By: Charles Molefe
The Ford Ranger has had so many incarnations and when we receive an update it manages to add further value to the consumer. I had the chance to test the Ranger XL Sport. You can call this the mid specification bakkie in the Ranger offering, however, there is nothing mid about this product.
The Ranger XL Sport has managed to keep the appeal that the more expensive brethren possess. You are still presented with the butch yet subtle appearance that will tick the correct boxes in the aesthetics department. The bulky appearance commands respect and will often tempt you to have a bullish approach on the road. The interior competes very well in this segment, the Ranger XL Sport may be significantly cheaper than the WILDTRAK but features similar connectivity capabilities.
Entertainment is sought from an 8-inch audio system that is paired to the SYNC 3 infotainment which includes applications such as, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and a host of other useful Apps. I maintain my sentiments regarding how well Ford manages to shine on the entertainment sphere, audio is crisp, strong and manages to fill the cabin with tunes of your choice with a certain je ne sais quoi. To keep things cool, the Ranger is equipped with manual air-conditioning, power windows at the front and rear and lastly the 17’’ black alloy wheels that set it apart.
Power is produced by the trusty and reliable 2.2l 4-cylinder diesel engine that produces 118kW and 385Nm of torque. These figures will not win you any drag races, however, efficiency is where the Ranger manages to outdo the competition, during my test tenure I averaged a consumption figure of 9.5l/ 100km. This is decent considering that the vehicle packs a host of utility. Ford states that the XL Sport has a towing capacity of up to 3.5-tonnes, however, I believe it will struggle on more challenging gradients. The engine is perfect for daily commutes, but be aware, overtaking is not one of its strong suits, I experienced a couple of situations where the XL Sport struggled to pioneer the “fast” lane.
The Ranger XL Sport prowess should not be misunderstood, it will gladly tread on paved highways and byways with ease but will similarly commandeer the beaten track with ease, Ford has not compromised in this section, the Ranger XL Sport manages to smother gravel roads whilst supplying a ride that can be considered as class-leading comfort.
Performance aside, the Ranger XL Sport is a hard offering to beat. It may not be Ford’s flagship offering but it ticks all the boxes one could need in a daily ride. Ride quality is not in any way compromised and it stays one of the most comfortable bakkies I have had on test. The utility will always be the RANGER’s strong suit, its off-road capabilities are easily amongst the top trumps. Bear in mind that performance will never be the ultimate goal of a bakkie and Ford South Africa has proved to be very good at providing a plethora of performance vehicles for South African consumers. Bakkies will always be an emotional buy, can it reach a top speed of 250 km/h, NO, however it can tow a house, go sideways on the beaten track and boast its “amphibious” capability on the river Nile and that is enough to sway many from the traditional sedan and hatch.
8.2 / 10
R 559 500
Optional eight-inch touchscreen infotainment system.
R6,080 including VAT.
Dealer-fitted side steps.
R5,050 including VAT.
- New Ford Rangers come standard with Ford Protect.
- Four-year/120 000km comprehensive warranty,
- Three-year/unlimited distance roadside assistance
- Five-year/unlimited km corrosion warranty.
- A six-year/90 000km service plan is included which covers six services. The recommended service interval is 15 000km or annually, whichever occurs first