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Driven: 2024 Ford Ranger Platinum. Image by Ford.

Driven: 2024 Ford Ranger Platinum
Is the poshest version of the Ford Ranger a pointless exercise or a useful addition to an already very useful pick-up truck?

   



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2024 Ford Ranger Platinum

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The phrase 'posh pick-up truck' sounds like something of a contradiction in terms. It's like having a cold fire, or maybe some hot snow. But like dry white wine, posh pick-ups can have their appeal, as the short-lived but rather well-liked Mercedes-Benz X-Class proved. With the X-Class gone, there's a space in the market, and Ford has taken a tilt at it with this: the new Ranger Platinum. It's designed to offer all the capability of the Ranger, but with the luxury of a premium SUV. The question is, has it worked?

Test Car Specifications

Model: 2024 Ford Ranger Platinum 3.0 EcoBlue V6
Price: £51,915 (plus VAT) as tested
Engine: 3.0-litre turbocharged V6 diesel
Transmission: 10-speed automatic, all-wheel drive
Power: 240hp
Torque: 600Nm
Emissions: 270g/km
Economy: 27.4mpg
0-62mph: 8.7 seconds
Top speed: 111mph
Gross payload: 1,035kg
Max towing capacity: 3,500kg

Styling

Being the more upmarket version of the Ranger means the Platinum needs a few styling upgrades to set it apart from the pack. Immediately obvious is the lettering on the doors and the leading edge of the bonnet, while Ford has also fitted lots of chrome touches on the grille, bumpers and roof rails, all with the aim of lifting the premium image. Does it work? To a point, but the Ranger still feels quite American, and there's no getting away from the pick-up truck roots. So while it does feel more upmarket than a Wildtrak, it somehow feels a little chintzier, too.

Interior

This is where Ford has spent most of the Platinum modelís development cost, and the result is predictably mixed. Obviously, itís still a Ranger, so the massive central touchscreen, the digital instrument display and the chunky air vents have all remained in situ. But none of that is a problem, because the screen is enormous and feels fairly upmarket, while the big vents suit the big vehicle.

The problem is, one or two Ranger features donít feel so upmarket, and Ford hasnít done much to cover them up. Take, for example, the door catches, which are just plastic paddles in the door cards. Theyíre neatly hidden Ė half your passengers will find themselves struggling to get out Ė but they feel cheap and nasty, and a streak of chrome across the top does not save the day. Sadly, the same goes for the little volume and heater knobs at the bottom of the touchscreen, which feel plasticky and slack in a way that really doesnít befit a luxury SUV.

Fortunately, the leather is plush and the wood trim on the dashboard feels well judged Ė it isnít too heavy or too cartoonish, but nor is it too subtle Ė and the seats are great. The leather-wrapped dashboard feels nice, too, and thereís lots to like about the sheer amount of kit thatís in there. The B&O sound system feels particularly generous in a pick-up truck.

Practicality

A key reason for choosing a pick-up truck is the tax advantage that was taken away and then almost instantly restored earlier this year. Fortunately, the Platinum still qualifies for that (unlike the high-performance Raptor), thanks to its payload of 1,035kg, which should be more than sufficient for anyone choosing this lifestyle-orientated version of the Ranger. As should the 3,500kg maximum towing weight.

Naturally, the Ranger goes without a boot, but a roller cover for the rear bed sorts that issue neatly, adding some security to the load bed. We'd expect the vast majority of customers to choose some sort of cover, at least, providing a secure and dry space to load pretty much anything you need, and suppliers will provide a box that suits your needs.

What no aftermarket supplier can change, however, is the space in the rear of the cab. Fortunately, there is enough back there for two adults, or to use the seats as a massive parcel shelf, but legroom isn't exactly bountiful back there. Taller passengers will find it a little bit tight on longer trips. Especially if they're shoehorned in alongside some luggage.

Still, space in the cab is no worse than in any other version of the Ranger, nor any other pick-up truck, so it's good enough for us.

Performance

This upmarket version of the Ranger comes with the flagship engine: a 3.0-litre V6 turbodiesel that weíve already had the pleasure of testing. And it hasnít changed here, producing a healthy 240hp and 600Nm of torque to give the vehicle pretty punchy performance. With that power heading to the rear wheels (or all four, if you select it), the Ranger Platinum will get from 0-62mph in just over eight seconds.

But the real reason for that power is not performance, but off-road and towing capability. The mountain of torque means conquering rough terrain is easy, requiring the merest squeeze of the accelerator to clamber over boulders, mounds and anything else you might come across. And if you want to tow, the Platinum will pull the same 3,500kg trailers as a standard Ranger.

The other advantage of that sheer grunt is a slightly more refined experience. The Ranger isnít the quietest vehicle out there ó even in this specification ó but the V6 is a little less raucous than the 2.0-litre options, and you donít need to push it hard to achieve sufficient performance, which keeps the volume down.

Unfortunately, though, it isnít what youíd call efficient. Admittedly, the Ranger isnít an aerodynamic thing, and even the 2.0-litre versions are hardly economical, but the 27.4mpg official economy figure is underwhelming, and in the real world youíll probably struggle to manage much more than 25mpg even on a long run.

Ride & Handling

It's a little unfair to expect all that much from pick-up trucks on this front, but the Ranger is one of the better ones. The steering is a little light, but it's more positive and more feelsome than most, which makes the Ranger one of the more driver-friendly options in the pick-up market, and that applies whether you choose the Platinum or not.

But even this most car-like of pick-up trucks isn't entirely convincing on the road. While body roll is relatively well contained, all things considered, it still corners in a decidedly old-school way, listing like a tall ship on a rough sea. And the ride is quite choppy, especially when there's nothing in the rear load bed.

All that said, the Ranger is better than most pick-ups on the road, and it's certainly just as good off it. Whether in Platinum form or not, it's an unstoppable all-terrain vehicle, but it adds some road manners that might not quite be those of a family SUV, but are certainly comparable with old-school 4x4s.

Value

Ranger prices start at £28,275 plus VAT, which sounds fairly cheap, but that's only for a two-door, entry level vehicle. If you want the all-singing, all-dancing Ranger Platinum, you'll have to shell out £46,450 plus VAT. That makes it just over £7,000 more expensive than the equivalent 3.0-litre Wildtrak, but you do get plenty of kit, including the clever matrix headlights that can dip the beam only in the direction of the oncoming traffic, and you get all the Platinum styling upgrades, including leather seats. Our test vehicle, meanwhile, came in at £51,915 plus VAT, thanks to extras including upmarket paint, a power roller shutter over the load bed and a load box bedliner. The technology pack with driver assistance tech including blind-spot monitoring and front parking sensors was also included.

Verdict

There's quite a lot to like about the Ranger Platinum, from its capability to its luxury, but the truth is that as good as the Ranger may be, it never quite convinces as a premium SUV. That said, if you want a pick-up truck for tax-related reasons and you want the sort of luxury you get from a family SUV, then the Platinum is about as good as it gets.



James Fossdyke - 14 Mar 2024



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2024 Ford Ranger Platinum. Image by Ford.2024 Ford Ranger Platinum. Image by Ford.2024 Ford Ranger Platinum. Image by Ford.2024 Ford Ranger Platinum. Image by Ford.2024 Ford Ranger Platinum. Image by Ford.








 

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