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    Ford Ranger 2021 review: XLT long-term

    The Thai-built PX Ranger has become Ford Australia’s greatest success story.

    Mark Oastler is spending six months with his family aboard the Ford Ranger, to see how well a dual cab ute can be set up for family life.

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    Part 1: November 2020

    It’s remarkable to think that more than a decade has passed since the PX Ford Ranger, codenamed T6, made its debut at the Sydney International Motor Show in October 2010.

    I can still vividly remember the sense of expectation the following year, not long after the Ranger arrived in showrooms, when I borrowed one from Ford’s press fleet for a solid week of testing. It certainly met my expectations and, in most areas, exceeded them. In fact, I was astonished at how good it was and, I must say, also chest-pumping proud that it had been designed and developed in Australia.

    Explore the Ranger Wildtrak in the Ford Tradie Workshop

    Discover new features of the Ranger Wildtrak designed for a Tradie
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    Latest Offers Request A Brochure Locate A Dealer

    Since then the Thai-built PX Ranger has become Ford Australia’s greatest success story, which was timely given the demise of the all-Aussie Falcon in 2016 which had been the blue oval’s mainstay for decades. During the past 10 years the PX Ranger has evolved through PX, PXII and PXIII upgrades and greatly expanded its choice of models, from the most basic 4x2 XL single cab-chassis workhorse to the top-shelf 4x4 Wildtrak and Raptor lifestyle machines.

    Along the way it has won countless industry and media awards and presented a formidable challenge to the long-entrenched sales dominance of the 4x4 Toyota HiLux. In fact, according to the latest VFACTS figures for October, the Ranger holds a sizeable lead over its Toyota nemesis in 2020, commanding 24.9 per cent of the 4x4 ute market compared to the HiLux’s 21.6 per cent share.

    It’s remarkable to think that more than a decade has passed since the PX Ford Ranger made its debut. It’s remarkable to think that more than a decade has passed since the PX Ford Ranger made its debut.

    Ford recently offered CarsGuide the keys to a fresh-off-the-ship Ranger XLT dual cab, with the latest FordPass connectivity and optional leather-accented trim, for an extended six-month review. Naturally, I was keen to get reacquainted after the Ranger’s first decade on sale and see how the latest version performed in the dual roles of weekday workhorse/weekend fun machine, but over a much longer time frame than the usual seven days.

    So, why is the Ranger such an enduring hit with Aussie buyers? Let’s start with price which although positioned at the high end of the pay scale is obviously not a deterrent.

    For example, our 4x4 XLT dual-cab ute with 2.0-litre four-cylinder twin-turbo diesel and 10-speed torque converter automatic has a list price of $60,940, which exceeds similar sub-premium model grade rivals like the Toyota HiLux SR5 ($59,920), the new Isuzu D-Max LS-U ($56,900), Nissan Navara ST-X ($55,750) and the always bargain-priced Mitsubishi Triton GLS ($47,940).

    Our test vehicle also came equipped with the XLT’s optional leather-accented seats ($1500), XLT Tech Pack comprising adaptive cruise control with forward collision alert/semi-auto active park assist ($800) and prestige paint ($650), which bumps the list price up to $63,890.

    The Ranger's good looks are more than skin-deep. The Ranger's good looks are more than skin-deep.

    Good looks are a strong selling point here, as the PX Ranger has always been a handsome beast. There have been numerous facelifts during the past decade to freshen up the styling but the overall proportions were spot-on from the start, so Ford hasn’t had to work too hard in keeping the Ranger looking its best.

    Those good looks are more than skin-deep, as the Ranger offers one of the more spacious dual-cab ute cabins, even for my two long-legged teenagers in the back seat. It's also a competent hauler of heavy loads and an excellent towing platform, which when combined with its competent off-road performance makes it one of the best all-rounders. Backing it with a five year/unlimited km warranty and capped-price servicing adds to buyer peace-of-mind.

    It not only looks good but the Ranger dual cab ute is big too, with its hefty 2197kg kerb weight, expansive 3220mm wheelbase and imposing 5446mm length. It’s 1977mm wide with the mirrors folded and stands 1821mm tall.

    Even so, it tends to shrink around the driver the more time you spend behind the wheel. And with its sizeable door mirrors, reversing camera and parking sensors, combined with speed-sensitive electric power steering (that’s feather-light at parking speeds) and 12.7-metre turning circle, the XLT is easy to manoeuvre into most parking spots.

    The Ranger offers one of the more spacious dual-cab ute cabins, even in the back seat. The Ranger offers one of the more spacious dual-cab ute cabins, even in the back seat.

    I know this because my petite wife can operate this jigger with total confidence, with the sidestep and A-pillar grab handle making for easy entry. With the driver’s seat further forward than my setting and cranked as high as it can go, she’s definitely a Ranger fan, which might explain why I see so many other suburban mums comfortably running urban chores in Ranger dual cabs each day.

    It features a traditional body-on-frame design with rugged fully-boxed ladder-frame steel chassis. Front suspension is independent with coil springs while the live rear axle relies on traditional leaf springs. Ford engineers have done a masterful job in finding the right compromise between load-carrying ability and unladen ride quality, which has always been a PX Ranger hallmark. There’s also a one-tonne-plus payload rating, 3500kg braked towing capacity and five-star ANCAP safety rating that ticks every box. 

    XLT buyers have a choice of 2.0-litre four-cylinder twin-turbo with 157kW/500Nm like our test vehicle or the venerable 3.2-litre five-cylinder single turbo with 147kW/470Nm. Both are backed by a refined 10-speed torque converter automatic transmissions and part-time, dual-range 4x4 transmission with rear diff lock.

    Unique to the XLT is the most generous serving of chrome you can get in a Ranger, including the grille, exterior door handles, tailgate handle, door mirrors, rear bumper and tubular rear sports bar. It doesn’t extend to the wheels (thankfully) which are chunky, good-looking 17-inch alloys with 265/65 R17 road-biased tyres and a full-size spare.

    XLT buyers have a choice of 2.0-litre four-cylinder twin-turbo with 157kW/500Nm like our test vehicle or the venerable 3.2-litre five-cylinder single turbo with 147kW/470Nm. XLT buyers have a choice of 2.0-litre four-cylinder twin-turbo with 157kW/500Nm like our test vehicle or the venerable 3.2-litre five-cylinder single turbo with 147kW/470Nm.

    And being third in line to the throne behind Raptor and Wildtrak, the XLT comes with plenty of standard kit including front fog lights, privacy glass, side steps, rear sports bar with load tub light, tow bar, full bed-liner with 12-volt accessory socket and more.

    Inside there’s a leather-wrapped steering wheel and gearshift, six-way manual adjustable driver’s seat, dual-zone climate control, smart keyless entry/push button start, two 12-volt outlets and 230-volt inverter plus plenty of storage options.

    Plus there’s the six-speaker multimeda system featuring SYNC 3 voice-activated controls and sat-nav, Apple Car Play, Android Auto, Bluetooth and DAB+ digital radio. The big 8.0-inch colour touchscreen and its highly intuitive software sets an industry benchmark for ease of use.

    This now includes new FordPass Connect which when paired with the FordPass app on your smartphone opens a new dimension in connectivity, including remote vehicle monitoring and health alerts, remote start/stop, remote lock/unlock, vehicle locator and live traffic updates. I look forward to putting these features to the test during the coming months.

    The XLT comes with chunky, good-looking 17-inch alloys and 265/65 R17 road-biased tyres. The XLT comes with chunky, good-looking 17-inch alloys and 265/65 R17 road-biased tyres.

    The XLT only had 211km on the odometer when I collected it from Ford in mid-November and the good wife and I have since added 1193km for the first month, which has been solely suburban driving attending to the usual domestic chores like the daily school run, weekly grocery shop etc.

    The first tank refill occurred after 583km with the dash readout showing an average consumption of 11.3, which was close to our own figure of 11.5 calculated from fuel bowser and tripmeter readings. The second refill stretched to 610km, with the ‘low fuel’ light flickering and 60km driving range remaining. The dash showed a slight improvement to 11.2 which was lineball with our own figure.

    2020 Ranger Wildtrak featured below:

    Explore the Ranger Wildtrak in the Ford Tradie Workshop

    Discover new features of the Ranger Wildtrak designed for a Tradie
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    Latest Offers Request A Brochure Locate A Dealer

    These figures are well north of Ford’s official combined average of only 7.4L/100km but in our experience all 4x4 dual cab utes regardless of brand tend to have real-world consumption figures that are generally 2.0L-3.0L/100km higher than their official figures. Even so, we expect these initial numbers to drop as the drivetrain starts to loosen up and we do some highway running as opposed to the stop-start nature of urban traffic.

    Beyond the usual challenges we subject our long-term test vehicles to, Ford and CarsGuide also plan to add some bling to the XLT in 2021 with some hand-picked hardware from Ford’s genuine accessories range. So, keep an eye out for the next chapter in early January and have a safe and happy Christmas and New Year break.

    Acquired: November 2020

    Distance travelled this month: 1193km

    Odometer: 1404km

    Average fuel consumption (at pump): 11.35L/100km  

    Part 2: December 2020

    Fuel consumption

    Since my first report last month we've clocked up another 1132km which has been mostly urban travel with a bit of open highway driving here and there. With 2536km on the odometer, the Ranger's fuel consumption to this point has been pretty consistent, albeit with small discrepancies at times between the XLT's computer and our own figures.

    For example, we drove 526km on the first tank of fuel for the month with the dash display claiming average consumption of 11.2L/100km. This aligned with our own figure, calculated from fuel bowser and tripmeter readings, which was an identical 11.2.

