When it comes to commercial vehicles there are few who can boast such longevity and success as Ford and here we drive their latest offering with the Ranger Thunder pick-up.
It’s safe to say that the Ford Transit has for decades been a tradesman’s favourite. Offered in various forms there is a Transit van for every possible need. Ford have also catered to the small van market from the days of the Escort van, something that continues today with the Fiesta van, as well as two small Transits.
Not everyone likes to drive a van, however. There are many who can justify a commercial vehicle through business, or those who require decent towing capacity for business or pleasure. And for these people, the Ford Ranger pick-up truck fits their criteria perfectly.
The Ford Ranger is no stranger to working life, with a farming friendly ‘XL’ base model starting from £21,950 which features a ‘Single Cab’ and larger payload area capable of carrying up to 1-tonne, as well as being capable of towing 3.5-tonne it is sure to stand a mountain sheep farmer well.
A ‘Super Cab’ starts from £23,400 and offers two additional seats, but featuring only 2-doors is really only ideal for occasional rear passenger carrying. The super cab is available in ‘XL’, ‘XLT’ and ‘Limited’ trim levels.
The most popular site on our road network is the Ranger ‘Double Cab’ which starts from £24,200 and features a full-size cab with 4-doors and enough room inside the cabin to cope with family and work life. The double cab is available in an extra two trim levels, ‘Wildtrak’ and ‘Raptor’.
For adventurers that only need to tow 2.5-tonne, there is a ‘Raptor’ model which starts from £41,450 and is the adrenaline junkie of the family with its taller ride height, wider track and, fitted with wider bumpers and extended arch trims has a serious presence on and off road.
For most buyers the Wildtrak is going to be the top trim level of choice. However, for those who want the same capabilities but with an exclusive new look, the ranger ‘Thunder’ ticks all the boxes. The model tested and pictured here is priced at £43,719.64 (including VAT, price correct on 02.06.20).
Featuring Ford’s 2.0-litre EcoBlue diesel engine with 213PS, an impressive amount of torque (500Nm) is transferred to the ground via at 10-speed automatic transmission seeing 0-62mph in just 9 seconds, with a top speed of 112mph.
This engine and gearbox combination is absolutely fantastic and during my week with this Ranger Thunder on family duties with a couple of dump runs, saw a very respectable return of 30mpg.
Key features of the Thunder include Sea Grey metallic paintwork, ebony black 18-inch alloy wheels, ebony black sports hoop with integrated load-box illumination and race-red stripe decal, black powder coated roof rails, black moulded side steps, ebony black door handles, and ebony black mesh design grille with race-red nostril inserts.
The exterior also features Thunder 3D external badging and under body protection for those who need to traverse rugged terrain often. A load-box bed liner with power point and tie-down hooks feature in the load bed along with an optional pack which includes a unique black aluminium roller shutter with cargo management system and load box divider.
LED front fog lamps assist bi-xenon headlamps whilst a heated windscreen and rain sensitive wipers allow maximum visibility, no matter the weather. Front and rear parking sensors keep you safe around town, whilst lane keeping assist, traffic sign recognition, cruise control, collision mitigation system and intelligent speed assistance keeps you safe on the move.
Keyless entry gets you into the cabin where Thunder logo partial leather seats with race-red stitching feature alongside a unique race-red lined interior trim. Convenience is helped with heated front seats, a cool-box in the centre console and a power converter featuring a 3-pin charging socket.
An 8-inch TFT touchscreen is the home of infotainment which features DAB radio/CD with SYNC 3, navigation, TMC and active noise control, Bluetooth connectivity and 6 speakers.
A friend of mine who is a used car dealer happened to text me reference my thoughts on the Ford Ranger during my week with this pick-up. Little did he know that I was in possession of a Thunder model, a model that he was actually in the market for and, on perusal of this very vehicle he was very impressed.
Not just at how it looks and with the high specification inside, but on taking him a good drive around A and B roads, impressed at how car-like the Ford Ranger has become. That’s a good thing, Ford. Well Done!
All prices quoted are plus VAT unless otherwise stated.
Fact File for model tested
Make : Ford
Model : Ranger
Trim : Thunder
Engine : 2.0-litre turbocharged diesel
Gearbox : 10-speed automatic
Cost : £43,719.64 (inc VAT)