2012 Global Ford Ranger Road Test

Ranger Lead II
By Daniel Fernandez

It’s been said many times before: The all-new 2012 Ford Ranger will not be sold in North America. Why? It’s too close in size and capability to the best-selling Ford F-150, according to Ford executives. And if this new Ranger were offered, it could confuse buyers and hurt F-150 sales. 

The new Ranger, code-named T6, was always intended to be part of the global “One Ford’” design to cater to a wider international market. Ford’s engineers worked with design centers in North America, Asia and Europe with a few very specific priorities to keep in mind. It had to keep the Ford DNA, offer great fuel economy, be exceptionally quiet and be a great drive. And it needed to offer more comfort than in any pickup truck before it.The 2012 Ranger will be made in three different plants around the world: Argentina, South Africa and Thailand. We had our road test (and off-road test) in Thailand, in the northern province of Chiang Rai.


An SUV nose has been employed into the design features, bringing the Ranger’s coefficient of drag to a class-leading .39. A rear spoiler is integrated into the tailgate, and the wheel arches are all full metal panels, unlike the previous model’s plastic claddings that added width and girth. Sixteen-inch five-spoke alloy wheels that are nicely fit and flush against the arches give the Ranger a purposeful stance.

A higher belt line and raised rails of the load box increase the Ranger’s functionality in the load area. The single cab and the Super Cab have some of the biggest box volumes in the class at 64.3 cubic feet (7.4 feet long) and 51.2 cubic feet (5.9 feet long), respectively, while the load box of the Double Cab we test-drove had 42.7 cubic feet (4.9 feet long).

On the 3.2-liter Wildtrak model, a power outlet is available in the top of the rear fender well in the bedliner. The power socket provides a 12-volt supply and is located conveniently in the box to allow owners to run a portable fridge and air pump for camping.


Entering the cabin of the new Ranger felt like we were getting into a more luxury-like SUV with high-grade plastics, even panel fit and a general high-end feel. The armrests and door pads are now trimmed with thicker foam, and a revised shape makes them feel more comfortable. Larger door pockets can hold a thicker map book and 1-liter water bottles, and the glove box can easily stow a 16-inch laptop and an average-sized women’s handbag. 

Ranger Int II
Ranger center stack II
Switchgear changes include a new four-wheel-drive control switch, and steering-wheel-mounted phone, cruise and audio controls are now available (initially) on the top 3.2-liter Wildtrak model.

The gauge cluster houses clear displays with the engine heat and fuel indicators in between the pods. An LCD display indicates the gear shifts and mileage. There is also a full functioning “drive computer” that shows the average fuel consumption, distance to empty and distance to cover.

One area in which the Ranger surpasses other pickups in the market is its in-car entertainment system. The six-speaker CD stereo sounded clear, and it took us by surprise because other trucks come with semi-decent units. Some other nice touches include an armrest with a large box below that can hold six 12-ounce drink cans. Big side mirrors add to the great feel and safety of the car.

On the Road

At more than 18 feet long and more than 6 feet wide, the new Ranger is bigger than the previous-generation model. It remains easily maneuverable on narrow city streets and during parking, thanks to a responsive steering system that requires no more than three-and-a-half turns of the wheel lock-to-lock.

The Ranger’s water-wading capability is among the best in the segment. The four- and two-wheel-drive Hi-Rider models can wade through up to 30 inches of water even when fully laden. The Ranger also boasts outstanding maximum payload capacity of more than 3,300 pounds (single cab, chassis only), as well as excellent ground clearance of up to 9.3 inches (four- and two-wheel-drive Hi-Rider models).

Ranger Side II

Our drive started with an easy 18-mile run through the city of Chiang Rai. The 3.2-liter diesel was quick and shifted smoothly. Very little diesel clatter was heard in the cabin, and wind noise was very low as the steeply raked windshield and revised door design kept outside noise away. The Ranger more than holds its own in cabin quietness, an attribute not often associated with a pickup truck where there are stiffer doors using less glass area and with more sound-deadening materials in the doors, roof and body.

