As with all pick-ups, being classed as a commercial vehicle brings the advantage of making the Ranger remarkably affordable if you’re running it through work as a company car. However, because of the Raptor’s reduced payload, it isn’t eligible for the flat commercial vehicle company car tax rate. It does still qualify for the flat rate of annual commercial vehicle road tax, though.
We wouldn’t bother with the entry-level rear-wheel-drive 2.0 Ecoblue 130 model, because it isn't very quick and isn’t any cleaner or more efficient than the more powerful 2.0 Ecoblue 170. The latter is therefore the best engine for balancing driveability with running costs, but the 2.0 Ecoblue 213 runs it very close, offering more power for not much more money. The 3.2 is gutsy but very thirsty; you won’t get much better than 27mpg on a motorway run.
The cheapest XL trim gets 16in steel wheels, electric windows, cruise control, DAB radio, Bluetooth and a multi-function steering wheel. However, it’s rather spartan, so you'd be wise to step up to XLT at the very least. This brings a few more creature comforts plus alloy wheels and plenty of chrome garnish.
Limited trim is where we think your money is best invested, though. For not much more money, it adds 17in alloy wheels, rear privacy glass, leather seats (heated in the front), dual-zone climate control, an eight-way electrically adjustable driver’s seat, rear parking sensors and Ford’s 8.0in Sync 3 touchscreen infotainment system with smartphone mirroring. The Raptor, meanwhile, is the best Ranger in the line-up if your commute happens to include sand dunes, but it's very expensive.
Some options worth considering are front parking sensors and a rear-view camera. A load bay cover is also useful if you want to keep your valuables safely under lock and key.
Speaking of which, the Ranger scored highly in Thatcham’s security tests, plus it was the first pick-up to gain five stars in the Euro NCAP crash test in 2012. That was down to its various safety features, which include seven standard airbags, while an optional Driver Assistance Pack adds active safety kit such as lane-keeping assistance, traffic sign recognition and adaptive cruise control with collision mitigation.
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