DRIVEN: Yep, the new Ford Ranger raises the bar for double cab bakkies

Published Dec 12, 2022


Cape Town - With the new Ford Ranger, the Blue Oval is aiming to set a new benchmark in the bakkie market, while making its rivals seem instantly dated.

With its digitised interior, advanced and thoughtful new features and a punchy V6 diesel engine, the new Ford Ranger certainly has the ingredients needed to emerge victorious in those sometimes heated braai-side bakkie debates. And after spending two full days with the XLT and Wildtrak models on a wide variety of surfaces between Cape Town and the Hex River Valley, it certainly seems like the new locally-built Ford has what it takes.

Ford has launched the Double Cab first, with the Single Cab and Rap Cab models set to follow in early 2023.

First let’s take a closer look at the design execution of the new Ford Ranger. The previous model was already a pretty large vehicle, but the new one stretches out even further, with 50mm added to both the wheelbase and track width. Built around an upgraded version of its predecessor’s “T6” architecture, the new Ranger also gets a completely new F-150-inspired exterior design that you could only describe as macho. The new “C-clamp” LED headlights that you get on the XLT and Wildtrak versions are really striking, although the Base and XL versions have to make do with rather sad-looking halogens.

The Wildtrak (left) and XLT form the upper end of the new Ford Ranger line-up.

But apart from the bold new look, it was the many thoughtful new design features that really stood out for me - and some of them are really simple. The interior door handles, for instance, are now integrated into the recess of the arm rest, allowing you to open the door with a single wrist motion.

Accessing the load bay is also easier thanks to new side steps behind the back wheels, which are optional on the XLT and standard on the Wildtrack, and customers can choose from a range of innovative cargo management systems.

Payloads vary from 925kg to 1 191kg depending on the derivative, and Wildtrak customers are treated to a 240V AC outlet with an inverter, which can power tools and camping equipment. There’s also space for a second battery under the bonnet. In addition to all that the V6 Wildtrak receives a 360-degree zone lighting system that can separately illuminate various areas.

The new Ford Ranger is significantly more digitised inside, to the point where it makes every other bakkie on the market suddenly look dated. All models ship with an 8.0-inch (20.3cm) digital instrument cluster as well as a vertical central touchscreen, measuring 12” (30.4cm) in the Wildtrak and 10.1” (25.6cm) in the lower models.

The cabin electronics are powered by Ford’s latest SYNC 4A operating system, which features a factory-fitted modem and remote functionality.

And while there are less buttons and switches than before, you thankfully still get traditional rotary controls for the ventilation system, which are finished in a quirky tyre-inspired texture.

In the Wildtrak you also get a 360-degree camera and dedicated off-road screen, where you can monitor things like the steering angle and vehicle pitch. Thanks to the split-screen display you can view that and the front-facing camera at the same time, and the latter comes in unbelievably handy when you’re tackling an incline and need to see in front of the vehicle.

It’s clear that Ford really listened to its customers, and the myriad features you’ve read about, and many others that I didn’t get to because I’m trying not to write a novel here, are the result of more than 5 000 customer interviews and dozens of customer workshops conducted around the world.

Ford has also done a decent job on the interior styling with a neat and functional design, and build quality in the XLT and Wildtrak models that we sampled was excellent. It’s spacious too, particularly up front, and there’s a reasonable amount of rear leg room and head space. And although USB A and C ports are provided in the centre console, you’ll have to opt for the Wildtrak to get ports in the rear cabin.

The Wildtrak is packed with advanced comfort and safety features, including a 10-speaker B&O audio system, wireless charging pad, fully automated Active Park Assist 2.0, Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop & Go, Blind Spot Monitoring with Trailer Coverage and much more.

Click here for a more comprehensive look at the standard features fitted to various Ranger models.

What’s it like to drive the new Ford Ranger?

