Since its rebirth in 2019, the Ford Ranger has fought its way to the top of the mid-size pickup segment. But it faces tough competition and could be at a disadvantage by offering only one engine. The 2.3L inline-four is powerful, but is it enough to tow heavy loads? Let’s find out how the Ford Ranger behaves when pulling boats.
How Big A Boat Can A Ford Ranger Pull?
The Ford Ranger can pull up to 7,500 pounds of cargo, which means it can tow anything from aluminum fishing boats and sailboats to bowriders and deck boats. But, you must include the trailer’s weight. Fortunately, with the Ranger, you don’t have to worry about choosing trim levels since all have the same towing capacity. But you have to order the Trailer Tow Package.
In this article, we’ll detail how heavy a boat can the Ford Ranger carry and give you some real-life examples. But, it would be best if you didn’t base yourself only on a boat’s weight.
Length is also an essential factor when towing. A trailer’s length and the number of axles available can affect the vehicle’s stability. A general rule is that a greater separation between the trailer’s wheels and the towing vehicle is better. But, as we’ll see later, there are many safety notes to consider.
While there are many trim levels and options, Ford has managed to obtain the same towing capacity across all models. Plus, Ford’s Trailer Tow Package makes a huge difference. A standard Ford Ranger pulls only 3,500 pounds.
In the towing department, the Ranger outdoes most of its competitors. Even though it comes with only one powerplant, it’s powerful enough to climb to the top of the list out of seven competitors. Plus, thanks to optional 4WD and low-range gearing, it can tackle challenging terrain as well.
First, let’s talk about how length affects towing.
How Does Trailer Length Affect Handling?
To understand how the trailer length affects handling, we must first explain what wheelbase is.
In any vehicle, the distance between the front wheels and the rear is called the wheelbase. The longer this measurement, the more stable it is for towing.
Because the wheels are farther apart, it’s less likely for the trailer to push down on the back of the vehicle and lift the front. Manufacturers don’t advise specific ratios, but a rule of thumb is that a 110-inch wheelbase allows for a 20-foot trailer.
For each additional four inches of wheelbase, you can assume one more foot of trailer length. Then, there’s the topic of axles.
The more axles a trailer has, the more stable it should be. But, the ideal design for stability is to some distance between trailer axles.
Since boats can measure several feet, the trailers tend to be longer. So, it’s important to base yourself on both length and weight.
So, let’s talk about the Ford Ranger. It comes with 126,8 inches of wheelbase, which translates to 16 additional inches. In total, this could add you four more feet for a maximum trailer length of 24 feet.
But, when you’re using your boat, it’s not empty. There always additional weight. So, how do you know how to calculate the total load your Ranger will be towing? Let’s find out.
How Do I Estimate The Weight Of My Boat?
Before we talk about how heavy a boat should be, let’s talk about some practical towing terms. These are important for towing safely. Loading the trailer correctly avoids swaying.
Yes, the Ranger comes with Trailer Sway Control, which warns the driver of any instability. But the safest bet is an adequately loaded trailer.
When towing, you should read all the manufacturer’s specifications for both the vehicle and trailer. If the Ford Ranger pulls a maximum of 7,500 pounds, then the Gross Trailer Weight Rating (GTWR) of the trailer cannot exceed this number.
Keep in mind that the GTWR includes both the boat and the trailer. So, to estimate the total towing load, you can use the following formula:
- TCN: trailer capacity needed
- BW: boat weight
- EW: engine weight
- FC: fuel capacity
- WC: water capacity
Once you’ve found the TCN, you need to add the trailer’s weight to the TCN to come up with the GTWR. If you don’t feel comfortable relying on these measurements, you can always consult with experts and have your boat weighed.
So, let’s find out what are some boat examples that the Ford Ranger can tow.
What Are Some Boats A Ranger Can Tow?
