Review

Ford Ranger pickup

Price  £22,230 - £32,370

Ford Ranger pickup

reviewed by Carbuyer

Pros
  • Massive load capacity
  • Dependable and tough
  • Smooth, powerful engines
Cons
  • Size makes it tricky to park
  • Rivals are better equipped
  • Not very spacious or comfortable inside

At a glance

“As a working vehicle, the Ford Ranger is excellent – capable of carrying huge loads. But rivals like the new Nissan Navara and Volkswagen Amarok are better all-rounders.”

Pick-ups remain a niche choice in the UK, but they’re slowly gaining momentum as working vehicles for farmers and tradespeople. The Ford Ranger is one of the more popular, along with the new Nissan Navara NP300, Volkswagen Amarok, Mitsubishi L200 and Toyota Hilux.

Although vehicles in this class are improving their ride quality and refinement, it's still obvious that the Ranger is, first and foremost, a commercial vehicle. Rear suspension that's designed to support a huge amount of weight gets very bouncy when the load bed is empty, and although the Ranger is better than some rivals, it can’t beat the VW Amarok or Nissan Navara for comfort. All its controls feel rather agricultural, especially compared to the impressive Navara's.

You can have your Ranger in one of four body styles. The entry-level Regular Cab has the biggest load bay, but just two seats, so it's purely a working vehicle. Next up is the Super Cab, which adds rear door and some ‘occasional’ rear seats. These are cramped and shouldn’t be used for long journeys. 

The Double Cab version is the most family-friendly, with five proper seats, but this does mean it has the smallest load capacity of the lot. Lastly, there's the Chassis Cab, which is purely for commercial purposes – a wide variety of different bodies can be affixed behind the cabin. 

There are three diesel engines available: two 2.2-litres and one 3.2-litre, with the 2.2-litres produce 123 and 148bhp respectively. If you plan to use your Ranger as a recreational and working vehicle, we’d recommend the 148bhp version, as it's significantly more powerful than the entry-level version, yet doesn’t cost much more to run.

We’d only recommend going for the 197bhp 3.2-litre diesel if you need its 3.5-tonne towing capacity on a regular basis. This is because it struggles to return more than 30mpg and its CO2 emissions of up to 249g/km result in an annual tax bill of £490. This is the only Ranger engine that's four-wheel drive only, rather than offering a choice of two or four-wheel drive. 

There are four trim levels: XL, XLT, Limited and Wildtrak. The first is far too basic to recommend unless you’re only going to use the Ranger as a working vehicle. XLT adds a few welcome niceties, like air-conditioning, cruise control and alloy wheels. Our favourite of the four is Limited, which comes with rear parking sensors, dual-zone climate control and leather seats. No matter which one you go for, however, the Vauxhall Amarok and Nissan Navara feel better quality. 

The Ranger is actually the only pick-up to get a full five-star crash-safety rating from Euro NCAP (even the Navara and Amarok only managed four). The Ranger comes with seven airbags, traction, control, stability control and anti-lock brakes as standard, as well as an emergency braking system.

MPG, running costs & CO2

2.3 / 5

The Ford Ranger is expensive to run due to poor fuel economy and high CO2 emissions

Engines, drive & performance

2.3 / 5

The Ford Ranger is one of the best pickups to drive, but it’s no replacement for a conventional SUV

Interior & comfort

2.5 / 5

The Ford Ranger benefits from a supple ride and a decent interior – as long as you go for the Limited or Wildtrak models

Practicality & boot space

4 / 5

If you need to carry heavy loads or tow a large trailer, the Ford Ranger is ideal

Reliability & safety

3.2 / 5

The Ford Ranger is among the safest vehicles of its type, with a five-star crash-test rating

What the others say

3.5 / 5
based on 3 reviews
3 / 5
“Ford's Ranger is a big step forwards from its predecessor in terms of driveability and comfort. The larger truck soaks up the worst of the bumps, even when unladen”
4.5 / 5
“The Ranger has been comprehensively and exhaustively tested, in conditions ranging from desert heat to arctic cold, to ensure its durability.”
3 / 5
“The Ford Ranger is too compromised to compete with SUVs, but if you need a pick-up, it's one of the better choices.”
What owners say 
3.6
3.6 /5 based on 10 reviews
70%
 of people would recommend this car to a friend
Last updated 
4 Dec 2015
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