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


We all drool over having a compact with a diesel but It's not actually all that impressive. The base model 3.7L V-6 (which impresses no-one) pushing the bigger heavier F150 has very similar capabilities as the 3.2L Diesel.

The V6 has 104 more HP but 69Lb-Ft less torque
The 3.2L can tow about 1700lbs more however
With 23mpg for the V6 what could that diesel realistically give with U.S. emission controls in the F-150?

Now compare the ecoboost - Way more power and torque - more towing, etc... and still 22MPG!

Would you pay $6,000 more for an F-150 diesel with less capability than the ecoboost and similar mpg? Not likely. That's why Ford won't give us this truck or a small diesel.

no... manufactures wont give us compact n halfton diesels bcuz us fat ass americans dont like diesels. the few enthusiast here on this site with the desire for a diesel r far n few compared to ur avg fat ass joe.

everyone used to rip on the taco for having it but noticed the composite/plastic bed on this ranger....

also does ford still use fiberglass for the outer bed panels on their trucks? i ask bcuz i know the late 90's-early 00's supercrew has it.

What you are seeing is a bedliner. It is a regular steel bed.

Ford Rump Ranger.....The official truck of the Preparation H rump cream hemrhoid company.

i dont think its a bed liner even if the story says so. bedliners r drop in n is removable, this i highly doubt one can put in n remove at will. this is part of the bed which they just call it a bedliner, notice the outlets is integrated.

Whether it is removable or not, not all bedliners are removable. The bed itself is steel unlike the Tacoma.

Toyota says the Tacoma's inner bed is made from a sheet-molded composite (SMC) deck.

The first drive review of the Ranger says it is a steel bed.

Not saying which one is better, just stating the difference.

I prefer a real truck -like a Ford F-150. This T6 is too feminine looking. Kind of like the Chevrolet Silverado.

I always thought that the '97-'03 F-150 was extremely feminine looking. The new Ranger is no different.

why do you guys constantly feed the troll (bob)?

he likes an inferior product... good for him. now stop feeding him!

Robert Ryan - thanks for the photos. Even if you take into consideration suspension differences, the "global" trucks are big. You have to recall form the story that the one truck that was driven was 18 feet long and 6 feet wide. That sounds pretty close to my F150 without nitpicking a few inches.
Global trucks always seem to have much higher GVW ratings than NA trucks. If any of those trucks make it to Na, they would be rated much lower, like a base model 1/2 ton. I can't see anything more than 1,500 lb and 7,000 towing. I'd rather see a high mpg truck that is small enough not to overlap with full sized trucks. There does seem to be considerable overlap with this truck. The only way Ford could negate that fact is to ditch any base model short box F150. The product line could be adjusted to minimize cross shopping. A Transit Connect based trucklet could fill in the very bottom end for people wanting tiny trucks with minimal capacity requirements.
This truck would be a direct competitor to any 1/2 ton.

@Mark Williams - get some "global" trucks out of Mexico or someplace in Central America - go on a road trip with a NA Tacoma, and some assorted NA full sized 1/2 ton trucks and do a shootout.

The big hype of some of the features on this FOREIGN Ranger are what Tacoma's have had for many years...

Coil front suspension, rack and pinion steering, rear camera, the back seats resemble a Tacoma's, etc...

Needs better approach, departure and break-over angles...

It is a fine pickup but too bad Ford could care less about the U.S. worker anymore and chooses to shut plants in the U.S. and build new plants abroad!

Just like GE, Ford will make billions in profits from FOREIGN operations and not pay a single dime in federal taxes!

I am so glad I buy my U.S. built Tacoma, I at least support U.S. workers with my Tacoma purchase!

@Lou - Nobody is going to Mexico or Central America just to do a road trip in some pickups. An AAMRAP maybe...

Comments about the Tacoma composite inner bed...

I absolutly love that composite bed. No scratches and rust from a traditional steel bed that most place a mat or spray with something anyways...

For races and track days I loaded the bed of my X-Runner with 2 totes, 4 race tires, Craftsman jack and various other gear, all except the BFG R1's fit below the sliding bed cover.

Not once did I ever had and problems, massive scratches or cracks!


Now with my new 2010, already loaded with gear for off-roading and no issues...


Even with my LEER topper no issues including winter conditions...


The composite bed works!

Support American companies by buying their American made products. Do not buy their imported products.

