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Garage Review: Ford Ranger 2.0 Turbo XLT 4×4 auto

Mindfulness activists tell us that a content life is being satisfied with what you have, instead of obsessing about what you don’t.

Ford’s enormously loyal South African bakkie customers now have a conflict of sorts to deal with regarding this. The new Ranger offers two versions of the same 2-litre turbocharged engine. One is cheaper than the other, by virtue of having only a single turbine boosting its performance, whilst the dearer option features a bi-turbo configuration.

Run the numbers and there is a R108 000 cost for the 19% difference in power. Could you be happy knowing that you don’t have the bi-turbo hauling you along? Would you really miss those 25kW?

I spent a week driving the single-turbo XLT Ranger and the lasting impression was not its engine, but rather the gearbox which determined how fast or efficiently this bakkie was moving along.

Both the single- and bi-turbo Ranger 2-litre engines benefit from a massive spread of gearing provided by Ford’s ten-speed automatic gearbox. It is probably the most sophisticated double-cab bakkie gearbox now available in South Africa and it makes you miss that additional turbocharger a lot less.

The Ranger XLT never felt lethargic compared to its more powerful bi-turbo sibling. You are aware that the ten-speed gearbox is constantly evaluating gradient and your intended desire for acceleration – it shifts a lot more than owners of six-speed double-cabs would be accustomed to.

Overtaking acceleration in the Ranger XLT messes with your expectations a bit too. You often notice a display indicating that you are in seventh, when requiring kick-down acceleration to pass slower highway traffic. Most other bakkies would be in fourth by comparison. What amazes most is that all downshifts are urgent but never unsynchronised or mechanically clumsy.

Yes, the 2-litre bi-turbo Ranger is a potent thing. But I can’t really see it being R100k more useful than the single-turbo XLT double-cab as an everyday family vehicle – for either work or play. In a massively diverse product matrix such as new Ranger, the best value is usually found a tier or two below the halo product. Lance Branquinho

SPECIFICATION

  • R570 200
  • 1996cc, 4cyl, 4WD, 132kW, 420Nm
  • 7.8l/100km, n/a
  • n/a
  • 2044kg

Good stuff: Sometimes a single does very nicely, thank you very much.

Against: Ford’s recent locking crisis makes us wary of what we leave inside

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