, at some point, to do work. That's why we run our PTOTY test on the track and trail, with beds loaded and unloaded--and separate from sport-utilities, which we regard as primarily made to carry people and their gear.

    After weighing each truck at a commercial scale, we subtract that amount from the factory-rated Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) to arrive at an actual maximum payload number. We run track testing with truck beds both empty and with half their calculated payload, this year using 35-pound bags of landscaping rock. In this case, the Ford and Mazda each ran with 16 bags, the Toyota with 18. We think it's valuable to see how each truck performs when carrying a load; that's why they have a bed. For a significant portion of the rest of the test, we run the trucks at half maximum payload. This also allows us to see how mileage is affected, as well as how the engine and chassis react.
    At each stage of our test, drivers rotated from truck to truck during a variety of terrain changes--recording comments and scoring each truck as they go.

    In the end, each tester scores each truck in 38 different categories with "Mechanical" accounting for 25 percent of the book total;
    "Trail Performance" accounting for 30 percent; "Highway Performance" 20 percent; "Interior" 15 percent; and "Exterior" 10 percent. Each logbook accounts for 80 percent of overall scoring, with the remaining 20 percent centered around our nine "Empirical" tests you'll find in chart form: Ground Clearance, Noise at 55 mph, Payload, and so forth.

    Finally, we've printed point totals so readers may weight their own "paper test," awarding points for those aspects of a truck they find most valuable. Some may appreciate interior or highway feel more than we have. Change the percentages around and choose your own winner. Of course, that certainly won't be as much fun (or difficult) as running around the countryside with a group of brand new four-bys.
    --M. Williams

    Copyright © 1999 Petersen Publishing L.L.C. All rights rese
  • eagle63eagle63 Posts: 599
    wow what a convincing article that is spoog. I actually followed the link you provided and read the review. for a while, I actually belived some of what spoog was saying, but after reading this pathetic excuse for a truck review I realize I was a fool. first of all, they only reviewed 3 trucks: tacoma trd, ranger, and mazda b3000. (same as the ranger) what the hell kind of a "comprehensive" review is that???
    after scanning the article for a while, I found the kicker: "To qualify for Four Wheeler's Pickup Truck of the Year, a truck must be all-new or substantially revised from a previous year." what a crock. how can I possibly believe all the good things this article said about the TRD when the only real reason it won the contest is because it's new? interestingly, here's a list of previous winners:

    1989: Toyota SR5
    1990: Mitsubishi Mighty Max
    1991: GMC Truck K-2500HD
    1992: Dodge Dakota Club Cab
    1993: Ford Ranger SuperCab
    1994: Chevrolet ZR2
    1995: Ford F-250 SC PowerStroke
    1996: Toyota Tacoma XtraCab
    1997: Dodge Dakota

    So Spoog, should I pull out the 1994 article when the ZR2 won pickup truck of the year and rant and rave like a fool about how great the ZR2 is? -and continuously post the article in this forum like you do? If this article is the basis for all your tacoma arguments, then you have ZERO credibility in my opinion. BTW, if the TRD is such a great off-roader, then how come the ranger has better approach/departure angles?
  • cthompson21cthompson21 Posts: 1,102
    This article was originally posted by spoog back in Ranger vs. Tacoma. After it is continually shot down as being inaccurate, flawed, and inept, he just keeps dredging it up and insisting he's found gold.

    The best thing to do is just ignore and scroll past. The rest of the Toyota guys (excluding spoog's new alter-ego: vinceevildouble or whatever) are reasonable, knowledgeable folk. You can actually converse and debate with them without it turning into some stupid, name-calling flame war.

    Just my .02
  • cthompson21cthompson21 Posts: 1,102
    I'm running out right now to get a Mitsubishi Mighty Max!!!

    What the hell is it anyways?

  • scottssssscottssss Posts: 147
    i had hope i had seen that article for the last time....

