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Ford Ranger Review & Road Test
Ford Ranger Review & Road Test
Ford Ranger Review & Road Test

With a 3000kg towing capacity, you could even tow Amanda Vanstone.

Model Tested:

  • 2009 Ford Ranger XLT 4×2 Crew Cab; 3.0-litre, four-cylinder, turbocharged diesel; five-speed manual – $40,590

CarAdvice Rating:

It’s big, it’s brash and it’s the latest iteration of Ford’s ‘built Ford tough’ commercial utes. When you need torque and load carrying capacity, sometimes the Falcon ute range won’t do the job.

The Ford Ranger range recently received a styling and mechanical upgrade, making it an even more appealing option for tradesmen who care more about functionality than big wheels and unusable trays.

From the exterior, the Ranger is surprisingly handsome. While it shares most parts with the Mazda BT-50, the Ranger has its own styling elements. Flared wheel arches and a chrome grille help make the Ranger look less like an industrious piece of plant and more like a usable daily driver for the times it’s not busy hauling goods.

The up-spec XLT 4×2 being tested features alloy wheels, chrome handles and grille, side steps, bedliner and sports bar.

A payload of 1026kg stacks up well against the competition from Holden, Toyota and Mitsubishi. A nifty feature fitted to the bedliner is a 12V auxiliary power socket, meaning no more extension cables for compressors and the like which require 12V power.

Ford Ranger Review & Road Test
Ford Ranger Review & Road Test
Ford Ranger Review & Road Test
Ford Ranger Review & Road Test

The Ranger offers class leading braked towing capacity of 3000kg. The optional tow package includes a self levelling kit and has been engineered to work in both 4×2 and 4×4 configurations.

A surprisingly modern cabin is a subtle change from the regular fanfare on offer from commercial vehicles. Sport weave trim seats and a leather wrapped steering wheel make the Ranger a reasonable proposition as a daily driver.

Visibility from the driver’s seat is fantastic. The end of the bonnet is within eyeshot, likewise with the outer edges of the tray, making reversing a carefree task.

Interior room is reasonable, but somewhat cramped in the rear. Dual-cab commercial vehicles have certainly evolved from their incarnation, but still leave a lot to be desired when it comes to rear passenger comfort.

A six-stack CD-player with four speakers provides plenty of quality noise, in addition to MP3 compatibility.

Standard features include: Six-disc CD-player with MP3 compatibility, air conditioning, electric windows, power mirrors, central locking, rear demister, tilt adjustable steering column, passenger sliding lunch tray, 16-inch alloy wheels, limited slip differential, cruise control, fog lamps and anti-theft alarm.

Standard safety features include: Driver and front passenger SRS airbags, driver and front passenger side head/thorax airbags, engine immobiliser, locking fuel cap and ABS brakes.

Ford Ranger Review & Road Test

Behind the wheel, the Ranger surprises with back-shoving acceleration and smooth gear shifts. Fitted with a 3.0-litre, four-cylinder turbocharged diesel engine, it produces 115kW and an impressive 380Nm of torque.

One of the Ranger’s most favourable traits is its fuel consumption. Ford claims a combined fuel consumption figure of 9.5-L/100km, which was easily matched and bettered on test, returning a combined fuel consumption figure of 8.9-L/100km.

The steering is very direct and the brakes have progressive feel, making the drive feel car-like and nothing like a conventional commercial vehicle.

Available with either a five-speed manual or five-speed automatic gearbox, our test vehicle was fitted with the five-speed manual variety.

While first gear could have a taller gear ratio, second through to fifth offer stellar acceleration, so much so that the Ranger feels sporty if nothing else.

The ride over highways and country roads is generally good. The rear leafspring suspension setup means plenty of bouncing on rough roads with an empty load though.

An impressive 12.5m turning circle makes u-turns and three point turns an easy task, normally commercial vehicles like the Ranger are plagued with massive turning circles – with the Triton being one of the worst offenders.

Starting at 21,990 for the 4×2 cab chassis XL model, the 4×2 dual cab XLT model being tested retails for $40,590 – some $8000 cheaper than the equivalent Toyota Hilux.

