Still the one to have?

Still the one to have?

When Ford launched the new-generation Ranger in 2011, the 2,2-litre models were our pick of the bunch. Following its recent refreshment, GAVIN MYERS heads out in the 2.2 XLS 4×4 double cab to find out if that’s still the case.

It’s hard to believe that the current Ford Ranger has been with us for more than four and a half years. In that time, the range was expanded and received numerous spec upgrades to keep abreast of the competition. At the end of 2015, the Ranger received its biggest upgrade yet, as Ford introduced its mid-life facelift.

And what a facelift! Even on the mid-spec XLS models, which lack the bold statement made by the swathes of chrome adorning the XLT versions, the new Ranger stands out from the crowd. Its grille and mirrors, finished in a matte grey hue, complement the angry, no-nonsense persona of the facelifted model.

Still the one to have?Ford saw no need to mess with the rest of the Ranger’s design (and we agree) and, like the previous 2.2 XLS, this model rides on 255/70 R16 wheel and tyres.

The interior of the Ranger has received a refresh to match the bold exterior. The new dashboard creates a greater sense of space thanks to its broad horizontal design, while the revised audio system (no touch screen on the XLS, but the display is colour) and ventilation controls feel bang up to date.

Interior space is something the Ranger has never lacked – it’s excellent for a double-cab bakkie, especially in the back. The large front seats are exceptionally comfy, too, especially on long journeys.

The seat fabrics and interior plastics used on the XLS are of good quality and hard wearing, but do look a bit “industrial” in some areas.

The 2,2-litre, four-cylinder Duratorq TDCi engine has received a marginal power boost, too. It now produces 118 kW and 385 Nm of torque. While it’s still completely up to the task, this engine is beginning to show its age – being less refined than some newer diesels on the market. Likewise, the six-speed manual gearbox retains the somewhat heavy and notchy feel, and this was perhaps a missed opportunity for Ford to refine the shift action.

(This engine can now be pared with a six-speed auto, and Ford has recently revealed an all-new 2,0-litre diesel engine – which promises new levels of efficiency, performance and refinement – that will make its way into all Ford light-commercial vehicles – ed.)

Still the one to have?Nonetheless, handling and ride comfort are top-drawer and our unit proved to be a refined and capable long-distance cruiser on a 500 km round trip to a conference in Limpopo. All-round visibility is good, aided by an optional reversing camera.

This model’s gross vehicle mass is 3 200 kg, while the gross combination mass is impressive at
6 000 kg. The payload is quoted at a competitive 1 001 kg. During our time with the Ranger, we recorded a fuel consumption figure of 8,7 l/100 km.

Priced at R490 000 the Ranger 2.2 XLS remains as capable as ever and is certainly now one of the best-looking bakkies you can buy. The price includes a four-year/120 000 km comprehensive warranty, five-year corrosion warranty, three-years of roadside assistance and a five-year/100 000 km service plan.

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