2023 Ford Ranger Platinum review: An interesting alternative to an SUV

2023 Ford Ranger Platinum review: An interesting alternative to an SUV


Platinum shows the breadth of ability that the current Guardian possesses. It’s not an obvious replacement for the standard SUV but the combination of a much-improved cabin, high levels of technology and the practicality of the pick-up bed means it’s an interesting proposition. It’s expensive, and while the driving experience is excellent for a pickup truck, it’s still not quite as refined as most SUVs.

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“Minivan” and “premium” are two words you don’t often find together, but the new Ford Ranger Platinum aims to combine them into one seamless offering. The Ranger is a good base for this as it’s currently the winner of Pickup of the Year, thanks in part to improvements to its interior and overall build quality.

However, making a luxury pickup truck is not easy. Just ask Mercedes, whose X-Class based on the ill-fated Nissan Navara has been quietly going on sale for several years. The Platinum is expected to account for about eight percent of total Ranger sales, so there’s no big expectations there, but it’s being pitched as an alternative to the SUV market as well, where things get more competitive.

Hans Schipp, General Manager, Ford Pro Europe, explained things at the Platinum reveal: “The new Platinum will suit customers who value the comfort and technology of a high-end road car, but who depend on durability and all-round productivity.”

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As the most “luxurious” (in Ford’s words) vehicle in the Ranger lineup, the Platinum features some exterior modifications over the Wildtrak. You’d hope so, too, because it comes in at £6,550 more than the Wildtrak (with both fitted with a V6 diesel, the only engine available in the Platinum). The £45,900 Platinum has a lot of presence, but you won’t say more than the Wildtrak.

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There’s a clear influence from the larger F-150 from America, with the Ranger’s square stance, C-shaped daytime running lights, big oval Ford badge, massive grille and tricked-out front fascia. Another feature borrowed from its US cousin is that the “Ranger” nameplate is now stamped on the tailgate.

The Platinum model builds on this new look with a ‘Platinum’ badge across the leading edge of the bonnet (as on the Ranger Rover), chrome inserts around the fog lamps and across the grille, a so-called ‘Light Pack Level B’, which are LEDs Ford’s revised front end, more chrome on the window garnishes and door handles, and 18-inch alloy wheels (ours was fitted with the optional £750 20-inch add-on).

The Platinum’s exterior will appeal to those looking for something a little more attractive than a traditional family-friendly SUV, and there are some welcome extra amenities inside, too. Available only as a five-seat Double Cab, the interior features heated and ventilated driver and passenger memory seats with 10-way power adjustment, a leather steering wheel, some wood trim and an eight-speaker Bang and Olufsen sound system. The 360-degree camera is very responsive and useful in a car of this size.

Overall it is a nice place to spend some time. We thought the Wildtrak would be able to challenge a lot of luxury SUVs in terms of cabin quality, and that’s even more true of the Platinum. All of the frequently used touchpoints are clad in leather, and even the hard plastics are well held together, so it certainly doesn’t feel cheap there. Adults sitting in the front or back will have plenty of space, and there are also plenty of storage areas dotted around.

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The huge touchscreen is the main focal point of the dashboard. The 12-inch screen uses Ford’s latest SYNC 4 infotainment system, a system we’re very happy to use thanks to its easy-to-read layout and crisp resolution. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto take up the top half of the screen, which is a bit odd but means climate controls and menu shortcuts are always within easy reach. The climate controls themselves are split between the touchscreen and some physical buttons below for functions like defogging, which is a bit strange. The driver display has a wide range of readouts, with the sat-nav, various trip computers and driving modes all configurable.

We found the diesel V6 to be smoother than the 2.0-liter four-cylinder, and it’s very refined, too. It’s no shortage of power with 237bhp and 600Nm, but the 10-speed automatic feels like a limiting factor when you accelerate hard: not that the Platinum is slow, just that it’s not terribly responsive.

Our 700-mile test of the Platinum included a lot of motorway driving, as well as some maneuvering around Heathrow’s cumbersome multi-storey car parks and some mild off-roading. Not surprisingly, the Platinum seems less suited to city driving than in other environments. The long front fascia and flat hood make it difficult to judge where the front of the car ends, but the slab-sided body makes it easy to position within your lane. Its 5,370mm length dwarfs even a Mercedes S-Class, so get used to jutting out of parking spaces.

The low-speed steering feels incredibly light, and with the soft suspension and high center of gravity, you’ll find the Platinum wobbles quite a bit. The faster you go, the more stable it feels, however, at highway speeds the Platinum is a decent cruiser, despite noticeable wind noise. We were very impressed driving the Ranger on 18-inch wheels, and there’s really no noticeable difference when switching to 20-inch tires: there’s a little shuffling from the off-road tires, but potholes and larger bumps are as damp as they are on most SUVs.

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On-road refinement is roughly on par with many family SUVs (and perhaps some luxury SUVs), but it’s off-road where the Ranger Platinum’s utilitarian underpinnings shine. Fairly self-explanatory driving modes range from Normal, Eco, Slippery, Mud and Sand with ‘Tow Haul’ for when you want to take advantage of the impressive 3500kg towing capacity. We took the Platinum down a muddy driveway that would have certainly caused a few SUVs to tumble, but the minivan easily handled the conditions, with no sign of faltering.

Our depreciation figures for the new Ranger only extend to the Raptor currently, which has an abysmal 45 percent residual value after three years. That’s concerning for other Ranger models, but the performance-focused Raptor isn’t categorized as a light commercial vehicle and appeals to a more niche market. The Platinum’s hefty payload of 1,041kg means that, unlike the Ranger Raptor, the Platinum is classed as a Light Commercial Vehicle (LCV) and should hold its value a little better.

Our test car was also equipped with a powered roller shutter on the load bay that you can open and close using the key fob. However, at £1,800 excluding VAT, this feature isn’t cheap.

During our time with the Platinum, we tried it in many different environments and found it to be thirstier than the stated 28 mpg. The 24mpg we saw is probably a bit unrepresentative, so if you’re careful, you’ll likely get quite close to the claimed economy figure.

model: Ford Ranger Platinum
price: £45,900 (excluding VAT)
Power generation: Turbo 3.0L V6
moving in: 10-speed automatic four-wheel drive
0-62 mph: 8.7 seconds
Economy/Emissions: 28 mpg/266 g/km
Payload: 1,041 kg
For sale: now

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