Here I was thinking tradesmen were still being lumped with slow, boring commercial vehicles without a feature to their name.

Surprisingly the Ranger offers an exceptional drive, plenty of features and impressive load carrying and towing capacities. An inspiring interior and stylish exterior help make the Ford Ranger a weekday work vehicle and weekday driver.

Reasonable pricing and fantastic fuel consumption make the Ford Ranger a number one contender for budding tradesmen.


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Ford Ranger Review & Road Test
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  • Simon

    Now this article has some good libel material!

    • Dion


      I don’t see how. Because it says the Triton has a huge turning circle? Would every negative comment be libelous then?

      • Tom

        Well the Triton comment would possibly be libel because its factually untrue, the Triton turning circle is 11.8m which is far from the worse offender (the D40 Navara would take that award at 13m).

    • Dion

      Sorry, I missed the Amanda Vanstone comment 😛

    • Tom

      I don’t see how its libel, with a 3tonne towing capacity you could tow Amanda Vanstone. Thats a fact. Whether you could tow her in a vehicle with less towing capacity is not brought up.

      • Joe S


        You could tow her, or any other number of politicians.. either together, or on their own.

        Many other vehicles could do the same, but in this situation, it is the Ford Ranger that can do it.

  • http://carz.com/ Carz

    Setting aside technicalities, Ford Ranger looks interesting. New features are nice…I’m not much for this type of car but if I’d be buying one, I’d definitely consider this 😉

  • Tony

    the amanda vanstone comment is kinda out there

    isn’t this a BT50 clone?

    • Tom

      In the same way a BT50 is a Ford Ranger clone, they are built off the same platform but I wouldn’t say one was a clone of the other. Rangers are pretty good, our work fleet has quite a few and they are more car like in handling than the Hilux’s, but if I was buying I’d get a Triton.

      • Tony

        pretty sure the triton or the navara d40 have good 4wd systems with technology stolen from the Lancer EVO/Skyline GTR… they apparently are great in the wet compared to the others

      • Andrew M

        triton for the value for money for sure

        Mitsu always has great deals running on them, I still cant stomach the rear style side on them though.
        Its a pity they dont change the rear, they would sell so many more

        • Hung Low


        • david

          The Triton looks like a half dissected caterpillar. I cringe every time I see one. When I was looking for my last ute the Triton was immediately ruled out on aesthetics. I settled on a BT50, a vehicle that satisfies my rural needs. I am concerned about the look of the new Mazda, though, as it looks like designers who have no idea of the need to keep effete aesthetics away from a work vehicle. Ford seems to understand what Mazda doesn’t and Mazda will lose out in Australia, at least, because of a wussy look for their replacement BT50. Yes looks matter.

  • Toyota Guru

    3 star crash rating is about the only thing that lets this vehicle down, otherwise, they’re pretty good (along with the BT-50 sibling).

    • Andrew M

      Still rather be in this than a 5 star Yaris with all the “clever ideas” packed in if I were to come un stuck

  • Baddass

    Headlights are still wussy, and easily the worst part of the design.

  • RWD

    Headlights are the best part of the design, not some wussy common boring looking lights found on most of this vehicle type, they look fantastic.

    • Baddass

      I’m all for black inserts in head and tail lights RWD, but you gotta admit the shape doesn’t fit in with the rest of the design. The old Ranger’s headlights might have been unremarkable rectangles, but they absolutely fitted the no-nonsense, tough, utility feel of the Ranger. Beat most of the competitors I reckon.

  • Andrew M

    you may need to check your stats.

    “When you need torque and load carrying capacity, sometimes the Falcon ute range won’t do the job.”

    Um Falcon ute has more torque, and a bigger payload capacity.

    “option for tradesmen who care more about functionality than big wheels and unusable trays”

    Um I assume you refer to the Commy and Falcon sports utes????
    Well they actually have a bigger styleside tray than the dual cabs style sides.
    Dual cab utes have shocking tray apace because they are shorter making the wheel arches even more in the way

    Also just a question on your scoring system…..
    Under how does it drive, you rate 2.5 stars yet raved about it being a good handler.
    When you score it do you compare it to a ferrari or vehicles in its class???
    If you rate vehicles versus their class, I would have thought it would score higher because the Ranger is one of the best handing in a group of the worst.

