The Ford Ranger has arrived to its third generation and its latest upgrades were made in 2011. The new model features a new exterior design and also improved driving dynamics and upgraded engines.
The latest generation Ford Ranger was developed to be suited for both personal use and commercial applications offering a better compromise between comfort and utility.
In order to raise its new Ranger to the expectations of modern buyers, Ford decided to completely redesign it from the ground up. The company says that the vehicle is completely new and it’s available in a wide range of body styles including regular cabs and double cabs. Depending on the version, the Ford Ranger’s maximum payload ranges from 1.090 kg to 1.309 kg which is slightly above average.
While the older Rangers looked dull and uninspiring, the new model comes with a pretty attractive sheet metal which is a perfect match for its rugged and sporty character.
The front is dominated by an imposing grille which bares the company logo in its center and is traversed by three horizontal stripes. There is also a pair of modern headlights which are placed pretty high enhancing the purposeful look of the vehicle.
The front spoiler features a modern look as well and comes fitted with a central air intake and two round fog lamps which are nicely integrated into the overall design.
The load bed is fairly practical and has a generous load volume. The load bed’s width is 1139 mm between arches and the minimum length is 1560 mm which permits you to transport a full sized Euro pallet without any problems.
To offer easy access to the load bay, the tailgate can be fold completely flat and there are also a few fix points to help you secure the load.
The interior is completely new, but it looks pretty familiar, as it’s basically the same design language used for the new Focus and Fiesta models. The materials and plastics are a big improvement over the previous model and the build quality it’s also part of the first class. Though don’t expect to any high grade plastics as most of them are still rock hard.
Needless to say, that the ergonomy is nothing short of excellent, as Ford never disappointed at this chapter.
The overall feel of the cabin is one of solidity and makes you feel safe behind the steering wheel. Talking about the steering wheel, it comes with a futuristic design which copes great with the rest of the cockpit and gives the cabin a touch of sportiness. It’s also fitted with a bunch of useful controls and can be adjusted to improve the driving position.
The front seats are among the most comfortable units you’ll find in the segment and offer proper side and lateral support. On the other hand, the rear seats are a bit cramped and offer smaller legroom than expected, being suited to accommodate in full comfort only two adult passengers.
The new Ford Ranger is available in four trim levels namely XL, XLT, Limited and Wildtrak. For 2011, the vehicle is pretty well kitted with features like Bluetooth, voice control, trip computer, USB connection, rain-sensing wipers and air-con. The superior trim levels offer dual-zone climate control, sat-nav system, heated windscreen and cruise control.
Engines and performance
The 2011 Ford Ranger is offered with a choice of three engines. The 2.2 liter diesel is available with two power outputs, developing either 123 hp/320 Nm or 148 h/375Nm. For those who want more power there is also offered a 3.2 liter five cylinder diesel which develops 198 hp and 470 Nm of torque.
Both units offer decent punch and deal well with the utilitarian needs of the vehicle. The Ford Ranger is also able to tow massive loads without breaking a sweat, but the engines are a bit noisy. The engines can hit 100 kmph in under 13 seconds which is at par with its rivals.
All units are married to a six speed manual gearbox which offers capable performances and a proper feedback. On the other hand there’s a lot of vibration through the gear knob and the transmission feels pretty stiff.
The 2.2-litre versions are available with two- or four-wheel drive, while all 3.2-litre models come with four-wheel drive.
Ride and handling
The old Ford Ranger was a rugged and uncivilized pickup, but the new generation has made a half step forward and offers better driving dynamics. Though, the steering is a bit sluggish at low speeds, but at higher speeds is more responsive and accurate.
The new Ford Ranger has a pretty small body lean in corners and stays well planted on its wheels. On the other hand, the suspension will find it hard to keep you far from road bumps.
Luckily, the wind and road noises are pretty well isolated and the single noise that spoils the fun and fills the cabin comes from the raspy diesel engines.
The new generation Ford Ranger is a big improvement over the previous model. The cabin feels more upscale and the materials are also slightly better. You won’t have any complain about the seats or the overall ergonomy either and the truck it’s also pretty well kitted with all the latest technologies to make your life on board easier.
The load bed is fairly big too and has a generous volume which makes the vehicle fairly practical. Yet, despite the fact that the vehicle’s road manners were significantly improved, the Ranger is still not at the same level with other pickups found in this segment as it’s less refined and comfortable.