A new generation Ford Ranger is arriving at the end of the year with the halo Raptor performance truck leading the charge, but in the meantime Ford is keeping the flame burning for the current model with a series of special edition versions, such as the Stormtrak, driven here.

This is a bit like turning the screw on the competition – in a market that has shrunk in recent years with the withdrawal of Mitsubishi, Nissan, Mercedes and Volkswagen – Ford’s dominance has grown.

In the year to 30 April the Ranger was the UK’s fourth best-selling LCV overall with 5,258 sales and in 2021 it lorded it over the pick-up segment, outselling its nearest rival, the Toyota Hilux, by almost two to one (17,830 v 9,562).

Based on the Wildtrak, which was the flagship Ranger until the Raptor came along, the Stormtrak is unashamedly a lifestyle pick-up. Our truck came in red with black stripes and exclusive bonnet and side panel decals, three dimensional Stormtrak badges and 18in alloys plus lashings of leather in the interior.

Features of the well-specified cabin include an 8in touchscreen with SYNC 3 connectivity and sat-nav, a cool box in the centre console, front and rear parking sensors and a fixed rear-view camera. The driver’s seat is eight-way power adjustable, making it a simple task to find the best position and both the driver and front passenger seats are heated.

Safety equipment includes tyre pressure sensors, lane keeping aid, traffic sign recognition and a collision mitigation system. In addition, the truck we tested came with the Wildtrak Driver Assistance Pack with Park for an extra-cost option of £1,104, excluding VAT. This comprises active park assist and adaptive cruise control, driver alert system, auto high beam and head up alert.

The power comes from Ford’s range-topping 213hp 2.0l bi-turbo Ecoblue diesel engine, which produces a hefty 500Nm of torque. The powertrain is married to the manufacturer’s consummately smooth ten-speed automatic transmission and consequently, ride quality, performance and handling are all exemplary. When coupled with the well-weighted, sharp steering that gives reassuring feedback, the result is that the Stormtrak (like the rest of the Ranger line-up) can be driven far harder than any other pick-up on offer without putting you in fear of coming unstuck.

If you venture off-road, selectable four-wheel drive is available via a simple to use, centrally-positioned dial. 

Despite its considerable bling appeal, the Stormtrak is a capable working pick-up truck with a braked towing capacity of 3.5t and a payload of just over 1.0t. Load length is 1,575mm by width of 1,560mm, narrowing to 1,139mm between the wheel arches.

The Stormtrak’s load bed also gets as standard the Power Roller Shutter, which is optional on Wildtrak. The shutter can be operated via the key fob or by buttons located in the load bed or inside the cabin on the dashboard.

Loads too bulky to fit under the cover, such as the garden waste we took to a local recycling centre (see picture), can be secured by fitting bungee ropes to the half dozen tie down hooks in the cargo area.

Ford Ranger Stormtrak 2.0L Ecoblue 10-speed auto

Price (ex VAT) £35,672

Price range (ex VAT) £25,591-£50,616

Insurance group 45E

Warranty 3yrs/60,000mls

Service intervals 12,500mls

Load length 1,575mm

Load width (min/max) 1,139/1,560mm

Load bay height 511mm

Gross payload 1,024kg

Engine size/power 1,996cc/213hp

Combined fuel economy 36.2mpg

CO2 201g/km