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Week at the wheel: Ford Ranger Double Cab Limited 4x4. Image by Ford.

Week at the wheel: Ford Ranger Double Cab Limited 4x4
Ford ventures into the civilised wilderness with its Ranger Double Cab.

   



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| Week at the Wheel | Ford Ranger Double Cab Limited 4x4 |

Overall rating: 3 3 3 3 3

The Ford Ranger is designed to do a job: carry up to five people and over one tonne of load. And for that it can't be faulted. It's also stylish and incredibly well-equipped - enough to make it a viable alternative to a regular family car in that respect. However, the Tonka Toy looks may not be enough to disguise the compromises it asks of you.

Key Facts

Model tested: Ford Ranger Double Cab Limited 4x4
Pricing: 26,734 (28,114 as tested)
Engine: 2.2-litre turbocharged four-cylinder diesel
Transmission: six-speed automatic, four-wheel drive
Body style: double-cab pick-up
Rivals: Mitsubishi L200, Nissan Navara, Volkswagen Amarok
CO2 emissions: 248g/km
Combined economy: 30.1mpg
Top speed: 109mph
0-62mph: 12.3 seconds
Power: 150hp at 3,700rpm
Torque: 375Nm at 1,500rpm
Wading depth: 800mm

Inside & Out: 4 4 4 4 4

There's something cool about driving a pick-up truck through suburbia; it's something that appeals to the inner-child of every man. And the Ranger scores even higher thanks to its Tonka Toy styling: bulging muscular sheet metal interspersed with attention-grabbing bright work. Compared to its rivals, only the Volkswagen Amarok can hold a candle to it for visual appeal.

Even the interior makes you sit up and take notice, borrowing much of its design and some of its switchgear from Ford's passenger car range, though quality isn't a match. And though you sit up high, the driving position is surprisingly car-like with decent adjustment available. Those sitting in the rear will be pleasantly surprised by the amount of room on offer, and the 1,560mm long load bed should be enough for most.

Ride & Handling: 3 3 3 3 3

The first thing you notice about driving the Ranger is how firm the ride is. With leaf springs at the rear, unless you have the load bed fully loaded, the back of the Ranger skips and hops about over even the smallest of imperfections. A necessity to allow for heavy loads to be carried with ease, it is nonetheless frustrating much of the time.

Otherwise it's actually pretty good, and with plenty of grip you feel like you can throw the Ranger around corners at a much higher speed than you might expect. There's decent feel through the steering and while the body moves around, especially under braking, it really is quite confidence inspiring.

And though we never actually got to experience the Ranger off-road in our time with the car, it's clear that this is closer to the Ford's natural playground. The high ground clearance (it'll wade through water 800mm deep) and selectable four-wheel drive system, hill start assist and hill descent control should make light work of any obstacles.

Engine & Transmission: 3 3 3 3 3

This is where this particular Ranger falls down somewhat. We're not sure we could really recommend the six-speed automatic gearbox. Not only does it feel totally at odds with the character of the car, but it's not particularly quick to shift, there being a perceptible delay between cogs engaging - even when using the manual override option.

The engine is a little better, offering plenty of grunt low down and what feels like decent performance. If you need a faster Ford pick-up though the firm does offer a 3.2-litre version. However, as a workhorse the four-cylinder 2.2-litre diesel seemed fine to us, even with the rather noticeable aural accompaniment.

Equipment, Economy & Value for Money: 3 3 3 3 3

There was a time that double-cab pick-ups were especially attractive to company car users, their dual-purpose status allowing for a healthy tax-break. And while they are no longer such a clear-cut winner in the company car stakes there are savings still to be made. For private buyers the Ranger is less attractive though, its 248g/km and 30.1mpg not making it especially cheap to run. That's in line with all of its major rivals though, and at least the Limited model we tested is fully-loaded with kit - including climate control, leather seats, an electric driver's seat, parking sensors, Bluetooth and heated front windscreen.


Graeme Lambert - 20 Nov 2012



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2012 Ford Ranger. Image by Ford.2012 Ford Ranger. Image by Ford.2012 Ford Ranger. Image by Ford.2012 Ford Ranger. Image by Ford.2012 Ford Ranger. Image by Ford.



2012 Ford Ranger. Image by Ford.
 

2012 Ford Ranger. Image by Ford.
 

2012 Ford Ranger. Image by Ford.
 

2012 Ford Ranger. Image by Ford.
 

2012 Ford Ranger. Image by Ford.
 






 

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