Assured drive, improved cabin quality and space, still as versatile and capable as ever
No hiding from the size, V6 is far from wallet friendly, touchscreen is a magnet for fingerprints
What is it?
It’s the new Ford Ranger, the UK and Europe’s best-selling pickup truck, and the fourth overall best-selling commercial vehicle in the UK year to date, according to the SMMT.
Indeed, it's the only pickup in the top 10 on these shores, though it’s relatively slim pickings when it comes to rivals these days, with the biggest competition coming from the Isuzu D-Max, the Toyota Hilux and the VW Amarok. Blame emissions regulations, though there’s a heap of electric pickups on the way.
Worth noting that the new Ford Ranger and VW Amarok are essentially the same underneath courtesy of a tie up between the two brands – more ore on that in a bit – while as ever the Ranger is available in single cab and double cab variants.
Come on then, what's new?
We’ll start with the looks. At the front it gets a new grille and ‘C-clamp’ LED (for the first time) headlights, while wider wheel arches improve the stance. The rear is dominated by the embossed Ranger namestamp in place of the old sticker, while it also gets a new light signature. It’s a smart looking thing, no doubt.
But it’s had more than just a glow up, because beneath the new bodywork is an upgraded chassis now riding on a 50mm longer wheelbase and a 50mm wider track compared to the previous Ranger, meaning improved ride, handling and space.
Inside, meanwhile, the cabin is dominated by the new 10.1-inch or 12-inch portrait style centre touchscreen which gets Ford’s latest SYNC 4 infotainment system, while there’s been a general uplift in quality compared to its predecessor to better cater to both work and family duties. More on that over on the Interior tab.
What about under the bonnet?
The Ranger is available with the choice of two 2.0-litre turbodiesels outputting 168 or 202bhp (though the single cab variant is only available with the former) plus a new 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 outputting 237bhp. Customers wanted a choice of more power and torque for towing heavy loads and extreme off-roading, says Ford. That and popping to the shops, presumably.
Meanwhile the entry 2.0-litre turbodiesel gets a six-speed manual gearbox, while the upper-powered variant and V6 get a 10-speed auto. As mentioned, all of that is identical to the Volkswagen Amarok.
Naturally, this being TopGear.com, it’s the V6 we’ve tried so far, and we found it hugely competent on road, if a little (OK, more than a little) thirsty. For any off-road escapades it also gets the usual selectable two- and four-wheel drive modes with low and high range options, along with a new ‘set-and-forget’ mode that auto switches between the two. Check out the Driving tab for more.
But what's it like as a pickup?
Headline figures include the ability to tow up to 3,500kg and a payload of up to 1,200kg. Single cab variants get two seats and a loadspace length of 2,332mm, while double cab variants get five seats and a loadspace length of 1,564mm.
Meanwhile shifting the front wheels 50mm further forward has allowed for better approach and exit angles, while the wider track offers increased passenger space and a bed wide enough to fit a full-size pallet loaded sideways.
Additional easter eggs include extra tie-down points to secure loads, dividers to stop timber or toolboxes sliding around, a tailgate that doubles as a work bench and an app-controlled lighting system to help you see what you’re doing in the dark.
How much does it cost?
Prices in the UK start at £28,275 excluding VAT (as advertised by Ford because it’s aware most buyers will be commercial customers) for the single cab, and £29,800 excluding VAT for the double cab. That’s for the 2.0-litre four-pot in its weakest 168bhp tune, your sole available option for the single cab, remember.
The double cab starts from £34,550 for the 2.0-litre in upper 237bhp tune, or £43,850 for the 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6. Again, that’s without the tax added on.
The added caveat is that the two-door single cab is only available in entry-level XL trim, while the four-door double cab is available in XL, XLT, Tremor, Wildtrak and Wildtrak X trims (depending on which 2.0-litre you go for). Finally, Wildtrak and Platinum trims are your 3.0-litre V6 options. See the Buying tab for full details.
What's the verdict?
We’re told that Ford conducted more than 5,000 customer interviews and carried out dozens of workshops when developing the new Ranger, and on this evidence there’s going to be little for any future buyers to complain about.
It drives competently, the cabin is far posher than the previous generation, and there’s more room for passengers and payloads alike. Sure, pickups are generally seen as a workman’s tool rather than a family wagon, but spend some time in the new Ranger and it doesn’t take long to convince you it could easily do both.