It might be one of South Africa’s most popular vehicles, but what is the best Ranger you can buy?
The XL grade sits in the middle of Ford’s double-cab bakkie portfolio and with its recent Sport Pack upgrade, it might be the most sensible Ranger you can own.
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One of the most significant upgrades of this XL Sport Pack option is its larger wheels. Whereas the standard Ranger XL rolls on 16-inch wheels, the Sport Pack increased that to 17-inches in diameter.
With 265/65 tyres, the Sport Pack upgrade has better traction and delivers superior driving confidence on gravel roads. If you travel a lot of corrugated gravel roads, this larger wheel and tyre package is definitely a notable improvement over the standard Ranger XL’s ride quality.
Although most of the Ranger double-cab bakkies are now powered by either a single- or bi-turbodiesel version of Ford’s two-litre four-cylinder engine, the XL keeps it a bit more old-school. It uses the 2.2-litre turbodiesel engine, which is has been available since the current T6 bakkie platform launched back in 2011.
This engine might not be the last word in power, at 118kW, but it has 385Nm of torque. The six-speed transmission might have four gears less than more expensive Rangers, but the throttle response isn’t terrible and at low-speed, navigating challenging off-road terrain, the symmetry of torque and gearing is ideal.
Ford bakkies have been global leaders in digital cabin architecture. The Ranger XL Sport Pack has an optional 8-inch infotainment touchscreen (R5 050), that brings Apple CarPlay and Android functionality to this double-cab’s driving experience.
With its combination of a proven drivetrain and comfortable cabin, the XL Sport Pack is a great deal.
At a premium of only R16 500, it makes the Ranger XL a great value offering for those double-cab cab bakkie buyers on a budget.
Best of all, you can apply the Sport Pack upgrade to any Ranger XL cab configuration: making that single or supercab work bakkie a bit more premium in appearance – and comfier to drive on gravel.
Feature image: Ford