Ford Ranger Review – XLT 3.2l 6 speed dual cab

Submitted: Saturday, Jan 21, 2012 at 15:51

Member - tdv

I have been asked by a few people to put a review out so here it is. These are my experiences only if you have more to contribute feel free to add to it.

Background:

I entered a nationwide competition called the “Ford Global Ranger Challenge” online in April 2011 outlining in “100 words or less” how I would test the all new Ford Ranger. Without much thought I typed my 100 words and forgot about it. Well the short story is I got shortlisted, tested and filmed, then got voted the winner and was supposed to receive my Brand New PX Ranger in October 2011. It is now the end of January 2012 and I’m still waiting due to a combination of Ford Australia, Thailand floods, and a prize vehicle arriving from Thailand last week with over 2000 km on the clock. Thankfully Ford have provided me with a loan vehicle of the same model since just before Christmas and I have since done almost 5000km in a variety of conditions plus over 2000km offroad (some fairly rough stuff too) during my “challenge”.

General driving:

As a daily driver it is quiet, comfortable and economical. I was driving a 120 series D4D Prado Auto for the last 5 years and it easily matches if not betters the bitumen duties. There is as much space inside and room in the backseats is vast compared to the competition. It has a whole stack of gadgets and safety features including 5 star ANCAP rating. Things like voice control of radio, CD, climate, phone etc are fancy but not used much by me. Reverse sensors are handy though. The seat is height adjustable and has lumber support but I find the driving position a little low for my liking. I think with a bar on the front I’ll get a better feeling for where the front of the car is.

It is economical regularly return mid to high 8’s/100km. If you are a lead foot it is closer to 10l/100km. It is easy to be a lead foot with all the power available. Traction control regularly kicks in if you turn at an intersection and floor it. A quick chirp of the wheels then the computer ruins the fun. Traction control can be turned off though.

There are plenty of storage slots and 3 power outlets to keep all the gadgets charged as well. All up it is a nice place to sit for many hours or just down to the shop.

Towing:

I tow both an Aussie Swag camper trailer and boats up to 1.25 tonne regularly. It really doesn’t know they are there! Effortless is an understatement. The six speed auto shifts up and down smoothly and uses engine braking effectively without any driver input. I returns figures in the low 10’s towing on the highway including a few ranges to 800m plus. The towbar is solid and good for 3350kg of towing. Payload is over 1000kg as well. The towbar is an issue though. The design is poor as it hangs very low and the tow plug is slung below that. I have ripped 2 plugs off already and plan to move it the moment I get mine home. If you spend most of your time on the bitumen or formed dirt it probably won’t matter to you. It also has a sway control feature that detects trailers wobbling and brakes accordingly. I haven’t tested it but I’m sure a few caravanners would have liked this feature before they were involved in a roll over or near miss. Due to all these computer gismos a few people have had trouble wiring in their brake controllers. I wired my own in without any hassles but apparently a few people have had their Rangers stop due to the computer detecting voltage drop. I think a non-issue if you don’t tap into the wiring for your power source and go straight to the battery.

Offroad:

I really wasn’t convinced until Ford gave one to me and said “have fun” for my challenge. I crossed rivers, drove down major washouts, long grass, over logs up muddy slopes…all while towing my work boat which is over a tonne. Amazingly I hardly ever got stuck. Traction control saved my butt a few times, plus having a diff lock standard is awesome. Given I had a stock vehicle on stock tyres I was mightily impressed. The 4x4 control knob looks a bit dicky and should have been better integrated with the dash BUT it works well. Low range is nice and low, and down hill descent works a treat. Some will say these will be the downfall when they all go into limp mode etc…well that might happen one day but I think they will probably save my bacon more times first. Range is only 800-900km with the standard 80 litre tank though long range tanks are now coming onto the market.

Wheel travel is good and it seems unfazed at speed on corrugations or uneven surfaces. The towbar again lets the vehicle down hooking up with regularity. I’m sure an aftermarket supplier is going to make a fortune fixing this. Ford assure me they are changing the design but it takes time to fix these things. Obviously the designer has never been in a 4x4! ARB now have canopies, bullbars, snorkels etc available as do Ford and some of the other 4x4 places.

The biggest problem to date is supply. Many people have been waiting up to 3 months to get one. If you ever have bought a Toyota 4x4 this isn’t unusual.

Summary:

I have missed many features and no doubt bits of vital information to some. If you want specs just go to the Ford website and have a look.

Problems I have had are few but include the fuel filler flap popping open (though it does lock when you lock the doors, trailer plug being ripped off, and scratching the trayback as the liner doesn’t cover the tops of the tub.

Things I don’t like are the vents can’t be pointed towards the roof at all, the rear windows don’t go all the way down, power windows only have auto on the driver’s door, towbar and plug position, low seating position for driver, and the console opening feels flimsy.

Things I do like are the diesel motor and 6 speed auto, quiet cabin, dust sealing, room in the back seats and wide opening rear doors, depth of the ute tub, economy, 15,000km service intervals and the looks.

