The Ford Ranger’s global history is a tale of not one truck but two. First, in 1982, came the US-market Ranger, a smaller sibling to the F-series and leviathan-like Super Duty. Exports began to South America in 1995.

The ‘other’ Ranger pick-up was, until now, actually a version of the Japanese-built Mazda B-series, rebadged for markets outside of the Americas and known as the Courier until 1998. It’s this version of the Ranger, and not the US version, that British buyers have come to know.

The work of Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs department may not be universally admired, but for the owners of pick-up trucks, it could be.

Previously, before paying less tax than the next man become a major sociopathic gaffe, the benefit-in-kind rules on light commercial vehicles made pick-ups an attractive buy.

You could run a leather-upholstered, highly equipped, five-seat double-cab flatbed as a fleet car and pay a fraction of the company car tax that the owner of even a plug-in hybrid would.

In 2007, the government addressed the LCV loophole, increasing benefit-in-kind liability from £500 to a flat £3000, irrespective of CO2. But even having done that, the owner of this 5.4m-long, all-wheel-drive pick-up could pay several hundreds a month less in company car tax than he would for a Land Rover Freelander, depending on model.

If you’ve ever wondered why you see so many pick-ups on UK roads, wonder no longer. Our stage is set, then, for a vehicle mixing the quality, refinement and handling of a passenger car with the toughness and capability of an old-school pick-up.

But is the Ford Ranger really that car?

Save money on your car insurance

Compare quotesCompare insurance quotes

First drives

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Dallara Stradale
    The Stradale is the first road-legel car from Italian motorsport constructor Dallara
    First Drive
    16 March 2018
    The motorsport constructor's first road car is inspired by Lotus minimalism. Does it thrill on road and track?
  • Hyundai i30 N
    Standard spec is good so paint colour is our car’s only option
    First Drive
    16 March 2018
    What’s Hyundai’s first hot hatch and N-brand debutant really like? Let’s find out
  • Porsche Boxster GTS
    This is the new GTS version of the Porsche Boxster
    First Drive
    15 March 2018
    The 718-generation Boxster is our favourite roadster of the moment – so is this new GTS variant worth the extra outlay?
  • BMW 5 Series
    First Drive
    15 March 2018
    The BMW 5 Series is top of the mid-exec pack, but is there still room for a diesel saloon in everyday family life?
  • Audi A7 front
    First Drive
    14 March 2018
    The new Audi A7 Sportback looks the part, but how does the new Mercedes-Benz CLS rival cope on UK roads? We find out