Ford Ranger XLT 2019 Utility Review
Engines are downsizing, but should that be the case in the dual-cab ute market?
Ford’s had a good run with five-cylinder engines; the warbling five-pot in its high-performance Focus RS was a charmer and the meaty Transit-sourced diesel engine in the Ranger is a trojan. But just like with petrol-powered utilities, we seem to be reaching a conclusion with the Ranger’s old five-pot soul too.
The 3.2-litre turbo-diesel five is still the default engine in the Ranger XLS, XLT (on test) and Wildtrak, but with the new 2.0-litre bi-turbo diesel available for a fraction more - and featuring Ford’s latest 10-speed automatic as standard - it seems only a matter of time before this old gal is considered too dirty to be relevant.
Is the Ford Ranger XLT right for me?
A workhorse at heart, the Ranger thrives on a worksite – towing, carrying, and accessing hard-to-reach places. Refined over the generations, it also behaves well on normal roads and is just as good an option for the urban tradie as it is for a farm hand on a sheep station.
What does the 2019 Ford Ranger XLT cost?
The entry-level Ranger XLT dual-cab ute with the 3.2-litre turbo-diesel engine and six-speed manual transmission is priced from $56,090 plus on-road costs. The automatic (on test) takes the price to $58,290 and, when equipped with the new 2.0-litre twin-turbo diesel, is priced from $59,790 plus on-road costs.
What is the Ford Ranger XLT's interior like?
With simple interior design, the Ranger works well and can take a relative beating. It’s nothing special but it gets a lot of the ergonomics right – the placement of the door side armrests, the big centre console’s height and the seat comfort on long trips.
The back row is well-catered for too, with a 230-volt three-prong household plug in the centre console and an extra 12-volt port beside it, however there are no rear air vents.
Further back in the tub there’s added detail, like an easy-lift tailgate and another 12-volt plug. Underneath the tailgate, the XLT also comes with a tow bar.
How much apces does the Ford Ranger XLT Utility have?
The double cab has a conventional four-door cabin with good space around the front two seats. The rear seat isn’t bad either, but it doesn’t offer the same sort of spaciousness you’ll find in its wagon sibling, the Everest.
What's the Ford Ranger XLT's tech like?
Adding appeal to the interior is an 8.0-inch infotainment system with Ford’s latest SYNC3 system. It brings Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity as well as the usual Bluetooth option. It also serves as the screen for the reversing camera which is standard across the 'Styleside' range.
The XLT is available with an optional $1700 Tech pack that adds automated emergency braking (AEB), adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assist, auto high-beam and semi-automatic parking assist.
How reliable is the 2019 Ford Ranger XLT?
Three generations old, the Ranger should be no stranger to most people. While there have been some issues along the way, they have now been ironed out. The 2.0-litre bi-turbo engine and 10-speed automatic are new and lesser known, but this 3.2-litre five-pot is well-worn and battle-hardy.
The 2019 model-year update isn’t affected by a recall issue of models built between 12 July 2016 and 5 April 2018, which related to their diesel particulate filters (DPF). If enough long, dry grass accumulated in the DPF underneath the vehicle, there was a chance the DPF could spark an underbody fire as it heated itself up to 400 degrees during self-cleaning. The fix is a simple heat shield that prevents crap from entering the DPF, now remedied on all new Rangers. (Older affected utes that haven’t been recalled can be rectified at a Ford dealership, free of charge).
How safe is the Ford Ranger XLT?
All Ford Ranger variants carry a five-star ANCAP rating as tested in 2015. Safety technology available in the cost-option Tech pack includes AEB, lane-keeping assist and adaptive cruise control.
What is the Ford Ranger XLT's warranty like?
Like all Ford products, the Ranger is covered by a five-year, unlimited-kilometre warranty.
What are the on-going costs for the Ford Ranger XLT Utlilty?
Service intervals for the Ranger are every 12 months or 15,000km and it is covered by Ford’s Service Price Promise program which includes a loan car. The Blue Oval also promises to update the SYNC3 infotainment system’s maps for up to seven years.
Is teh 2019 Ford Ranger XLT value for money?
The Ranger sits at the higher end of the pick-up price spectrum for each model in the range but the dual-cab XLT is a sweet spot, with plenty of standard equipment, a good engine and the availability of the reasonably-priced Tech package, which adds some of the best safety features available on a dual-cab ute.
What's under the Ford Ranger XLT's bonnet?
The same 3.2-litre five-cylinder turbo-diesel engine carries on, producing 147kW of power and 470Nm of torque. Grunt is feed through either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission to the rear wheels, or when engaging four-high or low, it switches from rear- to four-wheel drive.
Given our experience with this drivetrain in both the Ranger’s fraternal twin, the Mazda BT-50, and previous Ranger iterations, there’s a pleasant familiarity about its behaviour. Strong but easy going, it has a lot of grunt for towing and works well around the city.
It lacks some power and torque compared to the newer bi-turbo engine, and has four fewer gear ratios in its transmission, but it doesn’t feel like old technology. Its weakness is that it can be a bit noisy when working hard, even though there’s much to like in its five-cylinder character. It’s an honest old thing and certainly worth the discount.
How much fuel does the Ford Ranger XLT Utility use?
Where the five-cylinder suffers most compared to its smaller, gruntier diesel sibling is at the bowser, consuming 8.4-8.9L/100km (depending on transmission) on the government combined cycle. The 10-speed auto 2.0-litre’s fuel number is 7.4L/100km.
What's it like to drive the Ford Ranger XLT?
Trundling along the road, the Ranger’s ride is a touch bouncy when unladen but that’s no surprise across all utes with a 3.5-tonne braked towing capacity in this segment. Designed to carry a genuine one-tonne payload, it’s when the tray is loaded up that it’s better planted and has a more compliant ride. But the Ranger has a good balance of compromise for laden and unladen performance, and offers among the best steering and handling in its segment.
Around tight spaces and moving through the city, the steering is light but quick from lock to lock. Get onto the highway and it feels nice and firm, with good communication and impressive precision.
It’s a solid truck off-road too, with a standard dual-range transmission and rear diff lock. Traction is predictable and trustworthy, and the stock XLT model’s 17-inch wheels are a good option if adventurous driving is on the cards.
The optional safety technology works well and the lane-keeping assist gives just enough support without being overbearing.
How does the 2019 Ford Ranger XLT compare to the competition?
There are plenty of options in the light commercial segment to cater to all needs. The Toyota HiLux has been long considered one of the Ranger’s nearest foes and they battle for the top two spots on the sales chart every month. The Mitsubishi Triton has had a recent facelift and will likely prove even more popular than its strong-selling predecessor, however it’s the Volkswagen Amarok that is the strongest competitor for the Ranger in terms of space, performance and dynamic ability.
Ford’s ever-popular Ranger continues to shine as a well-rounded ute that behaves well both on and off the road. It’s getting on in this generation but styling tweaks with added safety tech keep it near the top of its segment. The new 2.0-litre bi-turbo diesel engine is a nice addition on all of that, but it’s not a requirement to get the most out of the Ranger. For many punters, the 3.2-litre turbo-diesel five is just fine.
Alex Rae is Drive’s Melbourne based reporter with over 10 years’ experience in the automotive industry as a photographer and journalist. Having studied both engineering and the arts, Alex understands what makes things tick while appreciating that sometimes it’s all about form over matter…