Ford Ranger Double Cab Limited 2.2 TDCi
Sector: Pickup Price: £26,400 Fuel: 32.8mpg CO2: 228g/km
The Ranger may be a relative newcomer to Europe, but it’s a well-established nameplate in North America. Its latest incarnation is a bit different, the first to join the carmaker’s growing range of ‘world cars’, and despite its Ford USA silver-embellished front end this oh-so-American pickup was developed in Australia.
A tank-like large pickup can make a lot of sense for company car drivers. Ranger’s 1.1 tonne payload, means it’s classed as a light commercial vehicle, qualifying for a flat BiK rate regardless of the purchase price, and cut-down NI contributions too. Consider this one of the most affordable ways to get yourself the practicality and commanding driving position of a SUV.
Standard equipment on the Limited model is anything but limited. The Doublecab seats five and includes almost everything you’d expect in an equivalent large SUV. Cruise control, dual zone climate control, Bluetooth and USB connectivity and a powerful audio system add up to something which doesn’t feel like a piece of heavy machinery.
What you also get is one of the most commanding driving positions on the road. Ranger towers over almost everything on the road. It’s huge, overhanging most parking spaces front to back and filling them side to side. Regardless of costs, this won’t suit those with limited parking space at work or at home.
But what will really sell the Ranger is the reassuring feeling that very little can get in the way of completing a journey. High and low ratio four wheel drive (which can be engaged on the move), an 800mm wading depth and massive ground clearance mean British weather is unlikely to stop this in its tracks, and it’ll tow up to 3.35 tonnes too.
None of this muscularity interferes with driveability. Gearchanges feel heavy and mechanical and the 2.2-litre diesel tested here isn’t as quiet as a road-focused SUV, but its low rumble isn’t overly agricultural and it’s quick enough to keep pace with normal road users.
The only drawback is high spring rates, which make it bounce around when the load bed is empty. This is an interesting alternative to the soft-road brigade, regardless.
A big improvement over its Mazda-derived predecessor, Ranger excels as an accessible route to spacious and well-equipped off-roading tool for company car drivers. It’s thirstier than most road-going SUVs, and the unladen ride quality is firm, but once you accept it for its rugged quirks it’s a thoroughly characterful way to get about.