    We comfortably extracted 606km from the next tank and, although when we stopped to refuel the dash was showing a neat 11.0L/100km, ours was an even lower 10.4 figure. That was the best economy we've achieved so far, no doubt helped by some highway driving.

    So, as expected, fuel economy is gradually improving. More highway travel is planned for the months ahead which should contribute to lower average figures. However, trying to plan any trips that require the crossing of state borders these days is not something we're keen to attempt, when they can be closed with scant warning and leave you stranded.

    GVM test

    Our Ranger XLT test vehicle has a 2197kg kerb weight and 3200kg GVM which, if you deduct the first figure from the last, leaves a payload capacity of just over one tonne (1003kg to be exact).

    So, to see how well it coped at close-to-maximum GVM, we increased the tyre pressures to those recommended on the vehicle's tyre placard (38psi front/44psi rear) and forklifted 770kg into the load tub. With a full tank of diesel and crew of two aboard, the total payload of 950kg was only 50kg under the legal limit. The nose rose 10mm in response to the rear springs compressing 60mm under this weight, leaving about 25mm of static bump-stop clearance.

    • Our Ranger XLT test vehicle has a 2197kg kerb weight and 3200kg GVM. (image: Mark Oastler) Our Ranger XLT test vehicle has a 2197kg kerb weight and 3200kg GVM. (image: Mark Oastler)
    • We increased the tyre pressures to those recommended on the vehicle’s tyre placard (38psi front/44psi rear) and forklifted 770kg into the load tub. (image: Mark Oastler) We increased the tyre pressures to those recommended on the vehicle’s tyre placard (38psi front/44psi rear) and forklifted 770kg into the load tub. (image: Mark Oastler)
    • The nose rose 10mm in response to the rear springs compressing 60mm under this weight, leaving about 25mm of static bump-stop clearance. (image: Mark Oastler) The nose rose 10mm in response to the rear springs compressing 60mm under this weight, leaving about 25mm of static bump-stop clearance. (image: Mark Oastler)

    The Ranger was a competent load-hauler at or near its maximum payload. It floated over bumps and dips with admirable smoothness and no adverse effect on steering, braking or lateral stability on both sealed and unsealed roads. If it was using up all of its rear suspension travel over the larger bumps, we certainly  couldn't feel it bottoming-out.

    It also proved to be a consummate hillclimber, even with close to a tonne on its back. The 2.0 litre four-cylinder diesel with twin turbochargers made light work of our 2.0km long, 13 per cent gradient set climb at the posted 60km/h limit. The 10-speed automatic made good use of the ample 500Nm of torque on tap, easily powering to the top of the hill in fourth gear at 2500rpm, which is north of its torque peak between 1750-2000rpm.

    It did that so easily, in fact, we decided to have two more attempts, firstly in a manually-selected fifth and finally in sixth gear. Revs dropped as low as 1500rpm, but that was a long way from full throttle and it never felt like it was close to running out of steam. Engine-braking on the way down wasn't as robust (the XLT's optional 3.2 litre five-cylinder is stronger in this regard).

    The Ranger was a competent load-hauler at or near its maximum payload. (image: Mark Oastler) The Ranger was a competent load-hauler at or near its maximum payload. (image: Mark Oastler)

    Even so, it still managed to restrain such a heavy load for a good portion of the descent, until we had to push the brake pedal as revs and road speed started to run away from us on overrun. So, typical of small displacement turbo-diesels, it's great at climbing and not so great at descending, but given the near one tonne payload, impressive all the same.

    This test also involved some highway driving, in which the Ranger proved to be a comfortable cruiser. At full lock-up in top gear the engine only required 1600rpm to maintain 100km/h on cruise control and barely 1800rpm at 110km/h. Engine and wind noise at these speeds was low with the most noticeable noise coming from the tyres. Even so, it was hardly intrusive given conversations could take place between front and rear occupants without raised voices.

    Shopping trolley

    One of the great ironies of dual cab ute ownership is that although these vehicles are primarily designed for carrying things and have enormous load tubs for doing just that (also great for carting the family dog), all of that cargo space is not well suited to the weekly grocery shop.

    There are two main reasons for this. Firstly, if the load tub is not fitted with a hard canopy, hinged cover or tonneau cover, it's exposed to the elements. So, it's a no-brainer that your shopping can get soaked on wet days and is at the mercy of direct sun (terrible for freezer/refrigerator items) on fine days. And buffeting winds can dislodge - and at worst flick out - any light items sitting at the top of any open bags.

    We’ve always found the best solution when shopping in a dual cab ute is to use the rear seat, which can be easily loaded provided you can get trolley access to at least one side of the vehicle. (image: Mark Oastler) We’ve always found the best solution when shopping in a dual cab ute is to use the rear seat, which can be easily loaded provided you can get trolley access to at least one side of the vehicle. (image: Mark Oastler)

    The other problem is trying to secure a row of shopping bags at the rear of the tray, where they are easiest to load and unload via the open tailgate. Under braking, they will slide or tumble forward with disastrous results. The best solution is either a cargo net spanning the width of the tub, which depending on design and quality can be fiddly to use and not always effective. The other is to install a hard barrier across the load tub, at a distance from the tailgate that allows a snug fit for a row of shopping bags between barrier and tailgate.

    Either way, it's obviously not as convenient as loading a seven-seat SUV, which with the rear hatch raised can be quickly configured to suit either small shopping loads (which usually fit behind the erected third row of seats) or larger loads with the third row folded flat - and all protected from the elements in air-conditioned comfort.

    These vehicles are primarily designed for carrying things and have enormous load tubs for doing just that (also great for carting the family dog). (image: Mark Oastler) These vehicles are primarily designed for carrying things and have enormous load tubs for doing just that (also great for carting the family dog). (image: Mark Oastler)

    We've always found the best solution when shopping in a dual cab ute is to use the rear seat, which can be easily loaded provided you can get trolley access to at least one side of the vehicle. This isn't always possible but you soon learn to choose your shopping centre parking spots based on this requirement. And don't forget that the rear seat base cushion in most dual cab utes, including the Ranger, can swing up through 90 degrees and be stored vertically if more carrying space is required.

    Changing the spare

    Fortunately, flat tyres are becoming increasingly rare but there are still situations where a nail, screw or other sharp object can drill through the tread and puncture it, leaving you with no choice but to replace it with the spare.

    In an adventurous vehicle like the Ranger, you could be a long way from help when this happens, so it's handy to familiarise yourself with this process in the relative comfort and convenience of your driveway, in case you need to do it on a dark and rainy night under torch light.

    With any long-term test car, I still take the time to indulge in a spare tyre change, using only the jack and tools provided by the manufacturer like the (not so) good old days. (image: Mark Oastler) With any long-term test car, I still take the time to indulge in a spare tyre change, using only the jack and tools provided by the manufacturer like the (not so) good old days. (image: Mark Oastler)

    I can still remember a time when tyre technology was nowhere near that of today; flat tyres were common and most Aussie motorists knew how to remove them and replace them. So, with any long-term test car, I still take the time to indulge in a spare tyre change, using only the jack and tools provided by the manufacturer like the (not so) good old days.

    I'm happy to report the Ranger's system works well, with the most fiddly part of the process being trying to locate the small drive-wheel on the winch which when turned lowers and raises the spare from its storage position under the rear floor. This wheel, which engages with lugs on the end of a long steel rod in the tool kit, can only be accessed by poking that rod through a small hole below the tailgate and finding the drive-wheel by feel. Again, becoming familiar with these tasks at home makes them much easier to do if you're a long way from home.

    Constructive criticisms

    It's a credit to Ford designers that the Ranger leaves little to criticise, particularly when subjected to long-term testing like this. However, they are worth noting as they appear.

    As highlighted last month, the T6 has been in production for more than a decade. And although it's been continually upgraded and modernised throughout that 10-year period, some features you would expect to find at XLT grade these days are missing - specifically a height-and-reach adjustable steering wheel and a/c vents for rear passengers.

    The latest Toyota HiLux offers height-and-reach adjustable steering across the range and rear a/c vents from SR5 upwards. The new Isuzu D-Max is even better, offering both of these features in every model. So, both are conspicuously absent here, but given that there's an all-new Ranger due in 2022, we're sure these age-related shortcomings will be addressed.

    We've also noticed that the standard-issue tyres provide acceptable dry weather performance but don't feel very grippy on wet roads. Typically, OEM tyres (for most utes, not just Rangers) are designed to provide reasonable all-round durability and performance while meeting strict unit-pricing required for profitable mass production. As a result, some owners will probably opt for alternative rubber soon after purchase, to better suit their individual requirements.

    Next month...

    So, after two months of 'ownership' the Ranger XLT is proving to be a practical, versatile and above all popular member of a busy household. Next month we plan to install the first of several Ford genuine accessories, to show what's on offer for owners that want to personalise their Rangers while keeping them 100 per cent Ford.

     

    Acquired: November 2020

    Distance travelled this month: 1132km

    Odometer: 2536km

    Average fuel consumption for December: 10.8L/100 (measured at the pump)

    Part 3: January 2021

    Fuel consumption

    Since my last report we’ve clocked up another 1183km. That was during January, which again was mostly city and suburban with limited freeway/highway use. All driving was with light loads comprising weekly shopping, a run to the tip and up to five occupants at various times. 

    We covered 563km with our first tank of diesel for the month, but with ample range remaining (more than 150km according to the dash calculator) when we stopped to refuel. The trip computer claimed average consumption of 11.4L/100km which was lineball with own figure based on tripmeter and fuel bowser readings of 11.5.

