Dan Gilkes reports
Ford’s Ranger pick-up is one of the biggest sellers in the UK truck market, with a broad range that goes from hard-working single cab utility models through to dual-use luxury Wildtraks. It’s a justifiably popular line-up, offering something for everyone in a well-built, tough truck that is equally capable on or off the road.
However, while we have always liked the way that Ranger drives, we haven’t always been so keen on the way it consumed diesel. The previous 2.2-litre engines, and the larger 3.2-litre, were certainly not known for their frugal thirst, though there were few complaints about their performance.
Well, it appears that those days are gone. In line with the Transit line-up, the 2.2-litre engine has been dropped, in favour of Ford’s latest 2.0-litre EcoBlue diesel. With a single turbocharger it delivers 130hp and 340Nm, or 170hp and 420Nm of torque. There is also a bi-turbo model, that produces a powerful 213hp and 500Nm of torque.
You can still have the previous generation’s 3.2-litre motor in the Wildtrak model if you must, despite it having a lower 200hp output. Suffice to say, the new range-topping Raptor model uses the bi-turbo 2.0-litre, paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission.
There are claims of a 9% fuel efficiency improvement across the 2.0-litre line-up, with CO2 emissions dropping to 209g/km from 228g/km. The entry-level XL Ranger can be had with either of the single turbo engines, with a six-speed manual gearbox as standard. XLT trim comes solely with the 170hp engine and the manual gearbox.
The Limited trim that we have here, can be paired with the 170hp or the 213hp engines. In either case buyers can choose the six-speed manual gearbox or that 10-speed automatic transmission.
Wildtrak is offered with the bi-turbo engine or the 3.2-litre. However, while the 2.0-litre comes with the choice of manual or 10-speed auto transmissions, the older engine can only be paired with a 6-speed auto. While the high-riding Raptor may look like a radio-controlled model made real, its off-road suspension means that it can’t carry a tonne. It is therefore not VAT recoverable, making it less attractive to a business buyer.
The 170hp engine and six-speed manual box will no doubt be one of the most popular combinations, though automatic transmissions are taking an increasingly large share of the pick-up sector. The combination works well, easily pushing the big Ranger along with the traffic. Indeed, we easily covered more than 800 miles in the Ranger’s week with VanUser and the truck is a very comfortable companion for longer trips or local travel.
That sort of mileage meant refuelling was called for and the news was equally positive at the pumps. Where the older engines would have struggled to get beyond the high 20s, the EcoBlue 2.0-litre easily delivered a very healthy 34mpg average.
Covering those miles was no hardship for the driver either, with Limited trim including Ford’s SYNC3 infotainment system, that provides an 8-inch touchscreen capable of pairing with Apple Carplay and Android Auto smartphones. Heated leather trim, a reversing camera and parking sensors, Bi-xenon headlights with LED daytime lights and electrically heated and folding door mirrors are also included, while a host of electronic driver assistance systems make the driver’s job less stressful.
As mentioned, we have always been fans of the big Ford, but it has been hard to recommend against some more frugal trucks, particularly for higher mileage users. With the new engines, it is much easier to put Ranger at the top of the class.
“While the high-riding Raptor may look like a radio-controlled model made real, its off-road suspension means that it can’t carry a tonne”
Ford Ranger Double Cab Limited 170
BASIC PRICE £27,595
ENGINE 4-cyl 1,996cc POWER 170bhp @ 3,500 TORQUE 420Nm @ 1,750-2,250
GVW 3,270 KERB WEIGHT 2,182 PAYLOAD 1,088 MAX TRAILER WEIGHT 3,500
LOAD SPACE LENGTH 1,613 LOAD SPACE WIDTH 1,560 LOAD SPACE HEIGHT 511 WIDTH BETWEEN W/ARCHES 1,139 LOAD HEIGHT (UNLADEN) 840 LOAD VOLUME 1.28
Fuel tank capacity 80 AdBlue tank capacity 20 Combined fuel consumption 40.9mpg* Carbon dioxide emissions* 216g/km* Oil Change 2 year/12,500 miles WARRANTY 3 years/60,000 miles