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Posted: 21 April 2017
Price: R492 900
Engine: 2198 cc, four-cylinder inline, high pressure common rail injection, variable geometry turbocharged diesel
Power: 118 kW at 3700 rpm
Torque: 385 Nm between 1500 and 2500 rpm
Zero to 100 km/h: 11.8 seconds
Maximum speed: 175 km/h
Transmission: Ford 6R80 automatic
Real life fuel consumption: About 9.7 l/100 km
Tank: 80 litres
Tare: 1980 kg
Payload (max.): 968 kg
Maximum towing capacity (within GCM): 2500 kg
GCM: 5000 kg
Approach/departure/ramp over angles: 28/28/25 degrees
Wading depth: 800 mm
Warranty: 4 years / 120 000 km with 3 years’ roadside assistance
Service plan: 5 years / 100 000 km at 20 000 km intervals
Ford stepped bravely into uncharted territory, late last August, when it expanded its range one third by introducing nine 2.2-litre automatics in three configurations and as many specification levels. These are single-, super- and dual-cab in XL, XLS and XLT. The only one offered in top-level XLT trim is our test rig, the dual-cab 4x2. Double-cab 4x4 is available in XL and XLS only.
XLT adds a seventh airbag, Sync3 connectivity with 8” touch screen, automatic dual channel air conditioning, automatic wipers and lights, leather upholstery, electrochromic interior mirror and side steps to existing XLS specification. Our evaluation car was built before April 2017 so its Sync2 music system did not include the new, faster-performing and brighter screen with its clearer icons, slide/swipe/scroll/pinch capability, navigation, and voice recognition that “understands” simple, real world commands.
Its 2.2 Duratorq diesel puts out 118 kilowatts and 385 Newton-metres to move its almost two-ton mass through the zero to 100 km/h dash in a claimed (Ford Europe numbers) 11.8 seconds, although our local Car magazine put it at 13.4. Maximum speed, again courtesy of Ford Europe, is given as 175 km/h.
The problem, if you could call it that, is that this engine and gearbox combination is workmanlike rather than dynamic. Ford’s in-house, six-speed, SelectShift automatic ‘box is smooth, doesn’t show any signs of slippage and kicks down readily but our comment on its overtaking performance would be “satisfactory” rather than “satisfying.” For that you need to spring for the 3.2 motor.
While we understand that the 2.2 engine is well suited to basic and economical workhorsing, we feel that certain models need more power – a little more pressure perhaps – to make 4x4 and XLT models spicier and more appealing. But sales figures will reveal all, won’t they?
Driving impressions are that it’s quiet, comfortable, solid, spacious and very well equipped. Its car-like interior and ride quality is nice too; about ready to take the dirt road comfort crown away from Isuzu. Proving that it’s not purely a man’s machine, XLT has illuminated makeup mirrors on both sun visors, a sunspecs box and courtesy lights front and centre – for when you need extra light to strap babies into ISOFix-mounted chairs.
There’s also enough head- and knee room in the back for lanky teenagers, sufficient cup holders, three 12-volt charging sockets, two USB slots, one for SD cards and lots of storage including a big cubby and a “pie warmer” on top of the dash. Just to be considerate, the central armrest box can have chilled air piped in to cool the colas.
Should the XLT have rather been offered as 4x4 than 4x2? Hard to say: we have just shown that it’s an excellent family transporter, but it would have been nice to have it as a full-on off-roader. In any event, its standard electronic differential lock allowed it to make easy work of our local Tenderfoot Trail that had been the undoing of another 4x2, without that facility, a while back. A word on the diff lock: We only found out how to work it after a few attempts because it’s odd. Engagement is only possible while in Park and disengagement can only happen in Neutral.
Ranger’s bold move, expanding its line-up this much with just one engine and gearbox combination, took courage. We think Ford might have chosen an overly tame engine with which to do so, but time will tell.
Test unit from Ford SA press fleet
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