FORD RANGER 2,2 TDCI XLT AUTO DC 4X2
This is South Africa, where the bakkie is king. Our reigning monarch is currently the Ranger, which unseated the Hilux after years of trial and error. Actually, Ford did such a great job with the Ranger T6 that its competitors are only now catching up with offerings that bring the same level of car-like refinement. Just as the chasing pack closed in, the Blue Oval brought in a facelift, updated some software and expanded the range with a couple of new options categories. One of those categories is the XLT trim level for the more frugal four- cylinder turbodiesel.
Whereas the up-spec 2,2 does gain a lot of creature comforts (leather upholstery, reverse camera with park assist), our test unit was disappointingly fitted with the Carplay- and Android Auto-lacking SYNC 2 infotainment system. There's also no non-slip lining in the load bay and the drivetrain tops out at 4x2. That's honestly the only criticisms I have against this car and it's fair to say that Ford SA purposely omitted some of those features to not cannibalise its 3,2 line-up.
Who is this bakkie for? People who only occasionally leave the urban jungle. If you've always fancied a double cab and have zero intention of venturing into the bush or climbing a mountain, smart money would buy this car. Why? That 2,2-litre Duratorq motor's 110 kw and 375 N.m are more than enough for effortless highway cruising and won't bankrupt you idling away in the peak hour maelstrom.
In our testing we returned fuel consumption of 9,2 litres/100 km. The load bay and rear suspension were also more than capable of accommodating 200 thick pieces of damp bluegum firewood, although the fitted soft tonneau cover was very difficult to peel back.
As a family hauler, the new Ranger had already proven its chops with other model derivatives I'd taken home. My brood does, however, sway towards the loftier bakkie and mid-size SUV segments. Our combination of Cape winelands gravel and rutted B-roads will show up overly hard suspension set-ups, but this car got full marks for comfort and ease of access for a preschooler and a toddler.
Though R492 900 seems a bit steep for a non-4x4 double cab, that's what these things cost now. This is one of the best you'll get as a lifestyle vehicle.