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Ford Ranger XLT review

September 16, 2020
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Ford Ranger XLT review

Bowen

Bowen's Report Card


Ford Ranger XLT review

THE BOWEN SCORE

In a perfect world we’d still have Ford and Holden putting V8s into anything they could. Aside from the HSV and FPV offerings, back in the golden days V8s could be dropped in the humble Commodore Berlina or BA Ford Falcon XT. Sadly the gate has opened, and the horses have long since bolted. These aspirational vehicles have now been replaced by a new breed, the dual cab. Aussies have no issue laying serious coin down to get one. For the last three weeks I’ve driven the Ford Ranger XLT and here my friends are my musings.

Performance

The 2.0-litre Bi-turbo diesel engine on show here pumps out 157kW at 3750rpm and 500Nm spread between 1750rpm and 2000rpm. Those figures eclipse what the 3.2-litre five-cylinder turbodiesel has on offer. It also has four more cogs, via a 10-speed automatic transmission.

In XLT guise, customers have the choice of either engine. Personally, I think the bi-turbo is a far more attractive proposition. Despite the vast spread of gears, the 10-speed shuffles gears with no fuss at all. It’s really an individual choice, both engines can tow 3500kg braked and interestingly you’ll find the same smaller engine in the epic Ford Ranger Raptor.

The Drive

This is when the Ranger, irrespective of variant, really shines. The part Aussie designed Ranger arrived back in 2011 and has undergone a stack of engineering, facelift and technology upgrades since. It arrived on the scene and immediately became a success.

At the same time General Motors (GM) launched the Colorado, dropping the Rodeo badge given it belonged to Isuzu. Despite spending around a billion dollars the Colorado was basically a jalopy, it was very ordinary although various tweaks improved it over time.

The Ranger is very sure footed, often with these kinds of utes an unladen tray led to a fidgety and flighty rear end. While I didn’t test that, because I didn’t have a bale of hay lying around, it’s pretty obvious the Ranger has been tuned almost perfectly. Dimensions really do matter in this class; the Ranger is one of the bigger utes.

Want to tackle a water crossing? Well the 800mm wading depth is reassuring, plus one of the highest in this category. As per the video I did do some wet work, nothing like 800mm but the tracks and mud pools were seriously challenging. In fact I was bogged for about half an hour at one stage! There’s still dried up clay on my driveway.

A complete breakdown of the all-important measurements reveals 237mm of ground clearance, 29 degrees approach angle, 21 degrees departure angle, while the turning circle is 12.7-metres.

The 4×4 system is only part-time but flicking to 4H is as easy as turning a knob. There’s also 4L and a rear diff locker.

The Ford Ranger XLT is as close to SUV dynamics you can get right now.

The XLT’s kerb weight of 2197kg combined with its 3200kg GVM results in an excellent payload rating of 1003kg, which means it’s a genuine ‘one tonner’ in local ute lingo.

And there’s the six-speaker multimedia system featuring ‘Sync 3’ voice-activated controls plus sat-nav, Apple Car Play, Android Auto, Bluetooth and DAB+ digital radio. The big 8.0-inch colour touchscreen and its intuitive software sets an industry benchmark for ease of use.

Value for money

I struggle to say a ute such as this is $60,000, before on-roads. But as I said, Aussies are now comfortable spending that. The next step up from the XLT is the Wildtrak, prices for this premium Ranger kick off at $63,990, while the epic Raptor will spill over $75,000.

Fuel economy is rated at 7.4L/100km, which I think is achievable, I managed 8.4L/100km. Ford offers a five-year unlimited kilometre warranty.

Technology

It’s amazing what has slowly been added to the Ranger XLT. An 8” touch screen runs Ford’s infotainment software called SYNC 3, it’s good but so is Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Key technology includes Pre-Collision Assist , Autonomous Emergency Breaking (AEB) with Pedestrian Detection, Lane Keep Assist, Traffic Sign Recognition, Automatic High Beam, Smart Keyless Entry with a Push Button, plus FordPass Connect that includes an embedded modem. This allows a host of fucntions to be controlled by an app remotely, such as climate control or locking/unlocking the vehicle.

What I love

The Ford Ranger appeals to blokey blokes because it looks tough, sporting an American style front end. The use of chrome highlights is fantastic, there’s so much in fact good luck taking a picture without reflections left, right and centre.

Bowen’s report card

Technically this a 2020.75MY Ford Ranger. The platform may be getting on a bit, but Ford has done an excellent job of improving it as each year passes. It’s an 86 out of 100 from me.