    Another sign of improving economy came with the second tank which we easily increased to 620km, after which the dash was showing our best figure so far of 10.1L/100km. This again was almost identical to our own number, in this case 10.3L/100km.

    So, these figures tell us two things. One is that the Ranger’s onboard fuel consumption calculations are consistently accurate, which provides peace-of-mind if you’re planning a long trip and trying to work out realistic driving distances between fuel stops.

    The other is that the Ranger’s bi-turbo 2.0 litre diesel is capable of excellent economy in the daily grind of stop-start city and suburban driving, which many are subjected to. Given that it weighs more than two tonnes, with aerodynamics at highway speeds which are inferior to cars, the fact that it’s knocking on the door of single-digit consumption is impressive.

    FordPass Connect

    As mentioned in our first report, one of the latest features available to new Ranger buyers is FordPass Connect; an embedded vehicle modem which when paired with a FordPass app on your smartphone (in our case 4G) opens a new dimension in connectivity.

    These including remote vehicle monitoring and health alerts, remote start/stop, remote lock/unlock, vehicle locator, live traffic updates and other information, so we downloaded the app, entered the relevant details and played around with these new features.

    The app’s home page displays an image of our test vehicle, correct colour and all, generated we assume by Ford matching the data we entered into its database including the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN). 

    FordPass is a new dimension in connectivity. FordPass is a new dimension in connectivity.

    The home page also displays icons to remotely lock and unlock the vehicle. We tested this feature with the Ranger parked in a large shopping mall carpark and our smartphone deep inside the mall during a shopping trip and it worked as described.

    Ford says this avoids owners having to rush back to their cars to check if they have remembered to lock their doors or for letting passengers into the vehicle without the driver being there, which may be handy in some situations.

    We tested the remote engine start/stop in the shopping mall too and it worked a treat. The greatest benefit of this feature, which runs the engine for five minutes before automatically switching it off, is allowing the driver to pre-set the climate control to cool the interior on hot days or warm it up on cold days before you climb aboard. It’s also fun to watch the reaction of shoppers parked nearby when the Ranger suddenly starts with no-one inside!

    The vehicle status and remote vehicle monitoring page provides real-time updates of the XLT’s current fuel level/distance to empty, odometer reading, engine oil life (how long before it needs changing) and tyre pressure monitoring. 

    There’s also a list of useful health alerts linked to different operating systems on the vehicle, like water in the fuel, tyre pressure monitoring system warning, electric trailer brake connection status etc, which can pre-empt servicing requirements or advise of general maintenance issues like low windscreen washer fluid level etc.

    The vehicle locator can be used to find your way back to your Ranger if you forget where you parked it in a busy parking area (successfully tested at the shopping mall too) or, in a worst-case scenario, track your vehicle’s movements if stolen. There’s other useful vehicle info like warranty details, owner’s manual, roadside assistance contact number, online service bookings etc.

    The only function we found clunky was the live traffic update, designed to integrate with the Ranger’s SYNC 3 sat-nav and dashboard infotainment screen. Like most OEM mapping systems, we didn’t persist with it for long as the superiority of Apple CarPlay/Google Maps/Siri was only a USB plug away. Little wonder Ford has recently announced that it’s partnering with Google to enhance its vehicle connectivity from 2023!

    Apple CarPlay/Google Maps/Siri is only a USB plug away. Apple CarPlay/Google Maps/Siri is only a USB plug away.

    Connectivity and storage

    Playing around with the FordPass app prompted some closer analysis of the Ranger’s other connectivity in its dual roles of weekly worker and weekend escape machine.

    The infotainment system, with its high quality six-speaker sound and large 8.0-inch control screen is arguably the easiest to use of all mainstream utes, as Ford’s software sets a benchmark for logical and intuitive functions and screen icons/menus which are easy to read and operate.

    The SYNC 3 voice-activated control of these functions uses a female voice assistant who has a pleasant Australian accent. There’s no CD player, which is understandable with today’s streaming services, but there is Apple CarPlay (not wireless as yet) and Android Auto, plus DAB+ digital radio which sounds superb on this multi-speaker system.

    There are also two USB plugs plus a 12-volt socket at the head of the console. The open storage tray below them is a convenient place to carry your phone when hooked up to Apple CarPlay and the 12-volt socket could be used to power a multitude of accessories like hand-held work lights etc.

    On the rear of the centre console is another 12-volt socket plus an AC 230-volt/150-watt inverter with three-pin plug which could power all sorts of appliances including lap-top computers. Only thing missing here is a pair of USB sockets, now found in some dual cab rivals, which should be included in the next Ranger generation. 

    The rear of the console has a 12-volt socket plus an AC 230-volt/150-watt inverter. The rear of the console has a 12-volt socket plus an AC 230-volt/150-watt inverter.

    There’s also a third 12-volt/20-amp socket, with spring-loaded weather cap, located in the front left-hand corner of the load tub, which again could be used to power multiple appliances for work or play. 

    There’s a third 12-volt/20-amp socket in the load tub. There’s a third 12-volt/20-amp socket in the load tub.

    Like all Rangers, the XLT offers plenty of cabin storage starting with large-bottle holders and storage bins in each front door, along with a single glovebox and overhead glasses holder. The centre console has an open storage bin at the front as mentioned earlier, plus two small-bottle/cup holders in the centre and a lidded box at the rear which can hold a useful number of loose items.

    Featuring large-bottle holders and storage bins in each front door. Featuring large-bottle holders and storage bins in each front door.

    Rear passengers also get a large-bottle holder and (because the rear doors are shorter) smaller storage bin in each door, a flexible pouch on the backrest of each front seat and, when the centre rear seat is not in use, the armrest folds down to reveal two more small-bottle/cup holders. 

    • Rear passengers have a flexible pouch on the backrest of each front seat. Rear passengers have a flexible pouch on the backrest of each front seat.
    • The centre rear seat folds down to reveal two more small-bottle/cup holders.  The centre rear seat folds down to reveal two more small-bottle/cup holders. 
    • Rear passengers also get a large-bottle holder and a smaller storage bin in each door. Rear passengers also get a large-bottle holder and a smaller storage bin in each door.

    The lower seat cushion can be stored in an upright position if more internal load space is required. This could be handy if you need to carry large items out of the weather; for example, flat-pack furniture or a new widescreen TV with bulky cardboard packaging that would not otherwise fit inside the rear of the cabin. The flat floor could also provide a platform for carrying a  car fridge or other items if you're travelling two-up.

    Raising the lower seat cushion also reveals two under-floor storage bins. Raising the lower seat cushion also reveals two under-floor storage bins.

    Raising the lower seat cushion also reveals two under-floor storage bins. Although they may look small, between them they swallowed most of a 24-pack of 500ml water bottles (you could probably get more in at a squeeze), so they can hold more than you might think. They’re certainly large enough to carry a useful selection of hand tools or any other valuables you would prefer to keep hidden from prying eyes.

    Storage looks small but fits almost 24 500ml water bottles. Storage looks small but fits almost 24 500ml water bottles.

    Accessories delayed

    As mentioned last month, we were planning to install the first of several Ford genuine accessories this month, to show what’s on offer for owners that want to personalise their Rangers while keeping them 100 per cent Ford. 

    Unfortunately, some unforeseen delays in the blue oval’s post-Christmas component supply chains threw a spanner in the works as far as our story planning was concerned, so we’ve had to reschedule the fitting of these accessories to a later date. Stay tuned.

     

    Acquired: November 2020

    Distance travelled this month: 1183km

    Odometer: 3719km

    Average fuel consumption (at pump): 10.9L/100km   

    Part 4: February 2021

    Fitting some Ford Licensed Accessories

    One of the key objectives during our long-term test was to highlight the extensive range of Ford genuine accessories available for the Ranger. Unforeseen delays in the blue oval’s post-Xmas supply chains meant we had to wait a little longer for this process to commence but it’s now full steam ahead.

    Ranger owners are spoilt for choice when they want to accessorise their vehicles, thanks to a booming local aftermarket producing a plethora of world-class products. However, there are unique advantages in buying either Genuine Ford Accessories (GFA) or Ford Licensed Accessories (FLA) that Ranger owners may want to consider.

    What’s the difference between these two acronyms? Not much really. GFAs are Ford-designed and engineered while FLAs are supplier-designed and engineered. Either way, they all meet the same Ford quality standards and they’re backed by Ford factory warranties.

    •  Appearances are important of course and its styling integration makes it look like it belongs to the Ranger. (image: Mark Oastler) Appearances are important of course and its styling integration makes it look like it belongs to the Ranger. (image: Mark Oastler)
    • Not only in shape and quality of fit but also its discreet Ford logos and robotically-painted and colour-matched exterior finish. (image: Mark Oastler) Not only in shape and quality of fit but also its discreet Ford logos and robotically-painted and colour-matched exterior finish. (image: Mark Oastler)
    • The roofline is 75mm higher than the Ranger’s to maximise interior space/load volume while retaining a practical overall height. (image: Mark Oastler) The roofline is 75mm higher than the Ranger’s to maximise interior space/load volume while retaining a practical overall height. (image: Mark Oastler)

    So, GFAs and FLAs that are sold and fitted at the point of new vehicle sale by an authorised Ford dealer are covered by the same Ford Express New Vehicle Warranty of five years/unlimited km which applies to the vehicle.

    That not only gives peace-of-mind to the first owner. It can also make the vehicle a more attractive sales proposition if they sell it during the warranty period, as a new owner continues to enjoy the same convenience of a single Ford warranty rather than numerous warranties provided by different aftermarket accessory manufacturers.

