Ford Ranger 2021 review

Find out more about the Ford Ranger in the latest MOTORS Review

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Out of 5


  • Good to drive
  • Loads of choice
  • Impressive off-road ability


  • Not the most refined
  • Short warranty next to rivals
  • Raptor not very good at being an actual ‘pick-up’
Model review

Not so long ago, pick-ups were purely bought as workhorses – whether that was for towing, farming or just using the load bed for carrying all manner of things. But these trucks have changed over the years to become more like ‘lifestyle’ vehicles. You only need to look at the Ford Ranger for this, the UK’s best-selling pick-up.

This firm has years of expertise, but the Ranger nameplate wasn’t actually used until 1998 on a pick-up that shared plenty in common with a model from Mazda.

A second-generation version would arrive in 2006, before the current third-generation model arrived in 2012 – this offering big advances when it came to spaciousness, comfort and styling with a far more modern look. Come 2015, the Ranger would be updated with bolder styling, greater efficiency and an array of new driver assistance technology. 

Latest model

The most recent updates to the Ranger came in 2019 – most notably with the imposing ‘Raptor’ model, which is the most extreme Ford pick-up ever sold in the UK. Developed by Ford Performance, the model was entirely reworked next to the standard Ranger to ensure maximum rugged capability. 

Other tweaks for the Ranger also followed, including a new 2.0-litre biturbo diesel engine, which is both more powerful and efficient than the old-fashioned 3.2-litre unit it replaced. Connectivity and safety were also both enhanced. In 2020 Ford expanded the range with a special-edition ‘Thunder’ model, featuring new styling cues to give this pick-up a more distinctive look. 

Value for money

While Ford has moved its Ranger upmarket in recent years, there remains plenty of choice on offer to suit most buyers – from workhorse XL versions through to the flagship Raptor. A range of body styles are also available – including regular cab, super cab and double cab. 

And prices start from just £21,545 (excluding VAT), which makes it very affordable, though you’ll need to splash out £23,975 for the more practical double cab. Standard equipment is also quite sparse on the XL version – not even featuring alloy wheels or a touchscreen – so an XLT or Limited model is a much better bet. 

If you’re looking for a no-nonsense workhorse, cheap used Rangers start from as little as £3,000, meanwhile around £9,000 will buy the more modern third-generation version. When buying a used Ranger, you should note that because it’s classed as a commercial vehicle, many examples for sale will be sold ‘plus VAT’ – adding a considerable amount to the price if you’re not VAT-registered. 

Looks and image

You only need to look at the Ranger to see how it’s become more of a ‘lifestyle’ vehicle, with models such as the Wildtrak, Thunder and Raptor all bringing that bold muscular styling that many crave from a pick-up. And it’s undoubtedly one of the most appealing trucks in this respect, though Ford still caters for the utilitarian models with the entry-level XL and XLT options. 

Ford has worked hard to improve the Ranger’s cabin in recent years, as this Ford’s interior has more of a car-like feel than ever before – not least with the eight-inch touchscreen and familiar switchgear. The Ranger certainly has a more upmarket cabin than others in this class, though still has that durable feel expected from a pick-up. 

One of the best things about the Ranger, though, is the way it drives. It rides well and handles surprisingly well, while the punchy 2.0-litre diesel engine means it’s not slow, either. Just be aware that it’s not as pleasant to drive as a conventional SUV, though will likely be much better off-road – not least the Raptor version, which feels unchallengeable away from tarmac. 

Video review

Space and practicality

Single Cab Rangers only have two seats, and while the Super Cab adds another set of rear seats, with only rear-hinged doors to get in, space is tight.

Instead, the Double Cab is the one to go for, as this is a full five-seat model that offers the most interior space, though it’s not as roomy as a conventional SUV. 

When it comes to the load bed, the most practical option is the Single Cab, which has a generous 2.3-metre-long bed, and it’s one of few single-cab trucks you can still buy today. Even the Double Cab’s bed measures 1.5 metres, though, with a maximum payload of up to 1,217kg, while a 3,500kg towing limit for a braked trailer makes them very useful. 

