Ford Ranger XLT 4×4 Review: Still a BiT Special – Reviews | Rare Techy


Things have changed quickly in the world of the Ford Ranger. When Ford New Zealand introduced the 2.0-litre biturbo diesel (aka BiT) / 10-speed automatic transmission in 2018, it was a star draw for the Ranger Raptor, later added as an option to other models.

Now, with the introduction of new V6 turbodiesel and turbopetrol models, the BiT is the mainstream engine for twin-cab Rangers, displacing the old 3.2-litre five-cylinder.

Workhorse XL models still get a single-turbo 2.0-litre diesel starting at cab-chassis level, but for every XLT featured here, it’s BiT all the time: 154kW/500Nm and that slick 10-speed gearbox.

We’ve sung the new Ranger’s praises many times before, and they still hold true for the XLT. The Ranger raises the bar for one-tonners when it comes to combining ultimate 4×4 capability with on-road equipment, ride and handling.

What might need a little more explanation is where the XLT now sits in the expanded lineup. It’s the only “lifestyle” (for lack of a better word) Ranger you can use with 2WD, so it’s important from that perspective. Those old Hi-Rider Rangers helped propel the model to the top of the NZ sales charts, even if Ford’s focus has now shifted elsewhere.

Our test vehicle is actually the XLT 4×4, which is a $10,000 premium over the 2WD: $66,990. Dear? Yes and no. The XLT can’t have the new V6 turbodiesel, but the V6 Sport isn’t a million miles away in looks and specs, and it’s another $10,000 off the ladder at $75,490. Consider that $10,000 split between the bigger engine ($5,000 extra for the Wildtrak V6) and the Sport’s blacked-out exterior, larger 18-inch wheels, bed liner (optional on our XLT), leather upholstery. , rear air conditioner outlets, folding seats, off-road Sync touchscreen menu and e-gearbox.

Or, of course, you could spend that premium on upgrading from an XLT to a Wildtrak BiT. So the XLT takes up crucial space no matter how you look at it.

Now for that e-shifter: don’t miss it on the XLT. The sturdy electronic gear selector, standard on the V6 Sport up, is a rare ergonomic fault in the new Ranger: nice to look at and hold, but a bit finicky to use. XLT’s old school lever just does the job better.

The BiT drivetrain definitely has a faster feel than the V6, but it’s as smooth and sweet as ever. In terms of character, it can definitely hold its own against a higher powered device. The BiT lacks the excellent full-time AWD system that comes standard with the V6 engine; The Ranger BiT 4×4 models are all part-time, meaning they’re RWD unless you specifically use off-road mode. In other words, like most one-ton new ones.

This AWD setup (along with 4Auto mode) gives the Ranger a level of all-terrain / off-road sophistication that makes the V6 a very desirable machine. It’s certainly a desire… but whether it’s a necessity with the significantly improved traffic manners of the BiT models may be a moot point. The premium for pocketing the $10,000 and sticking with the XLT is the case; it’s still significantly more polished than most other new ones on the road.

You might be surprised how much you can get from a mid-range XLT. It still comes with adaptive cruise control and a large suite of active safety features (including steering assist and lane keeping), keyless entry, dual-zone climate control that targets the portrait infotainment screen, LED lights front and rear, side steps, that handy ‘box step’ tray and charging box fuses around (which you don’t get with the XL). And yes, a tow bar is standard.

It looks very basic, but dig a little deeper and you’ll find that the XLT has a level of standard equipment that we couldn’t have imagined just a few years ago. It’s not a glamor Ranger by any means, but it does a really important job in terms of market position and customer choice.

By the way, the bright Blue Lightning color of our test vehicle is not available on the Wildtrak. So the XLT can also be a little special.

ENGINE: 2.0-liter twin-turbo diesel (BiT) four-cylinder
POWER: 154kW/500Nm
GEARBOX: 10-speed automatic part-time 4WD with low-range transmission
CONSUMPTION: 7.2l/100km
PRICE: $66,990


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