For sixteen years the Ford Ranger has topped the best-selling
list in the compact pickup truck segment, using what some
would call and outdated design. It just goes to show that
there's an old adage that still holds true today: "if
it ain't broke, don't fix it."
At the top end of the Ranger family for 2004 are the XLT
and XLT FX4 models. The former has added class, while the
latter can be had with two off-road packages, both of which
are pure toughness. In addition, the XLT FX4/Level II is
fitted with retuned Bilstein shocks that improve control,
handling and performance both on and off the road.
Rangers come in regular-cab and extended SuperCab body
styles. SuperCabs are available with back-hinged rear doors.
Regular cabs use a 6 or 7-ft straightside cargo bed; SuperCabs
get a 6-ft version.
The 2004 Ford Ranger is offered in seven trims: XL, Edge/Edge
Plus, Tremor/Tremor Plus, XLT and XLT FX4. XL, Edge/Edge
Plus and Tremor/Tremor Plus are covered in a separate review.
Regular cab Ranger models have a front bench seat and can
sit up to three. With the extended cab, a rear seat compliments
the rear doors, pushing the seating up to five.
Leather seating is newly optional this year, and a new Ford-style
steering also debuts. The 2004 Ranger uses an all-new seat
system with sculpted bolsters and higher seatbacks for improved
The front end of the 2004 Ford Ranger features a standard
raised power dome hood and a new nostril grille. The grille
is offered with a horizontal look or a honeycomb design.
The XLT model can be had with a bright appearance packages
that spices things up a little. It includes shiny chromed
bedrails, step bars and exhaust tip.
XLT models are offered with three separate engines. The
base model is a 2.3-liter inline 4-cylinder engine with
143 horsepower and 154 lb-ft of torque.
The next engine is a 3.0-liter V6. It pushes out 154 horsepower
and 180 lb-ft of torque. Finally, there's a 4.0-liter V6
with 207 horsepower and 238 lb-ft of torque.
XLT FX4 Rangers use the 4.0-liter V6. They come only as
four-wheel drive vehicles, and use a performance package
that is geared towards heavy off-road use.
Safety and Security
Antilock brakes are standard. In addition, all 2004 Rangers
have second-generation airbags and safety belts with outboard
pretensioners, side intrusion door beams and a theft-deterrent