The Ford Ranger is the top dog of the UK pick-up truck market. Its dominance is so great it’s on the verge of reaching Hoover or Sellotape status. That’s because its nabbed about 60% of the market. Not even the Ford Transit van can claim that, and that really is up there with greats like Google when it comes to common parlance.
The Ranger has been around for a long time but this is the facelifted and constantly revamped version of second instalment of the Ranger. The first model arrive in the late Nineties, hung around for ten years or so and failed to dethrone the plethora of Japanese pick-ups on sale. The likes of the Toyota Hilux, Mitsubishi L200 and the Nissan Navara. But the next Ranger really caught everyone’s attention with its size and American swagger.
This is the updated version of that same generation model. A truck that presently has the market almost all to itself except for the Isuzu D-Max, Ssangyong Musso and Toyota Hilux.
The looks unquestionably have something to do with the Ranger’s success, but the Ford Ranger also has a massive and competitive range with single cab variants, a scaled-up Super Cab, and the ubiquitous double cabs that are the most popular.
There are four official trim levels too – that’s excluding the seriously spectacular Ford Ranger Raptor version. Standard trims start with XL as the base followed by XLT. There’s then Limited and the highest spec Ford Ranger Wildtrak. The Wildtrak has become something of a brand in itself. Often referred to by customers and admirers without the Ranger name ahead of it. That’s because they make up the bulk of the sales as they combine luxury with working skills.
Because of the Wildtrak success, Ford has rather sensibly built on that trim level for other models. They made a limited-edition Ranger Wildtrak X that was limited to 1000 units and sported the iconic and rather attractive Ford Performance Blue as its paintjob. Other versions have followed including the Ford Ranger Thunder and Ford Ranger Stormtrak. Both of these were even more luxurious and relatively speaking better value than Wildtrak trucks.
The big surprise, however, was the success of the workhorse Ford Ranger Wolftrak. This utilitarian, back-to-basics model proved an instant hit, selling out almost immediately. It is due to be replaced by a similar model in the next generation Ford Ranger called the Ford Ranger Tremor.
There are luxury lifestyle pick-ups and then there is the Ford Ranger. Someone, Ford just manages to nail the working environment and also deliver a feel-good feeling to its pick-ups.
The Ranger works as a basic vehicle, with rubber mats, wipeable surfaces and hard-wearing fabrics in its XL and XLT models. Then the Limited steps it up a notch with the introduction of a bit more tech. Here is where you’ll find the nice to have features like a proper infotainment system rather than just a basic radio. There’s electric seats, smartphone mirroring for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and front and rear parking sensors. The Limited is really the all-round value model in the range. It’s a top-notch truck, but Ford wants you to have more.
That’s where the Wildtrak comes in. That gives you sat-nav, and then all the fancy Wildtrak branding including the leather seats, steering wheel and gear stick with orange stitching. You’ll get a load of other safety features too, but essentially the Wildtrak is the model for the looks and the Limited in the model for the savvy.
The cabin for all models, though, is extremely comfortable and effortlessly practical. There’s good storage in the centre console of the transmission tunnel where you’ll find a couple of cupholders, a large compartment where your elbow sits, and a tray right at the front under the dash.
The dials are simple and straightforward. You can hit and twist any of the buttons without any bother. It looks neat and tidy, but its not overly complicated. The same can be said of the dials straight ahead of you. Nice glowing needles, clear simple displays. It’s what you want.
Best of all, it all looks integrated and very much like a upmarket car. It’s not like the bits and bobs approach you find in so many of the Japanese pick-ups. Ford has nailed the interior, just like it has with its vans from the tiny Ford Transit Courier through to the large and electrified Ford E-Transit.
This is a review of the Ford Ranger (2015 – 2022) a new model will be launched in 2023