Motoring review, Ford Ranger XLT
You don’t need to spend much time behind the wheel of the latest Ford Ranger to appreciate its appeal. In its latest T6 iteration the midsized Ford pick-up achieves a terrific blend of style and substance across a broad model range that caters to everything from a basic workhorse all the way up to the off-roadracer-inspired Raptor.
On the outside, a strong stance and powerful proportions form the basis for a muscular design. It’s clean but with an appropriate mix of brawn.
It’s topped off in the XLT trim (priced from about PGK180,000) we’ve tested here, which brings some additional chrome highlights and a rear sports bar for that rugged look.
Those wanting more can step up to the Wildtrak or Raptor, the latter plumped with flared wheel arches, unique styling touches and tougher suspension to allow for higher speeds on rough roads.
Whichever model you choose, though, the Ranger quickly asserts itself as a tough truck.
Rugged suspension copes beautifully with big hits and it’s quick to regain its composure afterwards. Even without a load on board there’s an impressive level of control, something that not only ensures respectable comfort levels but also adds to the competency and sense of control.
That it also copes well with hundreds of kilograms in its tray is a testament to the efforts of engineers.
It helps that the Ranger is riding on sensible tyres, with 17-inch units wrapping alloy wheels. While the standard tyres are fairly road biased, it’s easy enough to find chunkier rubber that will cope with more.
While a new 2.0-litre twin-turbo engine is fitted to the top-of-the-range Raptor, the familiar 3.2-litre five-cylinder soldiers on in the XLT.
The stout engine produces 147kW and 470Nm. It’s the torque that defines it, a solid spread of pull available from low in the rev range. And the optional six- speed automatic is nicely tuned to keep the engine burbling along in its sweet spot.
More impressive is the tuning of throttle response. It doesn’t take much input from your right foot to get things moving sharply, which makes it easier to respond to changing road and traffic conditions.
The main downside is a gurgling noise that is a constant accompaniment on long cruises, which is a minor annoyance rather than a deal breaker.
Whereas some dual-cab trucks treat back seat passengers as second-class citizens, the Ranger ensures all are well catered for. Even adults will appreciate the generous leg and headroom in the back seats.
In many ways that’s the beauty of the Ranger. Unlike most rivals, it’s not let down in any area, instead performing strongly across a broad spread of disciplines. That it does so with keen pricing and a reputation for reliability makes it all the more
The Ranger was designed and engineered in Australia across some of the harshest roads in the country. It was designed from the outset to be sold in more than 100 countries, including Papua New Guinea.