Ford has taken a big step forward with the all-new Ranger. It’s bigger and beefier — much more American-looking — than the previous models, and there’s a new 2.5-litre common rail TDCi engine under the bonnet. Ranger is available in three distinct configurations — Regular, Super and Double Cab — and all bar the latter have a choice of two- or four-wheel drive. The Double Cab can only be had with 4WD and there’s a Tipper version of the Regular Cab 4x4.
Regardless of version, the engine is the same and produces maximum power of 143hp, but more importantly it is capable of developing peak torque of 330Nm at 1,800rpm. It is smooth and responsive, and is well isolated from the cab. Servicing is required every 12,500 miles. The steering is power assisted, of course, and all Rangers have ABS as standard.
Regular Cab is Ford-speak for Single Cab (two doors, two seats), Super Cab has two full size doors and two rear-hinged half doors (occasional rear seating for two) and Double Cab is a full blown four-door with accommodation for five. Load bed width and height are the same for all derivatives — 1,456mm and 457mm — but length varies. It is 2,280mm for the Regular, 1,753mm for Super and 1,530mm on the Double. Gross payload varies from 1,175kg (DC) to 1,235kg for the Regular 4x4.
The cab is very car-like with a good driving position and adequate storage facilities, but the handbrake lever is an ergonomic disaster; it sticks out of the facia rather than being in between the seats where it should be.
The aggressive front styling may not be to everyone’s taste, but the engine is a cracker, performing well beyond its on-paper specification.