The Ford Courier was especially developed for the Australian and South African Markets and features a tough character that helped it gain a tremendous reputation among pickups.
The truck is offered with both 4WD and 2WD configurations and has a maximum towing capacity of 1800 kg.
Power comes from either a 2.5 petrol or a 2.6 turbo intercooled diesel unit. The truck’s exterior design has been refreshed in 2003 and the same year has also marked a few technical upgrades and some interior modifications.
However, the most significant change to the Courier line-up was the addition of an all-new Super Cab model fitted with reverse opening doors that can be open only together with the front doors.
The Courier’s new front end styling draws inspiration from Ford ’s F Series trucks and the new look is more mature and masculine underlining the tough nature of the vehicle.
Smaller in overall stature than the F Series, the Courier is a legitimate utilitarian work horse that seats five passengers comfortably.
The new grille and headlights look pretty good and we also like the front bumper’s design which copes well with the rest of the body. The hood is slightly raised and comes with two dynamic creases which converge toward the grille.
The superior trim levels are fitted with chrome front and rear bumper bars, side mirrors and door handles. Moving on to the sides, you’ll find a set of large wheel arch flares which house the big 265/70 R15 tyres.
The Crew Cab’s load bed is pretty generous measuring 1530 mm long, 1536 mm wide (1090 mm between wheel arches) and 405 mm tall.
The Ford Courier’s cab is fairly spacious and you can climb inside without too many struggles. There are two bucket seats up front with a conventional three position bench in the second row. The front seats offer decent amount of head and legroom, but the rear passengers will feel pretty cramped and the upright seating position won’t make them happy after a long run.
The front bucket seats are well shaped, offering adequate support to minimize body movement when cornering. They are also pretty comfortable for long journeys and come with a wide range of adjustments.
The cabin fit and finish is average with the materials chosen for their durability over luxury. Most of the surfaces seem hard and plastic, but the cabin feels pretty solid and looks ready to go to the moon and back without breaking down. You also get the impression that a wet towel will wipe the dirt and dust off everything without any damage.
The overall design is pretty curvy which is a bit awkward, as it doesn’t cope well with the robust exterior style. The chunky center console is also a bit cluttered but you can access the audio and HVAC controls pretty easy. For its time the steering wheel looked pretty modern and also offered a proper grab.
The all around visibility is top notch and we also like the clear instrument cluster which is fitted with a bunch of big, easy to read gauges.
The equipment mix is a pretty reasonable. Though, you won’t find map lights or cruise controls not even on the options list. Yet, you do get side tie-down rails, chilled centre console box and a performant sound system with separate CD stacker.
Safety features include a driver’s airbag along with side door anti-intrusion beams and a collapsible steering column.
Engines and performance
The 2003 Ford Courier was available with a choice of two engines. The 2.5 turbocharged and intercooled diesel unit is fitted with a performant custom-built Garrett water-cooled turbocharger which is the best you can find around.
Though, the new 2.5 engine is a bit heavy when combined with the 4x4 system and comes with a smaller output than the previous V6 unit, but the fuel consumption was decent. It also deals good with the needs of a utilitarian vehicle and can run all day long at speeds of 80 km/h with heavy loads at the back. On the other hand, if you’ll want more speed, the engine will start to feel like it’s working too hard around 100 km/h, so it’s better to leave it in its comfort zone.
The Courier’s lineup also includes a 2.6 petrol engine which comes with 123 hp and 155 lb.ft on tap. The petrol is fairly smooth and responsive and never feels strained.
Both units are offered with a standard five-speed manual transmission, but there is also a four-speed automatic transmission available as an option for the petrol engined two wheel drive versions only.
Ford Courier Engines Specifications
|Engine||hp@rpm||lb-ft@rpm||Fuel||Combined fuel consumption – mpg|
|2.5||109 @ 3500||196 @ 2000||Diesel||20.8|
|2.6||123 @ 4500||155 @ 3500||Petrol||19.6|
Ride and handling
The Ford Courier offers a pretty comfortable ride which won’ heart your back not even when you’ll go over the biggest potholes. Though, the rear suspensions needed a more solid configuration, as they feel a bit strained when you carry heavy loads.
Ford has altered the power steering from a variable ratio to a fixed gear ratio to assist low speed turning. It’s true that this made the steering much lighter at parking speeds, but it also devoid it of any proper road feedback. The anti-lock brakes provide effective stopping power and a proper pedal feel. The overall handling is pretty predictable, but the body lean is a bit big in corners.
The 2003 Ford Courier was received with open arms by the market. It’s true that it wasn’t as refined as other products in its class, but it was a fairly capable product, perfectly suited for utilitarian purposes.
The cabin however wasn’t the most comfortable you’d find around, but the overall ergonomy was reasonable. The engines weren’t extraordinary strong either, but they managed to get their job done with dignity.
The ride was certainly among the best you’d find in this segment but there was a bit of a big body lean into corners. Fortunately the build quality was solid and the truck was reliable to the core.