Ford Ranger Black Edition Double Cab 2.2 TDCI 160PS
List price inc VAT £34,495 List price ex VAT £28,796
THE IDEA OF a luxury pick-up is nothing new; the Americans have been building and buying them for ages, making use of a tax loophole that allows small business owners to purchase a fully loaded ‘truck’ for far less than an equivalent luxury saloon. It’s one of the reasons why the Ford F-150 isn’t just the best-selling pick-up in the US; it’s the bestselling vehicle in the world.
The tax nuances in the UK are a little different, of course, but the effect is the same: more buyers than ever are buying pick-ups, and the Ford Ranger, following in the footsteps of its American relative, is the best-selling one yet.
It’s easy to see why from behind the wheel. Indeed, by pick-up standards, the interior is relatively upmarket; the plastics feel solid and well screwed together, the switches and knobs are all slick in operation and higher-spec models such as this Black Edition come packed with technology such as Ford’s Sync 3 infotainment system.
But where the Ranger really sets itself apart from the pack is on the road. Turn in to a tight corner and immediately you come to appreciate the steering’s accuracy and response, as well as the Ranger’s resistance to body lean compared with its rivals. And while the ride can be a little choppy around town, it settles down at higher speeds or when you put some weight in the bed.
Our only real complaint relates to the engine and gearbox, because while on paper the Ranger sports respectable payload and towing capacities, in reality its 158bhp 2.2-litre diesel feels asthmatic. It doesn’t pull with the fervour you’d expect from a heavy-duty pick-up, and it sends plenty of vibrations through the steering wheel and pedals.
We’d also recommend opting for a manual gearbox, because the six-speed automatic fitted to our test car was the most sluggish, dim-witted and powersapping of the lot.
Ranger leans the least in corners, plus it has the most accurate steering and the most grip; its engine is somewhat asthmatic, though
1 The Sync 3 infotainment system is sharp and responsive but not that intuitive to use2 All the switches and knobs are conveniently laid out and can be used while wearing gloves 3 Standard eight-way electric seats allow you to tailor your driving position perfectly
ve tall adults, although shoulder room could be better in the back
There’s plenty of head and leg room front and rear for four or