Ford Ranger Review: 2007 Model | Ranger | Car Buyers Guide

2007 Ford Ranger Review

When a company tweaks a car, it’s usually (but not always) a bit better than it was before but ultimately the same basic machine. I fully expected the ‘all-new’ Ranger to be a moderately more bearable version of the same old shed it’s always been, but it’s actually a decent machine these days.

Appearance-wise, you can see it’s not the most futuristic pickup on the market but at least it still looks like a pickup rather than a luxury SUV with the back lopped off (giving tanned people somewhere to put their lifestyle accessories). There’s been a serious attempt made to jazz up the interior, too, and while it’s definitely better than the olde worlde cabin of the old Ranger, Ford has gone a bit over-the-top with the silver painted plastics and fancy graphics, I’m afraid. At least it has got the basics right now – the driving position, the seats and the location of the major controls have all been redesigned for human use.

Sadly, it didn’t see fit to dispense with the umbrella handle handbrake, nor is rear accommodation much cop. Indeed, the whole cabin feels rather snug compared to newer rivals, probably because the Ranger is a much narrower machine. The upshot, though, is that it doesn’t feel like a double-decker around town and will fit in your driveway too, which is always handy, I find.

To drive, the Ranger has been improved beyond all recognition. The old Ranger was up there as one of the worst things I’ve ever driven, but the new model isn’t actually that bad. The rack and pinion steering is light but reasonably precise so driving the Ranger no longer feels like you’re straddling a runaway piano and the ride is no longer so bad you feel compelled to get out and beat it with a stick. The gearbox is longwinded but positive, while the pedals are light and well placed, too. Even the 2.5-litre turbo diesel engine has been whipped into shape, and while it’s not purring away like a V8 TDi, it doesn’t get too vocal and offers acceptable pep for day-to-day driving. We don’t have any performance or economy figures, except for the 143bhp, 226Nm power and torque specifications, but I can tell you that compared to other pickups it feels about average in terms of poke.

The Ranger’s actually quite a pleasant way to travel, all in all, as long as you don’t get over exuberant with the throttle on wet roundabouts. I didn’t take the Ranger off road but I did play with it in the Dublin Mountains on the one and only snowy day this winter. With all four wheels spinning and low-range engaged, the Ranger felt unstoppable and was comically easy to pitch sideways. I may have been the object of everybody’s envy that day but the rest of the time I was less admired.

The Ranger doesn’t make a style statement, it’s a wee bit crude compared to rivals and it’s not even that cheap, at €34,665 for our Thunder model (ABS; 16” alloys; parking sensors; electric windows, locks and mirrors; six airbags; leather trim and air conditioning). If you’re an owner operator in need of a workman’s tool, then you could do worse than the Ford. It’s tough and durable (American-made pickups usually are) yet reasonably comfortable and has bags of character. The Ranger reminds me of an old set of pliers that I’ve been using for years. It might not crimp wires or have a fancy gel handle but it feels good in the hands and never fails to undo that rounded bolt. It’s simple, reliable and honest, and I quite like it.

INFO

Ford Ranger 2.5 TD Thunder

Engine 2.5-litre 4-cyl, 143bhp, 226Nm torque

Transmission: 5-speed manual, 4x4 low-range transmission

Acceleration 0-100km/h 14.0 seconds (estimated)

Top speed 150 km/h (est)

Economy 9.0 litres/100km (est)

CO2 Emissions N/A

Weight 1,845kg

Boot Capacity N/A

Price €34,665 as tested


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