Ford Ranger Review 2024: Pickup Excellence 

The Ford Ranger is a name synonymous with rugged reliability and impressive versatility. With its latest iteration, Ford has pulled out all the stops to ensure this pickup remains a top contender in its class.  

Here’s a detailed look at what makes the Ford Ranger an exceptional choice for both work and play. 

Ford has revolutionised its Ranger pickup in this fourth-generation form, infusing it with more attitude and a lifestyle-oriented appeal that aligns perfectly with its robust nature.  

Inside, it offers car-like refinement, but remains a true pickup with impressive cargo capacity, torque, and traction. If you’re in the market for a truck, this might just be your ideal match. 

Interested in seeing the Ford Ranger in action? Watch our in-depth Ford Ranger Review now

Background 

When it comes to pickups, the Ford name is unavoidable.  

Represented in this segment since the turn of the century by the versatile Ranger, Ford’s fourth-generation design directly targets the burgeoning lifestyle market, without sacrificing the rugged capabilities that appeal to business operators. 

Globally, Japanese brands have long dominated the pickup sector, yet Ford’s heritage in this segment is unparalleled, with light truck sales reaching millions in the US.  

Even the iconic Model T of the early 1900s had a truck variant. Historically, these vehicles were as tough as they were basic.  

Today’s market, however, places more importance on lifestyle appeal than ever before, with the Ranger model line crafted in direct response to this shift. 

Evolution of the Ranger 

The Ranger’s journey began in 1999, replacing the lacklustre Cortina and Sierra-based P100 pickup models.  

The second-generation model of 2006 marked a significant improvement, updated in 2009, yet it wasn’t until the 2012 third-generation model that the Ranger truly began to shine.  

Enhanced in 2015 and with a new powertrain in 2019, the Ranger became the class leader by the time this fourth-generation model was introduced in late 2021. 

What is the design like? 

Design

In recent years, the Ranger has faced diminishing competition. Brands like Mitsubishi, Nissan, Mercedes, and Fiat have exited the segment, leaving Ford’s Ranger as a standout.  

Sharing key components with the second-generation Volkswagen Amarok, this Ranger benefits from Ford-led engineering, making it a pivotal model for the brand. 

Designed and engineered in Australia, built in South Africa and Thailand, and featuring a new 3.0-litre turbo diesel engine assembled in Dagenham, the Ranger is a global product.  

It caters not only to traditional pickup users like farmers and builders but also to self-employed individuals seeking a vehicle that doubles as a lifestyle accessory. 

How is the Ford Ranger to drive? 

Stepping into the Ranger’s cabin, one might find the digital screen technology at odds with the utilitarian image of a pickup. Yet, you still sit commandingly, greeted by a familiar diesel rumble.  

The array of diesel engines on offer might lack modern electrification, but other advancements in the Ranger’s evolution are palpable. 

Automatic variants feature a unique 10-speed transmission, marshalled by an e-shifter. Initial impressions vary depending on your prior experience.  

Coming from an SUV, the Ranger might feel clunky over speed bumps and potholes due to its ladder frame chassis and utilitarian rear suspension. However, pickup regulars will note improved steering responsiveness and better-controlled body roll. 

The Ranger’s ride is smoother, thanks to repositioned rear suspension dampers. The upper-range models feature a 3.0-litre V6 diesel with 240 PS, providing a refined drive with ample torque. 

Most Ranger buyers will choose between Ford’s single turbo and bi-turbo 2.0-litre inline four-cylinder diesels.  

The bi-turbo variant, delivering 205 PS, offers nearly as much torque as the V6 and pairs exclusively with the 10-speed automatic. This setup provides a smooth, direct transmission experience, unlike the six-speed auto in the Toyota Hilux. 

Off-Road Capabilities 

Off-road, the Ranger excels with its ladder frame chassis enhancements, improved approach angles, and versatile drive modes.  

The Terrain Management System, available on higher trims, optimises the Ranger’s capabilities across various terrains, from mud to sand. 

What does the Ford Ranger interior offer? 

Ford Ranger interior

The Ranger’s interior combines ruggedness with modern tech. The front seats are wide and comfortable, and the new e-shifter gear selector adds a touch of sophistication.  

High-quality materials abound, particularly in the plush Wildtrak variant, which features orange stitching and branded accents. 

A standout feature is the advanced screen technology. Even entry-level models boast an 8-inch digital display, with higher trims offering a 12.4-inch version.  

The SYNC 4A centre screen, available in 10.1 or 12 inches, is a user-friendly interface offering comprehensive vehicle information, off-road data, and connectivity options. 

What safety features are on offer? 

