FORD RANGER XLT
The Ranger isn’t cheap either, priced between $5000 and $8000 above equivalent utes from other brands. But it’s cheaper than an Everest, even once options such as a rear camera, radar cruise control, lane keeping and crash alert (an $1100 pack) are added. Auto adds $2310, which brings our “as tested” price to $62,838 drive-away.
The midlife update “PXII” Ranger arrived last August, about four years into the life of the new generation model. The next model isn’t due until 2018 or 2019. The tough truck-like looks and refreshed interior have played a role in the Ranger’s recent sales climb; it’s now second only to the Toyota HiLux.
The 3.2-litre is the biggest and best in the ute business. It uses slightly more fuel than the others but it’s still remarkably economical for such a big truck. Earlier Rangers sounded like a tractor but welcome refinements were introduced with this model.
Six airbags and five-star rating, but … Ford needs to go to the naughty corner for making a rear view camera optional in 2016 on a $60,000-plus vehicle. (It’s standard on a $14,990 Honda Jazz, so what’s Ford’s excuse?) The factory-fitted Ranger camera is part of an $1100 option pack but it includes technology not available on other utes (radar cruise control, lane keeping and crash alert).
The Ranger XLT might be a workhorse (it can tow 3500kg versus 3000kg for the Everest) but it feels more stable and secure on the road than the SUV. If I had to choose one to drive on a getaway, or all day every day, it would be the Ranger. Room for improvement? It needs better brakes.