    Also, GFAs and FLAs sold and fitted by an authorised Ford dealer after new vehicle delivery are covered by the longer of either the remainder of the five-year Ford Express New Vehicle Warranty, or the Ford Express Part and Accessories Warranty of 12 months/20,000km.

    So, if keeping your Ranger ‘100 per cent Ford’ is appealing, then check out the first batch of FLAs  fitted to our test vehicle. On this occasion it was easier for Ford to get these accessories installed by Aeroklas (the canopy manufacturer) which is just up the road from the company’s Campbellfield premises in Melbourne. However, these accessories can be ordered and installed to the same standards by any participating Ford dealer.

    • The lift-up tinted back window with its gas struts is easy to operate. (image: Mark Oastler) The lift-up tinted back window with its gas struts is easy to operate. (image: Mark Oastler)
    • The lift-up window, released by a small external button on the front of the canopy, provides ample access to the load area from the kerbside. (image: Mark Oastler) The lift-up window, released by a small external button on the front of the canopy, provides ample access to the load area from the kerbside. (image: Mark Oastler)
    • The LH side window has a lift-up design. (image: Mark Oastler) The LH side window has a lift-up design. (image: Mark Oastler)
    • And the RH side is a sliding type. (image: Mark Oastler) And the RH side is a sliding type. (image: Mark Oastler)

    The FLA range has several canopies to choose from but this one met all of our requirements. Appearances are important of course and its styling integration makes it look like it belongs to the Ranger, not only in shape and quality of fit but also its discreet Ford logos and robotically-painted and colour-matched exterior finish.

    The roofline is 75mm higher than the Ranger’s to maximise interior space/load volume while retaining a practical overall height. And in case you’re wondering, even when fitted with roof racks like ours (see Carry Bars), there’s still ample clearance for accessing underground and multi-storey shopping centre carparks.

    The lift-up tinted back window with its gas struts is easy to operate and the tinted side windows have different opening mechanisms; the LH side being a lift-up design and the RH side being a sliding type. The lift-up window, released by a small external button on the front of the canopy, provides ample access to the load area from the kerbside. By comparison, the sliding window can be left open while driving, which is great for the family pooch in ventilating the load area and allowing her to get a face-full of cool air whenever she wants it. Best of both worlds.

    This canopy, which weighs 77kg fitted, is manufactured by Aeroklas which is one of the world’s top automotive accessory companies and a Ford Q1-accredited supplier. (image: Mark Oastler) This canopy, which weighs 77kg fitted, is manufactured by Aeroklas which is one of the world’s top automotive accessory companies and a Ford Q1-accredited supplier. (image: Mark Oastler)

    The canopy’s front window, which is not tinted, is hinged at its base so that it can swing down to provide easy cleaning of both its glass and the Ranger’s rear window glass. The rear window, tailgate and lift-up side window are also integrated with the Ranger’s central-locking system (the sliding window design can’t be remote locked).

    There’s also a roof-mounted interior dome light with a switch to control different settings. Ours is set to work as an extension of the Ranger’s cabin lights, so it automatically turns on and off when they do. The indent on the canopy roof’s leading edge is to cater for Ranger grades fitted with a centre high-mounted stop light on the cab (the XLT’s was on the sports bar).

    This canopy, which weighs 77kg fitted, is manufactured by Aeroklas which is one of the world’s top automotive accessory companies and a Ford Q1-accredited supplier. The company claims to be the world’s first manufacturer of an ABS double-shell canopy like this one, with ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene) being the only plastic accepted by OE car manufacturers like Ford.

    The unique double-shell design consists of inner and outer ABS shells bonded together. This structure is so robust that it’s claimed to have withstood a 44-gallon drum full of water being dropped on it, with the only breakage being the canopy’s automotive glass. It also returned to its moulded shape after this test.

    It’s also easy to install and remove with its robust C-clamp locking system and no drilling of the vehicle’s bodywork is required. The fitted RRP of $4500 (all prices shown include GST) includes purchase price of the canopy plus installation at participating Ford dealers.

    The FLA range also offers a neat pair of roof racks, or ‘carry bars’ in Ford speak. (image: Mark Oastler) The FLA range also offers a neat pair of roof racks, or ‘carry bars’ in Ford speak. (image: Mark Oastler)

    The FLA range also offers a neat pair of roof racks, or ‘carry bars’ in Ford speak, tailor-made for our High Roof Canopy and sold separately as a kit. This includes a track-mount system where tracks are mounted to the canopy roof which allow the carry bars to be adjusted along the tracks to accommodate different loads of up to 80kg.

    These good-looking bars have a tapered profile designed to minimise aero drag, which assist not only in maintaining good fuel economy but also minimising wind noise. We’ve driven the Ranger fitted with these bars on the highway and have detected none of the wind-buffeting and whistling that some roof racks can create at these speeds.

    They are also compatible with a big range of FLAs supplied by Rhino-Rack (sold separately) which expand their versatility. These include carrying systems for skis/snowboards, kayaks, roof luggage bags/boxes/baskets, pushbikes, side-awnings and more.

    And if using these bars in conjunction with similar carry bars mounted to the vehicle’s cabin, there’s also an FLA spacer kit available that can raise the height of the cabin-mounted bars to achieve a more level carrying surface across the canopy and cabin. The High Roof Canopy carry bar kit has a fitted RRP of $850.

    • The indent on the canopy roof’s leading edge is to cater for Ranger grades fitted with a centre high-mounted stop light on the cab. (image: Mark Oastler) The indent on the canopy roof’s leading edge is to cater for Ranger grades fitted with a centre high-mounted stop light on the cab. (image: Mark Oastler)
    • There’s also a roof-mounted interior dome light with a switch to control different settings. (image: Mark Oastler) There’s also a roof-mounted interior dome light with a switch to control different settings. (image: Mark Oastler)

    We like good internal lighting so we decided to supplement the canopy’s roof-mounted dome light with two fully submersible polycarbonate light modules, which although small provide ample dispersed light to illuminate the load tub without dazzling the user.

    These LED modules by Lumen are neatly embedded in the bedliner walls on either side of the load tub and are compatible with not only canopies but also tonneau covers etc (except for the Ranger Wildtrak with its powered roller shutter).

    Like the canopy’s roof light, these LEDs turn on and off with the Ranger’s interior lamps, creating a uniform lighting effect throughout the vehicle. However, they have an extra unique feature called ‘capacitive touch’ which means they can be activated on demand when the vehicle is turned off by simply touching the face of the light lens with two fingers.

    The amount of light they kick out at night is excellent and when combined with the canopy’s roof light provide more than ample illumination for work or recreational use. This pair of tubliner lights has a fitted RRP of $497.

    • During February we had to hand over our XLT for several days to have these accessories installed. (image: Mark Oastler) During February we had to hand over our XLT for several days to have these accessories installed. (image: Mark Oastler)
    • During February we had to hand over our XLT for several days to have these accessories installed. (image: Mark Oastler) During February we had to hand over our XLT for several days to have these accessories installed. (image: Mark Oastler)
    • During February we had to hand over our XLT for several days to have these accessories installed. (image: Mark Oastler) During February we had to hand over our XLT for several days to have these accessories installed. (image: Mark Oastler)
    • During February we had to hand over our XLT for several days to have these accessories installed. (image: Mark Oastler) During February we had to hand over our XLT for several days to have these accessories installed. (image: Mark Oastler)

    A common problem in utes fitted with canopies is dust (and water) leaking into the load area through sizeable gaps in the base and sides of the vehicle’s tailgate. Plenty of owners have been caught out by this, after discovering that their weather-proof canopy is only as weather-proof as the vehicle’s tailgate gaps allow it to be!

    So, to address this problem, we also fitted Ford’s Tailgate Dust Seal Kit which comprises three soft rubber seals designed to bridge the two vertical side gaps and lower horizontal gap that allow dust to enter when the tailgate is closed.

    The kit also includes two powder-coated steel brackets to provide solid mountings for the vertical seals on each side and protection from damage when loading cargo into the tub. However, fitting these steel brackets requires trimming of the rear edges of the tubliner, leaving exposed edges that we all agreed would look neater if they had some form of capping included.

    Ford claims that the tailgate seal kit significantly reduces dust penetration into the rear tub area. Just out of interest, we also did our own waterproofing test by spraying the tailgate gaps with a garden hose for one minute. The kit proved effective in keeping all but two small droplets of water out, which is impressive given the pressure and volume of water applied and that Ford doesn't make any claims about its waterproofing qualities. Our dust-sealing test, though, will have to wait until we can hit some some nice chalky dirt roads. The Tailgate Dust Seal Kit has a fitted RRP of $500.

    Ranger life

    During February we had to hand over our XLT for several days to have these accessories installed and in the middle of the month there was a snap five-day statewide COVID-19 lockdown, which again disrupted our tentative travel plans (all travel plans are tentative in Victoria these days)!

    Even so, we still managed to add another 1232km to the odometer for the month covering mostly city and suburban driving, but trying to achieve best-yet fuel economy in these driving conditions is a difficult assignment. Even so, the Ranger continued to provide consistent urban consumption.

    We got 644km from the month’s first tank, with the dash readout claiming average consumption of 10.4L/100km compared to our at-the-pump figure of 10.7L. The second tank took us 588km and again the dash readout (10.8L) and our pump figure (11.0L) were very close.

    So, having installed our first batch of Ford Licensed Accessories, we’re planning to fit more further down the track, so stay tuned for that and other activities. And that won’t include dropping a full 44-gallon drum on the canopy to confirm how strong it is!

