The new Ford Ranger is a big deal for Ford, which has invested heavily in its development. But how does it perform?

THE new Ranger is built at a Ford factory in South Africa with Ford engines imported from Europe. Volkswagen was a partner in its development and the new VW Amarok is also built in the same factory. It is basically a re-skinned Ranger and uses the same engines.

The Ranger comes in two-door (single cab) and four-door (double cab) versions with a choice of three diesel engines, one petrol engine, and either part-time or full-time four-wheel drive. Prices start at £29,590 plus VAT and go all the way to £47,215 plus VAT. An extreme Raptor version costs around £60,000. Ford calls its diesel engines Ecoblue and its petrol engines Ecoboost.

Last year, 80 per cent of Rangers sold in the UK were the higher-specification Wildtrak model, which is the vehicle being reviewed here. There are now more expensive models than the Wildtrak – Wildtrak X and Platinum. However, the starter price for the double cab is the XL model priced at £31,115 plus VAT, which comes with the least powerful engine, a single turbo 2-litre diesel four cylinder with 170 bhp. To gain the 205 bhp engine you need to go up to the Tremor model at £35,865 plus VAT, which also comes with the 10-speed automatic gearbox. The Wildtrak version costs £40,665 plus VAT, and also offers the additional choice of a V6 3-litre diesel engine with 240 bhp priced at £45,165 plus VAT. 


The new Ranger has a very American-influenced square box design and looks great.

It is a big vehicle and makes a Discovery 4 look small, though both have similarly square designs. The Ranger is long at 5,370 mm, 2,208 mm wide and 1,922 mm high.

Forestry Journal: 2-litre twin turbo four-cylinder diesel – a V6 is available.2-litre twin turbo four-cylinder diesel – a V6 is available. (Image: FJ)

It is certainly best out of town in its natural countryside surroundings, where its wide 12.9 m turning circle is not an issue.

As with all pickups, it really is a specialist machine where the rear open area is a requirement, as are its towing ability and off-road credentials. They are not great vehicles for storing stuff inside. For example, a step ladder that easily fits inside a Discovery cannot be carried by the double-cab pickup.

Most foresters now drive pickups, encouraged by the lower BIK tax bands. This new Ranger will certainly appeal to a wide range of users as it has been so well designed to meet its many requirements. Its 32 mpg average fuel consumption will not compete against the likes of a 55 mpg Skoda Octavia, but if you really need a pickup then it’s not too bad I suppose.

Forestry Journal:  Pop-out cup holders – two gloveboxes on Wildtrak. Pop-out cup holders – two gloveboxes on Wildtrak. (Image: FJ)

The 2-litre version weighs 2,239 kg and all versions can tow a 3,500 kg braked trailer.

The Raptor is limited to 2,500 kg. The rear box has lights, lashing points and electric plug holes. Ford has added a rear side step to help you access the high box. The rear door has a spring to lighten its load and makes it easy to open and close.

The model I review here is the Wildtrak 205 bhp (500 Nm torque) with the standard 10-speed auto gearbox. The metallic paint costs £500 and the optional 20” wheels £750. Wildtrak standard wheels are 18”, fitted with 255/65 R18 tyres which would probably be better at helping the ride with their thicker side walls. The fancy stereo and screen adds another £450, and the sliding power roller shutter (includes the load box liner) costs £1,600. One-touch rear windows are £50 and the Technology Package adds £1,100, giving a grand total of £44,671 plus VAT (£53,605 inc VAT).

I like the square-design look of the new Ranger, and the interior design is very good too. The light switch is down on the right-hand side, so easy to find and not mixed up within the steering wheel stalks. You sit in comfortable seats with an elevated view out. Ground clearance is a good 237 mm, but I did find the side steps a nuisance and would remove them to help egress/exit.

Forestry Journal: Too short to carry step ladders.Too short to carry step ladders. (Image: FJ)

The door handle is a novel design, with the handle located within the door handle gap. It works very well. The door bins are large and useful, while the dashboard comprises two computer screens with the one in front of the driver containing the usual fuel, water, and speed gauges. The rev counter is an odd, small vertical bar.

The central dashboard screen is also well designed. I was very impressed with the hands-free speech-recognition phone facility, which is the best I have experienced and a joy to use.

When pulling off, the initial acceleration is only adequate at reaching 60 mph in 10.5 seconds (it drops to a better 8.7 seconds in the V6d) with the auto gearbox running through its 10 cogs. Once on the move, the vehicle never feels slow and runs along very nicely indeed. I did not get the opportunity to test its towing or off-roading abilities. It cruises nicely on the motorway with some wind noise. The mirrors are large and useful and it is generally a quiet and relaxed vehicle to drive. 

Forestry Journal:  Dashboard well designed. Dashboard well designed. (Image: FJ)

The Wildtrak model comes with two gloveboxes and, as with the other models, two pop-out bottle holders at each end of the dashboard. The brakes were not as strong as expected, but you soon adjusted to their ways. And, as with all pickups, the ride generated by its ladder-frame chassis and leaf springs is a bit jiggly, but again you get used to it. However, if you pop into an air-sprung Discovery you realise just how smooth a Discovery is and how unsmooth a pickup is when unladen.

The Ranger has surprisingly good steering and does not roll about as much as I expected. In fact, it is a nice car to push along on twisting country roads and enjoys motorway work too. So Ford can be proud of a job well done.