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Pick-up of the Year 2023: Ford Ranger

The Ford Ranger is the 2023 Auto Express Pick-up of the Year, with the Toyota Hilux and Volkswagen Amarok commended

The name on the trophy is the same, but this year’s pick-up champ is new from the ground up. Retaining the old Ford Ranger’s rugged abilities and unrivalled versatility, this box-fresh version adds a big dollop of refinement, tech and style to take a dominant win.

With cues from its bigger US cousins, the latest Ranger’s chiselled looks and distinctive C-shaped LED running lights give it real kerb appeal. Once again there’s a choice of single or double-cab bodystyles, plus everything from the hard-working XL trim through to the Baja-inspired Raptor with its motorsport-tuned suspension and fire-breathing twin-turbocharged V6 petrol engine.

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The improvements are even greater inside, where there’s more space and a neatly designed dashboard that’s dominated by a 12-inch portrait touchscreen running Ford’s easy-to-use SYNC 4 infotainment. Quality is great, and most models feature kit that’s normally reserved for high-end SUVs.

The Ranger feels even better on the move, too, with a more composed ride, crisper handing and improved refinement. There’s now the option of a lusty and smooth V6 diesel, while permanent four-wheel drive means that this is a truck that is as comfortable on the road as it is in the rough.

Crucially, this Ford hasn’t forgotten its working-class roots. The load area is bigger, while the tailgate features fixings for clamps so it can be used as a workbench. And of course, as with all trucks, there’s a big tax saving if you run it as a business vehicle.

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If you want a car that’s equally at home on a building site or on the school run, then look no further than the remarkable Ranger.

Our choice

Ford Ranger 3.0 EcoBlue Wildtrak (£44,721 ex VAT)

It costs a little more, but we reckon the extra muscle and refinement of the 237bhp V6 diesel is worth the premium. Wildtrak trim also comes bursting with premium SUV kit, plus a raft of driver safety aids and the Soft Ride suspension for greater comfort.

Commended

Toyota Hilux

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When it comes to the rough and tumble of working life, few machines are as dependable and durable as the Hilux. It can’t match the sophistication of the Ford, but the Toyota’s rugged build, spacious load bay and legendary reliability make it a brilliant addition to any fleet. The recently launched GR Sport version gives the Toyota a dash of racy appeal, too.

Volkswagen Amarok

Developed in conjunction with the Ranger, the latest Amarok looks and feels a little more upmarket than its Blue Oval brother inside and out. Car-like driving dynamics come as standard and it’s every bit as useful as a work tool. However, a narrower line-up and higher prices work against the VW in the final reckoning. Still, few pick-ups are as classy or desirable.

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You’ll find all the information on our New Car Awards 2023 winners and the reasons why we chose them on these pages. Just follow the links below to read more…

New Car Awards 2023: the winners

Special edition of Auto Express

Auto Express Issue 1,787

For the full New Car Awards experience, make sure you pick up a copy of our special 2023 New Car Awards collectors' edition of the Auto Express magazine, which is available in shops now.

You can buy individual issues of Auto Express or subscribe for even bigger discounts on the print magazine cover price. You can currently subscribe or download individual issues of our digital edition direct to your desktop, phone or tablet as well.

Stay right up to date with the latest from the world of cars in 2023 and beyond, subscribe to our email newsletter and follow us on social media...

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