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By Mark Jones

Road Test Editor

Ford Ranger XL not shying away from its fancier siblings

There is plenty to like about this bakkie despite the absence of a Wildtrak sticker and V6 engine.

As media, we are always offered the top-of-the-range model derivatives to drive. The manufacturers want to showcase all their new technology and features on offer and I get it.

But in a rather refreshing U-turn, The Citizen Motoring can proudly announce that we have been given a very basic spec Ford Ranger XL 4×2 Double Cab to live with for the next three months. Bakkies have become very expensive and it is guaranteed that there will be lots of action at the lower end of the price list.

Will we be able to survive without a Wildtrak sticker? Or a 3.0-litre V6 turbodiesel engine mated to a state of the art 10-speed gearbox?

How will we cope when the doors don’t unlock when we approach our Ranger XL? Have we forgotten how to put a key in the ignition to start a vehicle?

I have actually almost forgotten how to do that to be honest, but I am sure I will figure it all out again.

Ford Ranger XL spec not so basic

Basic spec in Ford Ranger talk is anything but basic and our Ranger XL still offers the likes of a large 10.1-inch large touchscreen in the centre stack.

It also has a fully digital instrument panel featuring Ford’s latest SYNC 4A system. This comes ready with its voice-activated communications, entertainment, and information systems.

Ford Ranger XL
We plan to put the Ford Ranger’s towbar to good use. Picture: Mark Jones

There is an embedded factory-fitted modem which allows connectivity on the go when linked with the FordPass App.

This is a cool to have app enabling remote start, vehicle status check and health alerts. Plus the digital owner’s manual and remote lock and unlock functions via your cell phone.

On the outside you have that new “Ford Truck” look that has won over many bakkie fans. This new Ranger has also grown in length and width by 50 mm. It feels big, and it is.

ALSO READ: New Ford Ranger gives Toyota Hilux workhorses food for thought

For the off-road guys, which I am not, the front wheels have been moved forward by 50 mm for a better approach angle and outboard for better off-road articulation, both of which improve the off-roading experience it is said.

I am betting the same improved feeling will apply to the on-road experience. I plan to test this aspect of our Ford Ranger XL in a bit more detail.

It will include some heavy duty towing, but for now, I am still running on my first tank of diesel. So far, all I have managed to do is lug my mountain bike to the local park for an out ride with mates.

Ford Ranger XL
Don’t underestimate the single turbo just because the badge is blank. Picture: Mark Jones

Plenty of oomph

On paper the new 2.0-litre single turbodiesel engine mated to a six-speed auto box makes only a little more power (from 118 kW to 125 kW) and torque (from 385 Nm to 405 Nm) compared to the previous generation 2.2-litre model.

But I can confidently say that this is one aspect of our Ranger XL that is not in debate. When we ran the more upmarket XLT with this same 2.0-litre single turbo engine at Gerotek earlier this year, we were blown away by the numbers.

The Ford Ranger XL 4×2 Double Cab AT comes in at R563 500. Included is a standard four-year/120 000 km warranty, four-year/unlimited distance Roadside Assistance and five-year/unlimited distance corrosion warranty.

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

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