In Sports Manual mode, the gearshifts were livelier, and the upper limits of the 347 pounds-feet of torque can be felt as the Ranger kept an easy 100 mph cruising speed.Up front, the entire suspension is brand new. A new coil-over-strut suspension allows for better tuning of the upper and lower wishbone design. The suspension setup, while similar for two- and four-wheel-drive models, has unique capabilities and has been tuned with specific damper valving and spring rates on all models to compensate for weight, center of gravity, engine torque and drive distribution. 

Giving drivers more precise steering control, Ranger’s new rack-and-pinion steering system has been carefully tuned for low-speed maneuverability and responsive on-road driving. We started our off-road drive up to the coffee plantations of Chiang Rai. The track was a combination of mud, gravel and soft sand. On the steeper inclines, the 3.2-liter engine showed us its impressive torque was as it easily climbed across all terrain. The tight turns on the muddy trails did little to hamper our progress.

We had little issue taking in the off-road terrain as the approach and departure angles were good at 29 and 20 degrees, respectively, while the ground clearance was good when we took in some logging trails on the way down back to the city. 

Interior soundproofing was excellent with little road noise, and a muted revving diesel engine was all we heard.

A 21-gallon diesel fuel tank provides a possible range of 620 miles. In a recent mileage test conducted by Ford, we’re told a 2.2-liter Ranger got a class-best 990 miles before it ran out of fuel.
Ranger Rear II

Features in the Ranger 3.2-liter Wildtrak we tested include dual-zone climate control, power folding mirrors, backup camera integrated into the rearview mirror, multifunction steering wheel and reverse sensor. Also unique are hill start assist, hill decent control and rollover control systems.

Safety features are class-best with more than 9,000 simulated crashes done during early tests and more than 200 actual crash tests. Other features include stability control, adaptive load control and trailer-sway control.

With nothing carried over from the previous Ranger and all the new technology and improvements added in, this Ranger is surely going to be a hot seller in Asia. Now it’s time for North American dealers to make their requests for this new Ranger.

2012 Ranger Spec 560w

Ranger bed plug II

Ranger rear Int II

Ranger rear storage II

Ranger rearview II


The 2.2 ran 990 miles on 21 gallons? 47MPG? 3390LB payload? This would not only cut into F150-F250 sales it would also cut into Fusion Hybrid and Focus EV sales. This is also the vehicle that would meet 2025 fuel mileage standards. I would buy one today.

I now hate ford for not bringing the new model ranger to America.

Ford can charge more for it outside North America. Like $50,000. Probably has a lot to do with it. It would sell like hotcakes in America at $25k-30k, but could Ford justify that?

So that is the new Ranger truck huh? I declare it the official truck of the Powder Puff Girls. I have spoken again and the truth is what I speak.

the first problem is other countries have different size of a gallon of gas and also have relaxed EPA its good for 37mpg on highway with a engine that has little power you would need the 3.2l just to get some good power.

if you have every drive a four banger ranger yes i know its only gas but up a hill from a stop with nothing in it. rev the engine to 3,500 rpm and drop the clutch is the only way you can stop the truck from rolling back words. and yes i konw how to drive manual i have a 5speed with a low gear diesel no problem on highs unloaded. and thats with out the low gear.

in Europe the vw diesel gets over 50mpg in america it only gets 40mpg. prius get 60mpg in Europe in the us it gets 50mpg

Confuse consumers? What a bunch of arrogant a-holes! I currently own a Ranger and the only thing I'm confused about is what color Tacoma I will buy when its time to replace my Ranger.

I agree, Ford is teasing the US Truck lovers. They also can't call it Global because it is NOT sold throughout the globe.
Thanks Ford, you tell us that you have exactly what we want
but you wont sell it to us. For that reason I will never buy a Ford 150. GM and Jeep are you paying attention?

