Compact pickup truck; Built in USA
  • ext. cab
  • reg. cab long bed
  • reg. cab short bed
  • longitudinal front-engine/rear- or 4-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $1,000 – $1,900*


1992 Ford Ranger regular cab


1990 Ford Ranger STX regular cab


1991 Ford Ranger Sport regular cab


1991 Ford Ranger XLT SuperCab extended cab


1992 Ford Ranger SuperCab extended cab

Pros:
  • Acceleration (V6)
  • Reliability
Cons:
  • Fuel economy (V6)
  • Handling

With a Ranger, we’re talking quality and refinement in a pleasant vehicle that’s easy to live with. We’d put it first on our early ’90s shopping list, but also take a close look at Ranger’s closest competitors: the Chevrolet S10 and similar GMC Sonoma.

Overview

Launched for 1983, Ranger became the best-selling compact pickup in America. For 1989, Rangers were restyled to resemble the bigger F-Series, and rear antilock brakes were installed on all models. SuperCab models had a 6-foot cargo box and 125-inch wheelbase. Regular-cab Rangers rode a 107.9-inch wheelbase with a 6-foot cargo box, or 113.9-inch with a 7-footer. A 2.3-liter 4-cylinder engine was standard in regular-cab Rangers and 2-wheel-drive SuperCabs, with a 2.9-liter V6 optional. Also available for all models: a 144-horsepower, 4.0-liter V6. Rangers might have 5-speed manual shift or 4-speed overdrive automatic; 2- or 4-wheel drive. On-demand 4WD was a part-time system, operated either by pushbutton (Touch Drive) or via a floor lever.

Yearly Updates

1991 Ranger Pickup
A new regular-cab Sport model debuted for 1991, and a 3.0-liter V6 replaced the 2.9-liter as optional engine in 2-wheel-drive models.
1992 Ranger Pickup
Head restraints were added to outboard positions on vinyl bench seats. Rangers with power steering added a front stabilizer bar.

Engines

longitudinal front-engine/rear- or 4-wheel drive

Base engine was a 2.3-liter 4-cylinder, developing 100 horsepower. Step-up choices included a 140-horsepower 2.9-liter V6 and, for 1991, a 3.0-liter V6 that made 145 horsepower. The 2.9-liter initially was standard in SuperCab 4x4s and the STX, while the 3.0-liter became standard in the 2WD XLT SuperCab Ranger. Both were optional for other Ranger models, too. Top choice was the 4.0-liter V6, first offered only with 4-speed automatic but, since 1991, also with 5-speed manual shift. Standard on 4x4s was Ford’s Touch Drive system, including automatic-locking front hubs and a switch-operated electric transfer case. Touch Drive allows automatic engagement of 4-wheel drive and full shift-on-the-fly, but is not intended for use on dry pavement. Other 4×4 Rangers have on-demand, part-time 4WD with a floor-mounted transfer-case lever and manual hubs, which must be locked by hand before 4WD can be engaged.

ohc I4
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 2.3/140
Engine HP 100
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 133
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed manual
4-speed automatic
23/28
20/23
ohv V6
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 2.9/177
Engine HP 140
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 170
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed manual
4-speed automatic
18/23
17/21
19.5
ohv V6
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 3.0/182
Engine HP 145
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 165
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed manual
4-speed automatic
20/25
18/24
ohv V6
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 4.0/245
Engine HP 145-160
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 220-225
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed manual
4-speed automatic
18/23
17/21
18.2

Road Test

Even the small V6 is impressive, but the star performer is the 4.0-liter. Tossing out abundant torque, the 4.0 makes Ranger genuinely fun to drive. It’s also a more practical hauler than the 2.9-liter V6, though the 2.9 and 3.0 are fine for light-duty work. The 4.0 liter engine does get rather growly when worked hard. Even a 4-cylinder Ranger is acceptable if you’re using it mainly as a second car, though we strongly advise the 5-speed manual transmission with that smaller engine. Fuel economy could be a lot better. A 4.0-liter/automatic model averaged a mediocre 18.2 mpg. A regular-cab STX 4×4 with the 2.9 V6 and automatic did better: 19.5 mpg.

