2012 Ford Ranger review

  • New Ford Ranger driven
  • First pick-up with five-star crash rating
  • On sale now, Double Cab priced from £22,300
Ford Ranger
Ford Ranger
The all-new Ford Ranger has been designed to combine the toughness that pick-up drivers are used to with the sort of comfort and agility they aren’t.

It replaces the current Ranger and aims to provide extra sophistication.

Both two- and four-wheel-drive versions are available, and there are three engines: 123bhp and 148bhp 2.2-litre diesels, and a 197bhp 3.2-litre diesel.

Ranger buyers can also choose from Regular Cab (two-seat), Super Cab (2+2) and Double Cab (four-seat) models. We tested the latter.

What’s the 2012 Ford Ranger like to drive?
The steering is rather slow around town. However, it’s more responsive on faster roads and is both accurate and nicely weighted.

The Ranger also feels more grippy and composed in corners than most rival pick-ups, but the ride becomes bouncy and unsettled on poorly surfaced roads.

Front- and four-wheel-drive versions are available

Refinement is another weakness; the 148bhp engine that we tried sounds coarse under acceleration and when you’re cruising at anything above about 60mph. What’s more, there’s a lot of vibration through the gearlever and the shift is stiff.

Ford Ranger
Composed in corners, but the ride can become bouncy

It’s a pity, because wind- and road noise are kept to a minimum, and the engine pulls well from low revs. In fact, four-wheel-drive Rangers can tow trailers that weigh more than 3.3 tonnes, whereas the rival VW Amarok has a 2.8-tonne limit.

Ford Ranger
The Ranger can tow trailers that weigh more than 3.3 tonnes

What’s the 2012 Ford Ranger like inside?
Pick-ups tend to be used as workhorses, so it’s hardly surprising that the interior is trimmed in sturdy – rather than squishy – plastics.

There’s a wide range of adjustment for the driver’s seat and all-round vision is pretty good. However, the steering wheel adjusts for height only, so some people will still struggle to get comfortable.

Ford Ranger
Interior is sturdy, but ergonomics could be better

The dashboard layout is similarly mixed; there are simple rotary ventilation controls, but the infotainment system has a small screen and too many poorly labelled buttons.

The Double Cab model has decent space for five people and a large loadbay, although the Amarok’s bay is 8cm wider between the rear wheelarches.

Should I buy one?
If you’re in the market for a pick-up, the new Ranger is definitely worth considering, because it’s practical, decent to drive and significantly cheaper than its biggest rival, the VW Amarok.

Just don’t expect it to get close to the ride comfort, refinement or perceived quality of modern SUVs.

VW Amarok
Nissan Navara

What Car? says…

Steve Huntingford

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