    • Paul Maric


      Usable torque, Andrew. There’s a big difference.

      If you’re talking about the Styleside Falcon Ute (which you would compare to the Styleside Ranger Ute), its payload is 775kg, compared to the Ranger’s 1044kg.

      Again, with regards to the box dimensions. If you’re being anal about it, you would compare the single cab Ranger to the single cab Falcon Ute, which it wipes the floor with. Visit the Ford website for proof.

      Raved about the handling? Did you even read the review, Andrew? I’d suggest doing so before attempting to put words in my mouth. Next you’ll be telling me I admitted to killing J.F.K.

      • Andrew M

        If you want to get “A n a l”, the styleside IS available with one tonne suspension which I believe has a payload rating of around 1200kgs-ish…..

        Also whilst im being “A n a l”, those caring about tray space will find certain variants of the Ranger unsuitble aswell. If tray space is your preferred, The Ranger has an option to cater for that, but you must remember the Falcon ute also has a cab chassis option. Thats the option if you really want space.
        (oh, for the record I was initially talking about the dual cab Ranger space as its the model on show here, and hence the one you were implying to be an answer for more tray space.

        • Paul Maric


          Again, you need to compare relatively.

          The Falcon Ute is available with one-tonne suspension in the Styleside, but can only carry a 1075kg payload, not 1200 as you were implying. While the Ranger Styleside can carry 1383kg in single cab.

          Yes AndrewM, the Falcon Ute does have a cab chassis option, but so does the Ranger. Again, you need to compare them relatively.

          You’ve attempted to pick pointlessly at the review. Whichever way you look at it, the Ranger is the more serious trades vehicle, there’s simply no way you can justify otherwise.

          The Falcon Ute on the other hand is the more practical option if you enjoy car-like handling and a better looking design.

          Looking into it any further and trying to big note yourself probably won’t get you anywhere. But I’m more than happy to argue the toss with you if you feel the need to persist.

          • Andrew M

            You need to take off the weight of the style side tray for the Ranger.
            Yes the Falcon comes down to 1075 once adjustments are made, but adjusting the Rangers weight in the same way will see a similar true payload.
            You have the adjusted Falcons weight, but not the Rangers.

            Also if you look up your specs sheet, and to be fair reduce the cab size of the ranger as you suggest, the Falcon wins some dimensions, the Ranger wins some. One notable one is the Falcon ute is designed to take a standard pallet between the wheel arches (4ft), the Ranger misses by a fair bit.
            Not what I’D call a certain win for the Ranger because both have a critical measurement over each other. (Rangers wins Length)


            “Ranger is the more serious trades vehicle, there’s simply no way you can justify otherwise.”

            Well perhaps you better specify which variant because not all Rangers are suitable but can be, like not all Falcons may be suitable, but can be.
            Sure a serious Tradie may not look at the Falcon style side (unless towing), but the same is to be said of the equivalent trayed Ranger

          • Andrew M

            Where did you go Paul, you did say you wanted to go on with this didnt you???

            No need to take offence, I will and have admitted when I make mistakes or poor judgements

      • Andrew M

        Usable Torque……
        I know there is a difference, but the Falcon doesnt exactlly achieve its Torque high in the rev range either.
        I know Diesels typiclly get their torque down lower, but I know for a fact that The Falcon will deal with the low down stuff at least equally well.
        Ive towed stuff with a Falcon ute, and same load with a turbo diesel Jap ute, and to be honest the falcon gets moving quicker.
        Maybe its the power element of nearly 2:1 that helps the falcon, or maybe its that the difference of where torque is made not being enough to notice????

        Or maybe the Falcon being petrol gets the revs up quicker into its usable band which helps it run away??
        I just dont know neither do I care, I just know my experiences.

        • Paul Maric


          3250rpm in the Falcon Ute, not high in the rev range? If you’re comparing it to the Ranger I’d beg to differ, considering the Ranger produces maximum torque at 1800rpm.

          Have a look at the Falcon’s torque curve, that would suggest your claims of dealing with the ‘low down stuff’ equally well are inaccurate.

