Ford Ranger Black Edi­tion Dou­ble Cab 2.2 TDCI 160PS

List price inc VAT £34,495 List price ex VAT £28,796

What Car? - - Comparison -

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

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