LONG-TERM UPDATE 7 | Saying farewell to our Ford Ranger XLT

18 October 2023 - 11:40
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Square-jawed, beefy looks remain attractive.
Square-jawed, beefy looks remain attractive.
Image: Brenwin Naidu,

The best bakkie in South Africa? That depends on who you ask. From the sales volume metric, there is no denying the long-standing supremacy of the Toyota Hilux. But this year Ford made history when its Ranger became the first double-cab to win a South African Car of the Year title.

Regular readers are by now quite familiar with our long-termer, a moondust silver example of the Ranger, in 2.0 SiT XLT 4x4 automatic, double-cab guise.

It really is the derivative to have, striking the sweet spot between workhorse and comfortable daily driver or cross-country traveller.

The model comes in at R714,100. If four-wheel drive is not an essential requirement, get the 4x2 version for R632,000.

Due to a variety of reasons, pricing has gone up since we took delivery of our vehicle in April. At that time, our 4x4 derivative was listed at R669,800, while the 4x2 cost R592,700.

Over the past six months and nearly 8,000km we have grown familiar with the core competencies of the Tshwane-made double-cab.

Our tester had a rattle that was never quite fixed.
Our tester had a rattle that was never quite fixed.
Image: Brenwin Naidu

A tailgate sticker noting the proudly South African manufacturing origin of the bakkie never fails to rouse a sense of patriotism.

After periods of absence amid the usual testing activities that go on, getting back into the saddle of the Ranger feels like home.

The well-padded front seats, leatherette-wrapped steering wheel and chunky door sills that lend themselves to natural elbow placement: it feels more like a passenger car than a traditional pickup.

It is this car-like impression that earned it such praise during Car of the Year evaluation. Refinement is a considerable leap over its predecessor, with a notable improvement in cabin quietness, and more importantly, ride quality.

We enjoyed the blend of power and relative frugality offered by the 2.0-litre diesel, with its single turbocharger. Forget the twin-turbocharged unit, this is the one you want.

The quoted 125kW and 405Nm is sufficient for all applications, while the six-speed automatic is intuitive and slick. Our average fuel consumption is sitting at a reasonable 8.8l/100km. On the open road, getting into the 6l/100km region is easily achievable, as my colleague learned on a long-haul stint to Cape Town and back.

Tough posterior, endowed with the requisite tow-bar.
Tough posterior, endowed with the requisite tow-bar.
Image: Brenwin Naidu

As is customary with these long-term evaluations, living with the vehicle exposed us to the dealership network of the manufacturer. The first occasion was when our Ranger went for its 15,000km service. The second was for a recall involving the replacement of the front shocks. Both were hassle-free experiences. Note that Ford has unbundled its service and maintenance plans, leaving the buyer to choose their preferred route, at extra cost.

One niggle persisted throughout our test period: a rattle from the B-pillar. While the cause was identified (crystallisation of the corrosion-proofing substance used in production), there was seemingly no immediate fix. Our solution was to crank up the music to drown out the intermittent creak.

In terms of amenities, the middle-grade XLT is replete with all the creatures comforts expected in 2023. We especially enjoyed the superb SYNC4A infotainment system, with its portrait display and easy-to-use menu layout.

Ford has upped the ante with its latest Ranger. Living with the XLT has been a pleasant experience and you could easily imagine how well a vehicle of this kind would serve the average South African family for the next five years and 100,000km, and beyond.

Farewell, KX57HMGP. What will its replacement be in the long-term test garage? Another bakkie? Stay tuned.

2023 Ford Ranger XLT 2.0 SiT automatic double-cab

Odometer on delivery: 9,308km

Odometer now: 16,662km

Average consumption: 8.8l/100km

Praises: Game-changer among double-cabs

Gripes: No clear fix for B-pillar rattle

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