The Ranger is the best-mannered pickup I have driven

MODERN pickups ride a precarious line between lifestyle vehicle and workhorse here in the UK.
Ranger WildtrakRanger Wildtrak
Ranger Wildtrak

Recent attempts by UK Government to remove their commercial vehicle tax designation resulted in strong resistance and, ultimately, a rapid about-turn.

The downside? As commercial vehicles, they cannot enter a recycling centre without a permit. Ford’s Ranger proved no aid to the annual spring clean at Casa Sharpe.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Around 80 per cent of Rangers are sold in the stylish (£45,730) Wildtrak trim, tested here with Ford’s powerful 240PS three-litre V6 turbodiesel engine.

It might not be the full-blown, 292PS Ranger Raptor, but the Wildtrak is imposing and will accelerate to 62mph in just 8.7 seconds.

Emissions of 264g/km and combined fuel consumption of 23.3mpg is less appealing for those treating it as a supersized daily runaround.

Ford has widened the Raptor by 50mm and moved its front axle forward 50mm, creating a longer wheelbase.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

A ladder chassis and leaf-sprung rear live axle are still the set-up of choice for maximising payload, however, allowing a gross payload of 1,055kg. The Raptor can also tow a 3.5 tonne braked trailer.

The architecture of the latest Ranger also underpins Volkswagen’s Amarok, a pickup the German carmaker always saw as the sector’s premium option.

Those not wanting their Raptor solely for load-lugging and mud-plugging will likely be impressed by its comfort and refinement.

A portrait-oriented 12-inch touchscreen takes centre stage in a cabin which, in the Wildtrak, features leather seats with yellow stitching.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Standard kit ranges from adaptive cruise control, wireless smartphone charging and heated seats and steering wheel, to an array of exterior cameras to aid off- and on-road manoeuvres.

A range of chassis modes switch from two- to four-wheel-drive, select low ratio gears, lock the differential and activate Normal, Slippery, Mud and Ruts, or Sand settings.

On-road, the Ranger is the best-mannered pickup I have driven. Its rear end is more pliant and less skittish than its rivals and the cabin more refined.

Whether you think pickups should be perceived as ‘lifestyle’ transport for the masses or not, Ford’s latest Ranger serves the purpose with great aplomb.

Related topics: