These days, pickup trucks come in a stunning array of versions. As they've taken on additional roles — family conveyance, luxury ride, high-performance machinery — they've also packed on options once reserved for sedans, wagons and other more traditional cars. But for many of us, a lot of those features are, well, unwanted. Sure, ventilated leather seats and cabin-spanning moonroofs and on-board generators are cool, but really, all you need is a tough chassis, a bed in back, a couple of seats up front...and maybe a screen that can mirror your iPhone using CarPlay.
Well, if you're in that latter camp, Ford may have just the affordable pickup truck you're looking for. No, not the upcoming Maverick; we're talking about the 2021 Ranger XL and its new STX Special Edition Package.
The Ranger XL, should you be unfamiliar with Ford's naming conventions, is the least expensive version of the pickup truck; for 2020, it starts at $24,410. For a mere $995, the STX Special Edition Package brings an 8-inch touchscreen infotainment with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, dual-zone climate control, a rear defroster, privacy glass, black 18-inch wheels with machined-finished edges and a smattering of other little touches to make the Ranger experience better.
The new Special Edition Package can be ordered with any body style or drive train combination, but it does require you to also choose the $995 STX Appearance Package, which (as of 2020, at least) also requires you to opt for the $1,135 101A Equipment Group that brings cruise control, power side mirrors and keyless entry. All told, you'll be looking at spending at least $28,045, and that's if you want a two-wheel-drive SuperCab version; if you'd rather have the more popular 4x4 crew cab configuration, you'll probably wind up spending at least six grand more.
Still, $34K is a dynamite price for a Ranger that can do basically everything you need a pickup truck to do...even if you might want that loaded F-150.
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