Ford is the last of the major muscle truck manufacturers to significantly upgrade its offering with the launch of the new Ranger.
As with the Nissan Navara, Toyota Hilux and Mitsubishi L200, gone is the rattly old-style diesel powerplant, to be replaced by Ford’s more powerful 2.5-litre TDCi common-rail diesel engine, while the outside and inside have been treated to major improvements.
The new Ranger is now likely to appeal to fleets which want a tough vehicle that can also double up as family transport at the weekends, with enough grunt to tow horseboxes and other hobby paraphernmalia.
Regular, super and double-cab versions will be on offer.
Ford has eschewed the rather wacky looks of the new L200 and has opted instead for a more conventional ‘don’t-mess-with-me’ front end that looks tough and capable.
In the words of Ford CV director Steve Kimber: ‘It is a true off-roader which is both rugged and capable in the harshest of environments and yet stylish and comfortable for the driver who needs it to fit their lifestyle as well as their job.’
The cab has been totally redesigned with better seats and an angular dash which boasts silver and chrome detailing.
A CD player comes as standard, while XLT and Thunder models get a six-CD autochanger.
In the back, the Ranger has a class-leading loadbox and has a one-tonne payload and three-tonne towing capacity.
Under the bonnet, the TDCi unit offers 140bhp, up from 107bhp in the old Ranger, while torque increases from 166lb-ft to 243lb-ft.
ABS brakes are standard and in addition to dual front airbags, XLT and Thunder models also get side impact bags for the front seats.
Prices range from £11,650 to £17,450 ex-VAT.