Before you tow a boat, the best way to ensure safe towing is to weigh your boat and engine. The following table gives you a reference but shouldn’t be your only tool.
|Type of boat||Average Length (ft)||Average Weight (lbs)||Average Trailer Weight (lbs)||Total Weight (lbs)|
|Aluminum Fishing Boats||16||750||600||1350|
|Sailboats (20 ft)||25||4000||2200||6200|
As you can see, the Ford Ranger can tow several distinct boat classes. While some of these exceed the ideal 24-foot trailer length, they are lighter than the 7,500-pound limit. However, always take precautions in loading the trailer safely.
But, do you need to have a special Ford Ranger for towing these boats? Let’s discuss this in the following segment.
How Many Pounds Can A Ford Ranger Tow?
Currently, there are several Ford Ranger trim levels. But, in reality, there are two main body kits and two drivetrain choices. The following table shows how they perform.
|Configuration||Maximum Towing Capacity in pounds|
Yes, as you can see, all the available Ford Ranger configurations tow a maximum of 7,500 pounds. You can choose the basic XL or the top-of-the-line Lariat, that you’ll get the same performance.
So, for potential buyers, it’s the body type that determines the model to buy. The SuperCab offers a smaller backseat, with individual bucket seats and no rear doors. It comes in both 4×2 and 4×4 options.
The SuperCrew offers seating for three, thanks to its larger bench. Plus, it comes with rear doors that fully open. But, these options increase its weight, lowering the SuperCrew’s towing capacity.
Finally, the SuperCrew Tremor is a special version with offroading fans in mind. It comes with softer suspension to help deal with adverse terrain. Also, it only comes in 4WD.
But neither the softer springs nor the permanent 4WD diminishes its towing capacity. With the tow package, it can still tow 7,500 pounds.
Ford’s Trailer Tow Package comes with a stronger hitch and dedicated electrical connections. Without this option, all Ford Rangers tow a maximum of 3,500 pounds. But, we’ve mentioned that there’s tough competition out there. So, how does the Ranger stack up against the competition?
Is The Ford Ranger The Best At Towing?
Ford claims that the Ford Ranger has a class-leading towing capacity. Thanks to its Trailer Tow Package, this pickup can tow 7,500 pounds. So, it’s time to pin it against the competitors.
For adequate comparison, we’ll use the competition’s top performer. Some of these manufacturers have packages of their own. If you want to know more about these upgrades, check out our article on the topic.
|Make||Model||Towing Capacity in pounds||Starting Price|
We can see that, standing on top of the rankings, it’s not the Ranger. The GMC Canyon and Jeep Gladiator both come with V6 diesel engines putting out astounding torque figures. Here’s how the engines compare:
|Ford Ranger||2.3L inline-4||270 hp||310 lb-ft|
|GMC Canyon||2.8L Inline-4||181 hp||369 lb-ft|
|Jeep Gladiator||3.0L V6 Diesel||260 hp||442 lb-ft|
These performance figures are essential for people who love towing boats. The more torque you have, the safer towing can be. So, to suit other markets, Ford should consider expanding the Ranger’s engine catalog.
This article aims to answer what’s the biggest boat a Ford Ranger can pull. We saw that it could tow anything from small aluminum fishing boats up to 25-foot sailboats. But towing boats has its precautions.
Since the boat won’t be empty, you need to consider the fuel and drinkable water. These two add weight to the load. Plus, the trailer must have an adequate length. So, sometimes, you might have to use equations to estimate the total weight.
If you’re new at this, the best way to do it is through an expert. They can guide you by weighing your boat and giving you an exact figure.
As for the Ranger, towing is one of its strong suits. With an impressive 7,500 pounds of towing capacity and a 126,8-inch wheelbase, it can safely tow trailers up to 24 feet in length. But the lack of engine options might put off potential buyers.
Competitors like GMC and Jeep offer powerful diesel engines that deliver impressive torque numbers. So, while it does stand on the podium for towing, the Ranger can’t call itself the class leader just yet. But, it’s one of the best.