In the midsize truck segment, the 2021 Ford Ranger and GMC Canyon are leaders of the pack. Both trucks offer off-road-friendly power, roomy comfort, and modern technology. Which should you choose? Our comparison guide has the info you need to make the best decision.
Runaway Luxury: 2021 GMC Canyon
Both midsize trucks offer a variety of trim levels with varying degrees of comfort and convenience features. However, the Canyon pulls ahead in this category, serving up a smooth ride and modern ergonomics. We also like the Canyon’s high-quality cabin materials. If the Ranger cabin has one drawback, it’s that its interior materials are on the plain side.
Standard Power: 2021 Ford Ranger
The Ranger powertrain lineup isn’t complicated. In fact, every trim model features the same powertrain, a turbocharged 2.3-liter four-cylinder engine (270 hp, 310 lb-ft) that’s mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission. And that means that every Ranger comes standard with a snappy performance. Properly equipped, these midsize trucks can tow up to 7,500 pounds.
With the GMC Canyon, you don’t get quite as much horsepower on tap — at least, not with the standard 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine (200 hp, 191 lb-ft). However, the Canyon has a couple of engine options for big spenders.
To kick up extra dust, there’s the 3.6-liter V6 (308 hp, 275 lb). If you upgrade to the Canyon’s turbodiesel 2.8-liter four-cylinder engine, you can also enjoy extra fuel mileage. This engine also has a slight edge on the standard Ranger powertrain, with max tow ratings of up to 7,700 pounds.
Off-Road Options: 2021 Ford Ranger
With the Ranger, you can tailor any trim model for an off-road adventure. The new Tremor Off-Road package adds an impressive list of features, including all-terrain tires, an off-road-ready suspension, and an electronically locking differential. All actively improve performance as you slog through the mud or trek up a mountain.
If you don’t need quite as much equipment, you can also choose the Ranger’s FX2 (for rear-wheel-drive models) or FX4 (for four-wheel-drive models), two packages that also transform the Ranger into a trail-friendly driver.
The GMC Canyon doesn’t exactly offer off-road packages, but adventurous drivers can choose a dedicated trim model, the AT4. The Canyon AT4 comes standard with a few features designed to maximize your trail experience, such as all-terrain tires, off-road suspension, and a transfer case shield. But, without any off-road packages, the Canyon lineup isn’t as versatile.
Efficiency: 2021 Ford Ranger
Depending on body style and powertrain, EPA ratings vary for both trucks. However, the thriftiest versions of each model both earn 23 mpg combined.
The Ranger has the edge, though, because its 23 mpg combined (21 city/26 highway mpg) comes at no extra cost. That’s because the standard Ranger powertrain helps you earn this mileage.
To earn 23 mpg combined (20/30 mpg) with the Canyon, you need the turbodiesel four-cylinder engine. And that will cost you extra.
There is certainly a lot to like about the 2021 GMC Canyon. But the 2021 Ford Ranger is our first choice. Ford’s midsize truck is modern, comfortable, and capable. And its lineup is extremely versatile, giving you the ability to dress up any trim model with off-road equipment. We also love that it comes standard with a powertrain that’s both powerful and efficient.