In the most popular double cab guise, which will take about three quarters of sales, the Euro5 Ranger initially comes with a choice of two powertrains, a 2.2-litre 150hp duratorq TDCI and a 3.2-litre 200hp duratorq TDCI mated to six-speed manual or automatic transmissions.

The 125hp double cab will be available to order from January but will not go into production until mid-2012.

Trim levels include the entry level XL, the mid-level XLT and the top of the range Limited and Wildtrak models and both 4×2 and selectable 4×4 versions are offered.

The 2.2 150hp XLT double cab, priced at £19,362, is expected to be the best selling model due to its appeal to large fleets.

“It’s the fleets that buy in volume,” said Nick Readings, CV marketing manager, Ford of Europe.

The XLT double cab has claimed payloads of 1137kg for the auto and 1152kg for the manual.

Owner operators and customers who want the Ranger as a dual purpose leisure and business vehicle are expected to favour the flagship Limited and Wildtrak versions.

The sophisticated new Ranger marks a change of approach by Ford to the pick-up sector compared to its utilitarian predecessor and joins a marketplace that has recently become more competitive with the arrival of the well–received VW Amarok.

Although the Mitsubishi L200 has long set the pace in the UK, in Europe as a whole the Toyota Hilux and Nissan Navara are the market leaders and Ford has set these two rivals as its benchmarks.

Reading said the UK is Ford’s biggest market for pick-ups in Europe, accounting for up to 30% of sales, which is likely to work out at 7000 to 9000 units a year depending on the overall total.

Although Ford will offer the truck in both 4×4 and 4×2 guises, the four-wheel drive iteration will dominate, taking nine out of 10 sales.

Ford has announced the new Ranger is the first pick-up to receive the maximum 5-Star Euro NCAP rating – scoring 89% for overall safety, including 81% for pedestrian safety, which the manufacturer claimed is the highest ever score for any vehicle.