    Acquired: November 2020

    Distance travelled this month: 1232km

    Odometer: 4951km

    Average fuel consumption (at pump): 10.85L/100km

    Part 5: March 2021

    Preparing to tow with Ford Licensed Accessories

    A central theme in our long-term test of the Ranger XLT is to highlight the extensive range of Genuine Ford Accessories (GFA) and Ford Licensed Accessories (FLA) available for this popular vehicle. After fitting our first batch in February, we installed some more in March, this time with a focus on towing.

    Since its launch a decade ago, the Ranger has proven to be an excellent towing vehicle thanks to its combination of class-benchmark 3500kg braked towing capacity, a relatively long wheelbase and two-tonne-plus kerb weight which provide a rock-solid towing platform, a relatively short distance between the rear axle and tow-ball to minimise trailer yaw movement, a choice of two powerful turbo-diesel engines and an excellent electronic stability program including trailer sway control.

    However, for those that need to tow a trailer with a GTM (Gross Trailer Mass) greater than 750kg, Australian law requires that their tow vehicle is fitted with an electric trailer brake controller. And if the trailer is wider than the tow vehicle, then towing mirrors must also be installed. Given that we plan to do some towing with the XLT (which comes standard with a 3500kg tow-bar and 12-pin plug), these two additional items are essential.

    A central theme in our long-term test of the Ranger XLT is to highlight the extensive range of Genuine Ford Accessories (GFA) and Ford Licensed Accessories (FLA) available for this popular vehicle. (image: Mark Oastler) A central theme in our long-term test of the Ranger XLT is to highlight the extensive range of Genuine Ford Accessories (GFA) and Ford Licensed Accessories (FLA) available for this popular vehicle. (image: Mark Oastler)

    Fortunately for Ranger owners, the Ford Licensed Accessories (FLA) range includes both, which like all FLAs meet Ford’s quality standards and are backed by factory warranties. So, if they are sold and fitted at the point of new vehicle sale by an authorised Ford dealer, they are covered by the same Ford Express New Vehicle Warranty of five years/unlimited km which applies to the vehicle.

    Also, FLAs sold and fitted by an authorised Ford dealer after new vehicle delivery are covered by the longer of either the remainder of the five-year Ford Express New Vehicle Warranty, or the Ford Express Part and Accessories Warranty of 12 months/20,000km.

    So, if keeping your Ranger ‘100 per cent Ford’ is appealing, then check out the second batch of FLAs  fitted to our XLT installed this month. These can be ordered and installed by any participating Ford dealer, as we experienced first-hand thanks to the team at Etheridge Ford at Ringwood in Melbourne’s east.

    When the accessories arrived at the dealership, we booked in for a service appointment to have them fitted. After dropping off the Ranger at 8.30am on a busy weekday, Etheridge’s service department under manager Steven Rule installed the Ranger’s electric trailer brake controller and towing mirrors within one day. We also had the use of a courtesy loan car (a black Escape) during that time and the Ranger was returned to us washed and vacuumed, so we couldn’t fault the dealership’s service.

    • When the accessories arrived at the dealership, we booked in for a service appointment to have them fitted. (image: Mark Oastler) When the accessories arrived at the dealership, we booked in for a service appointment to have them fitted. (image: Mark Oastler)
    • We also had the use of a courtesy loan car (a black Escape) during that time and the Ranger was returned to us washed and vacuumed. (image: Mark Oastler) We also had the use of a courtesy loan car (a black Escape) during that time and the Ranger was returned to us washed and vacuumed. (image: Mark Oastler)

    Now, onto the accessories. Ford’s Electric Trailer Brake Controller allows a Ranger owner to realise the full potential of their vehicle’s heavy towing capacity, by controlling the braking force of the electric (or electric over hydraulic) controlled brakes fitted to a trailer. This greatly improves towing comfort and safety and we can attest to their effectiveness having used ETBCs on many occasions.

    The trailer’s braking force is easily adjusted by the driver, using some low-speed testing with trailer in tow to find the right balance, via a small rotary dial installed on the centre console. A nice touch with this accessory is the embossed Ford logo on top of the dial.

    The Ford system is powered by a customised Redarc controller that is compatible with the Ranger’s Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) and supports both the proportional and user-controlled operation. In other words, it uses an accelerometer to continuously monitor the vehicle’s momentum to ensure it sends the precise ‘proportion’ of voltage to the trailer brakes at any given time. This results in smoother and more efficient braking in harmony with the driver’s console dial setting, while also extending the service life of the trailer’s brakes.

    Ford’s Electric Trailer Brake Controller has an RRP of $820 (all prices shown include GST) which includes purchase price and installation at participating Ford dealers.

    Ford’s Electric Trailer Brake Controller has an RRP of $820 (all prices shown include GST) which includes purchase price and installation at participating Ford dealers. (image: Mark Oastler) Ford’s Electric Trailer Brake Controller has an RRP of $820 (all prices shown include GST) which includes purchase price and installation at participating Ford dealers. (image: Mark Oastler)

    Towing mirrors come in numerous styles to suit different budgets and applications, from those which can be secured to a tow vehicle’s standard door mirrors to more elaborate door-mounted and bonnet-mounted designs with their own supporting framework.

    However, when it came to making a choice for the XLT, we again didn’t need to look further than the FLA range. The big truck-style Clearview chrome door mirrors now fitted to the XLT are supplied as full replacements for the standard mirrors, with plug-and-play wiring for easy installation.

    These rugged units are the ultimate in towing mirrors for a Ranger (particularly given the XLT’s emphasis on chrome) as they are not only about 200mm wider in the standard driving position but can be extended along their sliding arms a further 100mm for towing. Each contains separate flat and convex (wide-angle) mirrors, like those often found on semi-trailers, to provide two views at all times.

    • The new Clearview towing mirrors make the Ranger’s standard ones look small by comparison. (image: Mark Oastler) The new Clearview towing mirrors make the Ranger’s standard ones look small by comparison. (image: Mark Oastler)
    • These rugged units are the ultimate in towing mirrors for a Ranger (particularly given the XLT’s emphasis on chrome) as they are about 200mm wider than the stock mirrors in the standard position. (image: Mark Oastler) These rugged units are the ultimate in towing mirrors for a Ranger (particularly given the XLT’s emphasis on chrome) as they are about 200mm wider than the stock mirrors in the standard position. (image: Mark Oastler)
    • The Clearview mirrors can be retracted using the Ranger’s electric mirror controls. (image: Mark Oastler) The Clearview mirrors can be retracted using the Ranger’s electric mirror controls. (image: Mark Oastler)
    • They can also be extended along their sliding arms a further 100mm for commanding views when towing. (image: Mark Oastler) They can also be extended along their sliding arms a further 100mm for commanding views when towing. (image: Mark Oastler)
    • Each unit is equipped with flat (normal view) and convex (wide-angle) mirrors. (image: Mark Oastler) Each unit is equipped with flat (normal view) and convex (wide-angle) mirrors. (image: Mark Oastler)
    • The mirror glass is also heated to eliminate fogging and there are orange turn indicator lamps on the outer edge of each chrome shell for improved safety. (image: Mark Oastler) The mirror glass is also heated to eliminate fogging and there are orange turn indicator lamps on the outer edge of each chrome shell for improved safety. (image: Mark Oastler)

    The top mirrors can also be power-adjusted and the frames power-retracted using the Ranger’s standard controls. The mirror glass is also heated to eliminate fogging and there are orange turn indicator lamps on the outer edge of each chrome shell for improved safety. They are supplied as a pair for RRP $1541 which includes purchase price and installation at participating Ford dealers.

    So, with the Ranger now fully equipped for towing, we also took the opportunity while it was at Etheridge Ford to install a mat in the load tub. This was to provide a flat and grippy surface not only for reducing movement of luggage, shopping etc but also for our Boxer dog, now that she’s regularly travelling in the space and comfort of her own canopy out the back.

    We observed that she was often struggling to maintain a foothold on the deeply-ribbed plastic floor of the tub-liner under normal vehicle movements, so we again found an ideal solution in the FLA range with Ford’s Cargo Mat Liner.

    This mat is solid-moulded from robust 6mm-thick thermoplastic elastomer (TPE) and tailor-made for dual cab Rangers with or without a bedliner. A nice touch is the Ranger name moulded into the surface. This mat can also be easily removed and replaced as required (there are no fixings needed to hold it in place) and is easy to scrub clean with a broom and soapy water. The Cargo Mat Liner has an RRP of $370.

    • With the Ranger now fully equipped for towing, we also took the opportunity while it was at Etheridge Ford to install a mat in the load tub. (image: Mark Oastler) With the Ranger now fully equipped for towing, we also took the opportunity while it was at Etheridge Ford to install a mat in the load tub. (image: Mark Oastler)
    • This was to provide a flat and grippy surface for reducing movement of luggage. (image: Mark Oastler) This was to provide a flat and grippy surface for reducing movement of luggage. (image: Mark Oastler)
    • The mat was also for our Boxer dog, now that she’s regularly travelling in the space and comfort of her own canopy out the back. (image: Mark Oastler) The mat was also for our Boxer dog, now that she’s regularly travelling in the space and comfort of her own canopy out the back. (image: Mark Oastler)

    Done and dusted

    You might remember in last month’s report that when fitting the canopy to our XLT we also chose to install Ford’s Tailgate Dust Seal Kit, given that a common problem in utes fitted with canopies is dust (and water) leaking into the load area through sizeable gaps in the base and sides of the vehicle’s tailgate.

