By Alexi Falson, 10 Aug, 2021
Review - 2021 Ford Ranger
April 23, 2021
Since its introduction to the Australian market more than a decade ago, the Ford Ranger has been an absolute hit.
Even in the face of a global pandemic which sent car sales plummeting, Ford managed to ship more Ranger units than it did in 2019, making it the best selling 4x4 pick-up in Australia throughout 2020.
In 2021, the competition is fierce. Toyota’s Hilux is a constant threat to Ford’s sales, while the Isuzu D-MAX and Mazda’s BT-50 are also looking to get a slice of the pie. So how is Ford taking the fight to its rivals and maintaining its spot as Australia’s best-selling 4x4 pick-up?
Let’s find out.
Starting Price: $48,490
OnlineAuto Savings: $7,415
How Much Does It Cost?
The Ford Ranger lineup kicks off at $48,490 for the entry-level LX variant, and moves north from there. The mid-spec XLT model comes priced at $57,040, while the Wildtrak jumps to $61,890. The range-topping Raptor comes with a price tag of $77,190.
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What Features Does the Ford Ranger Have?
The base model Ford Ranger XL comes with a relatively modest amount of features as standard, including a 4.2-inch display with bluetooth support, climate control, rear view camera, automatic headlamps, 16-inch steel wheels, cruise control, adaptive load control, payload capacity of 1259kg and maximum braked towing capacity of 2500kg. This is in addition to a host of safety equipment that Ford throws into the base model Ranger as standard, that we’ll cover later in this review.
As you move through the Ford Ranger lineup, Ford throws in added extras that make turn the Ranger from a workhorse into a more sophisticated offering. These include:
- Smart keyless entry
- Locking Rear Differential
- 8-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
- Leather interior finishes
- Increased Towing Capacity to 3500kg
- FordPass Connect
- Tow Bar
Is it Comfortable to Drive?
Ford offers buyers the choice of three engines for the Ranger lineup, the first of which, a 2.2-litre turbocharged diesel unit produces 118kW and 385Nm of torque. Stepping up to the 3.2-litre turbocharged five-cylinder engine brings these numbers to 147kW and 470Nm of torque, while the range topping twin-turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder offers up 157kW of power and 500Nm of torque.
In its most simple form, the Ford Ranger XL cab chassis 4x4, fitted with the base engine is a surprisingly modern and sophisticated ute that feels comfortable and capable on both an urban commute, and off-road. While it can be difficult to make sense of kilowatts and torque figures, Ford’s range of engines for the Ranger lineup provide more than enough power for whatever you’re planning on throwing at it.
There might be more body roll than you’re used to in something like a passenger car, but that comes with the territory when buying a ute. The bright side of this, though, is that the Ranger offers a nice light steering feel, and makes any drive both comfortable and effortless thanks to those torque-filled diesel engines.
Is it Practical and Spacious?
The Ford Ranger lineup comes with the option of a single or double cab layout, which obviously impacts the overall size and layout. With the single cab, there’s more than enough space for a driver and passenger for long trips, while the double cab configuration allows you to squeeze an extra set of legs in the rear.
Buyers considering the Ford Ranger are most likely interested in another aspect of its practicality, most namely, the towing and cargo capacity for work purposes - an area that the Ranger excels.
Maximum braked towing capacity of the base XL variant is rated at 2,500kg, but this increases to 3,500kg in the XLT variants and above. Payload capacity on the other hand is perhaps best in the Ranger’s base form, rated at 1259kg, while the pricier options like the XLT and Wildtrak offer 1022kg and 940kg respectively.
Is it Safe?
The Ford Ranger has been awarded ANCAP’s maximum Five-Star Safety Rating, and comes packaged with a host of safety features and equipment as standard, even on the base model. These include autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian detection, roll-over mitigation, traffic sign recognition, trailer sway control, hill launch assist and lane-keep assist.
Stepping up into one of the more expensive Ranger variants adds adaptive cruise control, hill descent control, front and rear parking sensors and a locking rear differential.
Is it Fuel Efficient?
Utes have never been celebrated for their fuel efficiency, but thanks to Ford’s range of diesel powertrains, the Ranger is not an exceptionally thirsty ute. The official fuel rating for a combined cycle is, according to Ford, 6.5L/100km, and 169g/km of CO2. Real-world driving conditions will likely see this figure rise to around 9L/100km, depending on your commute.
Overall, though, diesel engines provide better economy figures compared to their petrol-powered competitors.
Our Verdict: Is the Ford Ranger Worth it?
The Ford Ranger is no doubt one of the best utes on sale in Australia right now. Considering its competition the Ranger is up against - in the form of the Toyota Hilux - it needs to tick a lot of boxes, which it does. The Ranger is set to handle anything your workload can throw at it, and provides perhaps more driving quality and comfort than a typical workhorse should.
Few people will feel disappointed with their purchase of a new Ford Ranger - and we can see why.
Five Specs You Need to Know
- 2500kg towing capacity on base XL
- 3500kg towing capacity on XLT and above
- Payload capacity of 1259kg on XL single-cab
- Optional locking rear-differential
- Official fuel economy of 6.5L/100km for 2.2-litre diesel
- Smooth, powerful engine
- Rear tray eats up cargo
- Surprising ride quality and handling
- Somewhat complicated lineup
- Expensive options
Ford Ranger Competition
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