Auto

Ford Ranger Ltd: Tough and stylish

BY RORY DALEY
Observer writer

Friday, November 24, 2017

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THE 2017 Ford Ranger Limited has its own unique personality: tough and stylish. Despite being between models — the workman-like XLT and the sporty Wildtrack — it knows how to balance work and play.

Its a great-looking pickup, having borrowed from the F-150 with its prominent front grille and badging.

Jump onto the sidesteps, climb into the Ford Ranger Limited, and drivers are greeted with leather, soft-touch materials and hard-wearing plastics for where work gets done. The interior is best described as a mix of old and new. Old in the way that things are very task-oriented in the classic pickup sense.

There's plenty of technology packed into the Ranger, but operators can opt to easily ignore it all. The instrument binnacle is a perfect example of this. At its centre is an analogue speedometer and transmission gear guide surrounded by two high-quality digital screens that display a host of information from a touch of the steering wheel control buttons. This satisfies old-school owners who just need to see what they're doing, while the more tech-savvy can check their phones or USB music device, amongst a host of other things.

The infotainment system is crisp and clear, and delivers music in much the same fashion. It responds to touch commands fast enough, but adds voice control, putting it in a 'rarefied' league. Of course, all key functions are powered and automated where needed.

On the road, the Ford Ranger Limited is proven quantity. Its 3.2-litre, five cylinder, turbo-diesel engine makes great use of its 197-bhp and tree pulling 347-lb/ft of torque. Mated to the six-speed automatic transmission in drive mode, it's more than pleasant with rapid throttle applications, enough to send the Electronic Stability Control (ESC) into action to keep things safe. If traction continues to be a problem, then Ford's shift-on-the-fly four-wheel drive system can be activated with the flick of a knob. At low speed, the leather-wrapped steering is light, making parking a breeze and at higher speed weights up for more direct feel due to the Ranger's electronic power steering.

Cabin refinement is good, with little engine or tyre roar making its way in. The drivetrain and suspension combination means it can be hustled along at speed without disrupting passengers, as it manages to smooth out rough spots the faster it goes.

At its core, the Ranger continues Ford's reputation for building workhorse pickups that get the job done. The 2017 layers all the comfort and technology we've all come to expect from a modern vehicle. However, rather than bury it in complication, they've managed the tough task of keeping both sides separate but together. One can appreciate the Limited for its workman roots without dipping into the well of tech it has. Those wanting a bit more from their pickup can use all that tech showing the Limited's true versatility.

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