21 May 1999

BACK IN

THE PICK-

UP MARKET

WITH A BANG

ITS been several years since Ford pulled the plug on the old Sierra-based P100 pick-up. And any farmer with an ageing example who has been patiently waiting to replace it with another Ford can take heart – Henry is back in the market.

But things have moved on in the pick-up market since the P100. Then manufacturers offered one cab type and – if you were lucky – a four-wheel-drive version. But, in true 1990s fashion, the new Ford Ranger will come in several versions.

&#42 Single cab

Theres a single cab model (still likely to be the version of choice for most farmers) with big load area (2.28m x 1.54m) and 1085kg payload.

You can opt for 2WD or 4WD but theres currently only one engine option – the new naturally-aspirated 2.5 litre indirect-injection unit mustering 78hp and 124lb ft of torque.

&#42 Super cab

This is where the VAT man starts to prick up his ears (see VAT box). Opt for the Super cab version of the Ranger and you get an extended cab with an extra 2ft or so behind the seats. This can either be used for stowing things out of the rain (and with some degree of security) or you can seat a couple of people on the basic seatlets provided. Theres a slight catch, though. Super cab versions currently only come in 2WD and with the lower power engine, though 4WD and the bigger engine may become available. But the good news is that the longer cab doesnt eat into the payload length too much – you only lose about 530mm (20in). Max payload weight is 1120kg.

&#42 Double cab

No manufacturer would dare to not have a double cab version in its pick up range and Ford is no exception.

Ranger double cabs have an extra set of doors and room for three in the back in not too uncomfortable surroundings. You lose another 230mm (9in) of load area length compared to the super cab and maximum payload shrinks a little to 993kg. Moreover the double cab is only available in 4WD.

But you do get some goodies by way of compensation. For a start, double-cab versions come with the more powerful 2.5 litre turbo diesel with 109hp and 196lb ft of torque under its belt.

All models have power steering, electric front windows, engine immobiliser, dual airbags etc and double cabs get air-con too. Service intervals are 6000 miles and theres a three-year warranty.

&#42 4WD and gears

All models come with a five-speed gearbox. Four-wheel-drive versions have a second lever for shifting between 2WD high, 4WD high and 4WD low. Electric front wheel hub locks mean the change from 2WD to 4WD high and vice versa can be done on the move. Shifting to 4WD low – as ever – means stopping first. Limited slip diff is standard on all models.

&#42 Verdict

The Ranger takes a further step towards giving pick-ups a car-like feel. Engines are willing performers, cab is pleasant, modern and curvy and load capacities match the best on the market. Shame you cant specify the bigger engine with single cab versions, though Ford says it may rectify that if the demand is there.

Ford Ranger data

Cab type Drive Load area (mm) Engine power Payload (kgs) Price (ex VAT)

Single 2WD 2280 x 1536 78hp 1085 £10,500

Single 4WD 2280 x 1536 78hp 1090 -*

Super 2WD 1753 x 1536 78hp 1120 -*

Double 4WD 1530 x 1536 109hp 993 £15,500

* Prices not revealed at time of going to press.