REVIEW: Ford Ranger XL double cab shows you don’t need all the bells and whistles

Published Jun 26, 2023


Long-term test introduction: Ford Ranger 2.0 SiT XL

We’ve had our long-term Ford Ranger XL double cab for a couple of weeks now and it’s been doing all the bakkie things as intended. Carting around garden refuse, loading bulky off-road accessories, acting as a young family vehicle for regular contributor Justin Jacobs and taking a drive for a long weekend to Mpumalanga.

It’s taken it all in its stride, proving again that you don’t need a top of the range double cab with all the bells and whistles to impress the neighbours.

Sure, who wouldn’t want a V6 Ranger Wildtrak or howling Raptor? But not many people have R1-million lying around and this does the job nicely, thank you.

It’s often the case when you’re driving a certain car how many of them you then seem to see, which was certainly the case on our recent drive to Graskop.

From the front you can immediately see the tell-tale C-clamp daytime running lights and new grille that’s part of Ford’s truck DNA and on one or two occasions we even had a friendly light flash at us.

We had taken an extra day’s leave after the Youth Day long weekend partly because an extra day’s relaxing is always pleasant and also because tackling our roads when everyone is rushing home and driving like they’re the only ones that matter isn’t good for the blood pressure.

It was self catering so we needed to take most of what we needed which included three cooler boxes, lots of braai and firewood, an ammo box with electrical goodies, a jerry can with premixed fuel for the generator we also loaded because you know, load shedding as they so euphemistically call it.

All of was tied down with ratchet straps connected to the cargo tie down points.

It was only for two of us and our travelling teddy Winston, so there was ample space in the loadbin while the rear seat was utilised for our luggage and smaller odds and ends.

For more people and inclement weather a canopy would be a must or at least a tonneau cover.

We punched the address into the phone’s GPS via Android Auto on the 10-inch infotainment system and pointed the nose towards the N4.

Weaving our way through traffic once we passed the outskirts of Pretoria I set the cruise control to the national speed limit (there’s a five percent overread on the car’s digital speedometer). Obviously there’s no adaptive cruise control but once the road opens up the XL with its 2.0-litre single turbo diesel engine cruises along easily at just over 2500rpm in sixth gear.

Interestingly, when you depress the clutch pedal to slow down it doesn’t cancel the preset speed which is quite handy for brief spells waiting for slower traffic to move out of the way.

We purposely avoided the route via Lydenburg and Pilgrims Rest because the last time we drove it, it was an absolute potholed disaster, instead we headed towards Mbombela, Sudwala Caves and Sabie.

The surfaces were sublime with gentle curves and more suited for low-slung fast cars but according to my partner I was doing my best to shrink the XL.

Talking of, I suspect that the Mpumalanga Government has finally realised they have a tourist jewel because many of the roads in and around the area are being repaired or resurfaced.

With 125kW, 405Nm of torque and a six speed manual diesel you’re not going to be smoking the tyres or clipping the apexes but it’s more than willing to play along albeit in a limited capacity.

The changes to the chassis, wheel placement and suspension go a long way to make it feel a lot less than the ladder frame bakkie it actually is.

Two things popped up thanks to my partner that would have made the interior of the XL a little better than it already is.

Many women and I suspect some men, have a glance in the vanity mirror in the sun visor before they step out, which the XL doesn’t have.

Also she’s about average height but there’s no height adjustment for the driver’s seat which in a bakkie this size with its large bonnet initially proved to be a bit intimidating.

Overall though she enjoyed the comfortable driving experience especially on our return when she was in charge of speed around corners.

Coming off the highway fuel consumption stood at 7.2l/100km but once parts became a single lane and we had to gear down and accelerate to pass many, many trucks loaded with coal, after 923 kilometres the final figure ended up at 7.9l/100km.

That’s damn good for most cars, never mind a big double cab Ford Ranger.

It comes standard with a four-year/120 000km warranty, four-year/unlimited distance Roadside Assistance and five-year/unlimited distance corrosion warranty.

The service and maintenance plans are not included but you have the option of purchasing service or maintenance plans up to eight years or 165 000km. The warranty can be extended up to seven-years or 200 000km.

The Ford Ranger 2.0 SiT double cab XL manual retails at R540 500 (June 2023).

IOL Motoring