Just be aware that modifications on Raptor models reduce the towing limit and payload, while also meaning they’re no longer officially classed as a ‘commercial vehicle’. 


All Rangers now use a turbocharged 2.0-litre diesel engine, which is available with outputs of 128bhp, 168bhp or 210bhp. 

The least powerful output restricts you to a six-speed manual gearbox and the single cab option, though the 168bhp model comes with the choice of both a manual or 10-speed automatic transmission. 

The pick of the range is the biturbo 210bhp option, though, which is also available with a choice of manual or automatic gearboxes. These models can reach 0-60mph in as little as nine seconds, along with reaching a top speed of 112mph. 

Running costs

With all Rangers now using a smaller 2.0-litre engine, it means models are now more efficient than they were in the past. 

The 168bhp option will be the best on fuel – returning up to 40.9mpg, along with CO2 emissions of 179g/km. 

There are also perks for company car drivers and businesses with the Ranger – not least with being able to claim VAT back if they’re registered, along with lower benefit-in-kind tax. Note that the Raptor is excluded from this, because of its reduced payload. 

Things to look out for

With many Rangers being used as working vehicles and for towing, this is one of the main things to be aware of. Look out for signs of abuse, including damage underneath, and ensure it has a full service history. Also look out for any engine rattles, as this could suggest issues with the oil pump. 


The pick-up market continues to prove as popular as ever, with key rivals for the Ranger including the Toyota Hilux, Mitsubishi L200 and Nissan Navara. If you fancy something a bit more upmarket, the Volkswagen Amarok and Mercedes X-Class are both worth considering. 


Pick-ups remain a desirable option for many buyers, and it means that values remain pretty high – even for mass-market models like the Ranger. Decent discounts should still be available for nearly-new models, though, 

Trims explained

Six trim options are available on the Ranger, with equipment highlights and pricing as follows.


Utilitarian XLT models are geared up to be used as a workhorse, so standard equipment does seem quite sparse, with 16-inch steel wheels, heated door mirrors, air conditioning, DAB radio and Bluetooth. You do get plenty of safety kit, though, such as lane keep assist, autonomous emergency braking, traffic sign recognition and cruise control.

From £21,545 (excl VAT)


Upgrade to the XLT to get 16-inch alloy wheels, more appealing chrome styling and an electric tailgate lock. A leather steering wheel, auto-dimming rear-view mirror and eight-inch touchscreen are also included.

From £24,355 (excl VAT)


Limited is our pick of the range, as it brings LED headlights, 18-inch alloy wheels, rear sports bar and cruise control. You also get keyless entry and start, front and rear parking sensors, reversing camera, leather upholstery and heated front seats.

From £28,420 (excl VAT)


More stylish Wildtrak versions bring changes such as 18-inch alloy wheels, grey styling accents to the grille, mirrors and door handles, along with a special sports hoop for the tailgate. Other features include LED headlights, roof rails, satellite navigation and LED ambient interior lighting

From £31,320 (excl VAT)


A special-edition Thunder model comes with cool black and red styling accents throughout, along with a mesh design grille. All Thunder models come painted in a unique ‘Sea Grey’ body colour.

From £32,965 (excl VAT)


The most extreme of all the Ranger models, the Raptor is a hardcore off-roading version that’s significantly adapted – both mechanically and cosmetically – compared to the standard car. It gets a completely reworked suspension setup including Fox shock absorbers, while everything has been beefed up to ensure maximum durability.

From £41,145 (excl VAT)


  1. Muscular styling
  2. Huge choice of derivatives…
  3. From utilitarian through to lifestyle
  4. Strong diesel engines
  5. Plenty of standard safety kit
  6. Three body styles available
  7. The Raptor model is hugely capable off-road
  8. But isn’t particularly practical
  9. Good to drive
  10. One of the best pick-ups on the market today