Japanese makers dominate the pick-up and 4×4 sector in the UK, and since it is a relatively small market most models – built in Thailand in the same huge complex – share major components.

That includes Ford’s Ranger, which utilises the Mazda B and BT Series designs.

In the US, however, pick-ups are king, and the market is so huge that last year a new Ford F-Series model left a showroom once every 35 seconds.

Although Ford cannot hope for that here, when it facelifted the Ranger in 2015 it gave it a more aggressive US-inspired look to separate it a little from the Mazda styling. This, by the way, is the second generation of Ranger to be sold in the UK, having replaced the first model in 2011.

Like all the current crop of double-cab pick-ups, the Ranger has to hit the magic 1.0t payload mark for VAT reclaim, and depending upon the model it comfortably exceeds this. It offers between 1,090kg and 1,250kg of loading capacity, with sufficient internal width for a pallet. Four-wheel-drive models will tow 3,500kg of trailer.

At the other end of the vehicle is a pair of strong diesel engines. The 2.2-litre offers 160hp and up to 43mpg, according to Ford, with 171g/km of CO2. The other engine is a 3.2-litre five-cylinder unit – punchy, certainly, at 200hp, but also surprisingly characterful, with an off-beat warble from its odd number of pots.

Transmissions are both six-speed, manual or automatic with a traditional part-time four-wheel-drive system and low-range gears for off-road work. So the running gear might be more redneck than Range Rover, but it also offers a mechanical rear differential lock and mixes this with more cutting-edge technologies in the form of a hill descending brake control to compensate for the automatic’s lesser engine braking effect, and a hill holder, which is of most use in the manual transmission versions.

In the cab it’s typically Ford: lots of standard equipment and good ergonomics. There is the usual raft of electronics, including climate control, Ford’s Sync Bluetooth with voice activation, and in the Wildtrak version an eight-inch touchscreen set-up.

The Black Edition model was also launched in 2015. Based on the Limited series just 2,500 double-cab-only units were made. It featured a de-chromed body in Absolute Black with a black finish for the radiator grille, alloy wheels, sports bar and exterior detailing. It included satellite navigation and a rear-view camera.

Ranger reliability seems pretty good overall, but with a couple of isolated drivetrain issues. The 2.2-litre had an engine management fault – shared with the same unit in the Transit – where it could cut out, a problem often related to the auto stop/start system.

Also, four-wheel drive Rangers suffered from some auto transmission control unit problems, plus one or two reports of rear propshaft bearing failure. Generally, however, the engines are strong, the build quality fine, and high mileages nothing to be worried about.

Five best options

1) 3.2-litre engine
2) Wildtrak trim
3) Double cab
4) Automatic transmission
5) Black Edition

Five best avoided

1) 2.2-litre engine
2) XLT trim  
3) Super cab
4) Two-wheel drive
5) Aftermarket accessories


Second-hand buys





Price ex.VAT

2.2TDCi XLT Double-Cab





3.2TDCi Wildtrak Double-Cab





2.2TDCi Limited Super-Cab





3.2TDCi Wildtrak Double-Cab





2.2TDCi XLT Double-Cab