    Spoog didnt our host tell you that you are NOT allowed to cut and paste the whole article.. I believe she told you to LINK it .
  • scape2scape2 Posts: 4,124
    Isn't it funny how all of the sudden, poof! spoog shows up?? Hmm....
    I like the post about pulling out all the Fords, nice story... He has yet to post any pics of his so called TRD supercharged... Even after almost a year!!
    This article was picked apart 3 rooms ago. It is so flawed its pathetic....
    The weather has been a scorcher here in the NW so far about 4 days above 95 degrees. This is warm for these parts... Taking a trip up to MT ST Helens area this weekend and find some trails, lakes and streams to enjoy... I'm sure I'll find a broken down Toyota to tow or see all those pretty Tacoma's parked on the side of the road too afraid to get scratched or dented.... LOL!....
  • k59k59 Posts: 9
    I have a 1996 2WD V4 Tacoma Ext cab which I bought
    a couple of months ago with 32,000 miles on it.
    It now has close to 35,000 and I have been looking
    for a truck with a little more power (especially in acceleration!). I am considering (however, one
    year older and more miles) a 1995 Tacoma 4WD V6 Ext cab with a Lift kit, larger tires, with 50,000. This model has the power d/l and windows, and sunroof, with 50,000 miles.

    I feel that by trading/purchasing this vehicle
    over the one I have currently I would be getting a
    better deal because I would eventually end up with
    a 3.5" suspension lift kit on it, including the
    larger tires. What do you think? And also (VERY
    IMPORTANT) when I did the 'Appraise This Vehicle'
    on Edmunds on MY car, Power Steering was an option. But when I Appraised the vehicle at the dealership, I found no option of the sort. Does the 95 come with the power steering?

    The Tacoma I have now is really standard. The one
    I am looking into and the one I have now are both
    EXTENDED CABS, but the one I have now has no power
    d/l, w, mirrors, etc. Please HELP!

    One final note; with the supercharger installed,
    does the gas mileage decrease? And does it make
    that much of a difference in acceleration? What is the price of those usually with installation?
    Thanks so much guys.
  • spoogspoog Posts: 1,224
    Rave on, rave on.

    Time and time again I have provided the sources, facts, and solid data to bury this debate.

    The Nhsta stats, the 4wheeler comparison, the Petersons comparison, and on and on and on.

    What has Cspounser and Cthompson offered?

    They have offered "stories" of Tacomas parked by ORV's.

    In fact, Cthompson has not offered one bit of useful information to this debate. He seems to enjoy playing the role the yes-man to Cspounser and Vince.

    "yeah, yu' tell em' boss'.....yeah...."
  • cthompson21cthompson21 Posts: 1,102
    Uh sure. LOL

    Does the truth hurt that much, spoog?
  • cthompson21cthompson21 Posts: 1,102
    Make sure that you find out if the head gasket has been replaced on the older truck. Failure has been an issue in the older V6s.

    Personally, I have always thought it to be a bad idea to trade for an older vehicle with more miles.

    Have you considered some performance mods to your current truck. An open air filter element and a cat-back exhaust make quite a difference. If you've got an auto-tranny, a Superchip would be a worthwhile investment too. Do you know what your gearing is? If it's really tall, swapping in some lower gearing would make a big difference too.

    For a S/C, it's probably around $4000 installed. Your mpg will decrease slightly. It'll bump up hp and torque considerably. The head gasket would be a definite issue before installing a S/C.
  • eagle63eagle63 Posts: 599
    So spoog, am I right in assuming that you now own a Z71 Silverado? it was named pickup truck of the year for '99 by offroading magazine, right?
  • spoogspoog Posts: 1,224
    Umm.....was the z71 competing against the Tacoma or Ranger?


    The whole point of the 4wheeler OFfroad 98 of the year Comparison is that it puts the Ranger and Tacoma HEAD TO HEAD, hence the SUBJECT of this forum.

    The models now are still effectively the same thing as 98, so the test is completely relevant.

    As for the Chevy z71, it is probably the best offroading full size pickup. Although Chevy has problems making reliable, durable pickups, they do make better offroaders than the competition in the full size market.
  • cpousnrcpousnr Posts: 1,611
    "What has Cspounser and Cthompson offered?"

    About 15-20 articles that favor the Ranger over the Tacoma, including 2-3 from Edmunds...

    You hit the nail on the head. Notice the flaws in the article spoog posted such as SAYING the Ranger is offroad equipped but when you read the stats, it could ONLY have been a 3.73 rearend Ranger, that is not the top of the line.
  • cpousnrcpousnr Posts: 1,611
    "What has Cspounser and Cthompson offered?"

    About 15-20 articles that favor the Ranger over the Tacoma, including 2-3 from Edmunds...