The 990 miles to a tank was only one test. It's not what the average person will see (ie, remember that journalist test of EB where some got 35 mpg - that is not the average - that is just one controlled test). The article says the average is 620 which comes out to 29 mpg on a 21 gallon tank. And that is probably not with US diesel regulations and standards I presume. Take off 20% of 29 and that brings it down to 23.2 which is what the current V6 F-150 gets. The next gen F-150 will be better. As the article says, too close to the F-150.

Look at that steep rake on those back seats. Anyone sitting in the back of that thing would have their knees i their faces. Looks like another LOSS for Ford.

i=in, sorry for the typo

looks good on paper but where the results from the test. im not talking about ur opinion, i want solid numbers to back up the paper numbers.

Tom, a European gallon is larger than a US gallon. That is why cars get more miles per gallon in Europe.

I am thinking the 3.2L I-5 probably has 20 valves, and not 16?

Thats why after 3 Rangers i just bought a 2012 Tacoma fu Ford.

Ford never said they wouldn't sell a smaller truck here. They said they did not have any plans NOW.

They are still making the current Ranger here. What else could they say right now while the current model is available? They haven't announced any future plans around smaller trucks and Ford isn't tipping their hand about future products like GOVERMENT MOTORS does.

"The new Ranger, code-named T6, was always intended to be part of the global “One Ford’” design to cater to a wider international market. Ford’s engineers worked with design centers in North America, Asia and Europe"

He should have said as well, that the Ranger project was mainly an Australian one, with inputs from South African and Brazilian Ford engineers. I think that Argentina reference is a mistake. There seems a few other strange "facts" as well in the article.

@Don the 2.2 litre would probably hit 47mpg. Jaguar drove a 2.2 litre diesel car across the US getting 50mpg US, 60 MPG British. Something like the 3.2 Litre Ranger should get better mileage then the EB F150.

@Mark Williams Should this have been 100Kmh not 100mph?

"n Sports Manual mode, the gearshifts were livelier, and the upper limits of the 347 pounds-feet of torque can be felt as the Ranger kept an easy 100 mph cruising speed."

It says right in the article A 21-gallon diesel fuel tank provides a possible range of 620 miles. That's 29 mpg. It would be worse in the UNITED STATES.

@Don for the 3.2 diesel? It seems like the 2.2 would get about 40mpg.

@Don the reviewer is a bit light about exact factual content, going by this article.

I am no longer confused! Charcoal gray it is!

The story said this truck was over 6 feet wide and 18 feet long. Isn't that about the size of a full sized truck?
My 6.5 box SuperCrew is 20 feet long.
I suspect that Rob Ryan is correct in that it could easily hold a 100 KPH = 60 MPH speed. (62.5 if you want to split hairs).
There are only 3 countries left in the world that still use the old British system of measure (at least formally).
It is unclear whether or not the writer was converting to Imperial or US units.
the specifications are impressive. It is aways interesting to see how much more capacity "global" products have over NA products.
Why is that?
I think our trucks are under rated because of all of the morons that grossly overload their rigs and then "lawyer up" when something goes wrong.
I like the looks of the orange one.
I can see how Ford would be worried about this truck hurting F150 sales.
Simple sollution:
Ditch the shortbox versions of the F150, as well as the light duty capacity F150's.
Have this as a F100.
The HD F150 becomes the new F150,with 6.5 and 8 ft boxes
then you go to the F250 and F350.
Just make sure there is minimal product overlap.
Finally, make damned sure you get these in a diesel.

I reall like it.. but we can't have a Ford Truck here in the US. Interesting. Can we get it if we work on our Credit Rating?

If could change a few things on in.

* A completely Flat rear floor like the F150.
* A midgate that opens into the Cab and folds flat into rear seats.
* A Rambox like feature

The four door version looks just like the Sport Track and it does not sell very well. So if you want one, just buy the Sport Track.

Cant see why North Americans want this truck,the Ford Explorer Sport-Track was a sales dud,this wouldnt be any better !They look almost the same !! If they did sell these in North America (Canada/USA) they would be priced the same as a F-150,thus sales would be not great !!

