Ford Ranger III, which started out as an official truck for mountaintop telecom operators and quickly became one of the biggest status cars.
And all the hysteria started with the Ford Ranger II when Ford announced it wanted to enter the European pickup truck market. A relatively easy move to understand, and you may even wonder why it took them so long because Ford has been building pickups since the days when Caligula ruled Europe. The answer obviously lies in a word: “diesel”. But as luck would have it, in 2000s Ford bought Mazda and that’s how they took the diesels from Mazda and launched the Ford Ranger International, the forerunner of the Ford Ranger III.
And it was a real success. The Ford Ranger II was a rugged, workhorse of a car. It didn’t have time for luxury or status or any of that fancy stuff, and people flocked to buy it because it was a real rival to the cool, established stuff like the Mitsubishi L200 or Toyota Hilux.
No one except Lofi Beats to Study and Philomena Cunk can win the battle of time and inevitably in 2011 the Ford Ranger III arrives. After having the waters succesfully tested, the Americans ditched the Mazda engines and brought their own 2.2 diesel from the Transit to do the job. What’s more, they gave it a facelift and a proper American look.
And that created a recipe for success for the Ford Ranger III. At first it was bought by the mainstream clientele, the sort of people who needed a truck that could do the heavy work at any time, at any GPS coordinates, no matter how inaccessible those coordinates were. But then that American look started stealing customers which would normally flock towards the regular X5, Cayenne, ML and Range Rover Sport and many started hopping from the SUV and on to the pickup. Ford Ranger III – the official “farmers who should be driving tractors choose to drive limousines and the lawyers who should be driving limousines are driving tractors” car. Truck.
Moreover, as if it weren’t enough, in 2014 arrives the first WildTrak edition aka the street version of the Ford Ranger III, and in 2018 comes the famous Ford Ranger Raptor, a car where only size matters. But not where you’d expect. Oh yes, and to further cement the idea of the status truck, the Americans threw everything luxury and safety into the Ford Ranger, it was the first truck in Europe with 5 Euro NCAP stars and even had curtain airbags. Whereas the previous edition of the Ranger didn’t even have a driver airbag as an option. The first European Ranger barely had the pedals included as standard equipment.
Ford Ranger III Engines
- 2.0 EcoBlue with 130, 170, and 230 horsepower – I would have started with hate, saying it’s blasphemy to put a 2.0 diesel in a Ford Ranger pickup. But then you realise that this car will never see physical work any more than I will ever see Sofia Boutella naked, so perhaps this 2.0 diesel is acceptable too. But only if you replace its injectors every 20 minutes.
- 2.2 TDCi of 130, 150, and 160 horsepower – The most balanced and popular engine in the Ford Ranger III and taken straight from the Ford Transit, this engine was just right. It goes a long way, anywhere, surprisingly economical, and is fit for duty. Sure, it has occasional injector and oil pump issues and could do better but it’s a good enough engine, even for work.
- 3.2 TDCi of 200 horsepower – Aside from the EGR clogging and cracking intake pipes, this engine is reliable and ready for fun. Unfortunately, taxes and fees haven’t made it the most popular engine possible, especially since the Raptor version can’t be registered as a commercial vehicle and you’ll have to take a kick in the nads from the city tax department.
Ford Ranger III General Issues
- As expected, the Ranger eats suspension and tires on bread….or in this case, asphalt and off-road. Tires can last as little as 20,000 miles and after that should be thrown into the dumpster, as should I for that matter.
- The paint isn’t top-notch quality, but most vans are bought with the basic appliance-white anyway so you won’t care enough. The issue is only with the exotic color versions which you will find and choose on the Ford Raptor.
- Even though it looks like a really big car on the outside ( it doesn’t, it really is ), inside it’s pretty cramped and you’ll have to sit next to the passenger just like a couple of teenagers dancing together at the 8th-grade prom.
- Being an American car, I need to take the mandatory, complementary moment where I have to talk about the interior plastics and their quality.
Ford Ranger III Verdict
Like the VW Amarok, the Ford Ranger III has quickly become a status pickup and not much of a workhorse. Except for the Ranger still lives on and sells well among oligarchs who find a Range Rover or Q7 too small, too mundane and too common, so they want something more exclusive. Bigger. And cheaper. Unless you start ticking too many options boxes and have a Raptor that’s so far gone that it has no competition with the regular Ranger. Oh yeah, would I buy a normal Ranger for work? Most likely no.
Which engines I recommend? The classic 2.2 diesel with 150 horsepower has proven to be decent enough for the Ranger. And don’t believe just me, you can look at the sales figures aswell and you’ll see who’s #1 in sales.