          With regards to your power comparison, it really doesn’t have much to do with anything when you consider that power is directly proportional to torque and engine revolutions.

          • Andrew M

            As I said Im just going off practical experience, not a text book.

            As per one of my suggestions, perhaps the Falcon building revs quicker is the helping hand, and once its there the greater max torque takes it away???
            Look at where a Diesel idles for eg versus a petrol….
            best part of the difference is wiped away there

            Oh and I will apologie about the supposed “handling rave”. You did mention it handled good, and I know realise it was previous posters I read on the way down which gave me the impression you touched on it more than you did, Cheers.

          • Andrew M

            anything else to add here either??

  • Dlr1

    The quote that the 4×2 XLT is $8000 than the equivalent Hilux is misleading. Toyota does not sell a Turbo Diesel SR5 4×2 model. If you want SR5 (the equivalent of an XLT) in Diesel you can only buy it in 4×4 configuration. I assume you are comparing the 4×4 Hilux with the 4×2 Ranger to get this price difference. Or are you comparing 4x4s of both?

    • Paul Maric


      Sorry, I should have made that clearer.

      I was comparing 4×4 Ranger XLT to 4×4 HiLux SR5. Toyota don’t offer an SR5 in 4×2 diesel spec.

      If you compare 4×2 Ranger XLT to 4×4 HiLux SR5, the price difference jumps to $12,000.

  • http://OzMPSclub.com OzMPSclub

    The new Ranger looks great but as a loyal owner for over 25yrs I would still take the BT-50…and the face lifted model will be here soon…

    I think the comparison they did on pricing was a bit misleading…4×2 against a 4×4…of $8k would be a difference…???

    Great article thou..

  • drogan

    I have just recently ordered a XLT but after reading the safety rating of this car, I am rather concern as I do a lot of long distance driving on freeways, just wondering if adding a ford approved bull bar would improve on the safety of this vehicle.

  • rippedoff

    Bought a new PK ranger XLT, spotlights, steel bull bar and scrub rails with side steps and everything else you need in the country…just wish I bought a better car, 6 wks old the transfer case failed and 4 weeks off the road, 9 months later transfer case has failed again and the clutch is gone as well (quoted $1830 to replace that – I told them what they could do with that quote), the transfer case being replaced again under warranty but not the clutch. 34000 kms and a mountain of headaches and alot out of pocket to pay for hire cars. I have spoken to a few different dealers who have said this is not an isolated case with either the transfer case or the clutch.

    Buyers be very, very aware

  • Ozziekeith

    I have a PJ 2007 LXT Ranger that has done about 56000kms. It pulls a caravan weighing
    about 1700 kilos, plus a tinnie,outboard and I guess about another 200 kilos.
    All up I guess the weight is 2250 kilos.
    It pulls well and I have never had a problem with it.
    I’m its second owner and the first did 26000 ks around Australia puling a van of about 1500 kilos.
    My only complaint is reverse gear when backing the van is a bit high and I would have liked it to be a little lower. Even when I select 4WD Low it could be a bit lower.
    The clutch is light and doesn’t like to be slipped so its either off it or disengage
    When I’m backing the van into a tight space I have to take this into account. As for the rest of the vehicle its all good

  • Peter

    We have a XLT 2007 auto, have had ongoing problems since new. Have just blown the transfer case, have had the drive shaft replaced, air-con problems, EGR value replace, flooding due to no grommets in firewall. This car was bought new thinking we would have trouble free motoring, it has been a nightmare and we have wasted our hard earned money ($53), don’t now what to do now. All can say s please please please do not purchase a Ford ranger you will end up like me with an unreliable vehicle and no cash to purchase another one. PS: we have done less than 100kms of 4WDing it stays on the highway most of ts driving life.

  • http://www.trucktopsuk.com Martin Whitfield

    The new facelift model ranger is a good drive we have had a thunder model know for about 6 months and never had a problem expect the factory fitted reversing sensors are rubbish.

