• The Ranger might appear to have blunt styling, but it is surprisingly aerodynamic
  • Halogen headlamps have daytime running lights at their outer edge
  • This front end is an aerodynamic design, believe it or not
  • Side steps aid access to cabin
  • A higher beltline than the old Ranger, for higher flatbed sides and therefore more cargo space, was in Ford’s design brief
  • Control ergonomics are good and handbrake is of the old-fashioned mechanical type
  • Six-speaker stereo is unexpectedly punchy; you could throw open the doors and have Elvis Presley grace your picnic if you choose
  • Dual-zone climate control is a real luxury, especially as many pick-ups still do without air conditioning
  • It’s a climb to get aboard, but there’s lots of room once you’re in
  • Leg and headroom in the Wildtrak’s rear cabin are on a par with a medium-sized family 4x4
  • You’d expect visibility to be good - and it is, to the nearside particularly so. Commanding driving position helps
  • Tailgate is rated to hold 200kg. It locks with the main key, but not via the remote central locking
  • For a car so vast, it both gains and loses speed quite impressively
  • Easy pulling power is what this powertrain is specified to deliver, and that it achieves very well
  • If you pay for any of your own fuel, have a 148bhp 2.2-litre Double Cab auto; if you don’t, go for the full fat 197bhp 3.2-litre
  • A crude ride gives away the Ranger’s utilitarian intent
  • Limit handling in a car like this isn’t about entertainment; it’s about security and the Ranger is all but failsafe
  • Great value and our favourite pick-up

Any judgement here depends entirely on your frame of reference. Compared to the on-road dynamic standards of most pick-up trucks, the Ford Ranger deserves a glowing recommendation, but those aren’t the standards that we’re used to applying in this here parish.

And given that Ford’s ambition for this car is to lure 4x4 drivers into the pick-up fold, neither are they the ones we should apply now.

Matt Prior

Road test editor
The body is unsettled in fast direction changes, but it doesn’t feel overly precarious

Which is why ‘competent’ is about as generously as we can describe the way the Ranger conducts itself on UK roads. It handles very well, considering that it’s a 5.4m-long 2.2-tonner with an unusually high centre of roll, hybrid off-road tyres and a large lump of iron for a rear axle. It’s better, in fact, than one or two passenger cars we could mention, the Land Rover Defender being one.

But in the ride department particularly, the Ranger is no match for a well sorted 4x4 like a Santa Fe or Freelander. While bumps are dealt with adequately enough, every one is felt and then bodily amplified. It reminds you that, unless you’ve got a dirt bike in the back and you’re careering down a broken forest path, you’re just not using this car properly.

People who like pick-ups, and who use them as the maker intended, probably quite like that about them. But if you like Honda CR-Vs and don’t need the added utility, you probably won’t.

Considering the high-profile multi-purpose tyres it’s on, the Ranger’s handling is quite tidy. Its steering is weighty and direct enough, allowing you to carve fairly quick and precise lines through corners, where body roll is reasonably well contained.

Lateral grip levels are modest on asphalt, but sufficient to allow this giant to feel almost as secure and composed as most big family cars at legal speeds. But again, ‘competent’ is the defining term.

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week