I always loved cars, and as a kid I had a pedal car (thanks to my Grandad) which was red and a convertible. I learned to drive in a VW Beetle at the age of 16 - a car that was idle for most of its life due to constant engine problems. In my 20s and 40s I worked as a Quality Engineer in Australia for a few Automotive companies, such as Toyota, Ford and Bridgestone. Cars have been part of me for a long time, and I love them in all shapes and sizes.
Fast forward to now in 2021 and it brings me to the Ford Ranger XLS SPORT.
This is my first brand new car/4x4 Ute. I always wanted a 4x4 ute after owning a few cars in my time. This Ranger ticked all the boxes for me.
- I liked the looks. It shows some balance, which is what appealled to me.
- The internal size is big enough to fit me at 182 cm tall and 84kg.
- The XLS SPORT trim looks good and offers what I was looking for. It is not over-the-top in the looks department, unlike what I see in a lot in utes of this kind.
- The way the Ranger drove and handled on and off road is what made me select it. It was comfortable, the engine made a pleasant rumble and the performance was acceptable for what I intended to use it for.
After a few negotiations with car dealers I found one available, placed a deposit and waited for one month. It arrived shortly after New Years.
Upon delivery the car had travelled less than 1.7km, which is low considering its trip from the assembly line to the holding pan, to the shipping destination and then following all the tests and preps that the dealers do (very few new cars have zero kilometres on them, it's worth noting). The colour and quality finish is very good for a vehicle that is intended to be used at work and play. I was not disappointed.
The Ranger is quieter inside than the other utes I tried out from Isuzu, Toyota, Mitsubishi and the Musso. Yes, you do hear the engine when you start off but it's a satisfying roar that I liked. The seating position suits me and the sensation of driving gave the impression of a solid, comfortable drive, and was actually not difficult to take fast around corners. This was something I did not find on the others, with the exception of the Musso.
The safety options available are all easy to use and I think they make you aware that when driving we need to drive and concentrate and pay attention (something that many of us forget). On night drives I opt to turn off the Info system as the screen is quite bright.
So far I have only done 380km and I'm getting 9.8 litres per 100 kilometres and this is on a 60/40 ratio of city and highway drives. I'm still in the "Running In" process as per the Ford's Owner's Manual, although some people - including the dealers - said not to bother, and that many just floor them as they see fit. This isn't something I don't do, though. I can smell the engine and rubber being used, which is sometimes an exciting experience.
The main use of the Ranger for me will be traveling around Australia and doing some sightseeing in places where I have never been before. The options I have added on (aftermarket) was a tonneau cover and some seat covers.
The interior is well designed and the fabric used on the seats is nice without been overly hard or soft. The longest drive has been for 1.5 hours, after which I didn't feel tired (unlike my work ute Toyota, which is simply uncomfortable).
Room for improvements
Yes, the headlights are not the most bright, and I think I will add some LED types, as during the night drives the high-beam looks like it is under done.
Tyres are a bit on the slip-and-slide side, but I hope after 500km they will start to stick better on the road.
What feature I like most
To be able to start the car via my mobile app during the early hours of the morning is something I find amusing when I'm not in the car. However I think the ride and the sensation of driving is perhaps what I enjoy most.
The rear sports bar has integrated lights for the tub and are handy when turned on during night expeditions.
Happy driving to all.