If there’s one word to describe the Ford Ranger 2.2 XLT – it’s big.
Brian Joss – Ford calls it a bakkie. In my view, however, a Ford Bantam or a Nissan NP 200 is a bakkie.
The test vehicle was the Ford Ranger 2.2 XLT TDCi double-cab with six-speed automatic transmission. With the addition of the 2.2 TDCi automatic which was launched late last year the Ford Ranger now has 36 derivatives in its model line-up. Which seems a bit much. It can get confusing. It is reportedly the most comprehensive line-up in the light commercial vehicle (LCV) segment. Some of the Ranger derivatives are the single cab 2.2 TDCi automatic comprising the XL 4×2, four 2.2 TDCi double cab auto models: the XL derivatives can be specified in two or four-wheel drive, with the XLS available only in 4×4 guise. So there is a vehicle for every application – from a workhorse on the plaas or the mine – to a vehicle for the adventure-seeking family. One thing it’s not, is a mom’s taxi although the load bay is more than ample for the first Xl’s cricket kit. But only three members of the team, at a pinch four, will be able to sit comfortably at the back as will three adults.
Have I mentioned that the Ranger is big? It was too long to fit in to my garage. It’s so big that I had an altercation with the carport pole which left a dent (or two) on the driver’s side. The Ranger came off second best because the carport is over-engineered and it would take a gale force wind to blow the poles down. Otherwise the Ranger does epitomise the car giant’s slogan, “Built Ford Tough”.
It’s also so big that you won’t easily be able to sneak into that parking bay in the CBD, although the XLT is fitted with sensors to guide you. The XLT, thanks to the six-speed auto transmission, is right at home in gridlocked traffic as I experienced more than once, both in Cape Town’s CBD and on the N1, where reconstruction seems to have been going on forever, and on some sections, traffic crawls at a snail’s pace.
Many people expect a “bakkie” and here I use the term advisedly to behave like a car. It doesn’t and usually you can feel every bump and pothole, sometimes enough to rattle your teeth. The Ford Ranger 2.2 XLT is the exception to the rule. The rear-wheel drive XLT glides along soaking up all the imperfections on the road.
The test route included hills (mountains) and valleys, straights, motorway driving and some gravel patches and the ride was seamless. Acceleration is smooth, although there is some turbo lag it’s so negligible that it doesn’t matter in the scheme of things. The 2.2 Duratorq turbodiesel engine delivers 118kW of power with 385Nm of torque. So steep climbs are no obstacle and I imagine the Ranger would be comfortable with a full load as well. The load bay has a 998 litre (almost 1 000 litre bottles of Coke) capacity but it doesn’t have a tonneau.
The Ranger is very quiet for a diesel and it works well with the six-speed automatic gearbox. If you want, you can use the fully automatic mode or you can switch to sports mode for a bit more response, or if you must, you can select gearshifts manually.
Cruising at the legal limit is effortless and fuel economy is excellent: I recorded figures of just under 10litres/100km on a town and country cycle.
Visibility from the driving seat is good all round, although I had a problem seeing over the nose.
The Ranger XLT looks like a muscle car. There is lots of chrome detailing on the grille, mirror housings and the handles on the door and tailgate. There is a steel step on the chrome rear bumper. There are rear park sensors linked to the reverse camera. It is fitted with ABS brakes with electronic brakeforce distribution, as well as an electronic stability programme with traction control and hill launch assist. Some features include automatic headlight and windscreen wiper operation, electrochromatic rearview mirror, a cooler function in the centre console storage compartment, cruise control with speed limiter, dual electronic automatic climate control, power-folding exterior mirrors and full leather trim.
The dual colour 4.2 inch TFT screen is sited in the instrument cluster.
There is also an eight-inch touch screen that provides access to Ford’s SyncR2 system, which incorporates all the voice control, multimedia, Bluetooth, phone and reverse camera functions.
You can adjust the seats, which are extremely comfortable, manually, and the steering wheel can be adjusted for height, not for reach. Even so it’s easy to find a suitable driving position. Back seat passengers have a centre folding armrest with two cupholders. Beneath the rear seats are more storage spaces.
The engine is a four-cylinder turbodiesel, power is 118kW@ 3 700 rpm and torque is 385Nm from 1 500rpm to 2 000rpm. I couldn’t fault the Ford Ranger 2.2 XLT. The ride quality is good, it’s comfortable, the six-speed auto gearbox is smooth, it performs well, it’s spacious, comfortable and the fuel economy is good, too. It carries a price tag of R492 900 and if you’re in the market for a “bakkie” put the Ford Ranger 2.2 XLT TDCi double-cab with six-speed automatic transmission on your list.
All models are sold with a four-year or 120 000km comprehensive warranty, five-year or 100 000km service plan (optional on Base models), three-year or unlimited km roadside assistance and five-year or unlimited corrosion warranty. Service intervals are every 20 000km.