For the last 13 years the Ford Ranger has been the best selling compact pickup truck in America. But in today’s cutthroat market, where the competition is never very far behind, one false move can make an impressive achievement like that seem meaningless. But the Ranger didn’t get to the front by making mistakes, and to build on its top ranking, Ford is adding yet another Ranger model to an already well rounded line up. But be warned. This new Ranger comes with a bit of an edge.
And that’s exactly what it’s called, the 2001 Ford Ranger Edge. As the youth model of the Ranger compact truck lineup, its target is the active Y-Generation buyer who wants their versatility wrapped in sporty, expressive styling.
The Edge expression begins with a monochrome exterior and raised ride height for both 2- and 4-wheel-drive models. The front end gains a beefy, power dome hood, which slopes down to a honeycomb, SVT-like mesh grille. While below are color-keyed step bumpers, deep inset fog lamps and stout tow hooks. The flanks wear prominent body-color wheel lip moldings, and it all rides on standard 15- inch, or optional 16-inch, alloy wheels.
Inside, the Edge receives a few special appointments as well. But none of the chichi luxury features found on so many of today’s trucks. The cab floor is carpet free, covered instead with the Sport Trac’s easy-to-hose-off rubber matting. While the seats are adorned with a tough cloth-and-vinyl combination. The dash is standard Ranger, which is fine since it’s a very functional layout. The important Edge addition is a standard 6-disc in-dash CD changer, which is sensibly sited above the straightforward HVAC controls.
Edge 4-door SuperCabs back up the front buckets with covered storage space and a pair of rear, kid-size fold down jump seats. But, since they’re not suitable for child safety seats, the Edge does include an airbag cutoff switch.
Much more covered cargo space lies under this available soft tonneau cover. Our test SuperCab’s cargo box measures 6 foot in length. A 7-foot box is available on long wheelbase regular Cabs. Both are bolted directly to the frame and include four tie downs.
Maximum payload is 1,640 pounds, which in our Ranger Edge is hauled around by the optional 4.0-liter, single-cam, V6. Ratings are 207 horsepower and 238 pound-feet of torque. A 150-horse, 3.0-liter pushrod V6 is standard. Transmission choices are a 5-speed manual or our test truck’s 5-speed automatic, the only one in its class. While our Edge added electronic shift-on-the-fly 4-wheel drive.
With its fullup 4.0-liter drivetrain, Edge hit 60 in a truck-fast 8.1-seconds. And finished the 1/4 mile in 16.3 seconds at a spirited 86 miles-per-hour. The 4.0-liter has more-than-enough grunt for the 3,584-pound Edge. Steam does build slowly, however, with a fair amount of noise and vibration. But there’s lots of power.
Handling is controlled by a tweaked short-long-arm front, and 4-leaf spring rear suspension. It gives the Edge a very balanced feel for a tall, narrow, compact truck. There is plenty of front end plow and body roll, but also plenty of feedback from the quick, power rack-and-pinion steering. In daily driving, we found the Ranger Edge 4x4 to have a solid, but never harsh ride. Even over choppy roads. And at the less-than-full throttle positions of normal traffic, the drivetrain felt much more refined than when we pushed hard on the test track.
Braking tests delivered average stops from 60 of a longish 141 feet. Front discs and rear drums are modulated by ABS on all 2001 Rangers. The pedal had a mushy feel, and required a long push to engage the ABS, but once done, stability was excellent.
All in all, the Ranger Edge has all the versatility we expect in Ford’s popular little pickup, with an added dash of pizzaz that should attract plenty of younger buyers.
Our friends at AMI Auto World Weekly agreed, calling the Edge “a fun, affordable, and capable compact pickup….cool enough for a Friday night date….and versatile enough to haul an ATV…”
Though be aware that affordable can be a relative term, since our Ranger Edge SuperCab 4x4 carries a base price of $23,940, and leaves the showroom well equipped for $25,010. The 2001 Ford Ranger Edge adds some much needed youthful flair to America’s best selling line of compact pickup trucks, and shows the competition that Ford is serious about keeping the Ranger young, and at the top of the sales charts. Even if they have to occasionally step out on the Edge.
Engine: 4.0 Liter, Sohc, V-6
Torque: 238 Lb Feet
0-60 MPH: 8.1 Seconds
1/4 Mile: 16.3 Seconds @ 86 MPH
60-0 MPH: 141 Feet
EPA Mileage: 17 MPG City 21 MPG Highway