Long Term Test: Ford Ranger - September 2012

Date: Wednesday, September 19, 2012

A couple of long journeys threw up some eccentric behaviour from the navigation system, but all in all we’ve been impressed by our pick-up’s cab comforts. James Dallas reports

We recently got an insight into the workings of our Ranger’s satnav when, during a long hike back from Cheshire to London, our journey was interrupted by an electronic cigarette designed to help smokers quit the habit. The device triggered a suspected terrorist alert when it was discovered, er…smoking, in a bag on a coach carrying 50 passengers along the M6 Toll motorway. Obviously it turned out to be a false alarm but the commendably robust action of the Staffordshire police force caused the closure of the motorway for several hours.
The Ranger’s satnav offers three settings: fast, eco and short. We had opted for fast. Generally the system is quick to calculate an alternative route if it detects congestion or disruption ahead. In fact, on leaving the capital the previous day it had seemed all too eager to plunge us back into the bowels of the city to avoid a minor delay on the approach to the M1.
But on this occasion the lady was not for turning. Several times her dulcet tones directed us back to the original route despite it being barred by police roadblocks.
In the end we ignored the instructions and found an alternative way home.
Another of the system’s foibles is that on jaunts around the Cotswolds it often refers to a place called “sister”. It quickly becomes apparent that what it really means is “Cirencester”.
Nevertheless, overall the Ranger Limited’s cab provides a pleasant and comfortable environment. The climate control kicks in quickly to stop you from getting hot under the collar, and the radio/CD/iPod unit, delivers clear information, straightforward instructions and excellent sound quality.
Another useful feature is the green arrow that appears on the dashboard to remind the driver to change up into the most economical gear. Despite this however, matching Ford’s official combined cycle consumption figure of 32.8mpg is a struggle. At the last count, the best we’ve managed is 30.1mpg.



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