By: Mpho Mahlangu
Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa (FMCSA) offers an extensive Ranger line-up catering for every kind of need that customers may have. We recently spent time in what is arguably the pick of the Ranger bunch, the 2.0-litre bi-turbo XLT 4x4.
It’s safe to say that we’re all familiar with the new-generation Ranger products. It goes without saying that they’ve taken Mzansi by storm and this is quite evident in the monthly sales figures, and by the amount we see on the roads. Of course, we can’t forget the remarkable achievement of the Ford Ranger as the 2023 SA Car of the Year.
Getting into the oily bits, the Ford Ranger XLT is powered by none other than the tried and tested 2.0-litre bi-turbodiesel mill, which churns out 154kW and 500Nm torque. Power is sent to all four wheels via the familiar 10-speed automatic transmission.
Although down 3kW from the outgoing Ranger model, it certainly doesn’t feel that way. If anything, the Ranger now feels more responsive and, dare I say it, slightly more powerful than what the spec sheet would suggest. The 10-speed automatic transmission is also now more refined and goes about its duties of shifting up and down the cogs rather well.
From a day-to-day perspective, the Ranger XLT with its 2.0-litre bi-turbodiesel engine, is pretty much all one would need. Tootling around suburbia, one certainly doesn’t feel as though they’d need more power.
This is also the case for travelling out on the open road. Sure, the more potent 3.0-litre V6 turbodiesel would be nice to have, as it offers a meaty 184kW and 600Nm of torque, however from a value-for-money perspective, the former-mentioned powerplant is the one that I’d go for.
Of course, this is also dependent on an individual’s usage – whether one loads large and heavy items in the load bed, or whether one spends a lot of time towing larger than usual items which would warrant going for the latter-mentioned powerplant.
Styling wise, the Ranger XLT boasts the C-clamp LED headlights with daytime-running lights, a dark painted mesh grille, LED fog lamps lower down and a contrasting silver front skid plate. Our test unit boasted an optional upgrade pack which sees the addition of a black sport bar at the rear, black side mirrors and door handles, a body-coloured front bumper, 17-inch alloy wheels and steel underbody protection.
Inside, the upgrade pack adds dual automatic climate control with rear air vents, wireless charging, navigation for the infotainment system, partial leather seats and six spare accessory switches.
Safety is taken care of by collision mitigation, post impact braking, lane keeping aid with lane departure warning and blind spot information system with trailer coverage and cross traffic alert. The optional upgrade pack costs a further R49,640. Safety is further bolstered by the standard fitment of seven airbags, a rear-view camera with front and rear parking sensors.
While on the topic of the interior, the Ranger XLT boasts an 8.0-inch digital instrument cluster which displays various driver and vehicle functions. Taking centre stage in the cabin is the large 10.0-inch portrait-style infotainment touchscreen which is quite easy to operate thanks to dedicated physical buttons for the climate control. Most other vehicle functions are relatively easy to navigate too even whilst driving.
There’s also an impressive amount of storage space in the cabin. For added loading room, the rear seats can fold upwards, essentially freeing up a lot more space in the rear section. Speaking of space, the cabin itself is quite roomy and passengers both at the front and rear will be pleased even on longer journeys.
With a starting price of R833,800 for the Ford Ranger XLT 4x4, the popular bakkie proves to be quite an appealing value-for-money proposition. Specified with the optional upgrade pack which my test unit was fitted with, it demands an asking price of R883,440.
Overall, the Ford Ranger XLT doesn’t miss out on any significant features which would leave prospective owners wanting for more. Instead, with the ability to opt for the upgrade packs, this allows for more customisability which wasn’t previously available on the outgoing Ranger model.