What is it?
This is the first pick-up created under the ‘One Ford’ banner, which means it’s designed to be sold in the same form worldwide — except of course in the US, where a completely different Ranger is already sold. Built in Thailand, the new-generation Ranger combines the handsome, chunky looks of an American pick-up with a more modern platform, engines and electronics than that of the previous, Mazda-developed model, as well as a relatively plush cabin in the case of our Double Cab Limited test car, driven for the first time on British roads.
The four-door Double Cab is one of three body styles available, the other two being a two-door Regular Cab and a halfway-house Super Cab with small rear suicide doors like those of a Mazda RX-8. The Regular Cab is obviously the true workhorse of the trio, with a 2.3-metre-long load bay and a net payload of 1.2 tonnes. Those figures shrink to 1.56 metres and a fraction over a tonne for the more family-friendly Double Cab. The 4x4 models can also tow a braked trailer weighing up to 3350kg, making the Ranger a pretty versatile load lugger.
The engine line-up is restricted to two diesels – a 148bhp 2.2-litre four-pot and a 197bhp 3.2-litre straight five – and a six-speed manual gearbox is standard in all models, with a six-speed automatic optional in the Double Cab Limited 2.2 TDCi and Double Cab Wildtrak 3.2 TDCi. Most models have an electronically controlled, switch-on-the-fly four-wheel drive system that offers a choice of rear-wheel drive only for road use and high or low-range 4x4 for venturing into the rough stuff.
With pick-ups increasingly being called upon to widen their brief beyond the traditional workhorse role, the new Ranger comes with all of the safety and convenience features you'd expect of any modern road car, including electronic stability control, hill descent control, hill start assist, automatic headlights and wipers and all the Bluetooth/USB connectivity you could want inside. The cabin is relatively smart and car-like, too, successfully taking the Ranger away from its utilitarian roots.