Featuring a new 10-speed automatic gearbox, a down-sized engine and new styling, Ford has been busy with its latest generation Ranger pick-up.
Inside and out, Ford’s popular Ranger pickup has been given a fresh look. It brings more refinement too, better intelligence from active tech, and for those who do not want a clutch pedal, a 10-speed automatic gearbox is now available.
It all starts with a bit of engine downsizing, as an all-new 2.0-litre EcoBlue diesel replaces the 2.2 of old. The 3.2-litre five-pot is still available, but you would now be daft to choose it.
This is because the 2.0-litre four-pot is so much better on power and torque delivery, and it is easy on fuel too. Found in the firm’s Transit van range, the EcoBlue engine comes in three power levels; 130hp, 170hp and 213hp. And the range-topping 213hp, 500Nm twin-turbo trumps the old five-pot by a good margin.
Farmers Guardian tried the mid-power 170hp single turbo model in Limited specification, and this is one of several higher-spec variants that can be chosen with Ford’s new 10-speed auto ‘box.
There is no manual over-ride for the ‘box, but you can toggle between normal and sport modes – and it certainly improves the engine’s response when using sport mode.
We found the box to be much busier than one with fewer ratios, though having a good spread with 10 ratios does keep the engine much more anchored in the sweet 2,000-2,500rpm zone. Here, the Ranger glides effortlessly through the box, without fuss and without the gruff noise of the older TDCi engine.
The upper two speeds are difficult to reach unless you are making progress, but having more gears at your disposal is claimed to deliver a nine per cent fuel efficiency gain over the outgoing powertrain.
While the transmission is capable of delivering real-time adaptive shift patterns, based on driving styles, there is scope to choose and lock a maximum gear.
This is done with a +/- thumb-activated switch on the side of the gear stick. It lets you pre-select any gear, as the top gear, with your selection shown on the instrument panel.
It is an ideal arrangement for off-road maneuvering or for towing, to prevent excessive shuffling of cogs. But the system resets to a default mode each time the ignition is turned off.
A rotary dial lets you swap between 2H, 4H and 4L, with low box doubling up on gear ratios. Off-road prowess includes wading ability up to 800mm deep, 230mm of ground clearance and generous approach and departure angles too.
Towing capacity is 3,500kg, and payload is 1,068kg, qualifying for commercial vehicle status. Active safety now includes an intelligent speed limiter with traffic sign recognition, lane keeping alert, adaptive cruise control with forward collision alert, pedestrian detection and trailer sway control.
You no longer need to eat three Shredded Wheat for breakfast, as Limited and Wildtrak versions also get an easy-lift tailgate mechanism, using a torsion-bar, to make accessing the load bay much easier.