    Overall i really like the new style ranger but looking forward to the next model due out in the near future

  • http://ross540@hotmail.com Rosco

    I have a September 2007 Ranger XL 4WD Supercab with 76K and have had a very trouble free run so far, fitted a few aftermarket accessories, ECB alloy bar, dual batteries, ARB canopy, alloys.
    The seats are very comfortable and quality of interior plastic is good, nothing has fallen off! haha. The suicide doors on the Supercab are great and offer good access to my Waeco fridge and stuff! quite a bit of stuff!
    I live in a rural area on dirt roads, carry around 300kg of tools and find the ride on standard suspension quite adequate, Being slightly narrower than the Navarra, Triton and Colorado has some advantage on narrow tracks and there is more than enough legroom and shoulder room for the front passenger. I’ve removed the small seats in the rear to allow for more storage behind the seats.
    The 3 litre diesel is very torquey and although not the highest power or torque in its class I find it has a broad torque band, and does not need to be kept on the boil. (My neighbours Co lorado also holds well in the lower revs range) I have found the new 2.5 Triton gutsy but peaky it doesn’t dig as deep as the Ranger under 1400-1500rpm.
    Recently fitted a chip and picked up a ****load of torque down low but did drop a bit of economy.
    Fitted a switch to lock out front axle in low range to get better low speed backing of heavy trailer as I find 1st and reverse a bit high in ratio. (This may have been corrected in the 2009 model.)
    Overall very happy with the vehicle and would recommend!

    • Matt Young

      Hi Rosco ……very interested in the switch setup
      to lock out the front axle …could you explain ..thankyou

  • Harry

    On a recent trip to Newcastle our hire car was an older model Ranger twin cab with over 200,000 Km on it. It still drove fantastically. I hope that my 2011 PK will drive like that when it gets that old.

  • Mley

    i think this is a gud car but am not sure of its comfort….is it really comfortable????????

  • Cowboy

    I bought a 2010 PK XLT to replace a series 75 Landcruiser ute, and I have been very surprised at how good it has been. Goes anywhere up the bush, tows big horse float and does it all in comfort and on the smell of an oily rag. never had any issues with it, but wished it had a better turning circle. – Toyota, eat your heart out if you think that I would pay twice the price of the Ranger for another Cruiser.

  • Dinki Di

    I’m very dissappointed that the clutch has burnt out in my one year old Ranger. Traded in two very good conditioned vehicles for the 2010 Ranger hoping it would be tuff enough to tow Caravan. Looks like reverse is a problem in this vehicle so maybe a front tow bar is next option. First time a Ford has let me down.

  • Paul

    I puurchased a 2010 model XLT Ranger and could not be happier, has only done 20k but most of that was offroad, find car enjoyable to dive with my only complaint being I would like a little more surport in drivers seat but friends love the seat, did not consider hilux as was quoted $10k more for simular spec car, Walked out of Holden because when asked for price kept saying they could give me a better price if I commit to buying first, they got to be kidding, personally do not like the look of triton so it was out, brother in law had 3 years of misery with his Nissan Navara so did not consider this car, considered BT50 but Ranger basically same car was cheaper and prefer the looks anyway.

  • Rocky

    In the process of buying a 2010 Ranger XLT AUTO , can’t wait to pick it up, looks great and very good value for money, looked at Hilux and too expensive for what you get, Triton looks terrible, never would buy a Mitsubishi. GO FORD, LET YOU KNOW DOWN THE TRACK HOW IT GOES, I’M SURE IT WILL BE ALL GOOD