Make America's economy stronger -not foreign economies like Japan or Turkey.

MRAP - excuse the ignorance

A T-6 would make a wonderful Christmas gift for your wife or favorite female relative.....feminine to the bone!

Buy America I realize you just like F-150s, like Oxi only likes Tacomas, but not everyone needs or wants an F-150 or similar size trucks. If Ford just wants to make F-150s and above then I will not even look at their trucks. Nothing negative about the F-150, it is a fine truck, I just don't need or want that much truck. If Ford even came out with a truck based on the Transit connect I would consider it. If Ford can come up with such great small cars as the new Focus, Fiesta, and the Fusion then I am sure that it would be no problem for them to come up with a world class competive compact or midsize truck for the US market. I do not need a macho looking truck nor do I need to prove my manhood by driving a large overpriced and overhorsepowered machine. I could afford one of those but I do not want one. If Toyota, Nissan, Suzuki, and Chevy are the only ones that make a compact to midsize truck then those will be the ones I consider. If Ford changes their mind then I will look at a Ford. If Hyuandai, Kia, or a good Chinese company comes in with a competitive product I will look at those as well.

Hello to all of the bloggers out there. Bobby and I hope that you had a wonderful Thanksgiving.

All you ford fanatics are LIARS! of course you care about who wins the Winston cup and if carl Edwards had won you would be singing fords praises. Look, it's simple, GM is the best and is the winner and ford is the first LOSER!!!

GM WINS AGAIN and ford loses AGAIN!

Took those photos with my old phone camera, to give an actual comparison of size.
This I just found on Expedition Portal, a US correspondent(Not Australian or the Philipino Automotive Journalist) giving his opinion of the Hilux. Notice "They are built as 1 Ton capable from the factory"

oxi wins again...


@Buy American Or Say Bye To America!

"Support American companies by buying their American made products. Do not buy their imported products.

Make America's economy stronger -not foreign economies like Japan or Turkey."


Ford is closing the last Ranger plant in the USA and opening 3 new plants in FOREIGN nations! Care to explain that one, that USA workers are second rate to FOREIGNERS!

My Accesscab Tacoma was Made in U.S.A. It says so on my federal government regulated data plate inside the drivers door...

That is why I DO NOT buy the 4-door Tacoma, it is partially made in Mexico depending on demand!

Your precious F-150 or Dodge Ram, is it really made in the U.S.A. or Canada/Mexico?

Was your computer you use to comment made in Japan?

How about the cell phone you use, the tv, the camera, PS3 or X-box? I could name countless other products you probably have in your possession or home even in your ride that are IMPORTED because those precious U.S. based companies you brag about (that you do not even own a single share of) are busy shipping jobs abroad for cheap labor markets YET you support these back-stabbing corporations...

If I choose another Tacoma in 2015, I will make sure it was built in San Antonio, Texas, U.S.A. Yeah a Toyota plant in Texas flying the U.S. flag proudly outside, boy what has the world become!

Toyota is the name of the pickup YET it is made in the U.S.A., stop using corporate names as rascist remarks.

Toyota is a private corporation that is publically traded meaning you can own part of the company and vote! Toyota is NOT the Japanese sovereign government, get a clue!

@toycrusher84. I mentioned it before, the specs for the article appear odd. A 3.2 Litre litre engine should perform better. than that. Same towing, GVWR and slightly smaller payload does not make sense for something that costs more. The 3.2 litre will have the same configurations as the 2.2litre
The Jaguar below got 52mpg US traveling across the US, averaging 52mph using the same small 2.2 Litre Peugeot/Ford diesel as used in the Ranger. I cannot seeing it losing 30mpg using different pollution regulations.


FFS can we get rid of these stupid trolls? Stop rambling on about your favorite brand when it's not even relevant to the article!

@Robert Ryan--That Hilux is some truck. Michigan Bob's old Chevy would have seized at the beginning of that run. The Raptor is just an oversized toy compared to that.

@Oxi--You are correct that Toyota is a corporation and not the Japanese government. Let Toyota make plenty of profit and put more plants in the USA and Canada. Any corporation that is successful in the US and employs US and Canadian workers I wish great success to whether its US, Japanese, Korean, German, or even Chinese corporation. I live in Northern Kentucky and I do not hear the taxpayers of Kentucky asking Toyota to leave. The Georgetown factory, the Toyota North American Parts warehouse, and the North American headquarters for Toyota all contribute directly to the Kentucky economy. I am sure San Antonio and the great State of Texas feel the same.

