What Car? says...
The Ford Ranger is from the brand that builds the world’s best selling pick-up truck (the F-150), so you’d expect it to be good – and it is.
Indeed, this latest Ranger offers an impressive blend of good on-road dynamics and working truck abilities with comfort for the driver and passengers. That's fortunate, because pick-up buyers now demand vehicles that are not only competent off-road workhorses, but are also comfortable and pleasant to drive between jobs.
We should point out that the number of pick-up truck models available is dropping like a pallet of bricks. That's down to emissions rules that can lead to manufacturers facing huge fines if their line-up as a whole is particularly eco-unfriendly.
As a result, the Ford Ranger is now only really in competition with the Isuzu D-Max, the Ssangyong Musso, the Toyota Hilux and the VW Amarok. The Amarok shares lots of parts with the Ranger, and is similarly impressive.
Ford offers the usual array of petrol and diesel engines in the Ranger, but it will also be the only offering among its rivals to come with plug-in hybrid (PHEV) power from 2025. The PHEV might suit drivers who predominantly work in the city but who occasionally need to go further afield, and could be a frugal company car option.
So, is the current Ford Ranger any good? Well, in this review we'll rate its performance, interior quality, practicality, running costs and more. Once you've decided, we can help you lease it for the best price through our free What Car? Leasing section.
Performance & drive
What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is
The main Ford Ranger engine line-up is rather simple – there's a 2.0-litre four-cylinder diesel unit available with either 168bhp or 202bhp (badged EcoBlue 170 and EcoBlue 205), or a 237bhp 3.0-litre six-cylinder diesel (badged EcoBlue V6 240). The entry-level engine comes with a six-speed manual gearbox while the other two get a 10-speed automatic.
There's also a Raptor version with 3.0-litre, 288bhp V6 turbocharged petrol – see our Ford Ranger Raptor review for more on that.
Ford expects the Ecoblue 205 to be the most popular engine, and we can understand why. It pulls strongly from low revs and has plenty of grunt to get up to motorway speeds in short order, or to overtake on a single-carriageway road. We were also impressed with the automatic gearbox – its extra ratios aid low-speed acceleration while helping to maximise fuel economy at a cruise.
The 2.0-litre diesel is one of the smoother four-cylinder engines in the class, but if you're expecting SUV levels of refinement, you might be a little disappointed by the ever-present soundtrack, and the small vibrations transmitted through the steering wheel and pedals.
The V6 is much smoother. While we’ve yet to sample it in the Ranger, we have tested it in the closely related VW Amarok and found it to be gruntier and more tractable. The downsides are its price and poor fuel economy, and given that all Rangers except the Raptor can tow 3500kg, you might consider the V6 an over-indulgence.
If you’d like to team the go-anywhere load-lugging ability of the Ranger with the low running costs of a plug-in hybrid, then you’re in luck, because a plug-in version of the Ranger will go on sale in 2025. It mates a 2.3-litre petrol engine with an electric motor and battery for an electric-only range of around 28 miles.
That might not sound like much compared with some plug-in hybrid cars, but when you consider the extra weight of the Ranger’s battery, it’s still impressive. Crucially, it could lower your running costs, too, which we’ll come on to later in this review.
As for the ride, the Ranger manages to provide a far more settled experience than the Ssangyong Musso and the Toyota Hilux. That makes it one of the most comfortable pick-up trucks around (along with the Amarok).
There can be some bobbing over undulations at motorway speeds, but it's very well controlled and never unsettling. Indeed, the Raptor variant is the comfiest pick-up on sale.
This is also one of the most nimble pick-ups you can buy. As you turn into a tight corner, you appreciate the steering's accuracy and response, as well as the resistance to body lean, which is a particular problem in the Hilux and, to a slightly lesser degree, the Isuzu D-Max.
All models get four-wheel drive and the option of adding a locking rear differential (standard with the Wildtrak and Raptor) to improve off-road ability. We'd recommend keeping it in two-wheel-drive mode on the road to help it steer with greater finesse at low speeds and use less fuel.
As with most pick-ups, if there’s nothing in the cargo bay, the lack of weight over the rear wheels makes it more likely that they'll lose grip on a greasy road.
The interior layout, fit and finish
Many people love a large SUV or pick-up truck for its high-up driving position, and if that’s you, you’ll appreciate the lofty Ford Ranger.
Even on entry-level models, the driver is treated to a comfortable seat with six-way manual adjustment. Eight-way electric seats with lumbar adjustment are standard on Wildtrak models.
The high driving position and relatively narrow windscreen pillars give you good forward visibility, but the small rear screen and long load bay make it tricky to see what’s behind you. Thankfully, all versions get rear parking sensors and a rearview camera as standard, while Platinum models get a 360-degree camera.
In terms of interior layout, the model is very similar to the VW Amarok with the same seat mounting points, four-wheel-drive controller positioning and parking brake. However, the Ranger interior looks noticeably different, thanks to bespoke seats, a different steering wheel and a unique dashboard design.
