Ford has been very successful with sales of its Ranger XLT Ute since the launch. Being a previous winner of the coveted OzRoamer Dual Cab Ute of the year award, the Ranger XLT is again a nominee for the award.
As Ford was unable to supply us a vehicle for the review we sourced one privately from one of our readers and we thank her for supplying it to us.
Developed alongside the Mazda BT 50, the Ranger is now more SUV like in ride and handling, features and appearance, but retains the rugged off road capabilities that has led to its sales success. The updates in 2017 have brought even more technology and safety features to the range.
Ranger XLT External
Externally the Ranger has an American pick-up truck like appearance, trading off the super successful F Truck series. It looks big, tough and bold. Some people like that some like the more subtle appearance of say, the Isuzu D-Max.
The exterior remains as it has been for a few years with the exception of a black fog lamp bezel. The XLT has a tow bar, projector headlights, 17 inch alloy wheels, heated external mirrors, a load box illuminator, daytime running lights and a bed liner with a 12V plug in the rear.
Ranger XLT Internal
Inside the Ranger, the feeling is more SUV like than the external appearance would lead you to believe. The driver’s seat is manually adjustable 6 ways with a lumbar support.
Many opt for the leather options at $1,650, but our test vehicle had the fabric seats. Having said that the seats are comfortable.
The steering wheel is nice and thick and has the usual controls on it but it is only height adjustable. In front of the driver is the unusual dash with one large dial and two side dual colour 4.2″ instrumentation screens. It’s clear and concise. Overall it feels spacious and relaxed.
The rear seats are again pretty comfortable and what you would expect. Noting that there is plenty of headroom, there is average room for three people. I have previously had a Ranger XLT as a work Ute and I could fit both kids seats back there with some comfort.
The Ranger has reasonable storage with cup and bottle holders everywhere, a huge centre console bin, reasonable sized glove box and more. The overall feel inside is one of good visibility, especially rearwards with the reversing camera.
Ranger XLT Technology
The 8 inch centre stack screen is home for Sync III. This is Ford’s system that now comes with voice control which can be a little temperamental. The system makes all functions available from the home screen which is split into 4 functions: climate, audio, phone and navigation, and has Apple CarPlay/Android Auto.
The XLT now has Sat Nav with traffic management channel. The system has the unusual feature of allowing access to alternative screens from each screen making it easily navigable. The 6 speaker sound system belts out a good rock tune to keep me focused while driving long distances.
Ranger XLT Features
Other XLT features are:
- rain sensing wipers,
- tyre pressure monitoring system,
- dual zone climate control,
- cooled centre console,
- plastic side steps,
- electrochromatic rear view mirror,
- heated exterior mirrors,
- illuminated vanity mirrors,
- privacy glass and front parking sensors.
There is available an optional $800 XLT Technology Pack which includes adaptive cruise control with forward collision alert, automatic high beam control, driver impairment monitor, lane keeping aid and lane departure warning.
Ranger XLT Engine and Drivetrain
The Ranger is home to the 5 cylinder 3.2L turbo diesel engine. This is a good performer producing power of 147kW @ 3,000rpm and torque of 470Nm @ 1,750-2,500rpm running through a 6 speed automatic transmission and driving the wheels through a dual range box.
This makes for relaxed freeway cruising and excellent towing ability. It’s no powerhouse but scoots along when pushed, yet is still reasonably economical.
The Rangers dimensions are an overall length of 5,426mm, width of 1,860mm and height of 1,821mm. Giving it that internal spacious feeling is the wheelbase of 3,220mm.
Showing its 4WD credentials are the ground clearance of 237mm, wading depth of 800mm, approach angle of 29 degrees, rampover angle of 25 degrees and departure angle of 21 degrees.
Around town you feel its size, but it has a relatively tight turning circle of 12.7m. On the freeways and secondary roads it seems to come into its own. Here the size is an advantage and the engine can purr along untroubled.
The linear delivery of torque feels like it just propels you forward. Off road the low down torque allows most situations to be controlled from your right foot. That is what you want
The cabin is more refined, quieter and there is a reduction of wind, road and tyre noise. This continues the evolution of Utes to SUV’s. The other thing you notice is the on road ride. Previously it was good, not the best, but better than most.
Now it challenges other Utes for the best ride prize. Don’t get me wrong it still bounces around when empty, especially unladen, but it has improved.
I have driven the Ranger pretty much on all surfaces such as on road, forest trails, on the farm, gravel rocky tracks, sand etc. It always feels in control. It’s a great 4WD. The dial 4WD controls are simple and intuitive to use.
The other benefit of the Ranger off road is the rear diff lock. This should be used more to get you through somewhere you need to go or to get out of trouble, not take you further into the bush than your skills dictate you should go.
Ranger XLT Safety
With a 5 Star ANCAP safety rating and the optional technology pack, the Ranger features include:
- adaptive cruise control with forward collision warning,
- multiple airbags everywhere,
- dynamic stability control incorporating anti-lock brakes system (ABS),
- rollover mitigation,
- trailer sway control, and traction control system,
- emergency brake assist,
- front and rear parking sensors,
- hill descent control, hill launch control,
- lane keeping system and
- rear view camera etc.
One thing that the Ranger does very well is tow things. With a tow rating of 3,500kg and tow ball rating of 350kg it is perfect for an active lifestyle. The trailer sway control, linear delivery of torque at low revs and good feedback through the steering wheel means that the Ranger is amongst the best of the Utes for towing.
It gives the driver a solid feeling of control. There has been some reliability issues with the engine management systems and a few other niggles with the engine, but overall the Ford Ranger is a good option for a family 4WD Ute. Make no mistake it drives like a 4WD Ute, a smooth one, but a Ute.
The Ranger XLT is a good 4WD Ute. It has the rugged external style that appeals to many buyers, is relatively full of standard features, has a powerful engine and transmission, is an excellent off road and towing vehicle and comes with the backing of Ford dealers everywhere in Australia. It is however relatively expensive compared to others in the segment but has built itself sales success despite the pricing.
- Towing and 4WD ability
- Engine / transmission
- Ride for a Ute
- Relatively pricey
- No reach adjustable steering
- Some safety optional
Model Ford Ranger XLT 4WD Dual Cab Ute
- Model Price $64,142 RDAP
- Engine 3.2L 5 Cyl TDi
- Drivetrain 4WD 6 speed AT
- Power 147kW @ 3,000rpm
- Torque 470Nm @ 1,750rpm
- Safety 5 Star ANCAP
- CO2 Emissions 229g/km
- Economy ADR 8.7L/100km
- Tow Capacity Max 3,500kg
- Tow Ball Rating 350kg
- Servicing Capped Price
- Warranty 3 yr/ Unlimited km – 1 Yr roadside assist
Overall OzRoamer Rating: 88/100
- Behind the Wheel 8
- Comfort 8
- Equipment 8
- Performance 9
- Ride & Handling 9
- Practicality 9
- Fit for Purpose 9
- Towing Ability 10
- Off Road Ability 10
- Value for Money 8