Ford Ranger MS-RT


Just before Christmas last year… Oh, hang on, it was Christmas the year before… I found myself deep in the Brecon Beacons courtesy of Ford’s UK PR team. The Mission was simple: Drive a new Ford Ranger across Sarn Helen’s ancient Roman roads - none of which appear to have been resurfaced in at least 500 years – in the kind of weather only a Welsh winter could throw at us. Snow, sleet, rain, floods, mud deep enough swim in, all were dealt with without drama. The Ranger barely broke a sweat. Me on the other hand… Well, I did leave the heated seat on…

       Notice the term “new Ford Ranger”.  The fact of the matter is Ford’s new Ranger wouldn’t - we were told - be with us here the UK until sometime in early 2023. “It’s a global product, hence the release of certain images of it on the World Wide Web”, said the Ford PR people. Since then, so far I think I’ve seen one, at last year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed. No doubt that particular new Ranger was on PR duties too.

     There was still a variant or two of the current Ranger I had yet to sample however, hence my calling the Ford press office recently and asking if I could borrow a Ranger MS-RT.

     If you’re into your motorsports (and why wouldn’t you be?) you may be familiar with MS-RT. Based in Pontypool, MS-RT was born as a partner of legendary Cumbrian rally driver/manager Malcolm Wilson’s M-Sport Ford world rally team. They now almost solely offer custom styling kits for Ford’s commercial vehicles, however they’ve over 40 years of motorsport experience behind them – including the World Rally Championship, Global Rallycross and GT3 Racing. Not only that, MS-RT’s partnership with Ford allows all MS-RT models to be sold and serviced through the Ford franchised dealer network, thus providing all the usual the benefits and assurances customers have come to expect.

     When it comes to the Ranger it’s evident that MS-RT have been slightly more subtle than they usually are with their Ford Commercial makeovers. Was that because they didn’t want to steal the thunder from the range-topping Ranger Raptor we wonder… OK, so the MS-RT may not have the full Baja dune-blaster look; the wheel arches aren’t as wide, the suspension hasn’t been lifted quite so high, nevertheless, one could argue it’s the MS-RT that in reality – i.e, anywhere that doesn’t look like it should appear on an extreme sports channel – that is in fact the better truck.

    You see, behind the honeycomb grille, the deeper front bumper, the flared wheel arches front and rear, and the sports bar that’s been added to further smooth the MS-RT’s path through the air (weren’t sports bars once attached to leisure centres rather than pick-up load beds?), lies a Ford Ranger Wildtrak – albeit one standing on 20-inch OZ Racing alloy wheels. What that means is you get Ford’s 210bhp 2.0 EcoBlue twin-turbodiesel and the 10-speed automatic gearbox from a Mustang. And because the MS-RT sticks with a leaf-sprung rear, it also maintains the ability to carry a tonne and tow another 3.5 tonnes. Unlike the Ranger Raptor, the MS-RT retains its commercial vehicle status. It’s thus entitled to the same favourable tax rates.

       But it does feel like a clunky old commercial?

 The MS-RT has been set-up to have more tarmac biased characteristic. Those 20 inch tyres afford plenty of grip and surprisingly accurate (for a truck) steering. It’s quiet too, and it rides well. Sat high in the driver’s seat and ensconced in its heated Nappa leather covering, you feel as if you could easily cover big miles with ease. The MS-RT feels like the perfect vehicle with which to tow your boat or historic racing car. If you can live with sub 30s mpg that is – and that’s un-laden. 

     And that, inevitably, brings us on the MS-RT’s cost. With options (tow-bar, retractable side-steps, electrically operated load-cover, plus more) and with the dreaded VAT applied, “my” MS_RT came in at – I’ll say it quickly - £64,150.64. Prices start at just over £60K. That’s pricey in anyone’s book, especially for something that doesn’t have a water-tight boot, and despite being equipped with low-ratio four-wheel drive is fitted with wheels that are far too plush to plunge into a muddy trench.

     I really did enjoy my time with the Ranger MS-RT; I was sorry to see it go. That said, as much as I admired it, I’m not entirely sure I could completely fall for its charms – and especially-so without seeing what the new Ranger has to offer first.



Ford Ranger  MS-RT 2.0L Eco Blue D/CAB  10SP Stop/Start Auto 4X4

Engine: 1,995cc 4-cylinder, 16V, bi-turbo diesel

Power: 210 bhp @3,750 rpm

Torque: 369 lbft @ 1,750 - 2,000 rpm

Transmission: 10-speed manual with manual mode.  Selectable Four-wheel drive with high and low ratio

Kerb Weight: 2,246 kg Gross Vehicle Mass: 3,270 kg Max Towable Mass: 3,500kg

Performance: 0-62mph in 9.0 seconds

Max Speed: 112 mph

MPG: 33.7

CO2: 242 g/km

Price: From £60,670.64 (inc VAT) (as driven: £64,150.64 inc VAT)


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Many thanks to Holly at Ford’s UK press office.


Liam Bird Liam Bird

I'm Liam Bird, a freelance Motoring Writer based in the South Shropshire Marches. I currently write car reviews and road tests for a number of regional lifestyle magazines and newspapers which are distributed throughout Cheshire, Herefordshire, Shropshire, Staffordshire, Worcestershire, most of Wales and beyond.

As a member of the Welsh Group of Motoring Writers I'm as happy behind the wheel of a super-mini as I am in the latest super-car. I have press accreditation with most of the major motor manufacturers, meaning that as well as always being on the look out for further commissions, I always have a number of cars arriving each month ready to review.

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