@Chris.....Nobody bought the Sport Trac because it is not a crew cab ranger. Telling people to buy the sport trac in the place of a crew cab is like telling GM lovers to give up their crew cab Silverado for an Avalanche.

As for the Size, Ford is just making excuses. Their was an article on here not too long ago that compared the T6 to the F150. The T6 is basically the same size as the current Tacoma. Look at a Tacoma (non crew cab long bed) next to a Tundra and tell me they look about the same size? The Tundra dwarfs the Tacoma just like the F150 would dwarf the ranger. Those 90% excuses are just plain crap!!!!!

Anyone notice the insane payload capacity? Curb at 3,000lbs to to 4,500lbs and GVWR at 7,000 lbs? That means this thing has anywhere between 2,500 to 4,000 lbs!!! That is as much payload as an F-450! WTH F150?!?

2Kurt - it looks like they got the numbers wrong. The I5 is rated less than the I4 diesel and the gasser.

do you thing they have the same cheap seats like the escape.and the same trany whit all the problem..y try to be positive but to much bad experience whit my soap box..

nothing was mentioned about inside storage and the pictures show just a little bit of storage under the rear seats that fold up. Looks like the back of the back seat does not fold down for storage behind it like my 2001 Taco. I guess I will pass on this along with the Canyon/Colorado as they also do not have much inside storage. In my Taco behind the rear seats I have a tow strap/jumper cables/4-way lug wrench/gloves/hip arrow quiver/come-along/plastic bags/car jack/lots of rope and other stuff.

This is an attractive competive truck that we will probably never see. Put a direct injected turbo 4 cylinder in it and don't price it too high. Ford could offer their new V6 direct injected turbo that they have on the new F150 as an option. I agree with Lou ditch the short box version and the lighter versions of the F150 and call this the F100. Ford is making a mistake thinking that all midsize truck buyers will go to their lighter F150s. These buyers are more likely to go to the Toyota Tacoma or if the new Colorado is good then they might buy one these. Hopefully the new Colorado will be a success and Ford will change their mind. It would be nice to see Hyundai or Kia enter the market with a competive compact or midsize truck. Maybe with the new trade agreement with Korea they could come over with one. Possible they could assemble one in one of their plants in the US. Hyundai makes some nice looking and competitive cars. Only the future will tell.

I think will see it over here within a couple years, with the new Colorado coming Ford will have to offer something to replace the current Ranger, and no a Base F-150 is not a substitute.

@miath - you're a funny man. Why slag Ford for a crappy Escape when your family bought 4 of them before realizing that they were crappy?
I can see you in a few years time: "dem dare Hevies af rappy plasteek intreariors, pee haft fur o dem.

Ford's new products are top notch and are the only American company that has above average reliability..

do you thing they have the same cheap seats like the escape.and the same trany whit all the problem..y try to be positive but to much bad experience whit my soap box..

Posted by: miath | Nov 24, 2011 5:10:01 PM

Yes I do. Great post.

This is like being on the south beach diet and watching somebody eat a cheeseburger with a bun. Ford, I don't know how you figure your numbers in your market research, but if you haven't counted UncleBud as a potential buyer, you can go on and ink me in.
And Ford, please also consider that I am buying your product whether it's a Global Bada$$ Ranger or an F-150, so keep your pants on please. Anheuser-Busch Inbev doesn't sweat when, as a regular Bud heavy drinker, I just want a Bud Light.

Ford: Even if you are not going to bring the truck over here, at least bring the 3.2TD! Please?

My comments: We have to wait to see if the gloomy economic cloud coming from Europe could ruin Fords, GM and Chrysler/Fiats plans.

@Lou and @ Jeff I can see this as the new F100.

@Don it makes sense to bring it in a as F100 later. If the economic situation gets dramatically worse, sooner than latter.

