Ford Ranger packing the muscles
With the F-150 being such a massive hit in the US, Ford is looking to have similar success with the Ranger, which sits one notch below its stablemate. Considered a mid-size pickup, it has been extremely successful in Australia as it is predominantly used in the countryside regions.
The Ranger nameplate came to prominence in 1998 when the company struck a partnership with Mazda in which they shared a lot of the same parts. I would often see pickups from both brands on the road and was a bit confused. However, the concept isn’t a new one as many automakers have always done this to lower production cost as well as work collaboratively with others. A most noticeable example of this is Kia and Hyundai, who share their technology and engines with each other.
After going their separate ways, Ford, in 2011, decided to redesign the Ranger, calling it the T6 model. This version looks bulkier and more dominant on the road. There are also pronounced textile elements throughout the vehicle as the bumper protrudes from the front fascia and the word ‘Ranger’ is embedded at the top of the grille. The protruding character lines that run over the wheel arches and along the lower half of the vehicle add to the robust design theme.
The appearance will alter a little, based on the three main trim levels of the model. First, there is the Limited version of the Ranger, which sports chrome grille and side mirrors along with 17-inch alloy wheels. Then there is the Wildtrak, with a black front grille, 18-inch aluminium wheels, and I usually see them in more vibrant colours.
Finally, there is the Ranger Raptor. This is the top of the line, where the regular grille is replaced with a block-letter Ford grille in all black. In addition, it has 17-inch aluminium wheels with 33-inch BFGoodrich tires. Overall, it looks like a beast as it is visibly much higher than the two others and has more pronounced wheel arches to make it wider.
All this means that the Ranger is available in two body styles, regular cab and double cab, and seven trim levels, along with four engine choices.
The model I tested was the double cab XLT version, which has a respectable ground clearance of 9.3 inches and a running board to assist with getting into the vehicle. Once on the inside, the layout is similar to its younger sibling, the Everest, as it also shares the two-tone finish. The good thing about Ford is that if you are accustomed to one interior, then the learning curve is minimal to non-existent for another model. The software behind the 8-inch infotainment system is SYNC 3, which works fairly simply for tasks such as syncing your phone or controlling multimedia. My only gripe is that there could be more fluidity with it and the steering mounted controls.
This trim level also comes with a push-button start and a steering wheel that can adjust for height but not reach.
The interior is spacious and can easily fit two large adults at the front and the back as well. Plus, there are the typical things you expect from a workhorse pickup such as adequate storage in the centre armrest and sizeable door bins to hold water bottles. A welcome surprise are the two USB ports in the centre console as the Everest I test-drove only had one in the same spot.
Around the back, the length of the bed is 1549mm while the width is 1139mm. It is able to carry a maximum cargo volume of 1.18 cubic metre and a maximum gross payload capacity of 1,043kg.
Technology has changed over time
It is amazing how far engine technology has come. Back in the ‘80s and ‘90s, most pickups came with, at least, a 3-litre engine. Now, there are pickups with 2-litre engines that use less gas and can do more work. This model has a 2.2-litre diesel engine, paired with a six-speed transmission, and can be upgraded to a 3.2-litre engine if you desire more power.
The handling of the vehicle is quite good as there is responsiveness with the steering and nice all-round visibility. It being a pickup, it is evident that you are in a vehicle with a high centre of gravity, so taking corners at high speeds is not encouraged.
A vehicle like this shines offroad and not around town, and for that reason, the 4-wheel-drive system can be easily engaged with designated buttons to control the differentials. This also allows the driver to smoothly move from rear-wheel drive to 4-wheel drive without having to stop the vehicle. With an impressive ride height and approach angle, the Ranger is capable of traversing rugged and washed-out landscapes easily.
The pickup market in Jamaica is saturated with a lot of good vehicles, so my advice to any buyer is to test-drive all the models you can. The Ranger gives a good blend of practicality and technology that every workman will appreciate.
2022 Ranger XLT 2.2Litre JMD 8.640 million
Other option: 2022 Ranger XLT 3.2Litre 8.590 million
Towing Capacity: 3 500 kg
Fuel tank: 68 litres
Gas consumption: 9.4 L/ 100 km
Body Type: Mid-size pickup
Competition: Mazda BT50, Toyota Hilux, VW Amarok, Nissan Frontier