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Ford Ranger: Test Drive Review

Date: 11 January 2010   |   Author:

Category: Pick up
Price (ex VAT): £21,350
Key rival: Mitsubishi L200

Little changes can sometimes make a big difference, which is certainly the case with the facelifted Ford Ranger.

The pick-up has been given the mid-life treatment, and is all-new forwards from the A-pillars that house the windscreen. That means changes including a larger three-bar grille, bigger headlamps that now wrap around the front corners, and larger door mirrors, which are also now heated as standard across the range. There's also a new clear tail-lamp at the back. The changes make a hefty difference, taking the Ranger's appearance from fairly bland and anonymous to more aggressive and imposing. Ford has resisted making changes to the load bed, so anyone using the current version can carry-over box covers or other accessories.

Under the bonnet, the engine line-up is broadly the same, although the firm has removed the 3.0-litre auto diesel from the range, replacing it with a 2.5 automatic version that Ford claims is more refined.

We've sampled the revised Ranger in Thunder trim level, which is the third of four, above XL and XLT but short of the range-topping Wildtrak. It accounts for up to half of Ranger volume, and interior changes at this specification level include new two-tone seats, a branded kick-plate and a standard auxiliary input socket. But although the interior is improved, it's functional and still doesn't have the car-like quality of a Nissan Navaro.

As there have been no changes to the engineering side, Ford's pick-up, is still very much a commercial vehicle rather than a model with lifestyle pretentions as a car substitute. The harsh ride remains, and while refinement is improved it's still not great. What is good, though, is the new automatic gearbox and 2.5-litre diesel combination. The 143PS engine is powerful enough to meet any requirement, and the slick automatic is a great application that puts many cars to shame.

Ford is also pleased with of the Ranger's 3000kg towing capacity, and said it has revised the model's gear ratios in first and second to improve the pulling power and aid towing or pulling away with a heavy load. Off-roading ability is also slightly lifted by the new anti-stall system that allows drivers to take their feet off the pedals on a steep climb while the vehicle just pulls itself up.

The Ranger's main revisions - the looks and new auto gearbox - are very well-executed, but the pick-up essentially retains the same utilitarian qualities that make it good at what it does, even if the on-road manners and niceties can't live with the best.

Ford Ranger 2.5TDCi auto Thunder
Price (ex VAT)£21,300
Model price range£13,900-£22,350
Service interval12,500 miles
Insurancegroup 10
Load length1530mm
Load width (min/max)1090/1456mm
Load bay height465mm
Loading height805mm
Gross payload1069kg
Engine size/power2499cc/143PS
On saleNovember 2009
VerdictChanges are for the better, but
still not as good as rivals on-road


Changes are for the better, but still not as good as rivals on-road