By Funziwe Moleme
The Ford Ranger has always been a popular choice for bakkie enthusiasts, and the new generation Ranger XLT 2023 4×4 takes things to a whole new level. With its powerful performance, versatile capabilities, and upgraded features, this bakkie is designed to tackle any challenge with ease and its overall execution gives plenty reason why it won SA car of the year.
Let’s start with the exterior design. It boasts a rugged and athletic stance that exudes confidence. With its bold front grille, muscular lines, and stylish C-Clamp LED headlights, it commands attention wherever it goes. It sits on 17-inch alloy wheels, adding to its overall robust appearance. Additionally, the XLT trim level adds some premium touches, such as chrome accents and body-colored bumpers, giving it a touch of sophistication that shifts “the bakkie look” into new dimensions and almost immediately dates its competitors.
Performance and driving impressions
Under the hood, the Ranger XLT 4×4 packs a punch. It is equipped with a potent 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that generates an impressive 155kW and 550 Nm. The engine is paired with a smooth-shifting 10-speed automatic transmission, ensuring seamless power delivery and improved fuel efficiency. We managed 8.5l/100kms when we had it on test, and this is an impressive figure when you consider the available power and torque plus the size of the vehicle. Whether you’re hauling heavy loads or exploring off-road trails, the Ranger’s powertrain provides ample strength and responsiveness, even when pulling a heavy load/trailer.
Speaking of off-road capabilities, the 2023 Ford Ranger XLT 4×4 is built to handle rough terrain with ease. The four-wheel drive system is designed to maximize traction and stability, allowing you to confidently navigate through mud or rocky/sandy terrain. With its impressive ground clearance and off-road-tuned suspension, this truck can conquer challenging landscapes while keeping you comfortable inside the cabin. We found its comfort to be enhanced by the cabin isolation – both from the smooth engine and varying surfaces that can reverberate in the cabin.
Interior design, tech and practicality
The interior of the Ranger is well-designed, combining functionality with comfort. The cabin offers ample space for both the driver and passengers, with supportive seats and high-quality materials throughout. The XLT trim level adds a touch of luxury with its leather-wrapped steering wheel, leather seats, and a 10-inch touchscreen infotainment system that supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. It also comes with a host of advanced safety features, including blind-spot monitoring, lane-keeping assist, and automatic emergency braking. One thing to note is that it doesn’t feel as spacious as something like a GWM P-Series, especially for the rear passengers.
Cargo capacity is another area where the Ranger excels. The 2023 model offers a spacious truck bed with a variety of available accessories, such as bed liners and tonneau covers (which is not standard in the XLT model), making it easy to transport and secure your gear. This is one option we feel should be standard, and sadly isn’t.
In summary, the new generation Ford Ranger XLT 2023 4×4 (R809,500) is a well-rounded bakkie that offers a winning combination of power, versatility, and comfort. Whether you’re looking for a capable off-road companion or a reliable workhorse, it delivers on all fronts. The rugged exterior design, powerful engine, off-road capabilities, and advanced features, make the new Ranger XLT 4×4 an excellent choice as a sweet spot derivative compared to its siblings, especially the Wildtrak 2.0L Bi Turbo 4×4 (R898,100), or at least one to shortlist as it rather pricey but worth the asking price. The new Ford Ranger is sold with a 4-year/120 000 km warranty, 4-year/unlimited roadside assistance. Service or maintenance plans up to 8-years or 165 000 km are optional.
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