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Used car review Ford Ranger 2007-2009

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    The Ranger is generally a tough and reliable ute, whether working or touring the land on a journey of discovery.

Graham 'Smithy' Smith reviews the used Ford Ranger SLK 2007-2009: its fine points, its flaws and what to watch for when buying it.

When the Toyota HiLux first appeared on the monthly top-10 sales list a while back it was dismissed as an aberration rather than a meaningful shift in the market.  A year or two on the Toyota ute is not only still there it's well entrenched in the top three or four selling models.

The stunning success of the HiLux has caused other manufacturers of similar utes, like Ford, to take another look at their own models with a view to cashing in on this new popularity.  When they did look they found the reason for this new success didn't lie in the traditional working class segment, but in the growth in the use of these vehicles for recreation.

For its part Ford, and its Mazda partner, went back to the drawing board and came up with a new and expanded range of utes to cover all bases in the changed market.

MODEL WATCH

In a reflection of the changing demand from ute buyers Ford changed the name of its offering, from the rather working class Courier to the rather more adventurous Ranger.  It's the demand from people who want to use them for more than their work needs, for their recreational, or lifestyle, purposes as well that is driving the development of today's one-tonne utes.  The Ranger is in reality a Mazda BT-50 with a different set of sheetmetal clothes.

Ford followed its "trough truck" theme when it restyled front of the Mazda to create the good-looking Ranger with a clear link to his F150 big brother.  The restyle brought a new grille and blue oval badge to the Mazda's muscular lines, which gave it a bold, purposeful look, but the rest was all Mazda BT-50.

Ford's model line-up included three body styles, with the single cab, extended Supercab, and the Crewcab.  Each was available as a cab-chassis and a ute with a box bed, and in 4x2, 4x2 Hi-rider and 4x4 models.

Two equipment levels were offered; XL on 4x2 models, and XL and XLT on 4x4 models, with the XLT 4x4 being the hero model aimed at those using their Ranger for a bit of weekend fun.

Inside, the Ranger was the same as the Mazda, apart from the steering wheel. It had the same neat car-like dash, a standard MP3-compatible CD player, a decent array of dials, dual airbags, and most models had standard air-conditioning.

Underneath, the Ranger had a beefed-up ladder chassis, torsion bar front suspension and longer rear leaf springs with heftier shocks to improve the ride without sacrificing its load carrying capacity. The steering was also retuned to be more responsive.

Braking was by front ventilated discs and rear drums, with ABS antilock and EBD electronic brakeforce distribution systems standard on the XLT, but optional on the rest of the range.

Like Mazda Ford dropped the petrol engine option in the Ranger and only offered diesel engines.  There were two of them, both with common-rail injection and variable geometry turbocharging for smooth and steady power delivery across a broad rev range.

The 4x2 models had a 2.5-litre version that produced 105 kW at 3500 revs and 330 Nm at 1800 revs, while the 4x2 Hi-rider and all 4x4 models had the extra zip of a 3.0-litre version that produced 115 kW at 3200 revs and 380 Nm at 1800 revs.

There were two transmissions on offer, a five-speed manual, which was standard across the range, and a five-speed auto, which was optional with the larger engine.

Manual four-wheel drive models had a dual-range transfer case with remote locking front hubs and a limited-slip rear diff; the autos had an electronic shift-on-the-fly mechanism for easier 4x4 operation.  All models had a full one-tonne payload, while the 3.0-litre manual would tow three tones.

ON THE LOT

Pay $12,000-$20,000 for an XL base model, $15,000-$25,000 for an XL Hi-rider, and $25,000-$34,000 for an XLT with the lot.

IN THE SHOP

The Ranger is generally a tough and reliable ute, whether working or touring the land on a journey of discovery.  There have been some issues with the cruise control where fitted and Ford is in the process of changing to a new supplier to fix the problems. If you are looking to buy a model with a factory-fitted cruise check the operation to make sure it is working correctly.

There have also been one or two reports of auto transmission troubles, specifically reports of gears slipping, so check the auto transmission carefully.  Look for the telltale signs of hard work, either on the work site or in the bush; in particular look for battered bodywork and underbody.

IN A CRASH

Utes have generally trailed passenger cars in the level of safety they have offered, but the latest models are closer than ever to their sedan cousins.

With ABS antilock brakes and EBD brakeforce distribution the Ranger has a reasonable level of active safety, while dual front airbags give it the basic level of passive safety.  ANCAP rated the Ranger 4x4 at three stars out of a possible five.

AT THE PUMP

With a diesel only option the Ranger manages to dodge the fuel consumption bullet that hits most of its rivals offering a petrol engine option.  The base model with the 2.5-litre engine boasts a claimed consumption of 8.3 L/100 km, while those models with the 3.0-litre engine are claimed to deliver 9.2 L/100 km.

OWNER SAYS

David Trevaskis has had his 2007 Ford Ranger diesel auto for 18 months now and is really happy with it. It's tough, good on wet or dry forest tracks as well as ordinary roads, rides comfortably, has good fuel efficiency, and an excellent towing capacity.

LOOK FOR

. Tough Ford looks
. Diesel economy
. Good build quality
. Comfortable ride
. Three-tonne towing ability
. One-tonne payload

ALSO CHECK THESE

TOYOTA HILUX - 2007-2009
The market leader boasts a range of working class and sporty models with two-wheel drive and four-wheel drive, single and dual cab body   styles, and petrol and diesel engines. Generally well built and reliable, but complaints about the auto transmission overheating should make buyers wanting to tow a caravan or large boat wary. Pay $10,000-$42,000.

