Van and Commercial Vehicle Awards 2024: Best Pick-up Truck
Proving that pick-up trucks can be practical as well as comfy, the Ford Ranger shines by being good to drive, spacious for passengers and its ability to carry lots of cargo...
Priced from £28,275 (excl. VAT) Fuel economy 33.6mpg C02 emissions 220g/km Payload 1045-1200kg Power 168bhp Torque 299lb ft
Success is no guarantee of excellence – just look at the viewing figures for Gogglebox for proof of that – but happily, that’s not a notion that applies to the Ford Ranger. Yes, it’s the UK’s best-selling pick-up truck, and has been for a number of years, but that’s because it deserves to be.
The latest incarnation of the Ranger is even more deserving of its sales success than ever. Its chunky Tonka-toy styling – largely borrowed from the enormous Ford F-150 truck from across the Atlantic – immediately gives it a level of desirability that rivals can’t even hope to match, and that’s without upgrading to the higher-end (and pricey) Wildtrak models that have become popular with thanks to their big wheels, chrome garnishes and fancy interiors. In fact, the lower-end XL and XLT models are, as well as being cheaper, the better-rounded working models overall.
Entry-level XL trim trucks are the utilitarian workhorses of the range with plastic bumpers and steel wheels, while the XLT is slightly smarter, with a bit less plastic and more painted metal parts. A reliable 2.0-litre engine with 168bhp does the grunt work, while a more modest 8.0in version of the portrait touchscreen found in the high-end models provides all the infotainment functionality that buyers expect.
As well as a sizeable load bed and payload capacity of up to 1200kg with a single cab or 1098kg as a double cab, Ranger XL and XLT are the most versatile trucks in the range, and are further improved by the option of Ford’s power to box system, which supplies 240v and 12v power outlets in the load bed for powering tools. The Ranger XL would be our top choice, since it allows you to have the single cab while keeping costs low. And like all Rangers, the low-end models have the ability to excel off-road, while also managing to keep you feeling comfortable and civilised on it.
More traditional working pick-up trucks like the Toyota Hilux and Isuzu D-Max are just as capable off-road, but the Ranger’s superior comfort and refinement, not to mention its more pleasant interior and more sophisticated on-board tech, make the Ford a more complete and appealing package overall.
And while the Volkswagen Amarok – built by Ford alongside the Ranger – also manages to mix business with pleasure in a similar way, we reckon business buyers in this market will prefer the Ford’s value over the Volkswagen’s more premium badge every time.
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