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Since the ford ranger was introduced it has become one of the most popular and highest regarded vehicle in it's class. Whilst not owning one I have used two different versions, a twincab and a doublecab while working for the RSPB.
Available in three main models, standard pickup, twincab which has a bench seat for rear passengers, and a double cab which has proper back seats. Obviously the twin cab has less space in the loadbed than the pickup, but there is still room to easily fit in large/long items like brushcutters, the doublecab has less room again meaning bruscutters have to squeeze in diagonally. Being only bench seats in the twincab they are only really suited to for use for short journeys. If you don't need to carry passengers often though it makes ideal space for sensitive luggage when the loadbed is full of other stuff.
The turbo diesel engines are great, plenty of power and not too bad on fuel, don't expect more than about 30-35mpg on the road, less if you are off road. Ours had 4 wheel drive and low ratio gearboxes, making it a capable off road vehicle. With mud terrain tyres we could pretty much go anywhere.
The front springs provide good handling on and off road, and the rear leaf springs are strong and reliable. When the back isn't loaded it is quite light at the rear, you can get the back end to scrabble and slide a bit in 2WD on loose surfaces if you push it. 2WD powers the back, 4WD provides equal power to the front and back axles (equates to 4wd with diff locked in a landie). You can change between the two on the move, but will need to stop to use low ratio.
There are plenty of versions of this vehicle from special editions to basic work vehicles, air con, leather, CD players...... it's comfortable to drive long distances, and the power makes overtaking and cruising easy.
The air con had broken on ours, but it had been used hard for several years and the air con probably just needed charging. Ford have dealers all over the country, but, after coming back ours didn't handle very well, turned out they pumped the tyres up way too much! Took some effort to track down what they should have been, but obviously the ford garage didn't know! If you have a truckman cab on the load bed don't leave the door up when moving as it is liable to fall off!
What can I say?!! Take a girl from England, deposit her in the deep South of America - Alabama to be exact and watch her fall in love ...... with trucks! The place was full of them; big ones, little ones, old ones, new ones, monster ones, ones with dogs, ones with guns, ones with beer.... Since 1993 I have wanted to own a truck, and I have wanted to own a Ford 3 door black F150, but the first proper truck I ever got to drive was the Ford Ranger, single cab with drop seats (2). I was so excited when I looked on the Internet before our holiday to the States. I was determined that we were going to have a truck, and seeing as I was the only one with a driving licence at the time, it was my choice. I hired the Ford Ranger at a very reasonable rate, and we had a choice of colours when we went to pick the vehicle up. I chose red because I wanted everyone to know that I was driving a truck!!! It felt a little weird to begin with, driving higher than a standard car, and aslo because I was driving on the other side of the road, but I soon go used to both. The truck was an automatic, which was very nice to start with, driving around Las Vegas on a flat surface, but I soon noticed that the vehicle was struggling once we left to travel up into the mountains. I soon got used to that though, and after a couple of hundred miles of up and down, I got the feel of the vehicle, and it drove like a dream. The interior of the truck was very much like the layout of a standard Ford vehicle, but the seats were leather and very comfortable. The space in the back of the cab occupied by two drop seats was very handy for storing stuff we didn't want to put in the covered bed of the truck. There was plenty of leg room on both the drivers' and passengers' side and the seats were easily manouverable, with plenty of headroom. The truck had air conditioning and heating, and an AM/FM radio with a CD player.
We soon found out, when we left Vegas, that the damaged ariel had reported to the car hire company no longer picked up any music, only static, and it would have been a long, long holiday had we not have been able to play CDs that we bought along the way. Of course, this was in America, and if I was going to buy a truck over here, not able to purchase the F150, the Ranger would be a very close second choice. What else would any self-respecting cowgirl drive?!
Yes this Ranger is a Ford Ranger and don't be surprised that you haven't heard of it. Since it was released half way through last year it apparently went straight to the top in its class of vehicle sales but despite this fact most of the Ford dealers seem unsure of what vehicle I am talking about - especially the people in the service department. The ranger is actually a 4x4 pickup truck that comes as a single cab, single cab with rear jumpseats or as a double cab. I have a double cab meaning its got 4 doors and five seats. This is particularly useful when you need to carry both passengers (small son) and lots of equipment/furniture. I find driving very comfortable with all the room and extras you would normally find in a car such as air conditioning, power steering, central locking, storage holes, decent(ish) radio/cassette etc. combined with the extra benefit of added height an advantage which I never really appreciated until recently when driving a KA as a courtesy vehicle and couldn't see more than one car in front. Acceleration is decent but I do find that the fuel consumption is very high and the high load level means getting heavy items in and out is very difficult, especially when you are only 5'2"! I would recommend the Ranger to anyone who needs a commercial vehicle that combines the comfort of a car with the carry space of a van, but be aware that the double cab combined with a truckman top means that the pickup space is very limited - especially so if you are used to a transit.