This week, we had the opportunity to get our first chance to spend some time in the new 2020 Ford Ranger for an extended time. In our experience, it slots right in with the Nissan Frontier and the Chevrolet Colorado.

Over the years, it seems as if these smaller trucks have really grown up, not only in size but also in the abilities that they come with. It was only a year ago that Ford actually brought the Ranger back to their lineup after an 8-year hiatus.

We have always loved driving what many call a “compact truck.” They can be easier to get in and out of and for folks of our advancing age, which can mean a lot. Full-size trucks can, sometimes, have added lifts that make getting in harder. If there are no running boards there are further problems. But, it is not so with the compact line, as they are more like a mid-sized SUV.

In addition to the smaller stature, we have found that they are much more adaptable to getting around in the city.

If we need to haul stuff, there is still a very large bed to put most anything in, and they are increasing their abilities to tow trailers. The new Ranger can now tow up to 7,500 pounds and haul up to 1,860 pound of payload, which is more than enough for any of our needs.

During the week, we had a friend fly in from Colorado to stay the night with us, which gave us the opportunity to make a couple of trips up to the airport during our time with the Ranger. There turned out to be plenty of room in the crew-cab for three adults and some luggage without compromising on space or comfort.

The new Ranger comes complete with a 2.3 liter EcoBoost, I-4 Ford engine that put out a very nice 270 horsepower with 310 pounds-feet of torque. We found it to have plenty of power to get us around, even with the smaller engine, and suspect it would do a great job hauling around almost anything our weekend could involve.

All this power and torque is connected to the wheels via the new 10-speed, SelectShift automatic transmission, which would slip seamlessly through the gears. Getting more gears in a truck, especially smaller ones, has made a huge difference in the feel of the ride.

The best the Ranger’s competition has come up with is an eight-speed tranny in the Chevy Colorado, with the Toyota Tacoma only getting six gears.

We loved this new transmission as it gave the truck a more sedan-like feel when we were just heading out around town. At the end of the week, we averaged a very impressive 26.8 miles per gallon, which is way above what the Environmental Protective Agency ratings indicated we would get.

In the Lariat trim level, the Ranger also made a great night out on the town as we took our friend out to dinner at Strap Tank Brew Pub. Being a motorcycle aficionado, we thought it would be a good idea to show him around the place.

The night turned out so well; we even got a chance to say “hello” to the owner, Rick Salisbury, and got an invitation to come see his Legends Motorcycle Museum the next day. After spending about two hours checking out all the awesome vintage motorcycles, it was off to see more of the great sights here in Utah County.

We spent most of the rest of the day driving around Utah County in the Ranger, getting a real feel for how it would handle and even got some time in the mountains, doing a little off roading. The ride was very comfortable and more than enjoyable, using the many added features included in the new Ranger.

Creature comforts in the new Ranger were aplenty, starting with the leather-clad bucket seats up front that — of course — were heated for our mid-November drive and made every cold morning much easier. The Ford Sync System was easy to use and helped us get around northern Utah County in areas we were unfamiliar with.

Another great addition was the adaptive cruise control that comes standard on the Lariat trim level and worked flawlessly out on Interstate 15 as we cruised around Utah Valley on our two trips to the airport. Pre-collision assist with automatic braking, blind spot monitoring, lane keep assist and lane departure warning rounded out the standard safety features we have come to rely on.

Our test ride even came in one of the year’s new colors, a Race Red that was very beautiful and got more looks and questions than usual as it stood out from the crowd.

The new version of an old standby from Ford is sure to make a statement in the truck world. Coming from a company that holds nearly one third of the truck market here in America, we would expect nothing less.

Base Price: $38,675

Price as Driven: $46,910