    The kit comprises three soft rubber seals designed to bridge the two vertical side gaps and lower horizontal gap that allow dust to enter when the tailgate is closed. It also includes two powder-coated steel brackets to provide solid mountings for the vertical seals on each side and protection from damage when loading cargo into the tub.

    • You might remember in last month’s report that when fitting the canopy to our XLT we also chose to install Ford’s Tailgate Dust Seal Kit. (image: Mark Oastler) You might remember in last month’s report that when fitting the canopy to our XLT we also chose to install Ford’s Tailgate Dust Seal Kit. (image: Mark Oastler)
    • A common problem in utes fitted with canopies is dust (and water) leaking into the load area through sizeable gaps in the base and sides of the vehicle’s tailgate. (image: Mark Oastler) A common problem in utes fitted with canopies is dust (and water) leaking into the load area through sizeable gaps in the base and sides of the vehicle’s tailgate. (image: Mark Oastler)
    • The kit comprises three soft rubber seals designed to bridge the two vertical side gaps and lower horizontal gap that allow dust to enter when the tailgate is closed. (image: Mark Oastler) The kit comprises three soft rubber seals designed to bridge the two vertical side gaps and lower horizontal gap that allow dust to enter when the tailgate is closed. (image: Mark Oastler)
    • As the images show, the combination of the tailgate kit and thick rubber seal around the canopy’s lift-up rear window were very effective at blocking dust entry. (image: Mark Oastler) As the images show, the combination of the tailgate kit and thick rubber seal around the canopy’s lift-up rear window were very effective at blocking dust entry. (image: Mark Oastler)
    • After covering almost 50km at speeds from 60-80km/h, which kicked up thick clouds of dust that caked the rear of the Ranger, we stopped to look for tell-tale signs of intrusion. (image: Mark Oastler) After covering almost 50km at speeds from 60-80km/h, which kicked up thick clouds of dust that caked the rear of the Ranger, we stopped to look for tell-tale signs of intrusion. (image: Mark Oastler)
    • We were keen to test the dust-sealing for ourselves so we tackled some chalky dirt roads specifically for that purpose. (image: Mark Oastler) We were keen to test the dust-sealing for ourselves so we tackled some chalky dirt roads specifically for that purpose. (image: Mark Oastler)
    • Ford claims that when fitted with a canopy, the tailgate seal kit significantly reduces dust penetration into the load tub. (image: Mark Oastler) Ford claims that when fitted with a canopy, the tailgate seal kit significantly reduces dust penetration into the load tub. (image: Mark Oastler)

    Ford claims that when fitted with a canopy, the tailgate seal kit significantly reduces dust penetration into the load tub. It was very efficient at blocking water entry when subjected to our thorough garden hose soaking last month (even though Ford makes no claims about its waterproofing properties), so we were keen to test the dust-sealing for ourselves.

    We tackled some chalky dirt roads specifically for that purpose and after covering almost 50km at speeds from 60-80km/h, which kicked up thick clouds of dust that caked the rear of the Ranger, we stopped to look for tell-tale signs of intrusion.

    As the images show, the combination of the tailgate kit and thick rubber seal around the canopy’s lift-up rear window were very effective at blocking dust entry. Close examination showed that shut lines had formed along each seal, with the outside sections coated in dust and the inside sections virtually dust-free. Now, like Ford we can’t claim that this kit eliminates 100 per cent of dust intrusion, but it comes mighty close and is well worth fitting.

    Ranger life

    Our first five months with the Ranger have been pleasantly free of faults or many complaints from two adult-sized teenagers. Its lack of air-conditioning vents and USB ports for rear seat passengers, which typically tend to be teenagers connected to mobile electronic devices, are their only gripes.

    Overall, the family enjoys riding high in the Ranger and it’s become even more useful as a family truckster with the recent addition of the canopy. In the past month we’ve clocked up another 1562km of mostly suburban driving, with the odd day trip squeezed in when time allows in our busy schedule.

    Average consumption in urban driving has remained consistent, averaging mid to high 10L/100km figures which are commendable given the weight of the vehicle and that most of its driving this month was in busy city and suburban traffic. However, it’s interesting to see how quickly consumption drops into the 9L zone as soon as you hit some open road, so we would expect to see those urban averages drop given some decent highway time.

    Still to come in our long-term review are installation of our third and final batch of Ford accessories plus towing, off-roading and more. Fortunately, given the unforeseen delays in Ford’s post-Xmas supply chains which meant we had to wait longer for our accessories program to commence, our original six-month loan period has been extended to allow for the successful completion of this program (thanks Ford!) so stay tuned.

    Acquired: November 2020

    Distance travelled this month: 1562km

    Odometer: 6513km

    Average fuel consumption this month (at pump): 11.0L/100km

    Part 6: April 2021

    The Big Tow

    As highlighted last month, the Ford Ranger XLT has all the fundamentals required to be an excellent towing vehicle. The fact that it comes standard with a 3500kg tow-bar and 12-pin plug is a good start, but there are other important attributes.

     The Ford Ranger XLT has all the fundamentals required to be an excellent towing vehicle. (image: Mark Oastler) The Ford Ranger XLT has all the fundamentals required to be an excellent towing vehicle. (image: Mark Oastler)

    Its relatively long 3220mm wheelbase and two-tonne-plus kerb weight (2197kg to be exact) provide a rock-solid platform with good directional stability for towing. This is enhanced by a relatively short distance between the rear axle line and the tow-ball; the shorter this distance, the less potential for unnerving ‘yaw’ or horizontal sideways movement in the trailer’s A-frame.

    It also has a comprehensive electronic stability program including trailer sway control and a choice of two powerful turbo-diesel engines; the venerable single-turbo 3.2-litre in-line five-cylinder with 147kW/470Nm, or the twin-turbo 2.0-litre in-line four-cylinder as fitted to our example with 157kW/500Nm.

    However, given that we were planning to tow a trailer with a GTM (Gross Trailer Mass) greater than 750kg, which was also considerably wider than the Ranger, Australian law required installation of an electric trailer brake controller and towing mirrors.

    As covered in last month’s report, we selected both of these items from the Ford Licensed Accessories (FLA) range and both were efficiently installed in a day by the service team at Etheridge Ford in Ringwood.

    The Ford-customised Redarc controller is fully compatible with the Ranger’s Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) and the trailer’s braking force is easily adjusted via a small rotary dial on the centre console. The Clearview towing mirrors, which when fully extended are 300mm wider on each side than the standard mirrors, offer panoramic views down each side of your rig.

    The Clearview towing mirrors, which when fully extended are 300mm wider on each side than the standard mirrors. (image: Mark Oastler) The Clearview towing mirrors, which when fully extended are 300mm wider on each side than the standard mirrors. (image: Mark Oastler)

    So, with the Ranger XLT fully-prepped for towing duties, we contacted the team at New Age Caravans in Melbourne who kindly loaned as a Big Red 19-foot Slider to put to the test. With an overall length from tow-ball to rear bumper of 8100mm, the dual-axle Big Red has a 2650kg tare weight and 3250kg ATM (Aggregate Trailer Mass or maximum weight when fully loaded), which is comfortably within the Ranger’s 3500kg maximum braked towing capacity.

    For this test we towed at the Big Red’s tare weight, but if you were to tow this caravan at its maximum 3250kg ATM, that would leave 550kg of payload capacity to stay on the legal side of the Ranger’s 6000kg GCM (Gross Combination Mass or how much it can legally carry and tow at the same time).

    Although more than half a tonne of payload might sound like a lot, most if not all of that could be used up purely by a crew of five without their luggage or anything else. So, it’s always worth carefully doing your sums on towing weights, because an overloaded vehicle or vehicle/trailer combination is both dangerous and illegal

    With an overall length from tow-ball to rear bumper of 8100mm, the dual-axle Big Red has a 2650kg tare weight and 3250kg ATM. (image: Mark Oastler) With an overall length from tow-ball to rear bumper of 8100mm, the dual-axle Big Red has a 2650kg tare weight and 3250kg ATM. (image: Mark Oastler)

    Connecting the Big Red’s tow coupling to the Ranger’s tow-ball was a simple process, given the ability to easily line them up with precision using the XLT’s reversing camera. Under this tow-ball download, the Ranger's rear suspension only compressed 42mm with heaps of bump-stop clearance remaining and the nose only rose 15mm in response.

    Sliding the big Clearview mirrors along their arms to full extension revealed commanding views along each side and behind the caravan, which was impressive given that the Big Red’s 2500mm width is 640mm wider than the Ranger overall, or 320mm wider on each side.

    Each chrome mirror body contains a conventional flat-mirror and lower wide-angle mirror; the latter being particularly useful in keeping the Big Red’s dual wheels in ‘clear view’ at all times to ensure adequate clearance from inside kerbs when cornering and from other hazards, particularly when reversing.

    Sliding the big Clearview mirrors along their arms to full extension revealed commanding views along each side and behind the caravan. (image: Mark Oastler) Sliding the big Clearview mirrors along their arms to full extension revealed commanding views along each side and behind the caravan. (image: Mark Oastler)

    The top mirrors can also be power-adjusted and the frames power-retracted using the Ranger’s standard controls. The mirror glass is heated to eliminate fogging/condensation and there are orange turn indicator lamps on the outer edge of each chrome shell for improved safety.

    Setting up the electric trailer brake controller was also straightforward. We started off with the rotary control dial on its middle setting and then, with a few gentle brake applications at low speed on a quiet street, gradually increased the caravan’s braking force until we felt its brakes biting a fraction harder than the Ranger’s. We then slightly decreased the setting to establish a nice balance between them.

