I throw a chainsaw in the back of the Ford Ranger and head for the outskirts of Markinch, where some trees have been cut down and the timber left for those who want it.
A couple of hours later the loadbed of the pickup truck is filled with enough firewood to keep our log burner going through the winter.
The Ranger is the latest and most civilized version of Ford’s rugged pickup. And it is civilized. You don’t need to go back too far to a time when pickups were fine for utilitarian purposes but you wouldn’t drive one any further than you had to.
That’s all changed now. The Ranger Wildtrak I tested came with Ford’s excellent new 10-speed automatic gearbox, which makes changes so smoothly you barely even noticed them.
Under the bonnet was a twin-turbo 2.0 litre diesel engine producing 213hp and 500Nm of torque. That was enough to haul the near 2.3-tonne beastie from 0-62mph in nine seconds dead, while fuel economy is 36mpg. It’s still as capable as ever, though, with a 3,500kg towing limit and 750kg carrying capacity.
In normal driving the two-wheel drive setting gives the best economy. If the weather turns bad there’s high-range 4wd and for the really rough stuff there’s a low-range 4×4 setting as well as electronic locking rear differential and hill descent control.
Driving back down the A9 from Pitlochry the Ranger was surprisingly smooth and refined. Part-leather seats, a touchscreen infotainment system and all the electronic toys you need , while the high up driving position makes you feel king of the road. The only downside to the driving experience is on winding roads where jiggly suspension, wooly handling and the truck’s sheer size make themselves felt.
Standard price for the model I drove is a smidge over £40,000 including VAT and mine came with a lockable tonneau cover – £13,80 extra. That’s not bad for a truck as capable and comfortable as this one.