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Road test: Ford Ranger

Ford’s 2.0-litre EcoBlue engine makes all the difference in the latest Ranger pickup, says Dan Gilkes.

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When it comes to the UK pickup market, Ford’s Ranger is the biggest seller, so the company must be doing something right. However, while we have always been fans of the big Ford, we have struggled with the fuel consumption of the previous generation 2.2-litre diesel engine.

We therefore had high hopes for the latest model, now equipped with the 2.0-litre EcoBlue diesel already seen in various Transit models. It’s available with a single turbo, offering 130hp and 340Nm, or 170hp and 420Nm of torque. There is also a bi-turbo version, kicking out a powerful 213hp and 500Nm of torque.

Ford claims a 9% fuel efficiency improvement, with CO2 emissions dropping to 209g/km for the least powerful engine, rising to 228g/km for the bi-turbo. Base XL models can be had with either of the single turbo engines, with a six-speed manual gearbox as standard. The XLT trim level comes solely with the 170hp engine and a manual gearbox, while Limited trim can be paired with the 170hp or 213hp engines. In either case buyers can choose the six-speed manual gearbox or a 10-speed automatic transmission.

Should you feel the need to go to Wildtrak trim, you can choose between the bi-turbo engine or, for some reason, the previous generation’s 3.2-litre motor, despite it having a lower 200hp output. The 2.0-litre again gets a choice of manual or 10-speed auto, while the older engine is available with the manual or a 6-speed auto. The range-topping Raptor model, which fails to carry a tonne and therefore is not VAT recoverable, comes only with the 213hp engine and the 10-speed box.

Our test truck, in Limited trim, was equipped with the 170hp engine and six-speed manual box, which should be one of the most popular combinations. As we’ve noticed in Transit, the EcoBlue engine isn’t the quietest engine in the world, but it certainly pulls well, easily hauling the Ranger along and cruising smoothly on the motorway.

Further good news is that Ford’s claims are true, fuel consumption is considerably better than before. Over a week of mixed use, covering more than 800 very comfortable miles, the big Ford returned an entirely reasonable 34mpg.

Limited trim provides a decent working environment, with Ford’s SYNC3 infotainment offering an 8-inch touchscreen that pairs with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. You also get heated leather trim, a reversing camera and sensors, bi-xenon lights with LED daytime lights and electrically heated and folding door mirrors. There is a host of electronic driver assistance systems on offer too, all of which make the driver’s job that much easier.

Which is all well and good, but would still count for little if the new engine was not a big improvement on the outgoing unit. Thankfully the EcoBlue driveline lives up to expectations, providing plenty of power, with much improved economy. What’s not to like?

The Verdict
The EcoBlue engine provides Ford’s Ranger pickup with a new level of efficiency.

Fleet World rating: 4.5/5

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Written by Dan Gilkes

Dan has been a commercial vehicle and construction equipment journalist for almost 30 years. An automotive engineer and former fleet manager, he has driven almost every van, pickup and truck that has been launched in Europe over that time. As editor of VFW, his aim is to keep readers up to date with the latest developments in the light commercial world.

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