11 June 2012, under
Car / Travel; More Car / Travel articles...
NEW RANGER PICKUPS THE ANTE
If you wanted a word to sum up the difference between this generation Ford Ranger and its predecessor, it is 'presence'.
This latest Ranger has impact, style, and detailing that sets it firmly in a global Ford context. During my relatively short time with it, even in this country where pickups are not that much in the 'I want one' category, it turned more than a few heads.
The front end is very much part of the Ford America family look with the horizontal slatted grille being a long way from the 'kinetic' design of the company's global passenger car models.
The body itself has softening curves that don't in any way take from the very strong impression that the vehicle's sheetmetal sends out. Chrome detailing sets off the higher beltline of the cabin area, and along the deeper load box adds more of that presence I referred to earlier. The more steeply raked windscreen helps both the looks and the aerodynamics.
Although in global terms, Ranger is Ford's 'compact' pickup, it is a big car in any European context. Put it in a standard bay in any car park and the length of the 5.4 metres body stands out. Which means there's no compromising on either cargo or people carrying space when it comes to the vehicle's functionality.
It's all new. Structure, powertrains, body, sizes and capacities. In the single cab version it has the biggest load-carrying capability in its class. In Double Cab format, the new Ranger is among the leaders. Some of the numbers include 800mm wading, up to 3350kg towing with a braked trailer, 1,340kg payload possibility, and a higher ground clearance than many of its kind.
I felt good in the interior of the review car. Great visibility, big side mirrors that show everything, high above the traffic. And despite the big size, the Ranger felt eminently manageable even in urban streets. A firm ride, necessary for a true go-anywhere vehicle, wasn't uncomfortable, and anyway the excellent seats absorbed anything that threatened to make things feel a little tough.
The car is roomy both front and back, with those rear passengers getting more space for knees, elbows and heads than they might in many similarly sized passenger cars. The instruments are clear, good graphics that are easily seen even in strong glare. Overall it was easy to feel at home, that one might have been in it for ages.
The powertrains available are 125/150hp versions of a 2.2 diesel, new to the model but well proven in the Ford commercial vehicle family, and a 200hp 3.2 diesel. Transmissions are 6-speed manual and an auto option with both size engines. All are AWD, with an electronically selectable switchability between 2WD and 4WD in both high and low ratios. The 2.2 in my car had a pleasingly low sound on the move, and even on idle the soundproofing of the new Ranger made it nicely refined.
Depending on whether your priorities are rugged work ability or higher comfort, or both,there are four grades available, including the top of the line Wildtrak loaded with comfort and drive options.
For a variety of reasons, pickups don't normally rate at the top end of crash tests, but the Ranger is the first of its genre to achieve a 5-star award in EuroNCAP.
If my business required the ability to lug work stuff around, particularly in difficult terrain, but I also needed my vehicle to accommodate the normal family transport needs, Ranger would be an option to consider. Largely due to the recession's impact on the construction industry, the pickup market is reduced to a fraction of its previous size, but it's good to know that key makers in the business are still putting out good products for where they are needed.
New Ranger retails from €25,195-€42,294. Or, a model for everyone's needs. I could get used to it.
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