2020 Ford Ranger Pick-up Review
Our comprehensive guide to Europe’s best-selling pick-up truck, the Ford Ranger.
One of the premier one-tonne pick-ups on sale, the Ford Ranger. Equally in demand as a civilian vehicle as it is as a commercial machine, the Ranger competes in a class against the likes of the Mercedes X-Class, Volkswagen Amarok, Nissan Navara, Mitsubishi L200, Toyota Hilux, Fiat Fullback, Isuzu D-Max and SsangYong Musso.
Ford currently offers the Ranger with a choice of three turbodiesel engines, although one of these is due to be phased out at any time now – the cessation of production of this powerplant was due in April 2020, although the coronavirus crisis may have extended its life somewhat. There are also two different forms of cab (two-door Regular two-seat and four-door Double five-seat), as well as a choice of manual and automatic gearboxes; a 4x2 Ranger is available in other markets on the Regular-Cab models, but not here in Ireland, where all models are 4x4s.
Trim lines run XL, XLT, Limited, Wildtrak and then Raptor, with a special ‘Thunder’ model being a Wildtrak with a Performance Pack Two fitted. Only the XL variant has the choice of being either a Single-Cab or a Double-Cab model, with all other Rangers from the XLT upwards solely being Double-Cabs. A 2.0-litre EcoBlue four-cylinder turbodiesel is the new engine for the Ranger and comes in two power trims, with 170hp at the entry level and 213hp at the upper end of the range. This unit is replacing the 3.2-litre five-cylinder Duratorq motor with 200hp, which currently serves in the Limited and Wildtrak Rangers, and which is the engine due to be phased out. All three engines (170-, 200- and 213hp) come with a six-speed manual as the standard gearbox, with an option of a six-speed auto on the 3.2-litre 200hp motor and a ten-speed transmission for the 2.0-litre units.
The Regular- and Double-Cab XL models can only be had with the 170hp manual configuration, and the same goes for the solitary XLT in the line-up as well. At the Limited level, there’s a choice of the 170hp unit with either gearbox and then the 200hp manual (while stocks last), while the Wildtrak is on changeover from manual and automatic versions of the 3.2-litre five-cylinder to manual and automatic versions of the 2.0-litre four-cylinder lump; at the moment, all four drivetrains show on Irish price lists. Both the Thunder and the Raptor come solely with the ten-speed automatic gearbox and the 213hp engine. All drivetrains currently on sale meet Stage 6.2 emissions regulations.
In terms of dimensions, the XL and XLT Raptors are 5,282mm long, while the Limited and Wildtrak (and Thunder, by extension) are 5,359mm from tip to tail. The Raptor is marginally longer again, at 5,363mm. All Rangers are 2,163mm wide across their mirrors (and 1,977mm with the mirrors folded in), except for the Raptor, which – due to front and rear tracks that measure 1,710mm rather than the standard 1,560mm – has wider wheel arches and is therefore 2,180mm at its widest, or 2,028mm excluding mirrors. Every model of Ranger, Raptor included, has a 3,220mm wheelbase and the heights across the range are 1,800mm (XL Regular-Cab), 1,815mm (XL Double-Cab and XLT), 1,821mm (Limited), 1,848mm (Wildtrak and Thunder) and 1,873mm (Raptor).
These measurements lead to the following load box data: the XL Regular-Cab has the longest loading bay, with a 2,317mm maximum figure, while the XL Double-Cab, XLT and Limited have a 1,613mm bed, the Wildtrak and Thunder have the shortest 1,545mm bed and the Raptor records 1,575mm; all models’ maximum load-bed width is 1,560mm, with a full 1,139mm between the rear arches; every model up to and including the Limited has a load-bed height at the centre-line of the rear axle of 511mm, while the Wildtrak and upwards possess an equivalent figure of 541mm; and the loading height of the bed measures 835mm from the ground on the XL and XLT Rangers, 840mm on the Limited, 857mm on the Wildtrak and Thunder, and 906mm on the Raptor.
When it comes to their purpose as commercial vehicles, the flagship Raptor is the weak link in the chain; this is because it has been developed as a high-speed off-road civilian vehicle that just happens to be based on a pick-up truck, but Ford Commercial Vehicles Ireland is responsible for selling the Raptor alongside its more business-oriented siblings nonetheless. However, thanks to its kerb weight of 2,510kg and the lowest gross vehicle weight (GVW) of any Ranger at 3,130kg (rest of the range: 3,270kg), this means the Raptor can take a mere 620kg maximum payload in its bed. Every other model surpasses the tonne, ranging from 1,024-1,140kg on the Double-Cab models and up to 1,252kg on the Regular-Cab XL. Similarly, while every regular Ranger in the line-up is rated to tow 750kg of unbraked trailer and 3,500kg of braked trailer, the Raptor can only match the first of these figures, as its in-built rear towing hitch is part of the frame and so it can only haul 2,500kg of braked trailer. It also has a lower gross train weight of 5,350kg, when the other Rangers are rated at six tonnes.
