WHAT STANDS OUT
Like most new utes, the Ranger drives more like a car than a truck. It works as a family hauler as well as a daily work hack, and that all-round ability is a big plus. Steering is light, safety is up to scratch and it goes really well off-road.
The 3.2-litre Ford Ranger has lots of power compared to its competitors. The engine is a five-cylinder turbo diesel and makes 147kW and 470Nm. There’s also a smaller 2.2-litre diesel, which is good on fuel, but can feel a bit sluggish.
The rugged suspension is quite bouncy over bumps when there’s no weight in the tray, but utes of this type are all like that. It’s far from sporty, but Ranger is one of the best as far as far as cornering goes.
How nice the Ranger is inside depends a lot on which model you buy. Cheaper models are basic and feel plasticky, whereas the more expensive Rangers are nicely trimmed and have loads of gear. A reversing camera – which is critical when trying to park this big ute – now comes standard across all but the most tradie focused models.
All Rangers get cruise control, Bluetooth and iPod integration, auto headlights and adjustable lumbar support on the driver’s seat, which is the saviour for your lower back. Ranger also has front, side and curtain airbags in all models except the basic XL single cab-chassis, which has just the two forward airbags.
Driver assists include a hill start function that stops the Ranger rolling back when launching on a slope, and trailer sway control to stop oscillation when towing. All 4WD and High-Rider Rangers get a locking rear diff for off-roading, and all except the XL Plus get a 230-volt inverter for running small electrical equipment.
Like pretty much all utes, the Ranger is pricey, but the higher-end models deliver a significantly better package overall. The 3.2-litre engine is better for towing, quieter and more relaxed when highway cruising.
We’d buy the Ranger XLT 3.2 4x4 dual cab. It’s got the right balance of features including sat-nav and tyre pressure monitoring, and can be optioned with the tech pack for extra driving aids. It also gets the towing kit so it can haul three and a half tonnes even with passengers inside.
The Ford Ranger is a best-seller for good reason. It competes at the top of the pile for size, power, and ability, and should be on the cards if you’re in the market for a flexible, no nonsense ute.