Tough ute competition
Off-Road: You can flick between 2H and 4H at up to 110km/h. Great when belting along a gravel road, and the additional traction and control is felt instantly.
For 4L, it’s a matter of coming to a stop, slipping to neutral then engaging the transfer case via a switchable button on the console.
Sure beats fiddling about with a lever.
Off-road, in four-low, difflock engaged, with those 470 Newton metres all working quietly at your disposal, a rigid chassis and with long wheel articulation, you can pick your way up and over almost anything.
It’s so capable, it takes the challenge and consequently some of the fun out of it. But you’re gonna love it if you’re dragging a heavy boat up a slippery boat ramp or hauling a Bobcat out of a sodden building site.
Transfer case, drivetrain, oil pan and fuel tank are tucked inside the side rails for better off-road protection.
Minimum ground clearance is 230mm with 16-inch wheels fitted, more of course in the XLT with its 17-inch rims. SAFETY RATING ANCAPRATING: Not yet rated.
Safety features: The Ranger comes loaded with all the expected safety features, and some unexpected. The expected include front, side and curtain airbags, pretensioning seat belts and child restraint anchorages.
Also expected is electronic stability control, ABS, EBD and traction control.
Less expected is the adaptive load control, trailer sway control (using the ABS and ESC to stabilise and prevent jack-knifing when towing is a potential life saver for those towing large caravans and boats) with roll-over mitigation control, and rear park assist and rear-view camera system.
Servicing: Capped-price servicing across the range, service intervals 15,000km.
HOW IT COMPARES: VALUEFORMONEY
The update to the HiLux saw Toyota revise its pricing down across the range.
Nissan and Mitsubishi also have some very attractive price discounts at the moment for the Triton and Navara.
The new Ranger is more expensive than most – it’s priced more in line with the Amarok – but packages a lot more in for the money, and a lot more appeal. Ford is building terrific cars at the moment. Can you find a dud in the range? I can’t. And Ford Australia engineers have dropped two absolutely standout cars into our laps this year: the Territory and now the Ranger. Of those two, the Ranger is the greater achievement. Starting from a clean sheet of paper, and seven years in the making, this is one exceptional dual-cab ute — in both XLT and XL configuration. HiLux deserves its fourstar rating. It has pounded its usurpers mercilessly for nearly two decades. But Ford’s new Ranger is a game changer. This is the best dual-cab diesel 4X4 ute you can buy at the moment. But don’t believe a word of this review. When it hits Ford showrooms, go and have a look for yourself. The new Ranger is available now for test drives at Hidden Valley Ford, Stuart Highway, Berrimah. Phone: 8947 7777
The XLT Ranger’s sleek interior is superior to most of its competitors.