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Two doors, 2WD – still a Ranger

FORD has something of a hidden gem among its mighty Ranger fleet, in the form of the single-cab two- wheel-drive option.

As the Ranger moved to the top of the ute sales in New Zealand, the focus has been on the mighty four- wheel-drive models with their tough, go-anywhere ethos. But the single-cab two-wheel-drive machine is worthy of some attention in its own right because it will cover a different market.

Not surprisingly, the SC 2WD uses a different motor to the bigger Rangers — a 2199cc turbo diesel with 118kW of torque at 3200rpm, smaller perhaps but no less up to the job required.

It has a six-speed manual transmission and a low combined fuel consumption figure of 6.5 litres/100km.

It has another significant difference in that it is a low rider compared to the high-standing Rangers.

There is a good reason for that. The lower centre of gravity makes this vehicle an easier one to work with for someone loading and using a chiller or workbox.

That is something that makes it more practical for people like “tradies” or contractors, an asset enhanced by the large 2.5 by 2 metre Razorback tray on the test drive vehicle, one of several options available.

In fact practical and workhorse could be the best descriptions for this hard worker, with its braked towing capacity of 2500kg and payload of 1266kg.

It is easy to drive, with a turning circle of just 11.8 metres and power steering.

While you cannot expect all the mod cons you will get in the bigger, more expensive Rangers, for just on $31,365 you are getting more than enough to make you happy.

In the comfort section there is air conditioning, cruise control (operated from the steering wheel) audio with MP3 compatibility, a single CD player and USB input, all of which are voice activated through Ford’s Sync system. The latter will also operate the trip computer modes.

You are also not missing out on safety in a vehicle that meets EURO ANCAP five-star standards — not to mention the emission ones as well.

Included in that safety package is electronic stability control with rollover mitigation, trailer sway mitigation, hill launch assist, and an immobiliser and volumetric alarm system. Having forgotten to press unlock on the key ring, we can assure readers that the alarm works perfectly.

What you have at the end of the day is a pretty useful and willing workmate — a different Ranger but one with a lot to offer.