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Ford Ranger Double Cab 2.2 TDCi Limited 4x4

Click to view picture gallery“Ford is usually on top in most of
  the many sectors in which the ‘Blue
  Oval’ competes. Last year (and like
  every year) they had the best-selling
  two cars: Fiesta and Focus. Now
  Ford is fielding an all-new Ranger
  in the increasingly popular lifestyle
  pick-up sector...”

THE RANGER LINE-UP is conventional with Regular (Single Cab), Super and Double Cab body styles plus a Chassis Cab option (for bespoke body suppliers). At launch, there's the choice of two high-torque turbodiesel engines both with six-speed manual gearboxes.

And those choices are: a 147bhp 2.2-litre four-cylinder or a 197bhp 3.2-litre five-cylinder. Lifestyle-friendly Double Cab models can also be specified with an extra-cost automatic transmission. Due shortly, but only for two- and four-wheel drive Single Cab models, is a 123bhp 2.2-litre diesel.

“The all-new Ranger
retains a ladder frame
chassis with rear leaf
springs plus dampers for
strength and durability,
and it also features
numerous other ‘better-
than’ functions over its
Four trim levels — and, like the engines, they are dependent on body style — are XL, XLT, Limited and Wildtrak, with Limited likely to prove the most popular.

Prices, including VAT (pick-ups are classified as commercial vehicles and so incur VAT), start at 17,705 and run to 29,135. The likely most popular version, the 147bhp 2.2-litre manual Limited Double Cab will cost 25,535.

The all-new Ranger retains a ladder frame chassis with rear leaf springs plus dampers for strength and durability, but it also features numerous other 'better-than' functions over its competition (Mitsubishi L200, Toyota HiLux, Nissan Navara and Isuzu Rodeo).

Ford say that in most cases, when the specifications are compared, the Ranger offers better value for money. And if size matters (as it usually does) the Regular Cab has the longest and largest load bay and the biggest payload (1,340kg). The Double Cab boasts the largest payload of any double cab (1,152kg) and all 4WD Rangers have a towing capability of 3,350kg — again, substantially better than the other guys by between 350 and 850kg.

These specs will definitely impress Pick-up Man; but so too will the new Ranger's chunky, muscular, all-action looks. Stylistically, the old Ranger was somewhat 'sit-up-and-beg' — this new one is all thrusting and macho with lots of bright body colour options that are usually associated with Ford's latest car ranges.

Inside the Limited spec Double Cab it's just as impressive — the fascia design and the trim, particularly to the doors and the upholstery, is all very much in keeping with that used in top quality 4x4s and SUVs.

“The new Ranger offers
vastly improved
positive steering
and ride comfort —
even running on
18-inch alloys
Power windows and door mirrors and AirCon are all standard-fit. Safety is equally impressive: the Ranger Double Cab comes endorsed by a five-star Euro NCAP safety rating — the very first pick-up to score so high.

Standard safety kit includes an electronic stability programme, hill descent control, trailer sway control, and new side-curtain, thorax and frontal impact airbags.

The Ranger also delivers vastly improved handling, positive steering and ride comfort (even with the 18-inch alloys fitted to the Wildtrak versions). This new Double Cab really does perform very well — it's at least as good as the latest generation Toyota HiLux and the even more impressive VW Amarok.

The 197bhp 3.2-litre five-cylinder turbodiesel unit is huge on torque (346lb ft from 1,500rpm) making it extremely responsive with loads of grunt yet easy on the fuel. 28.3mpg is the official combined cycle figure for the six-speed manual gearbox-equipped 3.2-litre — on test it returned 27.2mpg. Its 249g/km tailpipe emissions are relatively low for a vehicle of this kind and get you a 210 annual road tax bill.

The most popular engine — and the one tested here — will be the 147bhp (150PS) four-pot turbodiesel. This too has plenty of torque: 276lb ft from 1,500rpm. Average fuel consumption is officially 32.8mpg — with 30.1mpg recorded on test. Although lower, at 224g/km, CO2 emissions will still cost you the same commercial vehicle annual road tax of 210 that you'd pay for the 3.2-litre engine.

As on the 3.2-litre model, the 2.2, riding on 17-inch alloys, served up good ride comfort. The suspension also provides a very compliant ride, coupled with sharp steering and handling.

“Reasons to go for a
Ranger include the
styling, cabin design and
spec, ride comfort,
sharp handling and that
5-star Euro NCAP
safety rating
Performance has also improved off-road. There's the usual 2WD/4WD High ratio selection and 4WD Low ratio is easily selected by a turn button control.

Thanks to an anti-stall function, the Ranger can also climb steep tracks using just its tick-over engine speed, thereby ensuring safe grip. The hill descent control can be varied for speed using the cruise control function.

Reasons to go for a Ranger include the improvement in all areas, its styling, cabin design and specification, ride comfort, sharp handling and that five-star Euro NCAP safety rating.

Ford's new Ranger models, in particular the Double Cabs, have all the ingredients to succeed in the lifestyle and leisure-cum-workhorse markets and, with pick-ups clearly re-establishing their appeal, the Ranger should soon be climbing close to the top of the UK sales chart. — David Miles

Ford Ranger Double Cab 2.2 TDCi Limited 4x4 | 25,535 inc VAT
Maximum speed: 106mph | 0-62mph: 12.3 seconds | Overall test MPG: 30.1mpg
Power: 147bhp | Torque: 276lb ft | CO2 224g/km