    You hit the nail on the head. Notice the flaws in the article spoog posted such as SAYING the Ranger is offroad equipped but when you read the stats, it could ONLY have been a 3.73 rearend Ranger, that is not the top of the line.
  • spoogspoog Posts: 1,224
    Hows the work coming on that trailer home?
  • cpousnrcpousnr Posts: 1,611
    Well, find it amazing that you found all those dead and non performing Rangers on your trip.

    I usually take pics of the Tacomas with ATV trailers, un-able/willing to go off road.

    But then again, you have never backed up your claims with pictures, not once...

    I have.

    Going to finish the roll and by next week will have some nice pics or Rangers at play.
  • cpousnrcpousnr Posts: 1,611
    my front receiver, packed with clay where I took the top off a hill while 4 wheeling. Maybe the frontal pic will show it.

    Yeah, I was going a bit too fast. . .

    But the Ranger plowed through fine at about 10,200 feet.

    How high did you say you got in Mich. 1,200 maybe?
  • spoogspoog Posts: 1,224
    The U.P.(Upper Peninsual of Michigan) is a wet, muddy, swampy, rocky place. It is a mountain turned on it's side. It's just as challenging an offroad area as Colorado,only with MUCH more water and mud.

    The highest elevation is 1,960. But we also have a lake up there that would swallow up most of the state of Colorado...........not to mention one of the last truly wild wolf packs left in the lower 48.

    " They wolves survived in that country because the woods were big, dark and deep"

    -Jim Brandenburg
  • eagle63eagle63 Posts: 599
    I just wish that offroading article would have included the ZR2 in its comparison. laying out the techinical specs side-by-side, the ZR2 would compare quite favorably to the TRD. (and it doesn't have that cheesy tacoma interior!)
  • hulk66hulk66 Posts: 37
    ZR2,lol go to the end of the line. Compare it to a dodge which is in the same class,LOW. Nothing even close to the mighty TRD.
  • allknowingallknowing Posts: 866
    Let's see what Edmunds thought of the ZR2 interior "Spotty build quality, inferior-grade interior trim". I personally don't see any problems with the Tacoma interior, in fact I think it's nice. I haven't looked at the ZR2 interior myself but many, including Edmunds, think that it's pretty "cheesy" as you put it. I would keep that in mind as you make nasty comments about the Tacoma Interior.
  • cpousnrcpousnr Posts: 1,611
    Yes, never been there but understand it is well wooded and quite nice. Lots more woods than we had at the turn of the Century. You know if your coming out here, take a look at a Barnes and Nobel book store for the W.H Jackson and John Fielder book, pics of Colorado 1890's by JAckson, and same pic retaken in 1990's by Fielder. Notice the difference in the forests(psst there is more forests). Outstanding coffee table book if you have the 80 bucks.

    Very hot in Col now, 90s in the 4 corners, 70-80's where I am going tomorrow, in the mountains.
  • cpousnrcpousnr Posts: 1,611
    Cutthroat trout, 8-10 inches, wild, that fight like an 18 inch stocker in Ill.

    Tastey in the pan too. . .
  • spoogspoog Posts: 1,224
    Everyone and anyone knows that Chevy makes the worst interiors BAR NONE in the entire automotive industry. Every single mag I have ever read SHREDS apart CHevy interiors every chance they get.

    They are ugly, tacky, and made of very,very cheap parts.

    But I guess thats expected of a compnay that lays off thousands of American workers 2 weeks before Christmas, then moves to mexico to pay mexicans 5 dollars an hour to build their trucks.
  • cthompson21cthompson21 Posts: 1,102
    The average hourly wage for a factory worker in Mexico is closer to 30 cents an hour.
  • ckckckckckck Posts: 2
    It's pointless to compare prices for a Ranger and
    Tacoma. It's apples and oranges people. They are
    both pickups of approximately the same size. Well, a Casio a watch of about the same size as a
    Rolex. Doesn't mean you should compare prices in a
    meaningful way.

    The Toyota Tacoma is the most reliable compact
    truck made in the world, followed very closely by
    the Nissan Frontier. None of the American trucks
    are even close for reliability. So says the raw
    data of every independent consumer reporting agency like Consumer Reports, based on the maintenance records of all major systems on each vehicle.

    Thats fact, people. No room for debate. You might
    argue about certain performance advantages or
    features in other trucks like the Ford Ranger, but
    there is no disputing that The Toyota Tacoma is the best quality compact truck in the world, and by a margin that justifies the price difference.
This discussion has been closed.