There’s a reason why the jaw-dropping Ford Ranger is the UK’s dream car. From beast of burden to desirable weekend plaything, modern rigs aren’t just capable, they’re genuinely aspirational. If you’re looking for a truck that lets you survive the zombie apocalypse and have fun doing it, these are the eight things to consider when choosing a pickup truck.

Be prepared to dig deeper

Trucks don’t come cheap. Before you decide on a particular rig, review your budget both in terms of what you’re getting now and what you’re going to want to customise in future. The good news is that everything from rugged workhorses to luxury trucks with off the charts kit is available. So what you buy will depend to some extent on your pocket and mainly on what your future plans are.

What do you want to carry, and where do you want to go?

Not planning on hauling anything mammoth? Then a mid-size truck will give you the utility you need with everyday driveability. But suppose you need more grunt out of your pickup, and you’re planning on plenty of heavy-duty towing action. In that case, you’ll need four-wheel drive capability for added traction. The better road clearance also means off-roading and rock-hopping are a breeze.

Is bigger better?

Like everything else in life, size matters. Skimp on power, and your truck won’t be half as much fun as you want it to be. Experts suggest you should aim for 10% more capacity than you need. We say go big or go home.

A 4 cylinder engine usually hits the sweet spot between the raw power you need and fuel economy. But if you’re hauling the big stuff day in, day out, then a 6 or even 8 cylinder truck could be the beast you need.

Let’s torque axle ratios

When it comes to generating torque, the higher the ratio, the more raw power you’ll have for hauling and towing. Of course, you’re offsetting all that grunt against fuel economy, but you didn’t buy a pickup to maximise your mpg, did you?

If you’re looking at axle options, just know you’ll pay the price in fuel efficiency and opt for that 3.73 gear.

King size bed

The bed. It’s what sets your pickup apart from mere mortal vehicles. It’s where you’ll haul that new appliance or your custom Harley Davidson or fill it with lumber or trash. Your truck bed is what lets you undertake major jobs like transporting bulky items or equipment with ease and makes you wonder what you ever saw in that SUV.

The standard bed length on a full-size pickup is around eight feet. Mid-size trucks or those with an extended cab offer about six feet of space. Like choosing a bed to sleep in, it’s what you want to do with it that counts.

 

In your comfort zone

If you need a pickup as a serious workhorse, you need to know that you can load and unload with ease. If the bed has side rails that make life difficult, check the make and model you want comes with integrated or folding steps for better access. If you’re buying a 4×4 that’s high off the ground, buy the model with the running board to access the cab.

You need sufficient space for you and your passengers and seats that meet your specifications. Take notice of the amount of leg and headroom for a truly comfortable ride. If you’re buying an extended cab truck, don’t expect the seats to be genuinely comfortable for anyone but kids. The point of getting an extended cab is to provide inside storage, so check the seats fold down.

Can you handle the ride?

Let’s face it, handling a truck can be borderline punishing when you don’t have any weight in the bed. And if you’re looking for agile and nimble moves, then stick with that SUV – these behemoths are never going to give you a responsive ride. Rely on your modified Harley Davidson for speed and dexterity, and keep the truck for when you need a workout.

Added extras

Trim and option packages will depend on how you prioritise performance and safety. Knowing your must-have features will significantly improve your chances of getting a pickup with the right balance of looks, torque and technology.

Even if you can wait for a bespoke configuration, it pays to be specific about what you’re looking for in your ideal pickup. Remember, you can always let #TeamDU pimp your new ride.

Let Dirty Unicorn dirty it up

Already got a Ford Ranger, and you want to make a statement? At Dirty Unicorn, the only question we ask is how big a statement do you want to make? Get in touch with #TeamDU today to discuss your customisation needs.

Dirty Unicorn custom ford ranger