Ford Ranger long-term test
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...
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 6502 List price £40,695 Price as tested £41,695 Test economy 30.1mpg Official economy 36.2mpg Dealer price now £37,219 Private price now £33,084 Trade-in price now £33,759 Running cost £2700 (fuel)
6 September 2021 – Goodbye Ranger
The Ford Ranger Wildtrak came into my life just as the world was starting to get back to normal. Or at least, just as I was starting to get out and about on shoots again. So, as I reach the end of my time with it, I find myself reflecting on how well it supported my working life.
The first thing to note is that the load area is enormous; at no point did I ever struggle to fit anything that I needed into it. Indeed, I could probably have fitted in my camera equipment three times over and still had enough space leftover for my bicycle.
I was also impressed by the Ranger's go-anywhere ability, which allowed me to get to the trickiest of locations without having to worry about getting stuck. And the sheer height of the vehicle made its loadbed a fantastic vantage point to shoot from, saving me from having to carry around a ladder.
The level of standard equipment was another thing that made my life easier, with cruise control, Apple CarPlay smartphone mirroring and heated seats all included. Meanwhile, the materials used inside strike the perfect balance between luxurious and durable: there's leather or tactile plastic in the areas you most commonly touch, but more robust plastics in the areas that will take a beating over time, such as the storage areas at the bottom of the doors.
Less impressive is the ride, which is rather bouncy on the motorway, and less than ideal for car-to-car photography, where you want as smooth a platform as possible. However, it's superior to that of the Mitsubishi L200 pick-up truck that I ran previously.
I also have mixed feelings about manoeuvrability; the presence of parking sensors and a rear-view camera help, but they don't fully remove the stress of driving such a huge vehicle, particularly when you dare to venture into a multi-storey car park.
One major decision that you have to make when specifying a pick-up truck is what sort of load bed cover to go for: rolling shutter or full hardtop. And having now tried both (the former on the Ranger and the latter on the L200) I'd have to say I think the hardtop will suit most people better.
True, I prefer the look of the shutter, because it doesn’t add a big bulky block to the back of an already big car. But you can't have it in place when carrying taller items, whereas the hardtop allows you to keep pretty much anything secure and dry; I moved three times during my time with the L200, something that would have been harder in the Ranger.
Still, Ford does offer a hardtop, too. And, overall, I have to agree with the What Car? road test team that the Ranger is the better vehicle. Whether I was driving through heavy storms, travelling from London to North Wales and back in a day, or just transporting large and awkwardly shaped furniture, it always had me covered.
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