Battle of the Trucks: Chevrolet S-10 vs. Ranger

The Ford Ranger is fully loaded with tons of towing capacity, but the S-10 offers excellent features for a much lower price.
Written by Cassandra Hamilton
Reviewed by Jessica Barrett
When it comes to modern technology and convenience, the Ford Ranger has more to offer. But the Chevrolet S-10 is a solid vehicle with a much lower price point.
As Ford’s smallest truck, the Ranger packs a pretty package with everything you need — including an incredible towing capacity. But if you’re looking for a smaller truck with just the basic functions, the Chevrolet S-10 might be a better fit.
car insurance
experts at
are breaking down the differences between the Ford Ranger and the Chevrolet S-10 to help you decide between these two popular trucks. 

2004 Chevrolet S-10 vs. 2022 Ford Ranger: the basics

Besides being from different manufacturers, what are the other major differences between the Chevrolet S-10 and the Ford Ranger? We’ve broken it down into five categories.
  • Size: The midsize Ranger has body-on-frame construction, making it larger than the compact S-10. 
  • Pricing: The Ranger starts at $27,425, while you can pick up a used S-10 for around $6,000 to $9,000.
  • Efficiency: The Ranger gets far better gas mileage at 23 mpg combined. The S10 gets a combined 17 mpg. 
  • Towing power: The Ranger beats out the S-10 in terms of tow power with a capacity of 7,500 pounds versus the S-10’s 5,200 pounds. 
  • Age: Perhaps the most obvious difference—you can get a brand new Ford Ranger but the newest Chevrolet S-10 you can get your hands on is from 2004.
There are many more differences between these two pickup trucks, though. Let’s dive in. 
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2004 Chevrolet S-10 vs. 2022 Ford Ranger: power & performance

Let’s start with basic truck functions: powertrain, horsepower, and efficiency. 
The Chevrolet S-10 only comes with a 4.3 L V6 engine with 4WD and an automatic four-speed transmission. This engine gets 15 mpg city, 19 mpg highway, and 17 mpg combined. 
Meanwhile, the Ranger also supports just one engine: a 270-hp turbocharged 2.3 L four-cylinder. It comes with a 10-speed automatic transmission and either RWD or 4WD.
2004 Chevrolet S-10
2022 Ford Ranger
4.3L V6
2.3L turbocharged EcoBoost
190 hp
270 hp
250 lb-ft
310 lb-ft
Four-speed automatic
10-speed automatic
RWD or 4WD
EPA fuel economy (combined)
17 mpg
23 mpg to 19 mpg (Tremor only)

2004 Chevrolet S-10 vs. 2022 Ford Ranger: interior & storage

Besides the powertrain options, one of the more readily apparent differences between the S-10 and the Ranger is size.
The Chevrolet S-10 is only available with a crew cab with a seating capacity of five. The interior is somewhat plain and lacking in technological advances, but it’s perfect if you’re a no-frills kind of truck person. The length of the bed is 4.5 feet
The Ranger comes with two cap configurations: SuperCab or SuperCrew. The SuperCrew cab is comparable in space to the S-10, but you’ll be losing space in the rear seat if you opt for the SuperCab. The bed is available in either five feet or six feet.
2004 Chevrolet S-10
2022 Ford Ranger
122.9 inches
126.8 inches
205.3 inches
210.8 inches
Bed length
55.2 inches
60 to 72 inches
Bed volume
30.2 cubic feet
43.4 to 51.8 cubic feet
Headroom (front/rear)
40 inches / 38 inches
39.8 / 38.3 inches
Legroom (front/rear)
42.4 / 34.6 inches
43.1 / 34.5 inches
MORE: How to get cheap truck insurance