Bench and bucket seats are both comfortable. But, a SuperCab’s back seats are best suited for children. Instruments are functional, controls well-placed, though optional power window/door lock controls are too low and far forward on door panels. Cabin storage in regular-cab models is sparse, and only the XLT and STX have door map pockets.

Wind noise and tire rumble (especially with the knobby 4×4 rubber) are apparent, but not obtrusive for a pickup. The ride is fairly comfortable, and road behavior typical of small trucks. Steering is a bit vague, the body leans readily in corners, and tires offer only moderate grip.

Ratings

Model Tested: 1992 Ford Ranger 4.0-liter ext. cab

Ratings values are on a 1-10 scale, with 10 being the best. With the exception of Value, these numbers reflect how the vehicle compares against the universe of vehicles, not just against rivals in its class.

Performance

Acceleration - 4
40%
Fuel Economy - 2
20%
Ride Quality - 3
30%
Steering/Handling - 3
30%
Quietness - 2
20%

Accommodations

Controls/Materials - 4
40%
Room/Comfort Front - 6
60%
Room/Comfort Rear - 2
20%
Cargo Room - 2
20%

Other

Value - 7
70%

Total: 35

Specifications

ext. cab
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
125.0 193.7 66.8 64.3
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
1300 19.6 5
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
39.4 NA 43.9 NA
reg. cab long bed
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
113.9 188.5 66.8 63.6
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
1600 16.3 3
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
39.2 NA 42.4 NA
reg. cab short bed
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
107.9 176.5 66.8 63.8
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
1600 16.3 3
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
39.2 NA 42.4 NA
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: 1992 Ranger reg. cab short bed

NHTSA

(5 is the highest rating)

Front Impact Test

Driver Injury - 3
60%
Front Passenger Injury - 5
100%

Side Impact Test

Driver Injury - N/A
N/A0%
Rear Passenger Injury - N/A
N/A0%

HLDI

(A score of 100 is average. Lower is better)

Collision 77
Injury 90
Theft 48

Trouble Spots

Cold-starting problems
Description: Water gets into the EGR valve vacuum regulator on the 2.3-liter engine, which usually turns on the Check Engine light. If the water freezes in cold weather, the engine stumbles when started. (1991-92)
Coolant leak
Description: Cracked heads on 2.9-liter engines allow coolant into the oil. If not caught in time, severe engine damage could occur. (1990-92)
Engine knock
Description: A knocking noise from the lower left side of the 2.3-liter engine is caused by pressure problems in the oil system. To repair it, Ford has a revised oil pump and a gallery plug with a pressure dampening rod. (1992)
Oil leak
Description: The only way to fix the leak at the oil pan is to replace the gasket with the one designed for the 1993 model 2.3-liter engine. (1990-92)
Vehicle noise
Description: A chattering noise that can be felt coming from the rear during tight turns after highway driving is caused by a lack of friction modifier or over-shimming of the clutch packs in the Traction-Lok differential. (1990-92)
Vehicle noise
Description: Loose frame rivets should be replaced with bolts (welding is not approved). (1990-92)

Recall History

1990 with 4.0-liter V6
Description: Throttle may remain open after release of gas pedal.
1990-91 with A4LD automatic
Description: Vehicle may appear to be in “Park” position when gear is not engaged.
1991-92 sold or currently registered in specified southern California counties
Description: Studs that attach master cylinder to power brake booster assembly can develop stress corrosion cracking after extended period; if one or both studs fractures, master cylinder could separate from booster when brakes are applied, preventing brakes from activating.

Equipment Lists

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Pricing

Used-car pricing varies widely depending on local market conditions. Therefore, we recommend visiting websites that list used cars for sale to get a better idea of what a specific model is selling for in your area.