I have been a Toyota driver for 15 years with both Hilux’s and Prado’s at home and troopy’s and 100 series for work. I think Ford have got it right designing this thing in Australia and taking the best of the competition and making it a bit better. I guess my only concerns are the longevity and reliability factors. It seems well built but only time will tell. Given I got one for free I can’t really complain!
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AnswerID: 475590   Submitted: Saturday, Jan 21, 2012 at 17:00

Bigfish replied:

Can remember when you got the call about winning. Lucky bugger!
Good report. The missus is getting a little jaded with the troopy and thinks its time we got something a bit more comfortable. Dont want to waste money on a larger 4wd and I was contemplating the ranger. After reading your report I will definately short list this vehicle.
cheers
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AnswerID: 475595   Submitted: Saturday, Jan 21, 2012 at 17:34

Axle replied:

G/Day TDV,



Certainley sounds the goods,....Which Diesel is it ,and sourced from where?




Cheers Axle.
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FollowupID: 750561   Submitted: Saturday, Jan 21, 2012 at 17:59

Member - tdv posted:

The diesel is 3.2 lt 5 cylinder with dual stage variable vane blah blah. It has been in the big transit vans in Europe since 2007 as far as can find out. There are tuning chips available over there that increase torque to 550nm I think. Standard numbers here are 147kw and 470nm. It doesn't rev hard like a 3 lt 4 cyl but pulls like a freight train.

cheers, Terry
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FollowupID: 750572   Submitted: Saturday, Jan 21, 2012 at 19:42

Axle posted:

Thanks Terry. Just wondering if its the same engine that landrover Had? TD5.

They fitted the 2.4 Ford engine to the latest Defenders, And theres talk about the 2.2L Diesels being used as well, ..Gets confusing..LOL.

Cheers Axle.
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FollowupID: 750577   Submitted: Saturday, Jan 21, 2012 at 20:37

Member - tdv posted:

Can't be a Landrover engine as there aren't any oil leaks in the carport!

Ducks for cover now...
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FollowupID: 750583   Submitted: Saturday, Jan 21, 2012 at 21:01

Axle posted:

LOL!!!
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FollowupID: 750666   Submitted: Sunday, Jan 22, 2012 at 14:46

member - mazcan posted:

hi
its one of the european duromax engineswidely used in commercial vehicles
"quebbambiddybumtal" attempt to achieve the impossible immediately and a miracle a little later
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AnswerID: 475597   Submitted: Saturday, Jan 21, 2012 at 17:57

Rockape replied:

tdv,
It will be interesting to see how the 5 new Ford Rangers go at work.

Ford have virtually given them to the mine for a trial. Cheap very, very cheap less than $20000.

They are going to run 3 on the surface and 2 underground. The 2 underground will be the big test for the vehicle and any defects will show up quickly.

Ford must have a lot of faith in them.

I don't know went the vehicles arrive but when they do I will post. That is if I haven't given being a bottom dweller away before then.

RA.
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AnswerID: 475599   Submitted: Saturday, Jan 21, 2012 at 18:41

Member - Outback Gazz replied:

Thanks Terry

There will be a lot of people here that have been waiting for someone to write a review type post on the Ranger like you have done. After my post about Hilux clutches and what sort of ute to buy ( thread ID 91306 ) I was rather confused about buying a Hilux, a Ranger, a manual or an auto but after spending equal amounts of time in a manual and auto Ranger today and then spending as much time in the showroom - my decision is made !

Ford Ranger XLT supercab 6 speed auto !

I don't know if it was my good haggling or just the desperation of the salesman to make a sale but when the difference between a manual SR5 Hilux extra cab and the new Ranger XLT supercab auto is only $2,000 this scenario becomes a no brainer ! What a great vehicle - heaps of get up and go, heaps of torque, smooth, quiet, comfortable and more goodies than the Hilux. As the supercab's aren't as common as the dual cab, the waiting time could be 4 to 5 months - plus side of this is I'm sure there will be more accessories available by arrival.

A big thanks to you Terry for taking the time out to post your thoughts on this great website about the Ranger and hope you have many years of trouble free motoring with your new Ranger when you eventually get it !!


Happy travelling

Gazz


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FollowupID: 750569   Submitted: Saturday, Jan 21, 2012 at 18:47

Member - tdv posted:

Congrats on the order and thanks for the kind words.
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AnswerID: 475610   Submitted: Saturday, Jan 21, 2012 at 19:59

Isuzumu replied:

Thanks for that Terry, the BT 50 is still no 1 on my list, seems Mazda are welling to do deals to get the numbers sold, was told most of the Rangers go to fleet buyers. If you go to a Ford dealer 99% of Rangers are white.
Cheers Bruce
D.Max and Jayco Outback
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AnswerID: 475713   Submitted: Sunday, Jan 22, 2012 at 19:19

Black Cobra (WA) replied:

Thanks Terry fot the comprehensive report as I have had a look at the new Ranger and was very impressed, its about time someone gives Toyota a run for its money.

The price of a XLT dual cab Ranger with all the goodies still comes in under the price a Toyota Tray Back and with more fruit.

Looks like it might be time to downsize from the F250 and get a Ranger.

Cheers
Stewart
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AnswerID: 475715   Submitted: Sunday, Jan 22, 2012 at 19:29

Thinkin replied:

Hello tdv,
Interesting read about the new Ranger, I recall you mentioning the towbar issues back when you had the ute on trial.
I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for Ford to improve the towbar ground clearance.
A simpler solution would be to check out the Mazda BT- 50 towbar.
You will find it has 40-50MM more clearance, same rating and should bolt straight on seeing they share the same chassis.
Or maybe check out some other after market towbar.

regards Alpero
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