@Lou, this Pickup with its F250 type of payload, would throw the whole product alignment out of the window. I think if they did bring it over fuel economy rather than payload would be emphasized. It could sell while Full Size Pickups are sitting on dealers lots.

@WhOUbU The current F150, Silverado 1500 and Dodge RAM do not "dwarf" anything. The new Amarok, Ranger and up coming Colorado are larger than your Tacoma.
Even the current small Asian Pickups are not tiny.

Small Asian Ranger and Silverado 1500

F250 and old Holden Colorado, smallest of the Asian sourced Utes, both lined up from the kerb


@miath. In the article the reviewer said the Ranger was like a SUV, rather than a hose out , bare bones pickup.

why does the 4 cyl diesel have a better payload than the 5 cyl?

@Kemo It seems odd could be a typo.

I'm on my new 2nd Ranger (1993 w/140k, and 2005 w/65k). I would never buy an F150. It's too wide and tall, doesn't fit in urban parking spots, or in the garage. My commuter car is a VW TDI (160k miles). I'd trade both for a Ranger TDI in a heartbeat.

So, the new "One Ford" has fine print. I call B/S.
At Ford, Marketing is Job #1.

looks like a bunch of cheap plastic to me junk!

It's not a typo. Why do you think a regular cab 3.5 or 5.0 F150 has better payload than a supercab 6.2? Same reason here.

Looks like a high quality product to me.

Robert Ryan I see your point. I would be happy is they just brought this over with less payload and more fuel efficiency. I can understand why they don't want this to take way from their F150 and F250s but those trucks have a much bigger body. A competitive price and 30 to 40, mpg would be an attractive option to 20 or less mpg with ever rising gas prices. This would make a great second truck for those who want to keep their larger trucks but not drive them all the time. Maybe you want to keep your Silverado HD, Ram HD, or F-250 for hauling trailers or heavy loads but have a truck with all of its utility the rest of the time and use it as a family hauler. They would probably not make a diesel for the US due to the new environmental standards that have made diesels extremely expensive but a direct fuel injected turbocharged 4 cylinder with an overdrive transmission would get more power and better mpgs. If some of the customers want the power of a V-8 but better fuel economy then use the new V-6 ecoboost F-150 engine. Uncle Bud I agree with you. If I recall you currently drive a crewcab Tacoma which is a good truck but for you to even consider a replacement for that Ford would have to give you something like the Global Ranger. I feel the same about my Isuzu which if I replaced in the near future it would either be a Tacoma, Frontier, Equator (Frontier's twin), or the 2013 Colorado.

C'mon FORD, get off your butt and give us the small Ranger. After Chevy's new Colorado is introduced here you'll be sorry you haven't brought out a new US Ranger.

like how robby rymes post a manipulative pic of a ground hugging 2wd silvy against a 4wd high riding midsize along with the camera angle starting from the midsize to makeit appear larger. come on man... anyone with any sense can see thru that... lol

Hay ford fans, How did you like finishing second to GM AGAIN! Can you say Winston Cup and Tony Stewart in a Chevrolet beats Carl Edwards in a Ford??? Yep, Chevy wins the Championship AGAIN! Ford is sucking hind titty AGAIN!

Ford is the first loser AGAIN!...

Thanks for the off topic comment Michigan Bob. This article is about the Global Ranger not about a Winston Cup race. I am not interested about which truck wins a race. Any of these trucks would bet 99 S-10 with a 2.2 4 cylinder. Your comments drive me away from any desire to own another Chevy which I happen to like. No stock car or truck is anything like a street legal vehicle. Race vehicles are specially built and the only thing they have in common are the exteriors. I should have responded because that adds more fuel to the fire.

Correction. I meant I should not have responded to Michigan Bobs bashing comments. I am not really interested in Winston Cup racing results. My 99 S-10 is not a racing vehicle nor my 08 Isuzu, they are just trucks. If I wanted to race it would be a Boss Mustang, a Z Camaro, a Vette, or a performance Hemi Challenger. A good Hemi would eat that Chevy up.

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