2004 Chevrolet S-10 vs. 2022 Ford Ranger: technology & trims

Most truck owners aren’t looking for a futuristic vehicle to propel them into the next century, which is why most trucks — including the Ranger and the S-10 — are no-frills when it comes to this category. 
Due to its age, the Chevrolet S-10 doesn’t offer modern conveniences like Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, or BlueTooth technology. In fact, the S-10 is about as no-frills as it can get: you get a CD player and air conditioning and not much more.
Comparatively, the Ranger might as well be a
. It comes with a WiFi hotspot, forward collision mitigation, and a four-speaker audio system. As you upgrade the trim to XLT or Lariat, you can add the following options: 
  • Co-Pilot360 Package (standard on XLT and above)
  • Larger infotainment display 
  • Keyless entry (XLT)
  • Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration (XLT)
  • Universal garage door opener (Lariat 501A package)

2004 Chevrolet S-10 vs. 2022 Ford Ranger: towing & off-roading

If you need to tow some serious poundage or go off-road, the Ford Ranger reigns supreme over the Chevrolet S-10. 
The S-10 is a great choice if you need a lightweight work truck that can handle some business but not huge loads — think light construction or a house-painting business. The towing capacity is 5,200 pounds compared to the
Ford Ranger tow capacity
of 7,500 pounds. If you’re hauling heavy loads, it’s clear who the winner is.
The difference isn’t quite as marked when comparing payload capacity. The Ranger has a payload of 1,430 to 1,860 pounds while the S-10 offers 1,067 pounds. To unlock the full payload capacity of the Ranger, though, you’ll have to spring for the additional Tremor package. This will add to your overall ownership costs. 
When it comes to off-roading, the Ranger takes the crown again. Its off-road capabilities do lead to a higher
Ford Ranger insurance cost
versus the
Chevy S-10 insuance costs
—but if off-roading is important to you, it’s worth the added cost. The Tremor Off-Road Package increases the ground clearance, suspension, and underbody protection while adding huge 32-inch all-terrain tires. 

2004 Chevrolet S-10 vs. 2022 Ford Ranger: safety

While the Ford Ranger’s safety features might pale in comparison to other contemporary trucks, its use of modern technology beats out the Chevrolet S-10 by a long shot. When you purchase a Ford Ranger, you get Ford’s Co-Pilot360 technology including blind-spot monitoring and lane-keeping assist, though you’ll have to add these features as they don’t come standard.
Neither truck has an
NHTSA safety rating
. While the Chevrolet S-10 hasn’t been evaluated by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the organization gives the 2022 Ford Ranger mixed reviews with the headlights, seat belt reminders, and side passenger safety as the weak spots. Overall though, the Ranger is the safer truck due to its modern safety technology.
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2004 Chevrolet S-10 vs. 2022 Ford Ranger: reliability 

Reliability is another area where the Ford Ranger takes the cake — it’s been rated 4/5 by Consumer Reports, though the S-10 trails closely behind with 3.8/5.
Still, if you pick up a 2004 Chevrolet S-10 and it’s still running in good condition, it’s safe to assume it’s more reliable than a brand-new truck. With an average mileage of 140,000 miles, the S-10 has to be doing something right to remain on the road!

Which is better: S-10 or Ranger?

Now that we’ve gone through the main differences, it’s time to decide which is the better truck: the Chevrolet S-10 or the Ford Ranger.
The Ford Ranger is the overall winner when it comes to modern conveniences and safety ratings. With more power, more comfort, and greater efficiency, it’s easy to see why we’d recommend the Ranger over the S-10.
That said, if you’re looking for a beater truck to get around town and haul some furniture or light loads, you can’t beat the price of an S-10.

How to find cheap car insurance for your truck

The last thing to talk about is the
Chevrolet car insurance cost
vs. the
Ford insurance cost
. Here’s an area where the S-10 finally takes home the gold — it’s always going to be cheaper to insure an old vehicle with less technology than a brand-new model. 
Regardless of the truck you choose, you probably want to pay the lowest premium for the coverage you need. That’s where the
app comes in. Jerry is a licensed
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