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[NEWS] Ford Ranger

Ford Ranger

ford ranger wildtrack review 2023 01 tracking front
Terrain-tearing Ranger Raptor has taken great strides, but has the best-selling Wildtrak as well?

Not many people know this: the Ford Ranger pick-up truck is company's most widely sold model, made on six continents for a remarkable 180 countries.It’s a particular success in Europe. Annual sales are running at a record 60,000, a third of those in the UK. And Ford hopes to build on that number now that it has launched a comprehensively renewed Ranger.In the UK, seven versions are offered, ranging from the twodoor XL at £26,000 to the £58,000 four-door V6 Ranger Raptor, with different combinations of what Ford reckons are the Ranger’s four key abilities: as a workhorse, a leisure vehicle, an off-roader and relatively refined onroad transport.The top-end models all offer 4x4 capability, too. The new Ranger uses the same rugged steel ladder chassis (albeit upgraded) as the previous model, so they’re very similar in their dimensions, apart from 50mm-wider tracks. However, the outer panels and cabin are all changed.The cabin design draws much from Ford’s latest cars, with a large touchscreen dominating the centre and a smaller configurable screen directly ahead of the driver. Seat designs and cabin trim loudly spell durability but are still considerably more luxurious than people new to this kind of machine expect.The £40,000 2.0-litre diesel Wildtrak (tested here) has been the best-selling Ranger in the UK for years, accounting at times for up to 60% of sales. From now on, Ford will offer buyers more choice. A 3.0-litre twin-turbo diesel V6 is waiting in the wings – although it seems that Wildtrak owners are in no hurry for the launch of an EV.On the road, the Wildtrak very much remains the vehicle that its long-time devotees would expect. Its lusty 202bhp diesel, smoother but still vocal enough to be easily identifiable as a four, has decent performance, and the automatic box has more than enough ratios – 10 – to provide both lively step-off from rest and long-legged cruising.It’s quieter than the outgoing Ford Ranger (2015-2022), and there’s notably little wind noise even at high speeds. At 5360mm overall, it doesn’t fit car parks too well, although veteran owners somehow seem to make it work. The 2028mm-wide body fits narrow streets better than you would think, though, especially since the elevated driving position (you look down on Range Rovers) gives a great view and the body sides are relatively straight.Even the mighty frontal area doesn’t seem to hurt fuel economy too badly: our brief test on an energetically driven Warwickshire test route returned 28mpg, and Ford predicts 32-35mpg in normal use. Most impressive of all is the abiding feeling of effortlessness. It’s simple to drive, the nicely weighted and relatively quick steering makes it easy to place on the road and even the cornering grip is very decent. Body roll is well controlled, even when you pitch it energetically into turns. And although its suspension sophistication doesn’t approach that of the Raptor, the ride is quiet and flat, and it eats potholes in a way that makes its bodily strength obvious.The Ranger is always going to be an acquired taste, but it’s a surprisingly capable and versatile machine, made better by this welljudged round of improvements. The age of electrification may be fast approaching, but it’s hard to see this unique amalgam of traditional vehicular values losing its appeal any time soon.

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