What is it?
The Ranger Wildtrak four-door pick-up is the latest Ford offering to the lifestyle SUV market. What was once a rudimentary builder’s friend gets an up-to-date design inspired by Ford’s Kinetic styling, a 154bhp 3.0-litre turbodiesel engine, a proper double cab, heated Alcantara front seats, electric folding door mirrors and a suitably funky centre console and dash with inclinometer.
A towing capacity of 3000kg, low-range transfer box, impressive off-road ability and a good turning circle means that jetski or boat owners should be able to move anything short of the QE2 down to the waterline and back.
What’s it like?
Most Ranger drivers will need little of this all-terrain potential and be much more concerned with on-road stability, handling and refinement. The new, free-revving turbodiesel has a class-leading 280lb ft of torque at 1800rpm, allowing relaxed motorway cruising and comfortable, if well planned, overtaking. Wind noise at 70mph is quite obtrusive, but no more so than in any of the four-wheel-drive competition.
Car owners might also take some time to get accustomed to the ladder chassis and live, leaf-sprung rear axle. It excels at absorbing large potholes, but the ride suffers over transverse ridges and can be surprisingly jittery on apparently smooth road surfaces.