First drive impressions 2019 Ranger XLT
Written by Colin Bower
There’s no doubt the design people at Ford got it right with a blend of crisp styling and straight lines morphing into curves in all the right places. The newly released Ranger is basically a freshen up of a proven formula but with an optional 2-litre bi-turbo powerhouse at the top of the range.
But I didn’t drive that, preferring to assess the 3.2L XLT model that is popular with my customers.
It’s a bit of a step up into the smart pilot’s seat… but once there the view is impressive in all directions but a little snug. That is a tad surprising considering the impression of size from the outside. I had to slide the driver’s seat forward to accommodate my computer case in the right rear foot-well, and my passenger commented that it didn’t feel any more comfortable than her Swift, but to be fair there is a lot packed into the passenger area. Everything has a solid, quality feel with a familiar layout, intuitive controls and nicely laid out dials.
Moving away, I definitely liked the surge of power and was pleasantly surprised at the quietness of the 3.2 litre 5-cylinder turbo diesel engine. The lack of road noise seemed to be in contrast to most trucks I’ve driven and in fact has a lot of SUV’s beaten – not a bad environment to survive in. We pulled a 180 and had to make allowance for a turning circle that had me second guessing the available space, but you can’t have everything so it’s a trade-off to open road stability, I guess.
I had to visit a client up the Wairoa Valley and found the twisty narrow road no particular challenge for the Ranger, although I was amused when I spotted an Amarok pounding up behind me at a rate of knots. Some macho (‘mines bigger’) comparison going on, but I declined to engage and held to a steady and safe pace until he pulled off.
That’s the thing about this crop of dual-purpose utilities; it is often more a case of image than any burning need for a working truck and the two-wheel drive sales figures would tend to support this. You don’t see too many caked in mud, and smart casual is more the order of the day vs bush shirt and gumboots. Not that I’m suggesting they’re all show ponies. I’m sure the 4WD versions are more than capable off the beaten track. Just be prepared to make some compromises but the fun quotient balances it all out – enjoy!
Driveline’s Smartlease rates for XLT Auto’s start from $689 for the 2WD and $839 for the 4WD.
To find out more about leasing or financing the 2019 Ford Ranger, give us a call on 0800 275 374 or fill in the quote request form below to get the ball rolling.