The 2020 Ford Ranger Named the Free Press Truck of the Year

January 9th, 2020 by

2020 Ford Ranger

Over the years, Ford has received many different awards for its innovative and enduring vehicles. We always feel excited, however, when we get nominations from people who represent the best of Michigan – the home of the American automobile.

One of those awards is the Detroit Free Press Truck of the Year Award. The Detroit Press Free Truck of the Year is picked by Mark Phelan, the lead automotive writer working for the Free Press. The Free Press (also known as “The Freep”) has a history of literary excellence, employing writers who have won multiple literary awards – including the Pulitzer Prize. It only employs the most knowledgeable writers in their fields, and Mark Phelan fits the bill for the Freep’s Automotive section completely. He has been working in the automotive writing industry since 1986 and has been published in the New York Times. To have a nomination from Mark Phelan not only means that an automotive expert was excited about the Ford Ranger, but it also means that of all the American cars that Mr. Phelan has had the pleasure of working with over his years Detroit, the 2020 Ranger stood out to him.

Mark Phelan is also one of the North American Car, Truck, and Utility of the Year (NACTOY) Jurors, which is one of the highest awards in the automotive business. We were thrilled when we heard that the 2020 Ford Ranger was named The Detroit Free Press Truck of the Year, as that meant that Mr. Phelan had submitted us for recommendation to be the NACTOY truck of the year.

What Trucks Were Up Against The Ranger?

We can’t say we’re surprised that the 2020 Ranger made it in such a high place of esteem – after all, Zeck Ford backs all the vehicles it sells because it believes they are all great. However, we also can’t say that it wasn’t a tough pick for Mark Phelan, as some genuinely great trucks made the lineup this year.

In second place to the Ford Ranger was the Jeep Gladiator, which ultimately ended up winning the NACTOY truck of the year, Despite Mark Phelan’s vote. Like Ford did to the Ranger in 2012, Jeep decided to do away with its line of pickups in the early 1990s, even after a successful run with them. What it came down to for voters at the NACTOY awards was ultimately its off-roading capabilities. Jeep has been a favorite brand among off-roaders for many years, but it hasn’t been able to provide a truck until now.

In third place, after the Jeep Gladiator, was the Chevrolet Silverado 3500 HD pickup truck, and we have to say, it was a reasonably exciting release for Chevrolet. The entire exterior was redone to look far more rugged and capable, which ultimately matched up to the work they had done to the engine. It had an excellent towing capacity, and even when it was tested towing a large load, it remained reasonably quiet for a truck.

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What Made the 2020 Ford Ranger So Exciting?

When you think about it, it’s surprising that the 2019 Ranger didn’t win the award for the truck of the year in the previous year, especially knowing the history of the Ranger. In 2012, Ford decided to cease the production of the fan-favorite Ranger to spend more time focused on their full-sized trucks. Rightly so, fans of the Ranger were shocked by its disappearance. Perhaps this nostalgia and sense of loss over the truck is why Ford decided to bring it back in 2019, now bigger and more exciting than ever. The rebirth of the Ranger in 2019 saw a whole new side of the little truck. It offered more room, more off-roading capabilities, but still kept the same feel of the Ranger of years gone by.

Even with the surprising reintroduction of the Ford Ranger in 2019, the 2020 Ranger held even bigger surprises. For its class, it managed to get a better fuel economy this time around. It offered more paint options, better towing and hauling capabilities, and an even better engine. Best of all, there were more features available for trim options, and this year’s Ranger offered a 4×2 off-roading package. All in all, the 2020 Ford Ranger offered the driver everything that the 2019 model did, but it upgraded it and added on some things that Ford felt were missing.

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Ultimately, Why Did Mark Phelan Pick The Ranger?

There were a lot of trucks on the docket contending for the truck of the year, and all of them had exciting and formidable offerings. However, Mark Phelan ultimately picked the Ranger because it stepped up to the plate and managed to offer many enticing new things to its fans while still keeping itself within the affordable range that Ranger owners have come to know and love. In the past, trucks were a necessity – and for some, they still are. However, it can be hard to afford that necessity with the amount at which trucks are currently being offered.

The Ford Ranger offers driver awareness technology that helps keep drivers safe, as well as secure handling on the road and off. This includes BLIS technology and automatic braking, both of which are available in more expensive trucks but often missing from the more affordable sedans that competitors offer. Additionally, although the engine is small, it still lives up to its name and goes anywhere any of the trucks it competed against could go. Mark Phelan saw the potential that this once-tiny truck could have for those who needed an affordable option, and that got his vote in the end.

At Zeck Ford, we love the 2020 Ford Ranger as much as the Detroit Free Press does. We’re sure we could find you a truck you love just as much, and we can help you afford it. To get started with an application to finance one of our incredible vehicles, click here. Or, call us at (844) 645-5448 to schedule a showing. We are located in the heart of Leavenworth, Kansas, and we serve the greater Kansas City area.

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