    On the highway the Ranger’s ample torque got the rig up to our 100km/h cruising speed pretty smartly and then maintained that momentum with minimal effort. Although on paper its maximum 500Nm of torque peaks in a very narrow 250rpm band between 1750-2000rpm, it provided ample pulling power either side of that figure.

    For example, with the ten-speed automatic transmission in top gear at 100km/h, the engine was barely ticking over at 1500rpm. On long inclines, it shifted back to ninth which raised engine revs to 2000rpm and sometimes back to eighth where it was pulling 2500rpm. However, it never needed to shift lower than eighth and there was no frantic hunting between ratios like some autos do when pulling heavy loads.

    The Ranger towed with admirable composure at all speeds. (image: Mark Oastler) The Ranger towed with admirable composure at all speeds. (image: Mark Oastler)

    As you’d expect, average fuel consumption increased with more than 2.6 tonnes in tow. Our usual monthly consumption hovers around the mid to high 10L/100km range, but during our tow this figure increased to mid-13s. Not sure how much higher that figure could go, though, given more time and distance than we had available for our test.

    Although Victoria allows caravans to be legally towed at speeds up to 110km/h, we generally prefer to stay at least 10km/h below that limit to provide a useful safety margin. However, on some longer, straighter stretches we did allow the speed to increase to 110km/h, simply because of the sure-footed ease of our progress.

    Fact is, the Ranger towed with admirable composure at all speeds, maintaining a reassuringly solid stance on the road that was unaffected by side winds or the gush from oncoming semi-trailers. It must also be said that the Big Red towed like a dream, without a hint of sway or other vices which can quickly trigger white-knuckle fever. Our thanks to the good people at New Age Caravans for their assistance with this review.

    So, if we had to choose a dual cab ute for heavy towing, the Ranger XLT with bi-turbo 2.0 litre turbo-diesel and ten-speed auto would be hard to top, judging by how comfortably and safely it towed during our test. Given the number of Rangers we see on the roads pulling work trailers, caravans, boats and horse-floats, many others have reached the same conclusion.

     

    Fuel consumption

    We added exactly 1700km to the Ranger’s odometer during April, which was the highest monthly distance covered so far as it included our caravan towing test. Even so, across those three tank-fills the Ranger’s average consumption was 10.7L/100km.

    So, for a 4x4 dual cab ute that weighs more than two tonnes, its ‘real world’ consumption combining heavy caravan towing with city and suburban driving has remained economical and consistent.

    Still to come in our long-term Ranger XLT review is installation of our final batch of Ford Licensed Accessories plus testing its off-road abilities and more, so stay tuned.

     

    Acquired: November 2020

    Distance travelled this month: 1700km

    Odometer: 8213km

    Average fuel consumption (at pump): 10.7L/100km 

    Part 7: May 2021

    Installing a GFA Bull Bar and Snorkel

    Following our caravan towing test last month, the Ranger XLT was returned to the service team at Etheridge Ford in Ringwood to install two items from the Genuine Ford Accessories (GFA) range which most serious 4x4 owners can’t do without – a bull bar and a snorkel.

    We installed two items from the Genuine Ford Accessories (GFA) range which most serious 4x4 owners can’t do without – a bull bar and a snorkel. (image: Mark Oastler)
We installed two items from the Genuine Ford Accessories (GFA) range which most serious 4x4 owners can’t do without – a bull bar and a snorkel. (image: Mark Oastler)

    GFA Steel Bull Bar (XLT with Tech Pack)

    When travelling in remote areas, a collision with roaming livestock or wildlife can cause serious damage to your vehicle without the protection of a robust and well-designed bull bar. They can also provide vital protection when tackling extreme off-road terrain and are ideal for mounting driving lights, winches, radio aerials and the like.

    However, these days it’s not as simple as choosing one just because it looks nice, or is the right price, or a salesperson swears it’s the gold standard. You could easily end up with a bull bar that’s not compatible with the Ranger’s numerous safety systems, which is not only unsafe but also illegal

    Bull bars provide vital protection when tackling extreme off-road terrain. (image: Mark Oastler) Bull bars provide vital protection when tackling extreme off-road terrain. (image: Mark Oastler)

    Bull bar compatibility is such an exacting science these days, it’s handy to know that the GFA range includes a sturdy steel bull bar designed by Ford specifically for the Ranger XLT, so it was the only logical choice for our test vehicle.

    With an installed weight of approximately 55kg, Ford claims it’s the only bull bar that meets its stringent engineering and safety standards. That’s not only because it’s been crash-tested to ensure compliance with the Ranger’s safety systems like airbags etc. Its ‘Tech Pack’ also makes this bar compatible with the XLT’s indicators, fog lamps, parking sensors and adaptive cruise control functions.

    The protective hoops around the headlights provide ample clearance for the L-shaped DRLs and the lower light clusters on each side neatly house the indicators, parking lights and fog lamps. It comes complete with a tough powder-coated finish and integrated mounting points for lamps and UHF radio antennas. Fitted price is $4079 at participating Ford dealers.

     

    Snorkel with rotatable head

    You could be excused for thinking that fitting a snorkel to a 4x4 engine’s air intake is only of benefit in extreme off-roading, when deep water crossings could reach engine bay height and exceed a vehicle standard wading depth limit.

    By providing a much higher air intake position, this simple but effective device can greatly increase an engine’s wading depth, to minimise the chance of water entering its intake system with potentially disastrous results.

    However, snorkels can bring other benefits, including a cooler flow of air to the engine resulting in a denser inlet charge for improved performance. The airflow at roof level can also be cleaner, resulting in less filter contamination for better engine performance and longer filter life.

    This clean-air benefit can be optimised with a snorkel intake head that can be rotated 180 degrees, so that when driving in heavy snow, behind other vehicles on dusty tracks or even through a locust plague, the intake of contaminates can be greatly reduced with the snorkel’s head facing rearwards.

    Snorkels can bring benefits including a cooler flow of air to the engine resulting in a denser inlet charge for improved performance. (image: Mark Oastler) Snorkels can bring benefits including a cooler flow of air to the engine resulting in a denser inlet charge for improved performance. (image: Mark Oastler)

    The GFA range offers a stylish and functional snorkel with a rotatable head, designed specifically for the Ranger’s 2.0 litre twin-turbo diesel, so like the bull bar it was a no-brainer to choose this for our XLT as well.

    This snorkel installation includes a replacement airbox tray and ‘Sonoflex’ noise damper to minimise induction noise, which with the snorkel installed has a more deep-chested tone. Installation of the snorkel is pretty straightforward, as it’s designed to use the large hole in the upper RH front fender which is manufactured into the vehicle for this purpose.

    In standard form, this opening is neatly capped by the XLT’s familiar chrome body ornament (see photo). By utilising this opening to attach the snorkel to the airbox inlet system, there’s no requirement to cut a large hole in the bodywork like some other systems.

    However, we did notice that the bracket which secures the top of the snorkel to the roof obstructs a portion of the roof rail’s filler strip from sitting flush with the roof. It’s only a small visual detail, but worthy of refinement given the otherwise high quality of this accessory. Fitted price is $1385 at participating Ford dealers.

    So, our Ranger XLT long-termer is now well equipped for a variety of work and recreational roles. And it’s all 100 per cent Ford, because each of the Genuine Ford Accessories or Ford Licensed Accessories are all backed by the same factory warranties.

    That is, all GFAs and FLAs that are sold and fitted at the point of new vehicle sale by an authorised Ford dealer are covered by the same Ford Express New Vehicle Warranty of five years/unlimited km which applies to the vehicle.

    Also, GFAs and FLAs sold and fitted by an authorised Ford dealer after new vehicle delivery are covered by the longer of either the remainder of the five-year Ford Express New Vehicle Warranty, or the Ford Express Part and Accessories Warranty of 12 months/20,000km.

    Our Ranger XLT long-termer is now well equipped for a variety of work and recreational roles. (image: Mark Oastler) Our Ranger XLT long-termer is now well equipped for a variety of work and recreational roles. (image: Mark Oastler)

    Fuel consumption

    We couldn’t have picked a worse time or state for long-term testing of an escape machine as competent and versatile as the Ford Ranger XLT, being based in Victoria with its seemingly endless lockdowns and state border restrictions. And increasingly those of us living (err, existing) in Melbourne are not allowed to even venture into regional Victoria.

    Even so, we were lucky to have a brief taste of 'freedom' in May before the latest lockdown when we drove up to Winton Motor Raceway near Benalla in regional Victoria for the annual Winton Historics race meeting, which is always a highlight on the retro-motor sport calendar.

    The scenic drive north via Yea and Mansfield is just over 200km and takes less than three hours from Melbourne’s outer eastern suburbs, so the total return trip including toilet breaks and food stops required around six hours of leisurely driving.

    It was great to stretch the Ranger’s legs again and allow it to display not only its effortless touring ability but also how quickly its fuel economy improves with open road cruising. Our first and second tank-fills for the month, which involved mostly city and suburban driving, returned combined average urban consumption in the usual low 11L/100km range. However, the last tank which included our Winton trip saw average consumption quickly drop into the single-digit zone, with 9.8L/100km and 645km from a single tank.

    Installation of the snorkel is designed to use the large hole in the upper RH front fender, which in standard form is neatly capped by the XLT’s familiar chrome body ornament, as shown. (image: Mark Oastler) Installation of the snorkel is designed to use the large hole in the upper RH front fender, which in standard form is neatly capped by the XLT’s familiar chrome body ornament, as shown. (image: Mark Oastler)

    Mind you, when we stopped to refuel, the dash display was claiming a distance-to-empty of 108km. Given that it took 65 litres to refill the 80-litre tank, that meant it still had about 15 litres in it when we stopped, so we probably could have squeezed 750-800km from the tank if we were prepared to risk running it dry (no thanks). Even so, it’s good to know that the Ranger's DTE estimates are conservative if you’re ever stranded searching for a petrol station with the low fuel light glowing brightly!

