2005 Ford Ranger
Model tested not exactly as shown. Photo: Ford. Click image to enlarge

By Tony Whitney

The Ford Ranger has topped sales in the compact pickup segment for an amazing 17 years and if the Mazda B-Series trucks, which are basically the same, were added on, the figures would be even more impressive.

The full Ranger line-up for 2005 encompasses the XL, XLT, Edge, FX4 and FX4 Level II. The trucks come in Regular cab, and two- and four-door SuperCab configurations. A seven-foot box is available on XLT Regular Cab Styleside models.

Ford has been making a strong effort to attract more young buyers to the Ranger line-up with its Tremor package, added last year. The Tremor package now includes five-spoke, 16-inch machined alloy wheels and a high-end (read: lots of bass!) Pioneer in-dash MP3/6CD sound system with 510-watt multi-channel amplifier, 10-inch bass subwoofer and four 6×8-inch coaxial speakers in each corner. This package is offered only on Edge SuperCab models.

Other enhancements for 2005 include skid plates for the 4X4 Edge variants, along with some 4X4 XLT Ranger models. Skid plates, which protect the vehicle’s underside components, are a worthwhile option if any serious off-road excursions are planned.

The Ranger I most recently tested was a SuperCab version, with a six-foot box. A reasonably handsome vehicle, given the design restraints of pickup stylists, it offers owners a no-nonsense truck with practicality taking precedence over gimmicks. It’s not one of the more striking compact pickups on the market, but that doesn’t seem to have affected its popularity.

The cab is as roomy as you’d expect to find in a truck like this. After the main doors are opened, you can unlatch a pair of mini-doors to help access the rear seating area. Two small jump seats, complete with belts, fold out of the side of the cab. The rear compartment is not a place an average adult would want to sit for a long trip, nor would you get a couple of fully-kitted construction workers back there, but that’s not really the point. The rear area is fine for occasional use, or regular use by kids, and it provides lots of very handy stowage space.

The box on my test truck was quite large and roomy and came with a moulded bed liner, an essential extra for any pickup if the owner wants to avoid scratches that can initiate rust problems. In contrast to so many pickups, the Ranger has nifty little cargo strap eyes all around the box walls. There are other steel loops on which to hook the straps or rope you’ll need to safely secure cargo. All too many pickup manufacturers completely forget this essential feature, so top marks to Ford here.

The top Ranger is powered by a 4.0-litre V6 producing 207 horsepower and 238 lb-ft of torque. It’s a willing engine and endows the vehicle with a decent amount of pep for a truck in this class. Maximum trailer weight for an extended-cab Ranger is a very useful 5,560 lbs. The transmission on my tester was a five-speed automatic, not something you find that often on a pickup truck of any kind. A five-speed manual is available, too. The base engine is a 2.3-litre four-cylinder producing 143 hp, and there’s also a 3.0-litre V6 with 148 hp. The three-engine line-up should provide something for just about every buyer.

My truck came with Ford’s four-wheel-drive system that’s selected by a rotary knob on the dash. You can even get low-range 4WD with this simple control. Ford calls this a “Pulse Vacuum Hublock” system – a bit of a mouthful, but it certainly gets the job done on challenging surfaces.

2005 Ford Ranger
2005 Ford Ranger Edge interior. US model shown. Photo: Ford. Click image to enlarge

The cab of my Ranger was trimmed in an attractive and durable-looking velour fabric. The front seats were very comfortable, but the non-adjustable head restraints could be higher for taller passengers. The instruments were easy to read in just about any light, whether illuminated or not. Buyers can choose a split bench front seat or bucket seats.

The SuperCab Ranger 4X4 is a capable, well-constructed truck that offers a lot of features for its base price. It’s not flash and fancy, but it reflects a good deal of thoughtful design and in the long run, that’s what counts with a pickup.

This truck has been around a long time now and a replacement isn’t expected until 2006. For the last model year, Ford added a new grille and bumper design and the interior was enhanced with new gauges and a modified steering wheel.

Ranger base prices start at $18,010 for an XL and run to $27,020, more if you really exploit the options list.

Technical Data: 2005 Ford Ranger 4×4 SuperCab Edge

Base price $26,950
Options $3,225 (Automatic transmission $1,400; box liner $300; six-CD/MP3 system $520; cloth bucket seats $375; skid plates $100; cruise control and tilt wheel $530)
Freight $1,050
A/C tax $100
Price as tested $31,325
Type 2-door + 2 panel doors, 4-pass. compact pickup
Layout Front engine/four-wheel-drive
Engine 4.0-litre V6, SOHC, 12 valves
Horsepower 207 @ 5250 rpm
Torque 238 lb-ft @ 3000 rpm
Transmission 5-speed automatic
Tires P235/75R15 all-terrain
Curb weight 1597 kg (3521 lbs.)
Wheelbase 3193 mm (125.7 in.)
Length 5146 mm (202.6 in.)
Width 1786 mm (70.3 in.)
Height 1763 mm (69.4 in.)
Payload capacity 572 kg (1260 lbs.)
Fuel consumption City: 15.2 L/100 km (19 mpg)
  Hwy: 11.5 L/100 km (25 mpg)
Warranty 3 yrs/60,000 km

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