STICK on the Glen Campbell, dig out you favourite cowboy hat and go in search of a check shirt, because the Ford Ranger is a pick-up truck with all-American attitude.
And just like all its rivals such as the Toyota Hilux, Mitsubishi L200 and VW Amarok to name but a few, the Ranger is the perfect blend of go-anywhere, workhorse grit mixed with all the creature comforts we demand from our vehicles these days.
In fact, it must be a nigh on impossible task for engineers and designers to keep everyone happy with modern day pick-ups. They began life as proper working vehicles that were the ‘go-to' models for farmers and builders alike. But nowadays, they have become quite fashionable alternatives to the full-blown SUVs that have flooded the market.
The Ford Ranger certainly offers the best of both worlds with its rugged styling, 4x4 ability and wading depth of 800mm. And our mid-trim Limited model looked the business too with a bright front fender grille, privacy glass, front fog lights, bi-xenon headlights and 17-inch Panther black alloy wheels.
You literally do climb aboard the Ranger with the aid of a side step and grab handles if required, and the interior is loaded with techno treats such as full smartphone connectivity via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Ford's SYNC 3 infotainment system with an eight-inch touchscreen, a DAB radio, CD player, fixed rearview camera and plenty more besides.
There is an upmarket feel to this vehicle with leather upholstered seats with eight-way power adjustment, some neat chrome trimmings and lots of soft touch surfaces.
Powered by the latest EcoBlue 2.0-litre 130ps diesel engine mated to a 10-speed automatic gearbox, our double-cab Ranger could reach 62mph from a standstill in a very respectable 11.4 seconds and maxed out at 112mph. According to the latest WLTP figures, it could deliver 36.7-37.7mpg and had carbon emissions of 197g/km.
Performance-wise, the Ranger is one of the most refined pick-up vehicles to drive and the new gearbox means smooth acceleration and all the power you could wish for thanks to the punchy engine. The road holding is impressive and the cabin is well insulated against outside noise.
On motorways, it cruises effortlessly at 70mph and the good all-round visibility is another plus factor.
And with its 12.7-metre turning lock, the Ranger is actually quite nimble, although you will need a very long parking bay. That's because the vehicle stretches more than 5.3 metres in length. It can carry a regular-sized pallet with a payload limit of one tonne and can also tow a trailer weighing up to 3.5 tonnes.
The Ranger can be driven in two-wheel-drive (2WD) for the majority of its trips which offers the best ride and handling, along with maximised fuel efficiency. But it can be switched across to four-wheel-drive (4WD), whilst on the move, when rougher terrain presents itself, which is a handy function.
Safety is another area where the Ford Ranger impresses. In fact, it was the first pick-up vehicle to be awarded a maximum five-star safety rating by Euro NCAP back in 2012. Features include pedestrian detection and electronic stability control with traction control, traffic sign recognition, intelligent speed assist, a collision mitigation system, lane keeping assist, tyre pressure sensors, anti-lock brakes, electronic stability programme, roll over mitigation and a number of airbags.