Getting back on subject. Ford if you are listening consider some of the comments from those of us who would like to see you build and sell a midsize truck in the US. If you do not then all of those who want and drive compact and midsize trucks will be in your competitors trucks, mainly Toyota. One size does not fit all truck customers.

@ Michigan Bob,it's the SPRINT CUP CHAMPIONSHIP now and how bout the Mustang winning the drivers,owner's and manufactures championships in nationwide and plus having the rookie of the year ?

I like this truck and wish ford would bring it over here but don't see that happening anytime soon.

I think your right David. It will be a while for a need another truck. Hopefully the new Colorado will have enough success to have Ford reconsider the midsize market. I am not going to lose sleep over it, if Ford does not have anything in this segment then I will go elsewhere. If Toyota and Nissan are the only players in this segment when I am ready to buy then I will only consider their products.

@ Michigan Bob,it's the SPRINT CUP CHAMPIONSHIP now and how bout the Mustang winning the drivers,owner's and manufactures championships in nationwide and plus having the rookie of the year ?

I like this truck and wish ford would bring it over here but don't see that happening anytime soon.

Posted by: David | Nov 25, 2011 4:20:43 PM

All they need to do is get rid of the Impala and introduce the new Camaro into the mix. Once that is done it will be on!!! The Mustang will get stomped into the dirt by the best selling muscle car in the USA....the CAMARO!!! whahahahaha
I have spoken....and the truth is what I speak.

I just realized that I referred to the Mustang by the wrong name. I should have said "CRUSTANG". Let's not forget its sibling "THE CRAPTOR"

chevy has won SPRINT CUP CHAMPIONSHIP 7 years in a row ford won the nationwide and chevy won the camping world trucks champonship

@ johnny doe

Well said man.

And all this time I thought this was an article about the Global Ranger. I did not realize this was an article about racing Chevy Camaros and Ford Mustangs. Is this Trucks.com? I guess its time for Bob to rev up his company Impala and maybe race that Stang. I guess Bob could convert his Impala into an Ute and race it in the Outback against that Toyota Hilux Robert Ryan sent us the video on. I wonder which one would win? Duh!

This article amounts to nothing more than dangling a piece of cheese in front of a hungry dog.

Keep dreaming about those diesels folks and this midsize ranger. The oil industry owns congress and from the sounds of it they own a great deal of the automakers.

Just get an Isuzu NPR crew cab chassis and pop an 8' box on there and call it a day. That's as close as any of us will ever get to a turbocharged 4 cyl diesel pickup in this country.

I don't want this small, plastic, not powerful, stinky, shaking , hard to start in cold diesel truck.
I want a cheep gasoline again, so I can feed my HEMI without worry.

@zviera--The days of cheap gas are gone forever. Big oil and OPEC have elimated those for good. Get prepared to take out a loan on your children and grandchildren to pay for your Hemi's appetitie. Big V-8s for the average Joe are pretty much gone for cars and rapidly disappearing for trucks. New fuel standard that will be implemented will make your Hemi a collectors item and not practical. The midsize trucks like the Global Ranger (except no diesel) might become the full size except for the HDs that will be for business. You will be dreaming of the good old days when gas was a mere $4 a gallon. Cheap gas is not a God given right. Wake up and smell the coffee.

@ toycrusher84 - my comment about a road trip to Central America was to do a test where one could compare our NA trucks to the global ones. It would be eaier to go "south" with some NA trucks then to try to import those global trucks into the USA for a comparison test.
It would be great to end the "grass is greeener" debate once and for all or just spread more fertilizer on the other side of that fence ;)

@ Jeff - I've been agreeing with you a lot lately;) I echo your sentiments - if Ford won't import it, I don't care either, if I want a compact,I'll buy the best one that is available.

@Lou. Great idea, you would have a "neutral " area and the same US reviewers. Problem is getting the companies on board. They maybe reluctant in testing their products against products that are not available in NA.

looks a lot like politics... "we know better than the people". give the people what they want! If i were a betting man, i would bet the truck would sell very well. F150 buyers would still buy an F150, and some tacoma/frontier buyers would buy the new ranger. what do we know, we are just dumb 'ole pickup truck lovers who tell our dollars where to go.


