Ford has been very successful with sales of its Ford Ranger XLT ute since it was launched. Developed alongside the Mazda BT-50, the 2018 Ford Ranger is now more SUV like in ride and handling, features and appearance.
Importantly though, it retains the rugged off road capabilities that has led to its sales success.
Externally the Ranger has an American pick-up truck like appearance, trading off the super successful F Truck series. It looks big, tough and bold. The exterior remains as it has been for a few years with the exception of a black fog lamp bezel.
The XLT has a tow bar, projector headlights, 17 inch alloy wheels, heated external mirrors, a load box illuminator, daytime running lights and a bed liner with a 12V plug in the rear.
Inside the Ranger, the feeling is more SUV like than the external appearance would lead you to believe. The driver’s seat is manually adjustable 6 ways with a lumbar support.
Many opt for the leather options at $1,650, but our test vehicle had the fabric seats. Having said that the seats are comfortable.
The steering wheel is nice and thick and has the usual controls on it but it is only height adjustable.
In front of the driver is the unusual dash with one large dial and two side dual colour 4.2″ instrumentation screens. It’s clear and concise. Overall it feels spacious and relaxed.
The rear seats are again pretty comfortable and what you would expect. Noting that there is plenty of headroom, there is average room for three people.
The Ranger has reasonable storage with cup and bottle holders everywhere, a huge centre console bin, reasonable sized glove box and more.
The overall feel inside is one of good visibility, especially rearwards with the reversing camera.
The 8″ centre stack screen is home for Sync III. This is Ford’s system that now comes with voice control which can be a little temperamental.
The system makes all functions available from the home screen which is split into 4 functions: climate, audio, phone and navigation, and has Apple CarPlay/Android Auto.
The XLT now has sat-nav with traffic management channel. The system has the unusual feature of allowing access to alternative screens from each screen making it easily navigable.
Other Ford Ranger XLT features are:
- Rain sensing wipers,
- Tyre pressure monitoring system
- Dual zone climate control
- Cooled centre console
- Plastic side steps
- Electrochromatic rear view mirror
- Heated exterior mirrors
- Illuminated vanity mirrors
- Privacy glass and front parking sensors
There is an optional $800 XLT Technology Pack which includes adaptive cruise control with forward collision alert, automatic high beam control, driver impairment monitor, lane keeping aid and lane departure warning.
Drive and Engine
The Ford Ranger is home to the 5 cylinder 3.2L turbo diesel engine. This is a good performer producing power of 147kW and torque of 470Nm running through a six-speed automatic transmission and driving the wheels through a dual range box.
This makes for relaxed freeway cruising and excellent towing ability.
Around town you feel its size, but it has a relatively tight turning circle of 12.7m. On the freeways and secondary roads it seems to come into its own.
Here the size is an advantage and the engine can purr along untroubled. Off road the low down torque allows most situations to be controlled from your right foot.
With a 5 Star ANCAP safety rating and the optional technology pack, the Ford Ranger features include:
- Adaptive cruise control with forward collision warning,
- Multiple airbags everywhere
- Dynamic stability control incorporating anti-lock brakes system (ABS)
- Rollover mitigation
- Trailer sway control, and traction control system
- Emergency brake assist
- Front and rear parking sensors
- Hill descent control
- Hill launch control
- Lane keeping system
- Rear view camera
With a tow rating of 3,500kg and tow ball rating of 350kg it is perfect for an active lifestyle.
The trailer sway control, linear delivery of torque at low revs and good feedback through the steering wheel means that the Ranger is amongst the best of the utes for towing.
It gives the driver a solid feeling of control.
There has been some reliability issues with the engine management systems and a few other niggles with the engine, but overall the Ford Ranger is a good option for a family 4WD Ute.
- Towing and 4WD ability
- Ride (for a ute)
Not So Good Bits
- Relatively pricey
- No reach adjustable steering
- Some safety features optional
The 2018 Ford Ranger XLT is a good 4WD ute.
It has the rugged external style that appeals to many buyers, is relatively full of standard features, has a powerful engine and transmission, is an excellent off road and towing vehicle and comes with the backing of Ford dealers everywhere in Australia.
It is however relatively expensive compared to others in the segment but has built itself sales success despite the pricing.
Facts and Figures: Ford Ranger XLT 4WD Dual Cab Ute
- Engine: 3.2L five-cylinder TDi 147kW/470Nm
- Transmission: Eight-speed auto RWD
- Safety: 5 Star ANCAP
- Origin: Thailand
- Warranty: 3 yrs/Unlimited km
- Price: from $64,142