The Ford Ranger is the best-selling pick-up truck in Britain, but why? One reason is Ford’s enormous dealer network, which is able to serve the fast-growing number of commercial businesses that are switching from vans to pick-ups. But another is because it’s so good. Like really, really good. Tough, practical and easy to drive, the Ranger is a great all-rounder in the world of diesel-powered workhorses.
The boxy shape of pick-up trucks means there’s little to really differentiate models from one another, but Ford’s Ranger is at least striking thanks to its big front grille and chunky wheel arches. It looks tough because it is tough, but as a mid-sized pick-up, it doesn’t look cumbersome or too, well, American. This US-designed pick-up looks perfectly at home on British soil, so much so that it’s luring buyers from vans at an accelerated rate.
It looks tough because it is tough
What's it like to drive?
Ford is the master of making commercial vehicles feel like they’re cars. Like the Transit vans that the Ranger is sold alongside, this pick-up will provide little challenge to anyone used to driving larger vehicles. It steers keenly, the diesel engine pulls hard and while it’s no cloud on wheels, the ride is fairly comfortable. Certainly, you’d have no issue munching miles daily in a Ranger.
All-wheel drive versions of the car can also handle the rough stuff, with great off-road grip and an all-season capability that’ll be especially appreciated by early morning shift workers. While most Ranger buyers are commercial businesses or business people, the Ranger’s approachability means private motorists wanting that American pick-up look might easily be swayed towards Ford’s machine.
This pick-up will provide little challenge to anyone used to drive larger vehicles
Much of the switchgear and dashboard design of the Ranger is shared with Ford’s other models, so you get functional buttons, a clear and responsive infotainment system, and a very car-like user experience. You sit in a commanding position, in seats wrapped in cloth or – if you go for top-grade models – leather, with tough and well-finished materials across the touch surfaces. Both single and double-cab versions are available, with the latter adding a second bench so you can carry three more passengers.
While the double cab Ranger has the most passenger space, when it comes to load carrying, the single cab is where it’s at. This is the version tailored most to load-carrying businesses, so it makes sense. The open deck’s maximum payload is 1,252kg, with 2,317mm of space. By comparison, the double-cab Ranger can carry up to 1,199kg, with a load space of 1,549mm. Oh, and the Ranger can tow up to 3.5 tonnes of braked trailer in the most workhorse-worthy versions.
Reliability and running costs
One of the Ranger’s strongest traits is its, um, strength. It is considered to be immensely tough and reliable, with a diesel engine that sips fuel to just over a claimed 40 miles per gallon. It’s not quick by any measure, but with up to 500Nm of diesel torque, it’s got lots of muscle. That means even the heaviest of payloads needn’t trouble the engine and manual (or automatic, if you opt for that) gearbox. It’s for good reason that so many businesses choose a Ranger.
What we love
The toughness of the Ranger is hard to ignore. In this world of work-focused pick-ups, where muscle and robustness outrank looks and pizzaz, the Ranger sits neatly alongside the very best in the class. Sure, the Nissan Navara does much the same job and the Volkswagen Amarok is posher, but it’s easy to see why people so often decide on Ford’s hard hat-ready option.
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