Our new long-term Ford Ranger XL Double Cab is a charming surprise

Published Jul 13, 2023


By: Justin Jacobs

The new-generation Ford Ranger has been a hit ever since it was launched towards the end of last year. This locally produced truck offers a vast array of new technology and features which has undoubtedly moved the goal posts within the segment. Ford has once again ever so graciously handed us the keys to a new Ranger for a few months.

The new Ranger is already available in a variety of trim and body style options. From entry-level single cabs to the road demon that is the Raptor. For our first tenure with the Ranger, Ford South Africa handed us the keys to the entry-level XL Double Cab. Now if I’m honest, I was a bit sceptical. You see, we had a previous generation Raptor for an extended period and that was quite lovely to say the least.

The previous Raptor was the biggest Ranger, it was the most hardcore bakkie on sale and it was, and in my opinion still is, cool. I loved the fact that when Ford handed us the keys to the car I had just become a dad for the first time. There is nothing more stress relieving than having a fortress on wheels when transporting your child around and that is what the Raptor offered.

So back to the XL that we currently have. When I collected it I was surprised to see that it had cloth seats and an actual key that you have to insert into a slot by the steering wheel. We sample so many cars that have keyless entry that having to use an actual key is a bit strange. What is also strange is the fact that this Ranger also requires you, the driver, to change gears. To be honest, I wasn't all that excited.

That changed just a few moments after I set off. The first thing that stood out to me was the ride quality. My goodness it is soft and comfortable, by bakkie standards. The manual gearbox is slick and thanks to ample torque you ride the torque band which results in less manual labour.

The interior of the Ranger is very impressive. Sure it has cloth seats but they give off duality vibes. What really impressed me is that despite this being an entry-level offering it still offers a digital instrument cluster and a large vertical tablet like screen, the biggest in the segment and in actual fact it is bigger than some displays offered in some premium German offerings. It offers wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, it is clear, easy to use and modernises the interior well.

This Ranger is also equipped with ISOFIX which means that my daughter's car seat can be securely attached and I have peace of mind when driving her around. The other bonus is the fact that this Ranger has rear air vents. This is a big plus point for me as our summers can get rather hot. Now my daughter and dog (when he gets the option to catch a ride) can have cool air on our trips.

Under the hood this Ranger makes use of a single turbo diesel motor that develops 125kW and 405Nm which is adequate. What really impressed me was the fuel consumption that I achieved over my week stint with this bakkie. I managed to average 7.4l/100km which is relatively good considering I wasn’t actively trying.

Overall I have been pleasantly surprised by this Ranger. I wasn’t so sure about it when I first saw it but after just a few moments behind the wheel I was mighty impressed. For a starting price of around R560 000 one gets a lot for the money and this bakkie makes a good case in terms of value for money.

IOL Motoring