Ford Ranger pickup
Price £19,275 - £31,895
- Tough and durable
- Huge carrying capacity
- Smooth and powerful engines
- Hard to park
- Cramped inside
- Not much standard equipment
At a glance
"The Ford Ranger is a pickup truck that can tow or carry huge loads, yet is still as easy to drive as a car."
Pick-ups, which have always sold well in the US, are growing in popularity in the UK, with the Ford Ranger being among the best sellers. Others include the Volkswagen Amarok, Mitsubishi L200, Isuzu D-Max and Toyota Hilux.
Unfortunately, as it's primarily a commercial vehicle, the Ranger isn’t especially comfortable, although it's better than most. Heavy-duty suspension that's intended to support big loads sees to that. It can be quite bouncy when the load bed is empty, too. However, if you need a serious workhorse with some family-carrying ability, this could be the car for you.
There are two 2.0-litre diesel engines to choose from: one producing 123bhp, the other 148bhp. Which one to go for depends on how hard you intend to work your Ranger. Either way, there's little between them in terms of fuel consumption and road tax. At the other extreme is a 3.2-litre diesel producing 197bhp and with the ability to tow 3.5 tonnes. But it has very high CO2 emissions and pretty poor fuel consumption for a diesel, so you’ll need to keep it in work to justify the running costs.
The Ranger is available in four body styles. The basic Regular Cab is the most practical. It has just two seats, but the longest load bed in the range. It's available in two or four-wheel drive. Next up is the Super Cab. It adds two extra doors and seats, although these are quite cramped – even Ford says they’re for ‘occasional’ use.
The Double Cab has five proper seats but the shortest load bed and is offered with four-wheel drive only. It's also the only version available with the 3.2-litre diesel, too, although the 148bhp 2.0-litre can also be specified. The fourth version, called the Chassis Cab, is aimed squarely at the commercial market and can be ordered with a wide variety of customised bodies to suit various applications.
Trim levels are XL, XLT, Limited and Wildtrak. The first is poorly equipped and more suited to hard work than carrying families in any style. XLT brings a few welcome features such as air-conditioning, Ford's excellent Quickclear heated windscreen, cruise control and alloy wheels. Limited – our recommended trim – brings the Ranger closer to SUV comfort levels, with rear parking sensors, dual-zone air-conditioning and leather seats (the driver's is power-adjustable). However, whichever Ford Ranger trim level you choose, the Volkswagen Amarok has a more upmarket feel and better interior quality.
The Ranger was the first pick-up to receive a five-star crash safety rating from Euro NCAP – even the tough VW Amarok only managed four stars. The Ranger's safety kit includes seven airbags, electronic stability control and emergency braking assistance.
The Ford Ranger is expensive to run due to poor fuel economy and high CO2 emissions
The Ford Ranger is one of the best pickups to drive, but it’s no replacement for a conventional SUV
The Ford Ranger benefits from a supple ride and a decent interior – as long as you go for the Limited or Wildtrak models
If you need to carry heavy loads or tow a large trailer, the Ford Ranger is ideal
The Ford Ranger is among the safest vehicles of its type, with a five-star crash-test rating