Ford knows a thing or two when it comes to pick-up trucks, after all the F150 which started life in the 40s is one of the most popular vehicles in the US, with close to a million sold there last year alone. The UK, on the other hand, has never been as receptive when it comes to pick-up’s but as we’ve seen over recent years, the competition has started to become even fiercer, with more car-like offerings than ever before. Mitsubishi, Nissan, Volkswagen, and even Mercedes have all launched very premium offerings, and Ford’s response is this the Ranger.
One thing you’ll notice about the Ranger is it’s more rounded dimensions, no longer is it a box on wheels. It’s got features that you’d more commonly see in the family car segment, like the grille and those premium looking headlamps.
In the cabin
No longer is the interior of the Ranger a comfort free zone, either. Yes, there are still some signs of hard plastics on show, but they should prove durable. But, let’s be honest, this is a car that for many will be a workhorse rather than a school run special.
Anyone familiar with Ford passenger cars, will immediately get to grips with the layout and switchgear. Some of the buttons and controls are nice to look at but are a little fiddly to use. As you’d expect, there’s lots of storage space in here, including a large glove box, some nice deep door pockets and a big bin in the central armrest.
There isn’t’ as much space in here as the Nissan Navara, but up front, you’ll find there’s plenty of room for the front two occupants and two six-footers won’t complain too much in the back. This Wildtrack version is the top of the line models and gets features like sat nav, a rearview camera and interior ambient lighting.
Now you can have the ranger as a traditional two-seater or as a more popular double or ‘super’ cab with a row of seats in the back. With two seats the load bay offers 2,317mm of load length, which reduces to 1,847mm with the extra seats.
On the road
There are two diesel engines to choose from, a four cylinder 2.2 litre diesel with 158bhp or a five cylinder 3.2 litre with 197bhp, the later the only one which is available as a double cab.
Needless to say, if you’ve got one eye on fuel economy then the lower capacity diesel will be the one to go for. Drive it carefully and it’ll return an average fuel economy of just over 40mpg. The more powerful version will return just around 34 miles per gallon in manual form or just over 31 miles per gallon with the automatic.
Now the Ranger is a big car, and it feels like it to drive on the road. It’s not the sort of car you can just nip through traffic easily, in all fairness the same can be said for most of the competition. Overall, the ride is comfortable and the body control well composed, although it’s not what you’d class as refined with a fair amount of wind and engine noise leaking through into the cabin. The steering is also surprisingly good too for a pick-up, it’s nicely weighted and pretty responsive.
As with many of its rivals, the Ranger is rugged and capable just as much in the rough stuff as it is on the road. The electronically controlled four wheel drive system means you can switch between two and four through this small dial. There’s also a low range mode should you find yourself in a particularly tricky environment. For off roaders, there’s a good ground clearance and tech like hill descent and hill start, and if it’s going to be an essential part of your daily commute, an off road pack with locking rear diffs is available.
The Ranger ticks all the boxes when it comes to a practical, rugged and usable pick-up. There’s a lot of options to suit most customers, there’s a decent level of off-road ability and safety kit is impressive. The downside is that it does feel pretty big on UK roads – no more so than some of its rivals, some versions are thirsty too. But there really isn’t anything that would put you off if you were in the market for this type of vehicle.