Safety is paramount in the new Ranger. Standard across all trims are features including: 

  • Pre-collision assist 
  • Lane-keeping systems 
  • Post-collision braking system 
  • Rear fog lamps 
  • Speed sign recognition 
  • Reverse park assist with braking 
  • Post impact braking 
  • Intelligent speed assistance 
  • Lane keeping aid 
  • Adaptive speed control 
  • Reverse parking aid 
  • Side/curtain, driver, and far side airbag 
  • Inflatable knee bolster passenger & driver 
  • Belt reminder Driver & passenger 
  • Thatcham alarm & security system 

Higher trims add advanced features including: 

  • Reverse brake assist 
  • Traffic sign recognition 
  • 360° camera 
  • Front & rear parking sensors 
  • Electronic Stability Control (ESC) 

Passive safety includes multiple airbags, stability control, hill start assist, and trailer sway control. 

The Ranger’s robust construction and extensive safety tech earned it a five-star Euro NCAP rating, with high scores in both adult and child occupant protection. 

Ford Ranger: Price Comparison and Rivals 

When considering the Ranger, it’s crucial to compare its pricing and features with its closest competitors.  

The Volkswagen Amarok, often seen as the Ranger’s sibling, usually comes with a price tag around £3,500 higher.  

However, this difference doesn’t account for equipment disparities. The Ranger Wildtrak, a favourite among owner-drivers, offers a more eye-catching design compared to its Amarok counterpart.  

Yet, the Amarok might appeal to those seeking a touch of refinement and slightly better resale values. 

Other rivals include the Toyota Hilux, which undercuts the base Ranger double cab by roughly £1,000. The Hilux’s closest match to the Ranger Wildtrak, the Invincible 2.8 D-4D Auto, is priced about £4,000 less.  

Even more affordable is the Isuzu D-Max, which can save buyers over £5,000 compared to the Wildtrak but lacks some of the visual appeal and features. 

However, it is important to consider that residual values for these alternatives may not be as strong. On a lease, the Ford Ranger might still offer the best value, making it a worthwhile option for prospective buyers. 

For budget-conscious buyers, the SsangYong Musso presents the most economical option, starting at under £26,000 (excluding VAT) in base EX manual form.  

While it matches the Ranger in power with its 202 PS engine, it falls short with a significantly smaller load bay length. 

Standard Specifications and Trims 

The Ford Ranger lineup offers various trims to suit different needs and budgets.  

Starting with the base XL trim, you get essential features like a 10.1-inch SYNC 4 centre screen with voice control, smartphone mirroring, an 8-inch instrument cluster display, and rear-view camera among other basics. 

As you move up to the XLT, the Ranger gains 16-inch alloy wheels, a terrain management system, heated windscreen, LED rear lights, and power-folding mirrors.  

The mid-level Tremor model further enhances off-road capabilities with a re-engineered chassis, Bilstein dampers, and additional off-road tech. 

The Wildtrak trim, a popular choice, adds bold 18-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights, keyless entry, and a rotary dial for the terrain management system. It also includes underbody protection and a comprehensive 360-degree lighting system. 

For those wanting even more, the Wildtrak X and Platinum trims offer increased ground clearance, high-performance dampers, unique styling elements, and premium interior touches like leather seats and advanced audio systems. 

Practical Features and Options 

Boot

The Ranger isn’t just about power and looks; it’s packed with practical features. The easy-lift tailgate can handle up to 200 kg and doubles as a mobile workbench.  

The cargo area offers best-in-class volume, accommodating a full-sized pallet and various load dividers. 

Ford provides a plethora of accessories to enhance the Ranger’s utility. Options include a power-to-box setup with multiple sockets, bedliners, cargo area management systems, and various tonneau covers. 

For those needing extra load flexibility, Ford’s powered roller shutter and roof-mounted accessories are invaluable. 

Ford Ranger Summary: Should you buy, lease, or finance one? 

The fourth-generation Ford Ranger seamlessly blends rugged utility with modern sophistication, making it a compelling choice in the pickup market.  

Equally at home on a work site or as a lifestyle accessory, the Ranger offers a range of trims and features tailored to different needs, providing a blend of power, practicality, and safety.  

Whether you’re hauling tools to a job site or heading out on a weekend adventure, the Ranger stands ready to tackle any challenge. 

When deciding whether to buy, lease, or finance a Ford Ranger, consider your financial situation and intended use.  

Buying is ideal for those who plan to keep the truck long-term and want to avoid mileage limits.  

Leasing may be better if you prefer lower monthly payments and the option to upgrade every few years. 

Financing can be a middle ground, offering ownership with manageable payments. Ultimately, the choice depends on your personal preferences and financial goals.

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