Technology · August 5, 2022

Ford Ranger XLT V6 on test

We are fans of the new model

Spoiler alert: we like the new Ford Ranger. This should come as no surprise as the last model was arguably the choice of double cabin group and the new model has been carefully refined by Australian engineers. It’s safer, smoother, smarter and punchier than before, which is good news as Ford fans might have to live with it for quite a while.

Double cabs have longer lifecycles than most cars – new versions only appear every 10 years or so, making fresh metal particularly exciting in this class.

But it’s not cheap

Fresh technology comes at a price, and you’ll have to pay for the Ranger’s top-of-the-line safety equipment, tablet touchscreen, digital dashboard and revised engines. Prices range from around $47,500 for a basic four-cylinder XL model to more than $92,000 for the twin-turbo gasoline Raptor.

We’d need a chart to go through the myriad models and options in the showroom. The model reviewed here is a mid-range Ranger XLT priced starting at around $67,000 plus road cost, which adds $3000 for an optional V6 turbo diesel engine, $900 for a touring package including bird’s eye cameras and $900 -Can add dollars 400 for a protective plastic backing. That’s a lot of money for a Ute, and you don’t get fancy features like a 12-inch touchscreen or leather seats without upgrading to pricier models.

There are many clever features

The Ranger justifies its premium with advanced features like forward and reverse emergency braking, blind spot and rear cross-traffic alerts that are hard to find in work vehicles. We’re less convinced by odd interior door handles and a fiddly gear selector that’s not particularly intuitive.

There are some really clever touches like molded-in body steps behind the rear wheels, a ruler molded into the tailgate and a nifty French-frie packet groove in the center console.

The V6 option is worth paying for

If you’re spending over sixty grand on a Ranger, go the extra $3000 to add the V6 option. The 184 kW / 600 Nm output of the 3.0-litre unit is much beefier than the 154 kW and 500 Nm of the 2.0-litre bi-turbo foursome, making for effortless everyday driving and impressive power when you need it.

You also get permanent adaptive four-wheel drive, unlike four-cylinder models that drive the rear wheels until you manually engage four-wheel drive on slippery surfaces. Our V6 felt confident on tar and dirt and delivered impressive stability in mixed conditions.

You could wait a while

Ford’s official line on top-of-the-line V6 Wildtrak models is that new orders “may take around 8 months to arrive,” meaning you could potentially have next year’s Easter chockies before a new Ranger hits the driveway . Luckily, the Blue Oval also says, “There’s much shorter wait times on other models like the Ranger XLT.” It sounds like you’d better forget the Wildtrak’s leather interior—you’ll be sitting in the XLT’s cloth seats with less lag.

Originally posted as Why the new Ford Ranger XLT is a winner