Ford Ranger 2.0A Turbo Review: As Tough As It Looks
Not very often do we at OneShift have the opportunity to review ‘commercial vehicles’ – but when we do, it definitely raises our eyebrows. Apart from the ‘G’ plate, given the SUV-like levels of refinement and extensive level of equipment, it is easy to forget that the latest Ford Ranger is a 2.2 tonne, 5.3m long double cab pick-up.
Climbing into the Ranger involves a little bit of an effort, but is made a whole lot easier by the running boards that flank its sides. You definitely tower over most of the traffic around you and it offers a commanding view of the road ahead.
It is on the inside where the “SUV illusion” becomes more apparent. Upfront, you are greeted by a crisp digital instrument cluster which presents information in a rather creative fashion. You get off-roading metrics like vehicle yaw angle and tow status, and also interesting stats like cumulative idle, drive time and remaining amount of “life” from its existing engine oil (instead of a traditional maintenance warning).
What makes the Ranger even more comfortable as a work horse is its revamped centre console. It definitely looks more up-to-date and cleaner than the one found in its predecessor, and provides a nice blend of modernity and practicality.
You get a new vertically-mounted 12-inch screen for all your infotainment needs. Its menus might not be the most intuitive to use on its first try, but once gotten used to you’ll find a plethora of features that put some regular passenger cars to shame.
Also, in an era of touch sensitive buttons with haptic feedback, the feel of large and well-built control buttons that feel like they could be used even with thick gloves on is a welcome inclusion.
The Ranger has a variety of safety features that keep you in check, such as Pre-Collision Assist, Lane-Keeping Assist and Blind Spot Warning System – quite useful for a vehicle of this size. What stood out most was its adaptive cruise control – the first time I’ve come across a pick-up equipped with such a feature!
I’m not going to pretend that the Ranger is an easy vehicle to manoeuvre around town. It is big. But its 2.0-litre turbocharged diesel does a good job at propelling it around. With most of its 500 Nm of torque available from low down at 1,750 rpm, you definitely feel some shove.
Paired with a 6-speed automatic transmission, there is a tinge of sophistication in the way it picks up speed (compared to most other pickup trucks of course) and it feels more car than truck-like. The ZF-derived gearbox also takes up duties of the Ranger’s high and low range modes, and 4 and 2-wheel drive modes, which can be seamlessly toggled between through its centre console-mounted rotary switch.
When Ford described the new Ranger as being ‘built tough’, they really meant it. The Ranger steamrolls bumps and debris on the roads as if it were stronger than lead. Coupled with its high-riding driving position and spades of torque that could be sent through its 4 wheels at the twist of its rotary knob, it definitely inspires ‘go-anywhere’ levels of confidence.
With such menacing looks, now enhanced by daytime running LEDs which flank its large and imposing grille, it is a strong reminder that the Ford Ranger is far from your ordinary ‘G’ plate pickup truck.
Photos by New Gen Marketing
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