Ford Ranger long-term test review: report 3

The Ford Ranger was named Pick-up of the Year at the 2021 What Car? Awards, but now we're seeing if it continues to impress when you live with it every day...

Ford Ranger Wildtrack seats

The car Ford Ranger Wildtrak 2.0 EcoBlue Run by Max Edleston, junior photographer

Why it’s here Because we want to put this What Car? Award winner to the ultimate test – everyday life

Needs to Be practical, good off road, comfortable for long trips and not break the bank on running costs

Mileage 4565 List price £40,695 Price as tested £41,695 Test economy 29mpg Official economy 36.2mpg

29 July 2021 – The inside story

Words like rugged, aggressive and tough all describe admirable qualities for a pick-up truck like my Ford Ranger Wildtrack. They imply that this is a car that can put in a hard day’s work in the toughest terrain, and do it all without breaking a sweat. They're not words you want to hear being used about the truck’s interior, though. 

Let me explain. I do potentially thousands of miles every month for various photoshoot jobs, and that means my car needs to be a second home – comfortable for long trips, connected for office calls, and a calm place to spend a lot of time. You might not imagine that a pick-up could do all of those things, but the Ranger is coming remarkably close.

Ford Ranger touchscreen

Take long-distance comfort, for example. While the ride of the Ranger can be a little firm, especially for anyone sitting in the rear, it’s still better than in the Mitsubishi L200 I had previously. It’s certainly better for sitting at a constant cruise on the motorway than the L200 ever was, and can tackle every rutted track and farmer’s field I’ve ventured along with just as much talent. 

The Ranger’s seats add to its comfort. My car comes with heated leather ones for the driver and front passenger, and thanks to eight-way adjustability, finding my perfect driving position has been easy.

You might think those are only minor benefits, but put them together and they add up to something more tangible. I can arrive at my destination after hours at the wheel feeling refreshed and ready to help create the photos you see in What Car? magazine and online every month.

Then there’s the Ranger’s technology. As anyone who spends a lot of time on the road will tell you, the ability to stay in touch with your colleagues, friends and family while you’re out and about is priceless.

Ford Ranger CD player

My car’s 8.0in touchscreen infotainment system with Ford’s Sync 3 software has been pretty easy to get along with so far. I also appreciate the ability to connect my phone through Apple CarPlay, which means I can access everything from Audible to WhatsApp if needed.

You’ll be hard pushed to find a recent car which comes with a CD player, but my Ranger has one right on the dashboard. The car is so modern that this is undoubtedly a throwback to an era I thought was long gone.

I can’t fault the system, though, and once I’d borrowed some CDs from my dad, they did indeed play well on the Ranger’s standard six-speaker stereo. I’m just at a loss as to why a CD player is there at all – perhaps Ford’s market research suggests Ranger drivers still want them. Either way, I’ll be keeping a few CDs on board in case a moment of nostalgia strikes me.

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