The current Ford Ranger generation of has certainly captured the imagination of the southern African pick-up market. Strong monthly sales of the 2.2 diesel double-cab have shown that Ford has hit on a winning recipe.
A subsequent upgrade to the Ranger has further improved the exterior appearance, and ergonomically efficient interior adds to the overall appeal which has left prospective buyers salivating in anticipation. Little wonder that Ford South Africa boasts one of the highest pick-up sales in the country.
The Ford 3.2 XLT double-cab, assembled in South Africa, represents a new generation of trucks that have special appeal to the farmer. Some of the owners must curb their enthusiasm for driving their Rangers so they can concentrate on the work at hand!
TEST DRIVE ON THE FARM
Ford Rangers are a common sight on southern African farms, so I decided to see how the XLT would fare at daily farm tasks. I roped my father, Peet Bezuidenhout, and my brother, Peet (Jnr) in to evaluate the test unit in view of their experience with competitive products.
The Ranger made a strong impression from the outset, with the roomy, well finished cab, earning high praise. The Ford XLT is a big bakkie and a man who stands 6 foot, 4 inches in his socks won’t struggle to sit comfortably. The trim and equipment level in the XLT model is very high and includes leather seats as standard which proved comfortable without the feeling that one is sinking into an easy-chair. The seats also offer lumbar support that, in Peet (Jnr)’s words, will have you driving “a thousand kilometres” further than you would normally be able to.
Ford’s SYNC®3 connection with touch screen offers Bluetooth technology and can play a variety of media from CD, Aux input , and two USB ports. The system is easy to use and can also be set up to follow voice commands.
The touch of a button or two, changes the instrument panel display to show the information that the driver requires.
The XLT is equipped with a rear-view parking camera and parking sensors so that you won’t accidently reverse into a trailer while talking to the co-op on your Bluetooth. Both farmers were suitably impressed by the finish of the cab and agreed that it is more luxurious than its competitors.
AND ENGINE WHICH MOVES MOUNTAINS
The Ford Ranger series is well known for its powerful engines and the 3.2 litre Duratorq TDCi five-cylinder motor doesn’t disappoint. The engine delivers a hefty 147kW of power and 470Nm torque, but thanks to, among other things, exhaust gas recirculation, it now uses less diesel.
This is good news for a farmer, as fuel is one of those expenses that has to be considered every month. We tested the bakkie in a variety of farm conditions:
MUD: In the cattle camp the 4×2 became a low-range 4×4 at the twist of a button and we soon realised that this bakkie would probably drive through mud that would challenge a tractor’s capabilities!
WET TRACK. A quick visit to the centre pivot irrigation put us on a wet farm track which quickly demonstrated the XLT’s advanced driving assistance features to ensure that you won’t slip and slide through the fields.
FIELDS. A trip through the dry grazing lands to test the driving comfortability of the vehicle.
In all three situations, the overriding impression was one of comfort.
It doesn’t rattle your bones and to be honest it “feels like it’s gliding on skis” (again the words of Peet Jnr). Naturally, for farm use, it helps that the XLT has a ground clearance of 230mm and a wading depth of up to 800mm.
Finally, apart from being powerful and comfortable, the XLT can also tow a load of 3500kg. A payload capacity of 938kg means that you don’t have to ride back and forth to bring a load of lick to the farm, and with this powerful 4×4 you can even deliver it straight to the cattle without the use of a tractor and trailer as is usually the case.
Ford Ranger 3.2 TDCi Double-Cab 4×4 XLT Hi-Rider
|3.2 litre TDCi Diesel Engine
|Six-gear automatic gear box
|147 kW at 3000 rpm
|470 Nm at 1500 – 2750 rpm
|17 x 8 inch alloy wheels
|3 500kg (braked)
|8,9 litres per 100km (combined cycle)
|16-inch brake system with discs in the front and drums at the rear
|ABS, brake assist (BA), electronic brake distribution (EBD), hill-start assist control (HAC), electronic stability program (ESP), traction control, trailer sway control
|Driver and passenger airbags front, at the knees, side, and curtain bags. Rear view parking camera and parking distance sensors.
|5 years/100 000km
|R588 900 (VAT incl)