Pick-up of the Year 2021: Ford Ranger

The Ford Ranger is the 2021 Auto Express Pick-up of the Year, with the Toyota Hilux and Isuzu D-Max commended

It’s three in a row for the Ford Ranger, because it comes out on top once again in the hotly contested pick-up truck class. The Ranger is the UK’s best-selling truck, and with good reason. There is a wide variety of models on offer, from the work-focused XL (which comes in single, super and double-cab bodystyles, as well as a chassis cab for bespoke conversions) to the high-spec lifestyle models that can easily double as family transport for business users.

Ford has also bolstered its lifestyle range with some new additions. The limited-run Ranger Thunder adds dark grey paint with red detailing, while Stormtrak and Wolftrak special editions due later this year will offer more variety.

There’s also the Ranger MS-RT that comes with bespoke bodywork designed and built by Welsh firm MS-RT, a company that’s closely related to the M-Sport team that runs Ford Fiestas in the World Rally Championship.

The Ranger Raptor still tops the line-up as a performance vehicle with a difference, focusing on incredible off-road performance with its special suspension dampers, not to mention its even more rugged looks.

However, you don’t need to splash out to get a great Ranger, because the mid-range Limited has the kind of equipment to keep most occupants happy. There are also two 2.0-litre EcoBlue diesels available, with 167bhp or 210bhp, although the former is plenty powerful enough, while six-speed manual or 10-speed automatic gearboxes and switchable four-wheel drive with low-range gears mean the Ranger is ready for the rough stuff.

It’s a great truck with a vast range of trims, bodystyles and powertrains to choose from. It’s more SUV-like than ever, but still capable of the everyday grind a working vehicle needs to do, which is why it’s still our favourite truck.

Best deal

Ford Ranger 2.0 EcoBlue 170 Limited £29,415 excl. VAT (£35,298 incl. VAT)

Business users buying a Ranger will do so to benefit from the flat rate of commercial vehicle tax afforded to pick-ups that can carry a one-tonne payload. While that rules out the Ranger Raptor, the rest of the line-up qualifies. We’d go for the 2.0 EcoBlue 170 Limited, which is available via Ford Lease for £325 a month, excluding VAT, over 48 months after an initial payment of £1,950. There’s a final balloon payment, which is agreed at the start of the contract.

Commended

Toyota Hilux

Toyota Hilux

While the Hilux is commended again in 2021, a series of updates means Toyota’s hardy perennial is closer than ever to its Ford rival. Fresh suspension delivers a smoother ride when the Hilux is unladen, and there’s a rugged look for Invincible X variants. Most important is the new 201bhp diesel that brings power parity with the Ranger.

Isuzu D-Max

Isuzu D-Max

An all-new D-Max is here, and it’s the best version yet. As before, there are work-focused and lifestyle variants, yet any version above the entry-level Utility model feels nothing like a work vehicle. Power still comes from a 1.9-litre diesel engine, but its pulling power belies its capacity and is backed by 125,000-mile five-year warranty.

New Car Awards 2021: the winners

Special edition of Auto Express

For the full experience, make sure you pick up a copy of our special New Car Awards collectors' edition of the Auto Express magazine, which is available in shops now.

Auto Express Issue 1,685

You can buy individual issues of Auto Express or subscribe for even bigger discounts on the magazine cover price. You can currently Subscribe and get 6 issues for just £1 or download our digital edition direct to your desktop, phone or tablet.

Recommended

New 2022 Ford Ranger pick-up shows its muscle
Ford Ranger - front
Ford Ranger

New 2022 Ford Ranger pick-up shows its muscle

The all-new Ford Ranger pick-up truck makes its debut as part of tie-up with Volkswagen for commercial vehicles – and an EV will join the range
24 Nov 2021
Ford Ranger pick-up review
Ford Ranger - front driving
Ford Ranger

Ford Ranger pick-up review

The award-winning Ranger pick-up is great for work and play, but rivals may be cheaper to run
1 Sep 2021
Affordable Electric Car of the Year 2021: Renault Zoe
Renault Zoe - header
Renault ZOE

Affordable Electric Car of the Year 2021: Renault Zoe

The Renault Zoe is the 2021 Auto Express Affordable Electric Car of the Year, with the Fiat 500 and MG 5 commended
7 Jul 2021
City Car of the Year 2021: Fiat 500
Fiat 500 - header
Fiat 500

City Car of the Year 2021: Fiat 500

The Fiat 500 is the 2021 Auto Express City Car of the Year, with the Hyundai i10 and Volkswagen up! commended
7 Jul 2021

Most Popular

New Hyundai i20 N Line 2022 review
Hyundai i20 N Line - front
Hyundai i20 Hatchback

New Hyundai i20 N Line 2022 review

The new Hyundai i20 N Line hatch offers fun without the hot N car’s compromises
3 Dec 2021
New 2022 Polestar 3: electric SUV shown in new image
Polestar 3 teaser image
Polestar 3 SUV

New 2022 Polestar 3: electric SUV shown in new image

Polestar gives best look yet at its third production model, which will be built in the US and promises to be “one of the most climate-responsible cars…
3 Dec 2021
Next-gen Mercedes E-Class seen testing for the first time
Mercedes E-Class - front
Mercedes E-Class

Next-gen Mercedes E-Class seen testing for the first time

New Mercedes E-Class executive saloon is expected to launch in 2023 after all-electric EQE, with technology inspired by latest S-Class
3 Dec 2021