However, it has greater off-roading prowess as a result. It has 281mm of ground clearance (XL and XLT 232mm, Limited, Wildtrak and Thunder 237mm), has an approach angle of 32.5 degrees (XL and XLT 28 degrees, Limited, Wildtrak and Thunder 29 degrees) and can wade through 850mm of water (all other models 800mm). It does have the smallest departure angle, though, of 24 degrees (all other models 27 degrees), while its 24-degree ramp breakover angle matches all models bar the Limited, Wildtrak and Thunder at 25 degrees. The Raptor also has the largest kerb-to-kerb turning circle at 12.9 metres, compared to 12.7 metres for all other Rangers, although every model in the line-up has a tilt angle of 35 degrees.
When it comes to specification and visuals, the XL is the most utilitarian of the Rangers. It comes with 16-inch steel wheels, a black front bumper, radiator grille and door handles, and a plain under-run bar at the back. Equipment is reasonably generous, including electrically operated and heated door mirrors, Emergency Brake Assist, Intelligent Speed Assist, Traffic Sign Recognition, Lane Keeping Assist, Intelligent Speed Assist, a Speed Limiter, ESC, intermittent wiper functionality, the EasyFuel filler cap and an EasyLift tailgate (with manual locking), non-locking wheel nuts, rear mud flaps, a load rest, the Quickclear heated windscreen, manual air conditioning, cruise control, a radio with Bluetooth, USB and aux-in, shift-on-the-fly 4x4, electric front windows with a one-shot-down operation on the driver’s side and a six-way adjustable driver’s seat, plus a second power point in the instrument cluster.
The XLT is more stylish to look at and comfortable to be in, adding 16-inch alloys, a chrome-look finish for all of the door handles, mirror caps, radiator grille and the under-run bar, plastic moulded side steps for the passenger compartment, front fog lights, a load box liner with a 12-volt socket, a powered tailgate lock, power-operated heated and folding door mirrors, automatic lights and wipers, a radio/CD/DAB with a 4.2-inch TFT screen, SYNC with Voice Control, AppLink, Emergency Assistance, a leather-trimmed multifunction steering wheel, an auto-dimming interior mirror, and an overhead storage console.
Limited is even more plush, with 17-inch alloys, keyless entry and go with the Ford Power start button, a rear-view camera, rear parking sensors, bi-Xenon headlights with LED daytime running lamps, a chrome tubular sports bar in the load bed, rear privacy glass, SYNC 3 infotainment with an eight-inch touchscreen, both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto support, an eight-way power-adjustable and heated driver’s seat, leather upholstery, Ranger-logo floor mats, a power converter and a rear power point in the cabin. Wildtrak is further step up and enlarges the alloy wheels to 18s, while bringing in a titanium-effect look for the side steps, radiator grille, door handles, rear step and door mirrors which now house side repeaters. The Wildtrak also switches the load-bed hoop to a sports item and adds Active Park Assist, navigation for the SYNC 3 system, specific part-leather upholstery, ambient lighting and finally Wildtrak-logo floor mats.
The Raptor is the ultimate specification of Ranger, but it’s not cheap as a result. It has its own, muscular body styling, complete with decals and wider wheel arches, while the interior features bespoke suede trim, a sportier instrument cluster and perforated-leather steering wheel, fully stocked equipment levels and also Fox long-travel dampers, which are part of what makes it such a competent machine off-road. It is as well to almost consider the Raptor as a separate entity to the rest of the Ranger offering.
On WLTP figures, the Ranger emits as little as 216g/km of CO2 and will achieve 8.3 litres/100km (34mpg) as a 170hp manual, rising to 281g/km and 10.8 litres/100km (26.2mpg) as the Raptor. Ford Commercial Vehicles Ireland’s standard warranty is for just two years, but is unlimited mileage in that time, while extended cover can be purchased for a fee.
The Ford Ranger is such a top-selling pick-up for good reason, as it has an appealing blend of practicality and attractive looks. The flagship Raptor is a technological tour de force but perhaps not the greatest CV out there, but the rest of the range has plenty to recommend it to the business user.