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Top of the Ranger

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Pick-ups often tread the line between lifestyle vehicles and work tools, and the Ford Ranger is no exception.

The Range

The Ranger’s 2.2-litre and 3.2-litre diesel engines provide power of between 122 and 197hp, and both 4x2 and 4x4 arrangements are offered, as are both manual and automatic transmissions. Load lengths vary from 1,549mm on the double cab to 2,317mm on the single, with payloads ranging from 1,042kg to 1,234kg. Roof heights range from 1,549mm on the double cab and Super cab to 1,703mm on the single cab.

Driveline

With a 147hp, 2.2-litre four-cylinder engine producing 375Nm of torque and a 3.2-litre five-cylinder turbo diesel developing 197hp and 470Nm on offer, both Ranger models have powerful diesel units suited to the demands of most buyers. Factor in a third entry-level 122hp model and a choice of 4x2 or 4x4 drivelines with both manual and automatic transmissions, and the Ranger begins to look like the complete package for both off- and on-road users.

Out in the wild the performance of both engines is impressive. However, the wealth of power and torque available in the 3.2-litre unit makes it vastly more driveable in a variety of conditions. The 2.2-litre engine is perhaps a fraction more refined, but when the more powerful turbo diesel is mated to the six-speed automatic gearbox, the entire driveline becomes effortless wherever the road surface.

Productivity

It's no lightweight though, with minimum payloads of 1,042kg and a towing capacity of 3,350kg for most models.

The Ranger boasts one of the largest load areas in its class, measuring 1,560mm wide (1,139mm) by 2,317mm (single cab), 1,847mm (super cab) and 1,549mm (double cab) in length. Payloads of between 1,042kg and 1,265kg are fairly typical for a pickup of this size.

Model Wheelbase Length Width Height Loadspace length Loadspace width Loadspace height Volume Payload
Single cab 3,220 5,277 1,850 1,703 2,317 1,560 (1,139) 511 N/A 1,107 - 1,234
Super cab 3,220 5,362 1,850 1,800 1,847 1,560 (1,139) 511 N/A 1,015 - 1,179
Double cab 3,220 5,362 1,850 1,800 1,549 1,560 (1,139) 511 N/A 1,042 - 1,104

 

Cab Comfort

Pick-ups often tread the line between lifestyle vehicles and work tools, and the Ranger is no exception. Top spec Wildtrak models certainly fall into the lifestyle category, while XL and XLT trims are more utilitarian. Limited is perhaps the best compromise, as it merely removes a few trinkets from Wildtrak specification.

The Ranger interior is spacious and comfortable, with a commanding view of the road ahead, while the dash and surrounding controls are pleasant to the touch and are well laid out.

It is unsurprisingly similar to a modern Ford passenger car - no bad thing - but thankfully has been fitted with enough internal storage compartments to make this a practical working vehicle.

The styling is close to its US relative, but this Ranger, now built in South Africa, has a more Euro-friendly face. Even in a dazzling white under the bright summer sun, and adorned with logos for the UEFA Champions League - which Ford has been sponsoring since its inception 20 years ago - the new Ranger looks sleeker than the competition.

On The Road

Handling is sharp, and while the ride can be unsettled at times over undulating asphalt, it is balanced enough to tackle both autobahns and country dirt tracks with ease.

Safety

Seven airbags, ESP, Adaptive Load Control, Hill Launch Assist, Hill Descent Control and Electronic Brake Assist are among the standard features on the Ranger. These were key to the Ranger picking up the first-ever five-star Euro NCAP rating for a pickup; a record that hasn’t since been equalled.

Cost of Ownership

The Ranger is covered by a fairly restrictive three-year or 60,000-mile warranty, which is unlimited for just the first year, and service intervals are set at 12 months or 20,000 miles.

However, fuel consumption, a prime factor in running costs, is among the best in class. The basic, 4x2, single cab achieves 38.7mpg on the combined cycle according to official figures; although this is lowered to 27.2mpg on the fuel thirsty 3.2-litre unit.

Summary

The Ranger, like the rest of Ford’s CV line-up, has been a breath of fresh air in raising the standards for the segment.

Pickups weren’t previously a strong point for Ford, in Europe anyway, but improved passenger comfort, running costs, safety and loading capabilities, along with an impressive selection of engines, will no doubt have the competitors panicking.

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