  • Ross5400

    This is an addendum to my earlier report on my 2007 ford ranger Supercab. Now at 120k and having just replaced the timing belt Im have nothing but praise for the engine, Pulls like a train and digs deep in the rev range torque wise, again i suggest better than some comparable utes with smaller capacity engines.
    The clincher is though….the clutch! At 80K I started to hear a rattling noise at idle coming from the bell housing, Yup definitely clutch related, pick up the revs a little and it would quieten, still smooth to drive however but getting progressively louder until at 95k I decided it was enough. Ford dealership nicely explained that Ford would not give a replacement at this mileage, maybe 20 or 30K and yes quietly it was a known problem!  Around $1800 would buy me a new dual mass clutch as originally supplied! Now i may look stupid but…..So shopping around I found i could purchase an Australian manufactured single mass Flywheel , Clutch,pressure plate thrust bearing for around $1100 thanks to my decent clutch supply outfit, Thanks Wrightsy! And yup they were well aware of the dual mass clutch problem, not only with Ford Rangers but most of the others as well! Subaru’s also. Well the clutch is replaced and it feels as if its got more clamping pressure and bite. there is a small shudder at very low rev take off but smooths out if a few more RPM is given, I ‘m sure that there was no oil or grease on the plate but it may be the nature of the beast.
    My faith in the vehicle otherwise is good. i suspect that these dual mass clutches are very power/torque specific and if you up the torque, or increase tyre diameter slightly it challenges the unit, springs in flywheel lose tension,  in mine the flywheel did not show any sign of heatspotting and it had not towed heavy trailers or van. The gearing is too high in reverse and first and | realised this early doing the switch to lock out the front diff in low range for backing up a driveway or pulling off on a steep slope not requiring 4WD.
    I’ve replaced the front shocks at 100k and found an improvement but the rear shocks are holding up well and show no signs of failing.
    The rear springs are not sagging noticeably, the brakes are just OK, nothing special, seem doughy sometimes, removed rear drums, still heaps of wear on the linings, replaced the front pads at 90k but still a third if wear to go, thought maybe the load adjustment  proportioning valve otherwise known as a hoodicky or whatchamacallit on the rear axle may need adjusting to apply rears earlier/harder? but no real difference.
       The power chip set on a moderate setting does pickup the torque down low and shows that these engines appear to be capable of considerably more output than programmed at factory. I haven’t fitted a bigger breathing exhaust ….maybe if the standard one fails !  Driven sensibly within the torque band, for me 1400 – 2500 RPM consumption is about the same, maybe slightly more but damn it scoots up steep hills very nicely thankyou and doesn’t require a lot of gearshifting to keep it percolating.
    So far would I buy another ranger? Yes i would and the new model looks even better but there looks to be a heap of life left in the PJ so I’ll be driving it for a while yet.
    Its reasonably comfortable, handles well for a 4WD ute no rattles or broken interior items except the disc player won’t read a disc anymore but it got used a lot so will replace it with a Pioneer or Sony head unit.
    trust this helps someone out there!

  • dave

    Can anyone tell me the fuel consumption of 2010 Ford ranger 3lt turbo diesel – while towing a caravan approximate weight 1500kg ???

Ford Ranger Specs

Car Details
Body Type
New Price
Private Sale
$22,330 - $25,380
Dealer Retail
$23,220 - $27,610
Dealer Trade
$17,600 - $20,300
Engine Specifications
Engine Type
Engine Size
Max. Torque
380Nm @  1800rpm
Max. Power
115kW @  3200rpm
Pwr:Wgt Ratio
Bore & Stroke
Compression Ratio
Valve Gear
Drivetrain Specifications
Drive Type
Final Drive Ratio
Fuel Specifications
Fuel Type
Fuel Tank Capacity
Fuel Consumption (Combined)
9.3L / 100km
Weight & Measurement
Kerb Weight
Gross Vehicle Weight
Ground Clearance
Towing Capacity
Brake:3000  Unbrake:750
Steering & Suspension
Steering Type
Turning Circle
Front Rim Size
Rear Rim Size
Front Tyres
255/60 R18
Rear Tyres
255/60 R18
Wheel Base
Front Track
Rear Track
Front Brakes
Rear Brakes
Front Suspension
Double wishbone, Torsion bar, Hydraulic double acting shock absorber
Rear Suspension
Leaf spring, Hydraulic double acting shock absorber
Standard Features
Air Conditioning
Control & Handling
18 Inch Alloy Wheels, Electronic Brake Force Distribution
Power Steering
Engine & Transmission
Limited Slip Differential
Radio CD with 2 Speakers
Power Mirrors
Cloth Trim
Dual Airbag Package, Anti-lock Braking, Side Airbags
Alarm System/Remote Anti Theft, Central Locking Remote Control, Engine Immobiliser
Optional Features
Metallic Paint
Service Interval
6 months /  10,000 kms
36 months /  100,000 kms
VIN Plate Location
Driver Side Front Chassis
Country of Origin