The workhorse pick-up truck: Ford Ranger

Perfect for farmers, landscape gardeners and car mechanics, if you need to tow heavy weights or carry huge loads on a regular basis, this is the vehicle for you

Who’s it for? Farmers, landscape gardeners, car mechanics
Launched: 2013
Price (ex-VAT): £21,194.63 (Double Cab 2.2 TDCi Manual) (retail)
Contract hire price: £249/mo
Price used:
£16,450 (100 miles, XL single-cab version)

Why it’s good for business

Ubiquitous as an all-purpose business vehicle in the USA, the pick-up truck has never really taken off in the same way here.

Ford’s new Ranger model hopes to change that, introducing a larger chassis based on the American design and a host of new features that make it an ideal option for businesses that need to tow seriously heavy weights on a regular basis, or carry equipment too large and awkward to fit in the back of a van.

The open-ended design is more versatile than a finite load space and this vehicle should work for construction businesses or similar which need a powerful, all-round workhorse.

Most pick-up trucks on the UK market only offer double-cab versions, as these are the top sellers, but Ford offers a range of three different cab styles on the Ranger, including a single-cab version for those small firms that wish to maximise load space and can live without the extra seating.

The truck is available in 4×2 or the core 4×4 models, with the four-wheel drive versions offering greater power and off-road performance – which you may need if yours is a rural business. Expect to pay around £2,000 more to make the step up to 4×4.

Where the Ford Ranger seriously excels is in its towing capacity. A max of 3,500kg (for the 4×4 model) means the vehicle can handle almost anything; despite its more refined look, this pick-up is the best in its class when it comes to raw power. The towing capability drops down to a still-respectable 2,500kg on the 4×2 version. Payload capacity is also very good, coming in at 1,152kg for the core double-cab models, which means you can carry some serious weight without fear of legal repercussions.

In addition to its power, the new Ranger has been redesigned with comfort in mind, meaning you won’t just be buying a utilitarian workhorse. Reviewers have praised the improved suspension, as well as noise-dampening in the cab, meaning you should have a smooth and quiet ride. However, the cabin on the single-cab version has been described as slightly cramped.

The Ranger is not designed for long-haul journeys; it was built with heavy loads in mind, and as such the trade-off for the powerful engine is that it is expensive to run, clocking just 39mpg on the most economical engine. On the more powerful 3.2 litre engine, this drops to a truly gas-guzzling 27mpg – so if low emissions or running costs are important to you, it would be best to look elsewhere.

There are numerous customisation options with the Ranger, and the most bare-bones single-cab XL version is competitively priced at £14,754, rising to £24,279 for the double-cab Wildtrak version (with a more powerful 3.2-litre 200hp engine and other extras such as alloy wheels, tinted windows and roof-rails).

BusinessVans.co.uk’s Ralph Morton offers his view: “The Ford Ranger gives you the best of both worlds – a tough workhorse that can carry, tow and clamber over muddy tracks and farmland in four-wheel drive mode – and a stylish family vehicle for the weekend (once it’s been valeted!) with its double-cab functionality.

“All the Ranger’s great road presence is backed up by a three-year/60,000 mile warranty.”

Alternatives

The Volkswagen Amarok is known as the Ranger’s main competitor in the UK, with a similar body style and specifications. It is only available in a double-cab version, though, and some reviewers have commented on its slightly rough-and-ready driving experience. It is slightly more expensive, too, starting at around £20,000 and rising to £26,780 for the fully-equipped premium model.

A new entrant to the market is the Isuzu D-Max, which represents great value for money, with a starting price of just £14,499 – rising to £21,499 for the top-of-the-range Utah model.

5 key features:

–          Rugged, durable chassis

–          Improved suspension and noise dampening

–          Excellent towing capacity and payload

–          Wide range of customisation options

–          Single-cab bare-bones version available

2 negative features:

–          High running costs

–          Slightly cramped cab on single-cab version

Specification (Ford Ranger XL 4×4 Double Cab version)

Load length 1530mm
Load width (max)1788mm
Load height724mm
Carrying capacity:
Payload1152kg
Towing capacity braked/unbraked3,495kg/750kg(4×2)
Engine2200cc four-cylinder TDCi diesel
Power/Torque375Nm @ 150-2500 rpm
Economy (combined) 39mpg
CO2 Emissions192g/km

 

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