    Next month is our eighth and final month with the Ranger XLT, in which we’ll wrap up our Ford accessories program and (lockdowns permitting) tackle some off-road driving to see how our ‘accessorised’ long-termer handles the rough stuff.

     

    Acquired: November 2020

    Distance travelled this month: 1755km

    Odometer: 9968km

    Average fuel consumption (at pump): 10.9L/100km 

    Part 8: June 2021

    Ranging off-road

    One of the final tasks during our long-term review of the Ford Ranger XLT was to test its all-terrain capabilities. The ideal venue was the Melbourne 4x4 Training and Proving Ground, located at Mount Cottrell about 30 minutes’ drive west of the ghost town formerly known as Melbourne's CBD.

    We put the Ranger's all-terrain capabilities to the test. (image: Mark Oastler) We put the Ranger's all-terrain capabilities to the test. (image: Mark Oastler)

    With 80 acres of man-made and natural challenges, plus another 16,000 acres of rugged bush tracks, it’s a convenient way to put a 4x4 through its paces. We usually roam far and wide at this outstanding facility but on this occasion, after days of pelting rain forced closure of some sections, we had to confine our testing to a smaller area.

    We agreed with this decision only a few seconds after we engaged low-range 4x4 and ventured off into the mud, which was the slipperiest we have experienced at this venue. As soon as the Ranger’s tyres, with their road-biased tread patterns and highway pressures, made contact it felt like we were driving on a giant cake of wet soap.

    As soon as the Ranger’s tyres made contact with the mud it felt like we were driving on a giant cake of wet soap. (image: Mark Oastler) As soon as the Ranger’s tyres made contact with the mud it felt like we were driving on a giant cake of wet soap. (image: Mark Oastler)

    On most sections we could feel the Ranger squirming beneath us and struggling to respond to steering inputs, as the tyre treads were clogged and effectively bald. At one point, on a narrow and side-sloping track along a bank of the swollen river, the Ranger started to slip sideways towards the water. The track looked worse ahead, so the safest option was to stop and reverse out on the imprints we’d just made.

    However, with the tyres clogged with mud, they immediately started to spin which is when the Ranger’s rear diff lock came to the rescue. With the push of a button, a reassuring icon confirming its engagement was illuminated on the instrument panel and we tried again. This time there was still plenty of rear wheelspin but encouragingly we were also moving backwards. With judicious use of throttle and careful steering correction, the Ranger soon found enough bite on both sides to pull itself clear.

    With the tyres clogged with mud, they immediately started to spin which is when the Ranger’s rear diff lock came to the rescue. (image: Mark Oastler) With the tyres clogged with mud, they immediately started to spin which is when the Ranger’s rear diff lock came to the rescue. (image: Mark Oastler)

    Another feature that really helped in that situation was that the Ranger’s electronic traction control remained active on the front wheels when the rear diff lock was engaged, unlike numerous ute rivals, which is one of many reasons why it’s such a capable off-roader.

    Yes, we could have lowered the tyre pressures to improve traction and we would have done so if needed, but the rear diff lock/front traction control combination proved so effective we continued using it on obstacles with rocks, logs and other harder surfaces on which the tyres could gain better grip.

    With more aggressive mud-type tread patterns and lower pressures, it would have been damn near unstoppable. (image: Mark Oastler) With more aggressive mud-type tread patterns and lower pressures, it would have been damn near unstoppable. (image: Mark Oastler)

    All of which the Ranger managed to conquer, which said plenty about its capabilities, even with OE road-biased tyres not suited to these boggy conditions. With more aggressive mud-type tread patterns and lower pressures, it would have been damn near unstoppable - numerous owners would no doubt agree!

     

    Ford Licensed Accessories – the final batch

    Readers that have followed this series of articles will have seen how the practicality and versatility of the Ranger XLT can be enhanced by installing Ford Licensed Accessories (FLA) and/or Genuine Ford Accessories (GFA), which are all backed by Ford warranties and can be installed by participating Ford dealers. These include the team at Etheridge Ford at Ringwood in Melbourne’s east, which has installed all of the FLA and GFA items fitted to our XLT.

    For our final fit-out, we wanted to show just a sample of the choices available to Ranger owners who need to carry things on the roof, or roofs if a canopy is fitted like ours. FLA supplier Rhino-Rack offers a huge choice, with accessories that can carry everything from skis and snowboards to fishing rods, kayaks, mountain bikes, cargo baskets, roof boxes, side awnings and more.

    There are many choices available to Ranger owners who need to carry things on the roof. (image: Mark Oastler) There are many choices available to Ranger owners who need to carry things on the roof. (image: Mark Oastler)

    For example, we created a handy set-up for winter getaways comprising Rhino-Rack’s Ski/Snowboard/Fishing Rod Carrier and 410L Roof Luggage Box.

    The ski carrier come in two widths and we opted for the larger version (695mm internal length) which can carry up to six pairs of skis or four snowboards. The beauty of this carrier is its universal mounting hardware which fits most popular roof racks/carry bars, including the Aeroklas vortex-style (aero-shaped) bars fitted to our canopy.

    It's easy to open and close even with ski gloves on and its soft internal rubber moulding protects your skis during travel. It has a firm clamping action and comes with key locking for extra security. We easily fitted two 1400mm-long snowboards above the canopy and it could take four if double-stacked in pairs with two boards facing up, two facing down. RRP of $312 fitted.

    This ski carrier was easy to open and close even with ski gloves on. (image: Mark Oastler) This ski carrier was easy to open and close even with ski gloves on. (image: Mark Oastler)

    The Rhino-Rack 410L Roof Luggage Box was an ideal fit with our vortex-style Rhino-Rack roof racks mounted to the Ranger’s cabin (RRP $508 fitted). These racks have a 75kg combined weight limit, so after you deduct the 18kg that the box weighs when empty, that still leaves almost 60kg of luggage weight and a whopping 410 litres of load volume that can be carried upstairs. That’s ample for most folks - and then some. RRP $786 fitted.

    So, these three accessories not only create a lot more room downstairs, which is important on long trips. They’re also easy to mount and operate and they look good too. And they are just three of many Rhino-Rack FLAs designed to meet most if not all of your Ranger’s carrying needs.

    This Rhino-Rack Roof Luggage Box has a whopping 410 litres of load volume that can be carried upstairs. (image: Mark Oastler) This Rhino-Rack Roof Luggage Box has a whopping 410 litres of load volume that can be carried upstairs. (image: Mark Oastler)

    Fuel consumption

    We clocked up 1549km during our final month with the Ranger XLT, with our usual mix of city, suburban and highway driving producing combined fuel consumption consistent with the previous seven months at 11.4L/100km.

    During our eight months of ‘ownership’ we covered 11,517km. The highest average monthly consumption of 11.4 occurred in the first month when the vehicle was virtually straight off the ship from Thailand. The lowest was 10.7 which was achieved in the sixth month when the drivetrain had loosened up a little and we did more highway driving, including our caravan-towing test.

    So, when we calculated the average combined fuel consumption across eight months, it worked out at an admirably consistent 11.0L/100km. That’s a figure you can bank on, because it represents real-world consumption as opposed to Ford’s official figure of 7.4 and was achieved from a combination of suburban, city, highway and freeway plus caravan-towing and off-road driving. For a large high-riding ute that weighs almost 2.2 tonnes, that’s good economy.

     

    Acquired: November 2020

    Distance travelled this month: 1549km

    Odometer: 11517km

    Average fuel consumption (at pump): 11.4L/100km   

    Average fuel consumption (at pump) after 8 months: 11.0L/100km


    Pricing & SpecsInsurance Quote

    The Wrap

    So, it’s time to hand back our Ranger XLT long-term test vehicle and we do that with some reluctance, not only because of its all-round excellence but also the hand-picked range of accessories we’ve added which have made it ideal for our family's requirements.

    The canopy, with its bright internal lighting, dust-sealing kit, load floor mat and asymmetric side-windows, greatly increased the Ranger’s practicality (our Boxer loved riding back there) while the extendable door mirrors and electronic brake controller enhanced what was already an excellent towing vehicle when we towed a caravan. The bull bar and snorkel added body and engine protection to its impressive off-road capabilities while the quartet of roof racks opened up a wide choice of carrying options upstairs.

    Our thanks to Ford Australia for backing this accessory program, to demonstrate how easily owners can tailor Rangers to better suit their needs - and keep them 100 per cent Ford while they're at it. Bottom line is, the Ranger XLT ticked the most important boxes on our long wish-list during eight months of ownership and justified its enviable status as one of Australia’s top 4x4 utes.

    Likes

    Design
    Cabin space
    All-round performance

    Dislikes

    Payload limit when towing 3500kg
    No steering column reach adjustment

    Scores

    Mark:

    4.5

    The Kids:

    4.5

    $58,940

    Based on new car retail price

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    Disclaimer: The pricing information shown in the editorial content (Review Prices) is to be used as a guide only and is based on information provided to Carsguide Autotrader Media Solutions Pty Ltd (Carsguide) both by third party sources and the car manufacturer at the time of publication. The Review Prices were correct at the time of publication.  Carsguide does not warrant or represent that the information is accurate, reliable, complete, current or suitable for any particular purpose. You should not use or rely upon this information without conducting an independent assessment and valuation of the vehicle.