And that’s a good thing. Because while the Amarok has fiddly touchscreen controls for the air-conditioning, Ford gives you proper physical controls that are far less distracting to use while driving.
The central touchscreen (10.1in on the cheapest versions and 12.0in with Style trim and above) is portrait-oriented and controls the infotainment functions. It’s the same basic hardware and operating system as in the Amarok, but the menu layout is different. It’s reasonably easy to get to grips with, and all versions come with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone mirroring as standard.
Passenger & boot space
How it copes with people and clutter
The Single Cab version of the Ford Ranger is strictly a two-seater, but those seats give two adults plenty of room, even if they're tall.
The most spacious and practical Ranger – and the one we recommend – is the Double Cab, which has lots of head and leg room in the front and back. It will seat four tall adults relatively easily, or five if those in the back don't mind a bit of shoulder rubbing.
Of course, the fewer seats you have, the shorter the cab is and the longer the load bay becomes. The Regular Cab can take the most gear, but the Double Cab can fit a standard pallet in the back.
The maximum payload weight depends very much on the cab type and engine (all those fancy toys add weight after all), but most models – including the upcoming plug-in hybrid model – will carry more than a tonne, with some managing up to 1067kg. All versions can tow 3500kg, except the Ranger Raptor which has a payload limit of 652kg and tow limit of 2500kg.
There are lashing rings to tie down loads in the bed, which has 1233l of load capacity and can be secured with an optional manual or electric roll cover. Ford has partnered-up with off-road kit suppliers ARB to provide all the lightbars and roof tents you could possibly need, all from a Ford dealer.
If you go for the PHEV version, you can use the Ranger as an external generator, powering your tools, camping equipment or anything else via up to three sockets. That power comes primarily from the Ranger’s battery, but can switch over to the engine if the former is depleted.
Buying & owning
Everyday costs, plus how reliable and safe it is
The Ford Ranger and other pick-up trucks are classed as commercial vehicles, which makes them remarkably affordable to run as company cars. If a model can carry more than 1000kg, you'll pay a flat commercial vehicle company car tax rate regardless of how much CO2 it produces.
In the Ranger line-up, that means all versions except the Ranger Raptor. As a cash buy, the Ranger is competitively priced next to the Toyota Hilux but the Isuzu D-Max can be had for less and the Ssangyong Musso provides more kit for your cash.
Unfortunately, Ford says that the PHEV Ranger can only be charged using AC power outlets, meaning charging is capped at a charging speed of 7kW – and even slower if you plug it into a three-pin socket. Nonetheless, plugging the car in overnight should see you with a full battery the next morning.
Still, the Ranger PHEV should drastically lower your running costs compared with other Ranger models, if you keep its battery charged. The car can even use smart geo-fencing to automatically switch over to electric power when you enter an electric-only zone – potentially helping you to avoid a hefty fine.
The cheapest XL trim gets 16in steel wheels, a multi-function steering wheel, a heated windscreen and rear window, digital dials, manual air-con and cruise control, but it's rather spartan. You'd be wise to step up to XLT at the very least to get a few more creature comforts, plus alloy wheels and body-coloured bumpers.
If you want a pick-up that has all the luxuries of a modern car, though, you’ll want to opt for the Wildtrak. It looks beefier than the XLT, with 18in alloy wheels, roof rails, black exterior highlights and a plush interior. You also get a heated leather steering wheel, heated seats, a leather dashboard with contrast stitching, ambient interior lighting and a larger infotainment system.
The Wildtrak is our pick of the range, unless your commute includes sand dunes or similar, in which case the Raptor is the best Ranger. In fact, it’s so well equipped, we can’t see why you'd opt for range-topping Platinum.
When it was tested for safety by the experts at Euro NCAP, the model was awarded the full five stars, and its highest score was for protecting child occupants. As standard, it comes with automatic emergency braking (AEB), lane-keeping assist, intelligent speed assist and traffic-sign recognition.
While the Ranger itself didn’t feature in our most recent What Car? Reliability Survey, Ford as a manufacturer ended up towards the middle of the table, in 17th position out of 32 car makers. In contrast, Volkswagen finished in 22nd position.
Ford gives you a three-year or 60,000-mile warranty. In contrast, the Musso comes with a five-year or 100,000 mile warranty, while Toyota’s warranty programme is up to 10 years or 100,000 miles (if you regularly service it at a franchised dealer).
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By pick-up standards, the Ranger is reasonably fuel efficient. Our favourite engine, the EcoBlue 205, has an official efficiency figure of 32mpg.
Yes. All Rangers come with all-wheel drive, which can be switched to rear-wheel drive. As an option (standard on the Wildtrak and the Ford Ranger Raptor versions), you can add locking differentials to help with very challenging terrain.
The Ranger Platinum sits above the Wildtrak in the main line-up (but below the Ford Ranger Raptor variant). It has 18in alloy wheels, matrix LED headlights, a B&O sound system, adaptive cruise control, a 360-degree camera and wireless phone-charging.