The big talking point here, of course, is the new 3.0-litre V6 turbodiesel engine, which produces a hearty 184kW at 3 250rpm and 600Nm from 1 750 to 2 250rpm. Driven with vigour the new motor is impressively quiet and refined for a diesel and it pulls so smoothly that it’s easy not to notice how fast you’re going. Acceleration is not necessarily exciting, but you do get the feeling that you could hitch a heavy boat or caravan to the back and not even notice that it’s there.

This is really the model you want for towing, although technically all versions have a braked towing capacity of 3 500kg.

Picture: Colin Mileman

We also got to sample the 2.0-litre bi-turbo XLT model, which has slightly less power than before, with 154kW available at 3 750rpm and 500Nm from 1 750 to 2 000rpm, but the revised motor does feel more refined than before and performance is relatively effortless, so much so that you’re not going to feel short-changed if you can’t stretch to the V6 engine. Compared with its predecessor, the 2.0-litre also feels better matched to its recalibrated 10-speed automatic gearbox, which is less busy and more in tune with what the throttle and engine are doing.

The Ranger is also available with a single-turbo 2.0-litre diesel motor, which offers 125kW and 405Nm, but we didn’t get to sample any vehicles with this motor, which can be paired with either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission.

We spent a great deal of time off-roading in both the 2.0 BiT XLT and 3.0 V6 Wildtrak 4x4, and neither missed a beat, even over some of the more challenging sections, which included some axle twisters and those aforementioned off-road screens made the off-roading process stress free.

Picture: Colin Mileman

Wildtrak owners will also get to enjoy six driving modes - Normal, Eco, Tow, Slippery, Mut/Ruts and Sand - pretty much what you got on the previous Raptor, barring the Baha mode.

The new Ford Ranger is available with two four-wheel drive systems. The 2.0-litre 4x4 models are fitted with a traditional part-time system with shift-on-the-fly functionality. The V6 comes with a permanent four-wheel drive system and while it still has the 2H, 4H and 4L modes that you expect from a proper off-roader, there’s also a 4A mode (as in automatic) which takes the guesswork out of things by continuously distributing torque between the front and rear axles as needed, while also building in a safety margin as you can use this mode at higher speeds.

Approach, departure and breakover angles are listed at 30-degrees, 25.6-degrees and 22-degrees respectively, while the ground clearance has improved slightly to 237mm and Ford claims a wading depth of 800mm.

What’s it like on tar?

We also got to sample both models on some high-speed tar sections, and here we were impressed by the overall performance and comfort levels. If I have to nitpick, the steering felt a bit vague at higher speeds but overall road holding was not bad.

The ride, while not as cushy as the coil-sprung Navara or previous Raptor, was comfortable enough and in our opinion it is one of the better leaf-sprung set-ups. Ford says it was able to tune a more controlled ride for various loads by moving the rear dampers to the outboard of the rear springs.


Based on our initial launch experience in the Western Cape, the new Ford Ranger has moved the bakkie game forward in a meaningful way, with its combination of advanced features and refined engines. Stay tuned for more comprehensive road tests, complete with real-world fuel consumption figures, in the first few months of 2023.

Pricing seems competitive, but keep in mind that you will have to pay an extra R18 740 for a six-year or 90 000km service plan.

Ford Ranger Double Cab Pricing (December 2022)

  • 2.0L SiT BASE 4x2 6MT - R486 000
  • 2.0L SiT BASE 4x4 6MT - R528 600
  • 2.0L SiT XL 4x2 6MT - R529 900
  • 2.0L SiT XL 4x2 6AT - R544 400
  • 2.0L SiT XL 4x4 6MT - R607 300
  • 2.0L SiT XL 4x4 6AT - R621 900
  • 2.0L SiT XLT 4x2 6AT - R592 700
  • 2.0L SiT XLT 4x4 6AT - R669 800
  • 2.0L BiT XLT 4x2 10AT - R702 300
  • 2.0L BiT XLT 4x4 10AT - R782 100
  • 2.0L BiT WILDTRAK 4x2 10AT - R778 300
  • 2.0L BiT WILDTRAK 4x4 10AT - R867 700
  • 3.0L V6 WILDTRAK 4WD 10AT - R953 500

IOL Motoring