The Ranger XL Sport competes in a niche of lower powered and competitively priced off-roaders. Picture: SUPPLIED
The Ranger XL Sport competes in a niche of lower powered and competitively priced off-roaders.  Picture: SUPPLIED  

The Ford Ranger XL Sport could represent something more than just another flavour for this popular double-cab bakkie. It’s one of three derivatives the company has launched recently, the others being the more luxurious Thunder and FX4 models.

When I drove it at the recent media launch for a couple of days mostly in off-road settings I reported that it’s aimed at the customer who will use it as family wheels, for work, and who also likes the occasional detour out into the bush but, importantly, all this on a budget.

Now that I drove it again for a week-long test period the next application to test was its viability as an everyday car, perhaps from an entrepreneur’s perspective?

There’s no doubting what its capacious interior offers. Plenty of leg and headroom as a start, while the inherent easy operation of its steering and comfortable cloth seats makes it an easy drive. The 2.2l diesel motor’s 118kW and 385Nm makes it the least powerful double cab in the Ford harem but it’s able to tow 3,500kg.

You can choose between a six-speed manual and a six-speed auto while the wily entrepreneur should view the average power with an eye to saving fuel, even though it retuned 9.9l/100km instead of the 8.2l/100km claimed by Ford.

From a features standpoint, and in view of its entry-point XL grade, the test vehicle was fitted with a good balance of important basics. These are Bluetooth connectivity, a multifunction steering wheel and an optional touch-operated 20.3cm display screen in place of the standard 10.1cm LCD display unit for better running of Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, especially for navigational purposes. The messaging text-to-speech function is a great help too, as is a Wi-Fi hotspot and a pair of USB slots for charging.

You can optionally fit the new FordPass system that remotely links upper-spec Rangers through a smartphone app to remotely lock, unlock and start the vehicle.

It’s an airy, neat and comfortable cabin fitted with utilitarian features aimed more at the budget seeker. Picture: SUPPLIED
It’s an airy, neat and comfortable cabin fitted with utilitarian features aimed more at the budget seeker. Picture: SUPPLIED

A foible is a lack of a cruise control function. Along with the six-speed automatic transmission, self-throttling would rank in the top must-have items. Cruise control is no longer a luxury item but a health and safety feature, Ford.

Also, if your parking skills aren’t exceptional then you can be frustrated with the XL Sport as it has no park distance control sensors. 

Another progressive point is the availability of a purely rear-wheel driven Ranger XL Sport. Not every businessperson will have clients up in the mountains or be interested in serious bundu-bashing, as offered by this 4x4 version which is a complete workhorse and leisure chariot.

Leisure tools include a two-speed transfer case with 4Lo, a rear diff-lock, all-terrain rubber and hill-descent control which uses its ABS brakes to inch down steep declines on the driver’s behalf. It’s the off-road gear, cushy drive and its usefulness in carrying a team of engineers or an eager family out in the bush for the price that wins it my vote.


Tech Specs

ENGINE

Type: Four cylinder turbo diesel

Capacity: 2.2l

Power: 118kW

Torque: 385Nm

TRANSMISSION

Type: Six-speed auto

DRIVETRAIN

Type: Part-time 4WD

PERFORMANCE

Top speed: N/A

0-100km/h: N/A

Fuel Consumption: 8.2l/100km (claimed), 9.9l/100km (as tested)

Emissions: 214g/km

STANDARD FEATURES

Cloth upholstery, multifunction steering wheel, remote central locking, power steering, steel wheels, air conditioning, Bluetooth telephone and voice control, USB ports, daytime running lights, tow bar, two airbags, ABS brakes, stability control

COST OF OWNERSHIP

Warranty: Four years/120,000km

Maintenance plan: Six years/90,000km

Price: R573,800

Lease*: R12,286 per month

* at 10% interest over 60 months no deposit

Ford Ranger 2.2TDCi double cab 4x4 XL Sport auto

WE LIKE: Comfortable drive, price, 4x4 drivetrain

WE DISLIKE: Lack of cruise control

VERDICT: Sensible bakkie that covers many lifestyle bases

Motor News star rating

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Competition

Isuzu D-Max 250 4x4 X-Rider auto, 100kW/320Nm - R527,400

GWM P-Series 2.0TD DLX 4x4 auto, 120kW/400Nm - R469,900

Toyota Hilux 2.4GD-6 Raider auto, 110kW/400Nm - R551,700

Mahindra Pik Up 2.2CRDe 4x4 S11 Karoo auto, 103kW/320Nm - R421,999

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