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Pick-up of the Year 2020: Ford Ranger

The Ford Ranger is the 2020 Auto Express Pick-up of the Year, with the Mitsubishi L200 and Toyota Hilux commended

Our pick-up class has been won for the second year in a row by the UK’s best-seller. In fact, the Ford Ranger doesn’t simply top the category, it dominates, and for very good reasons. It strikes a great balance between workhorse dependability and everyday comfort, because Ford has cherry-picked some of the best bits of its passenger car line-up to give the Ranger the kind of tech and quality that most rivals struggle to match.

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A major update in 2019 gave it a winning edge over its rivals, and it’s an advantage that it still maintains. Whether you’re choosing the utilitarian XL or a top-spec Wildtrak, you’re getting a truck that can cope with everything you throw at it, with enough space, payload and towing ability to tackle the tough jobs.

All models use Ford’s 2.0-litre EcoBlue diesel, with a choice of two power outputs, and both have the torque and selectable four-wheel drive to cope with the toughest terrain.

Yet if you choose a four-door double-cab Wildtrak or Limited model – or one of the special editions, such as the recently launched Ranger Thunder – then you’re getting a well equipped family 4x4, too.

There’s space inside for five, lots of plush materials, and the SYNC 3 multimedia system is the same as that found in the Focus and Fiesta. The good news doesn’t end there, because the Ranger is a comfortable cruiser, too. Ford has done a great job tuning the suspension, and found the sweet spot between being able to cope with a one-tonne payload and still delivering near-SUV levels of ride comfort.

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Ford even has you covered if you want a performance truck. While the F-150 Raptor is a hit in the US, it’s simply too big to be usable on this side of the Atlantic. So instead we get its (relatively) pint-sized alternative, the Ranger Raptor. Although it uses the same 210bhp 2.0-litre diesel and Mustang-sourced 10-speed auto box found in other high-spec Rangers, the Raptor’s bespoke Fox suspension means it can cover rough ground faster than almost any SUV, delivering a unique performance-car experience in the process.

Our choice

Ford Ranger Double Cab 2.0 EcoBlue 213 Limited (£36,820)

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The Raptor turns the most heads, but a mid-spec Ranger Limited will get you all the kit you really need, and the higher-spec diesel offers effortless power. If you run a Ranger as a company vehicle, then you can take advantage of commercial vehicle tax rates, too.

Commended

Mitsubishi L200

An all-new L200 arrived towards the end of 2019, and it builds on the excellent qualities of its predecessor. A bold new front end helps it to stand out from the crowd, while the combination of workhorse reliability with plush materials on the well equipped top-spec variants means it’s still a top contender.

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Toyota Hilux

It’s a staple of the Toyota line-up, and constant evolution has helped the Hilux keep its place near the front of the pick-up truck pack. Its world-renowned reliability means it should be on any potential shortlist, while improvements to Toyota’s passenger car tech have made their way to this commercial vehicle colossus.

New Car Awards 2020: the winners

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Senior test editor

Dean has been part of the Auto Express team for more than 20 years, and has worked across nearly all departments, starting on magazine production, then moving to road tests and reviews. He's our resident van expert, but covers everything from scooters and motorbikes to supercars and consumer products.

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