Review

Ford Ranger pickup

Price  £20,975 - £32,795

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.”

Pickup trucks have long been associated with the US in the UK but in recent years they have begun to become more popular, as farmers and tradespeople see the appeal next to the more traditional choices of 4x4s and vans respectively. The Ford Ranger has helped in driving pickup sales, along with rivals including the Nissan Navara, Volkswagen Amarok, Mitsubishi L200 and Toyota Hilux.

The latest Ranger hit showrooms in 2009 but it was given a thorough update in 2016 in response to new Navara and L200 models.

Pickups have become more comfortable, which partly explains why they’re finding a wider customer base, but it's still clear that the Ranger is primarily intended as a workhorse. While the steering is relatively accurate, the fact that the rear suspension is set up to carry heavy loads means that when unladen, the Ranger is prone to bouncing around at the back. Both the Volkswagen Amarok and Nissan Navara are more comfortable by comparison.

Ranger buyers have a choice of two diesel engines. One is a 148bhp 2.2-litre, while the other is a 197bhp 3.2-litre engine. Contrary to what you might expect, the smaller engine is actually the smoother of the two, sending less vibration and noise into the interior of the cab. It's cheaper to run than the 3.2-litre as well, though no more economical than rivals in the real world.

While the bigger 3.2-litre engine makes the Ranger as quick as many SUVs thanks to a 0-62mph time of 10.6 seconds, and it gives it impressive pulling power for carrying and towing loads, it is quite rough and rattily, especially when you work it hard or when it's cold.

There are three Ford Ranger bodystyles on offer called Regular Cab, Super Cab and Double Cab. The entry-level Regular Cab has the biggest load bay and is intended for work rather than leisure, so the capacity comes at the expense of rear seats.

The Super Cab adds rear doors and some ‘occasional’ rear seats but there isn’t a lot of space and we wouldn’t recommend this model if you want to transport people in the back regularly.

The best choice for those with families is the Double Cab, which has five proper seats. This does mean, however, that it has the smallest load area out of the three.

As with the bodystyle choices, the trim levels offer something for people who want their Ranger more for work, or more for leisure. The XL and XLT models are more for people using the truck for work, so they come with fairly basic equipment. The XL is the only model offered with two-wheel drive and as a Regular Cab.

The third and fourth trim levels, called Limited 2 and Wildtrak, offer many more creature comforts like leather trim, climate control and rear parking sensors. The flagship Wildtrak model has luxuries like sat-nav, ambient lighting and a rear-view camera.

The Limited 2 is available as a Super or Double Cab, while the Wildtrak only comes as a Double Cab with the bigger of the two engines.

The Ranger is actually the only pickup to get the 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

3.2 / 5

The Ford Ranger is cheaper to run than before, but only on par with its rivals

Engines, drive & performance

3.8 / 5

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

Interior & comfort

3.8 / 5

The Ford Ranger benefits from a supple ride and a decent interior – as long as you go for the Limited 2 or Wildtrak models

Practicality & boot space

3.8 / 5

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

Reliability & safety

4.2 / 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 
3.3636363636364
3.4 /5 based on 11 reviews
64%
 of people would recommend this car to a friend
Last updated 
21 Jul 2016
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