2014 Ford Ranger XLT road test and review.
More and more Australian families have found themselves in 4×4 dual-cabs in recent years and the Ford Ranger is one of the most popular choices.
Sure, the Ranger line-up has the usual 4×2 and single cab type variants that attract tradies and the like, but, up the top of the range Ford have some nice trucks to offer too.
The flagship is the Ranger Wildtrak which has the larger five-cylinder, 3.2 litre engine and carries a starting price of $57,390 for a manual and $59,390 auto.
There’s also the XLS range which has the smaller 2.2 litre four-cylinder diesel and 2WD and 4WD and prices start at $45,490.
The 2014 Ford Ranger XLT range shares the larger engine with the Wildtrak, but also offers 2WD and 4WD variants. I had a 4×4 XLT with a six-speed automatic transmission, a combo that costs from $55,390 (again, $2,000 more than the manual).
The first thing that strikes you when you spend some time with the Ranger dual-cab is the size of the thing!
216mm longer than a Hilux dual-cab 4×4, the Ranger is also 90mm wider than the top-selling Toyota and it’s also heavier – try 237kgs! On the road this equates to a high seating position and plenty of presence amongst the traffic.
The five-cylinder engine does a more than adequate job of pushing the big Ford around. With 147kW and 470Nm acceleration is more than respectable both from a standing-stop and at speed.
The engine is a touch noisy though and this is quite noticeable in the cabin (even with the windows up). Fuel economy though is great, I averaged 10.3L/100kms in a week of city driving, the official combined figure is an excellent 9.2L/100kms.
Steering is much sharper than what you normally expect on a dual-cab 4×4; thankfully it’s not too heavy but is certainly more work than a little hatchback, the turning circle is massive.
The ride though, even with leaf-springs on the back, is excellent.
Inside the cabin the Ranger XLT is about line-ball with most of the competition. Positives include the leather-wrapped steering wheel, glove box and centre bin sizing, clear gauges and relatively simple air-conditioning controls.
Negatives include tilt-only steering adjustment, a rock-hard centre armrest, only passable front legroom and not a great amount of legroom in the back (especially if the front seats are positioned right back).
I also didn’t like that the driver info screen is manipulated via a stalk-type button that protrudes from the instrument cluster – you almost have to put your hand through the steering wheel to navigate through the different pages.
While in the vehicle I tested part of the driver’s door trim wasn’t properly secured and wouldn’t pop back into place.
The Ranger XLT offers a 3,500kg towing capacity, but beware, if you are taking a 4×4 Ranger with a tow-bar off-road the box type construction of the tow-bar hangs down a long way and looks quite vulnerable.
As you might expect the Ford Ranger has a five-star safety rating.
Summing it up: The Ranger is quite a civilized dual-cab option. It looks great, grabs plenty of attention on the road, is good on fuel and offers plenty of grunt. Cabin space, noisy engine and slightly suspicious Thai build quality take what is otherwise quite a likeable truck down a peg or two.
NUTS and BOLTS - 2014 Ford Ranger XLT
Engine: 3.2 litre turbo-diesel producing 147kW and 470Nm
Transmission: Six-speed automatic or six-speed manual
Safety: Five stars
Price: From $53,390
For further information, please see Recalls and faults: Ford PX Ranger Pick-Up.