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Date: 27 Dec 2017 Author Type: Public Review
Author: Julian Lurie Edited by Liam Mothilall
Source: Julian Lurie
The new Ford Ranger has posted impressive sales since its launch last year, and the range has now been strengthened with the addition of nine new 2.2 litre TDCi Auto models, comprising five two-wheel drive and four with Ford’s intelligent four-wheel drive system with Torque on Demand.

Ford Ranger buyers are really spoilt for choice, with a total of 36 derivatives to choose from, spanning a vast range tailored to every conceivable application, from hard-core working applications right through to adventurous family lifestyles, however the model we feature in these road impressions is the Ford Ranger XLT 2.2 Hi Rider Double Cab 4x2 six-speed auto. The top selling Ranger XLT Double Cab 2.2 6-speed auto boasts an impressive list of comfort, luxury and convenience items.

As before, extensive use of chrome detailing gives the XLT an exclusive look, and extends to the front grille, mirror housings and the door and tailgate handles, while the chrome rear bumper has a steel step and rear park sensors linked to the reverse camera. Also fitted were the side steps which, because the vehicle stands high off the road, are a big help when getting in and out of the cab. Automatic headlight and windscreen wiper operation is standard, along with the electro-chromatic rearview mirror, a cooler function in the center console storage compartment, cruise control with speed limiter, dual electronic automatic climate control, power-folding exterior mirrors and full leather trim.

Inside the cabin, the XL features the Ranger’s all-new dashboard and instrument panel, plus power-operated front and rear windows, remote central locking, audio controls on the steering wheel and speed-sensitive windscreen wipers. The front bucket seats are multi-adjustable, and the steering is adjustable for tilt only however there was no problem in finding a comfortable driving position. The Ranger can sit three adults on the rear bench seat, although the middle passenger may be short on leg room due to the intrusion of the transmission tunnel. Standard in the Ranger XLT is the dual color 4.2-inch TFT screens in the instrument cluster, supplemented by the eight-inch touch screen that provides access to the SYNC 2 system, which incorporates all the voice control, multimedia, Bluetooth, phone and reverse camera functions. The audio system features six speakers, an SD card slot, Aux input and two USB ports to connect media players. It can also be configured as a Wi-Fi hotspot.Safety equipment includes airbags, ABS brakes with EBD, ESP, Traction Control and Hill Launch Assist.

Ford Ranger XLT Hi Rider 4x2 Double Cab six-speed auto is powered by Isuzu’s 2.2 litre 4-cylinder turbo-diesel motor developing 118 Kw at 3 700 rpm and 385 Nm of Torque from 1 500 rpm, and is paired with Ford’s six-speed SelectShift automatic transmission, which transfers the torque seamlessly to the rear wheels. The XLT press vehicle was fitted with heavy duty 5-arm alloy wheels shod with 265/65R17 Goodyear tyres, plus there’s a wheel lock for the spare and a diff lock.

Turning the key and the motor fires up and what’s most impressive is that even at idle it’s relatively quiet for a diesel. On the road, the Ranger is very capable with the suspension effectively soaking up rough sections in the asphalt, notwithstanding that the load-bay was empty. However, it does firm up on poor rough surfaces. As for the ride, the Ranger is largely composed on smooth roads, and the Ranger is quite car-like to drive on the open road, while road and wind noise are well suppressed. The auto ’box shifts through its ratios smoothly and is quick to select higher ratios for better fuel efficiency when cruising on the freeways.

In acceleration tests with the automatic in Sport mode, the Ranger averaged just less than 13 seconds on three runs which are pretty good for 2.2 double cabs. Travelling on the freeway at a steady 120 km/h in sport mode 6th gear, the motor spins at an easy 2000 rpm and the trip recorder showed that diesel consumption over the few days I had the Ranger on test, it averaged.9.78 liters per 100 km, which is not at all bad. Note – the rev counter only appears in Sport mode.

The Ranger auto handled very well for a “bakkie” while pushing it hard through the bends did induce some tyre squeal, but grip was strong and it never felt like it wanted to break way. To test its gravel road performance, I took it on a section of sand and a rather rough gravel road. In some parts of the gravel road section there were a few heavy dips that were not marked, but the Ranger 4x2 auto never “bottomed out” and the long-travel suspension did a fine job to keep all four wheels on the ground.

The new Ranger is certainly one of the most refined pick-ups available, its 2.2-litre being one of the quietest diesels in its class. For town driving, the electric power steering is well weighted, and with its relatively small turning radius, it’s easy to park. Recommended retail price for the Ranger 2.2 TDCi double cab XLT 6-speed automatic 4x2 is R499 900 which includes a four-year/120 000 km warranty, a five-year/100 000 km service plan, a three-year/unlimited km roadside assistance and five-year/unlimited corrosion warranty, with service intervals every 20 000 km.
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