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 Nissan Navara NP300, Volkswagen Amarok, Mitsubishi L200 and Toyota Hilux.
The current model launched in 2009, but 2016 saw a raft of improvements in most areas in an effort to remain competitive with the newer Navara and L200.
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. Its steering is good for a pick-up, but the rear suspension is designed to support heavy loads and gets bouncy when unladen. Although the Ranger is better than some rivals, it can’t beat the VW Amarok or Nissan Navara for comfort.
There are two diesel engines available, coming in 2.2 and 3.2-litre capacities and producing 148 and 197bhp respectively. Despite being smaller, the 2.2-litre is the smoother operator, with less vibration and noise making its way inside. It is, of course, the cheaper to run, but in the real world it's no better than its rivals.
The 3.2-litre engine provides a 0-62mph time of 10.6 seconds, putting it on par with many SUVs, but despite its impressive capacity for hauling and towing loads, the engine is gruff, especially when working hard or when cold.
You can have your Ranger in one of three bodystyles. 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 doors and some ‘occasional’ rear seats. These are cramped and shouldn’t really 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.
There are also four trim levels. XL and XLT are fairly basic, as they’re intended as everyday workhorses. Of these, the XL is the only model to be offered with two-wheel drive and as a Regular Cab.
If you’re planning on using your Ranger for purposes other than work, then the Limited 2 and Wildtrak.
Wildtrak models will be more suitable. The Limited 2 is available as a Super Cab and Double Cab, and with both engines. The Wildtrak flagship is a 3.2-litre, Double Cab-only affair.
The Limited 2 and Wildtrak pack in equipment including alloy wheels, climate control, power-adjustable leather seats and an eight-inch touchscreen based on the Ford SYNC 2 infotainment system.
The Ranger is actually the only pick-up 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.