Introduced in 2012, the current model Ford Ranger is a one-tonne pick-up truck that can function either as a commercial workhorse or a family alternative to the ubiquitous SUV. To that end, it has become Europe’s best-selling pick-up and varies wildly in appearance, from the utilitarian working examples to the plush Wildtrack and Raptor civilian vehicles. For the sake of this article, we’re focusing on the passenger-car models, rather than the CVs.
Almost all Rangers are four-wheel drive, although two-wheel-drive versions are available, and they follow a basic pick-up shape: passenger compartment (of varying sizes) up front, load bed to the rear. However, for the ones used as family vehicles, they’re all four-wheel-drive, four-door, five-seat machines with a load-bed area capable of taking 1,000kg in the back. Power is exclusively diesel-fuelled in this part of the world, with a 150hp/375Nm 2.2-litre four-cylinder DuraTorq TDCi turbodiesel providing the entry point. Step up to the higher-spec cars, like the popular Wildtrak, and a 3.2-litre five-cylinder TDCi is introduced, which delivers 200hp and 470Nm. Heavily facelifted in 2017, to the point it almost stands alone as a new model, the Ranger gained a new flagship in 2019 in the form of the Raptor: this uses a 2.0-litre bi-turbodiesel and a ten-speed automatic gearbox, with outputs rated at 210hp and 500Nm. It is designed to be used in off-road terrain primarily, as it has taller and longer-travel suspension and cutting-edge four-wheel-drive hardware, plus bulging bodywork on the outside.
For on-road family-use purposes, the best bet is a Ranger Wildtrak, with the charismatic five-cylinder engine. Post-facelift 2017 models are better, but the Wildtrak has been around for many years now and is a fine vehicle.
Ford Ranger Wildtrak
Engine: 3.2-litre five-cylinder turbodiesel
Maximum speed: 175km/h
0-100km/h: 10.9 seconds
Fuel consumption: 8.4 litres/100km
• Versatile and capable vehicle
• Charismatic 3.2-litre engine
• Good steering for a pick-up
• Interior finishing is mediocre
• 3.2 engine is great but very noisy
• Unladen ride can’t match an SUV’s
If you’re into the idea of buying a one-tonne pick-up, the Ford Ranger is one of the best of its type. It can’t quite match the two premium rivals, in the form of the Amarok and X-Class, for all-round panache, but its robust five-cylinder engine, impressive steering and handsome looks make it well worth checking out, especially as it will be considerably cheaper on the used market compared to the rarer VW and Merc alternatives.