The big hype of some of the features on this FOREIGN Ranger are what Tacoma's have had for many years...

Coil front suspension, rack and pinion steering, rear camera, the back seats resemble a Tacoma's, etc...

Needs better approach, departure and break-over angles...

I agree...

According to Ford executives, “and if this new Ranger were offered, it could confuse buyers and hurt F-150 sales”. Ford, I have some advice for you – don’t talk down to your potential customers and question their intelligence. It’s not the buying public who are confused. Perhaps it’s your disingenuous marketing people and your unqualified product planners that are confused about how to talk to prospects and the customers who spend their money on pickup trucks. If you choose to ignore a segment then I’m sure another maker will be only too glad to provide them with what they want. How much does loosing a sale of one type of product effect future brand sales to that customer and his family and friends? Just asking.

@tom334 i have a jetta tdi i get 56 highway and 43 city

"...How about the cell phone you use, the tv, the camera, PS3 or X-box? I could name countless other products you probably have in your possession or home even in your ride that are IMPORTED because those precious U.S. based companies you brag about (that you do not even own a single share of) are busy shipping jobs abroad for cheap labor markets YET you support these back-stabbing corporations..." -oxi

Given a choice, which we have not had for a very long time, I would always pick an American made product from an American company. I dream of being able to buy an American made computer/electronics. Unfortunately, we are left without a choice because of; consumers that look for the least expensive product (usually imported) and American manufactures trying to compete with foreign companies/labor rates.

American companies need to choose between making a product in America and charging a premium, and selling in small quantities, or manufacturing overseas and offering it at a much lower price, and reaching more selfish consumers. The companies are forced to go after the larger (greedy) group in order to stay in business.

Keep buying foreign products, from foreign companies, and continue the problem. It is your money and our economy that is at stake. Help America or help another country. It is your choice.

ridiculous...it should be available here!

Ford Rangers sibling the Mazda BT 50 has just released this silly commercial on Australian TV. That Bullbar is now a standard Australian factory offering to disguise the very ugly front end. Under the skin both pickups are identical, but Mazda has got rid of the small petrol (Gas)option.

Buy American--I do see your point that if Americans demanded (I do not want to exclude Canada as we are all North Americans) products made in North America and would not buy anything else it would create a lot more jobs. Unfortunately the American corporations are hooked on cheap foreign labor and increased profits which translate into bigger bonuses for the CEOs. Since we live in a changing world and we are more globally connected then this is a lot harder to do. We live in a flat world where less technical and less expensive things are made where the labor is the cheapest. My previous computer was a Gateway which was made in the USA and was still going strong after 8 years of service when I donated it to a VITA tax site (volunteer tax site) who needed it badly. I bought a Compaq Presario (HP) for $299 from Staples with Windows 7 last year. Yes the price was cheap and yes I wanted to upgrade and yes it was made in China. I did look around but I could not find a computer that was not made in Asia anywhere. Also my old computer was badly needed by the VITA site. Unfortunately the same thing is happening to our automotive industry. I understand your product loyalty, but sometimes the best we can do is have foreign based companies put plants in America and provide jobs. I have nothing against Ford F-150s, Silverados, Rams they are all good trucks and if I needed a fullsize truck I would gladly buy any of them. I just don't need a larger truck, just like I don't need a fullsize V-8 powered car (which I have had many of and enjoyed). If anything I need something that has the utility and the fuel efficiency together. My latest truck is a 5 cylinder which is not as efficient as I wanted but the tradeoff is a crewcab with 4 wheel drive. My old S-10 which I am glad I kept at worst gets 20mpg city and on the highway at 70 mph gets over 27 mpg. I have been driving S-10 more lately with higher gas prices and because if I haul anything I would rather dent and ding the old truck than the new one. I really think if the market for midsize trucks gets better that Ford will reconsider. I have had many Ford cars and I happened to like them all except an 85 Mercury Lynx which was underpowered and cheaply made. Let's see if Ford steps up to the plate. Hopefully they will.

buy america,

dude, u need to wake up from ur dream. american based companies r private not american government owned. u care way too much about companies that dont give a damn about u or us. their goal is profit, not keep jobs in america or made in america. against competition, profit is the goal in business, not keeping jobs or producing goods in america, either u go with the flow or drown n i dont think anyone as a company or business owner wants to drown.

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