Honda Ridgeline Vs Ford Ranger: Which Is The Best Mid-Size Truck?

Not everyone needs a Chevy Silverado 3500 HD High Country with a Duramax diesel engine that can crack the crust of a planet by sheer torque alone. For your average person with average truck needs, a mid-size truck or smaller might fit the bill. While the Ford Maverick is sold out for the foreseeable future, there are still several mid-size trucks on the market for when you need to run to the hardware store or move some awkwardly-sized furniture. 

Renting a truck might be an option, but the costs can add up if you move heavy things several times a year. And there's a finite amount of times you can borrow a friend's truck before they get annoyed. Fortunately, the new mid-size truck market has more than enough options. The Ford Ranger and the Honda Ridgeline stick out as capable trucks that aren't the size of a container ship like some other models. The Honda or Ford might be your best bet, depending on what you need a truck for. 

Ford Ranger

The base MSRP for a 2023 Ford Ranger XL is $27,500. For that, you get a six-foot bed, which is about it for truck features. Four-wheel drive is optional, as well as a four-door crew cab. Still, it can tow up to 7,500 pounds and will get up to 26 highway miles per gallon. Its turbocharged 2.3-liter four-cylinder engine makes 270 horsepower and 310 lb-ft of torque. It's as utilitarian a truck as you can buy without going back to 1991. 

But if you want to do more with your truck than haul plywood and go to work, the Ranger Raptor has not yet been released, but the Ranger XLT Lariat Tremor is the top of the Ranger range. It features the same powerplant but sports the addition of four-wheel drive, Fox shocks, skid plates galore, and a locking rear differential. That will cost you $47,375 when it's all said and done. 

Honda Ridgeline

The 2023 Honda Ridgeline is a bit of a left-field choice but not an unwise one. It comes from a company that is more likely to sell you a lawnmower, commuter car, minivan, or dirt bike than a pickup. To some, the Ridgeline looks like a Honda Pilot that got in a fight with a reciprocating saw. To others, it's an intelligently laid out vehicle that doesn't look as needlessly macho as similarly sized trucks. 

The Ridgeline only comes in one body style: four doors and a five-foot, four-inch bed. All Ridgelines also have the same powerplant: a 3.5-liter V6 that puts out 280 horsepower and 262 lb-ft of torque. All versions of the Ridgeline will tow up to 5,000 pounds before getting into trouble. All versions come with all-wheel drive. Prices for the 2023 model start at $38,800 for the base Sport model and up to $46,230 for the decked-out Black Edition.

The Verdict

While both trucks are similarly sized and comparably priced at the high end, it depends on what you use the truck for that would determine a solid verdict. If you need "a truck" and don't care about passenger space, four-wheel drive (or any extra options at all, for that matter), and don't want to buy used, the Ranger XL is tempting. Off-roading fans need to look no further than the Ranger XLT or Lariat with the Tremor package or hold out until the Raptor version comes out.

The Ridgeline only wins out if you aren't a truck aesthetics traditionalist and plan to drive it long distances. The creature comforts of higher trim levels make it a suitable vehicle for tailgating or camping, but the somewhat steep price rules it out as a no-frills work truck. Fuel economy is also on the low side, as you'll get about 24 highway miles per gallon.