NISSAN NAVARA D40 - 2007-2009
European built dual-cab is a popular choice for recreational users   who appreciate its roomy cabin, smooth ride and three-tonne towing capacity. Complaints about diff problems when towing suggest buyers   should be wary. Pay $24,000-$38,000.

GREAT WALL - 2009-2010
A recent arrival from China, the Great Wall is an affordable dual-cab   ute with a petrol engine and plenty of fruit, but it's still largely untried in this country. Pay $12,000-$17,000.

THE BOTTOM LINE

Well built ute that drives smoothly and delivers diesel economy.

RATING

85/100

 

Comments on this story

Displaying 3 of 21 comments

  • I've got a 08 SUper cab Xlt - 2wd manual 3litre. Havent had any problems other than a squeaking under hard acceleration which changes to a rattle when it's hot. quite alarming but not getting any worse. tows fantastic - no problem keeping 100kph in 5th towing a van on a trailer combined weight 2750kg. so a few guys must have got lemons. put a cheap chip on recently and it drags off a v6 navara up to 100 no worries:) diff. story after 100 though

    william of hastings Posted on 11 April 2014 12:09pm
  • I'm thinking about putting gas on my 2008 pj xlt any body else got gas on there ranger

    Scott Posted on 21 March 2014 9:01pm
  • last of the pj's bought new march 09,done 160k,fifth gear jumping out,in 2 minds,repair or tradeup to new model,its been a good ute,only expense has been tyres and diesel...

    allan of perth Posted on 03 March 2014 8:36am
  • 2007 PJ Ranger Super Cab XL 4X4 120000 km timing belt strips teeth,result valves strike pistons. Manual transmission jumps out of 1st gear when going down hill under 20km/h also catches 3rd gear when selecting gear, lemon or what ? Yes I know the belt is due for replacement at 120000 km as per Scheduled Servicing .

    Warren Fish of yackandandah Vic Posted on 11 January 2014 2:06pm
  • 2008 xlt 3 lt.auto,bought in 2009,12000km,from church group,owing to serious illness was not used much in 2010 &2011;, auto shift problems,intermittant power loss,5km to litre pulling 6mt caravan and the 3.2mt food van.inter cooler failed at 52000km,out of warranty,ford and dealers evasive and unhelpful.sometimes wil not go over 70-80km per hourwhen towing, even down hill. All types of small cars towing vans, pass me when I am towing .A 1965 massey fergusen tractor with hydrostatic transmission changes more smoothly.THE BIGGEST LOAD OF RUBBISH I HAVE EVER DRIVEN

    NOEL HANLON of colac Posted on 11 November 2013 12:38am
  • Has anyone had any problem with Transmission in 09' 3L turbo diesel Ranger? Ie: not selecting 3rd till you back off then clunk! Service light comes on with error code siting Shift solenoid 3? Mechanic Replaced it and still not working.

    Chris Rostron of The Basin, Vic Posted on 16 July 2013 5:25pm
  • I own a 2007 4x4 pj supercab bought at auction in 2010 its the ducks nuts keeps up with all the mates if not better ! HAVE PRIDE , LOOK AFTER YOUR RIDE...

    peter cooper. Posted on 12 May 2013 10:38pm
  • Now, our PK Ranger is not what we expected. Living in Alice Springs, the following off road performance can be noted. Now, this is an xlt, with 15000 klms The front doors are rattling as if to fall off- not good the suspension as stock- crap- needs un upgrade asap. The clutch/ flywheel is very suspicious, that is a clutch that sometimes does not release. The tow bar is on recall- but the dealer here is not interested in safety so we are waiting for an answer, they will get back to us one day when it suits them- poor a/s service. The addition of snorkel has eliminated out of the blocks low torque by allowing reasonable air flow- imperative to get one. The new bull bar by TJM is great, the front has no support without the strength of a bull bar- steel- of course. Now, you ask if i know and back what i say, yes. I repair and service Tojo, Nissan and others all day- the best of the bunch is -- the Ranger, even with these issues is good value, well priced prodcuct, as for the guy re- towing, they must tow over the mark weight to cause the problems they state, as we are in 43* heat, and they are perfectly balanced in the low and high range of the camshaft Gordon C

    Gordon ison of Alice sSprings Posted on 15 February 2013 12:35pm
  • Have just bought a 07 pj raider cab chassis and I am using nearly 14.5 litres per hundred k. Not happy any suggestions?

    Tim Cottrell of Australia Posted on 11 August 2012 9:37pm
  • will they hold up for towing

    Bluey Posted on 10 August 2012 2:15pm
  • Have 100,000klm on my PJ 4x4 Ranger supercab, Pro's Good torquey engine, 1st gear and reverse too high a ratio for towing and heavy loads, either perform front axle lockout mod for 2WD low ratio for pulling caravan/trailer from standing start or suffer failure of clutch plate and dual mass flywheel failure due to excessive heat from slipping clutch. The dual mass flywheel heats up quickly leading to hotspots and clutch shudder.. Rattles from the bell housing at anywhere from 20k to 80k indicate spring failure on dual mass flywheel. Ford and Mazda WON'T PUBLICALLY ACKNOWLEDGE THIS IS A REAL PROBLEM BUT GUESS WHAT? THE NEW 2012 MODELS HAVE RETURNED TO USING PROVEN OLD STYLE SINGLE MASS FLYWHEELS AND SPRUNG CLUTCH PLATE!. Don't tow heavy loads in overdrive! fifth gear, bearings and shaft not up to it, However this is not unique to the Ranger as are the dual mass flywheel problems, Mitsibishi, Nissan, Toyota and Subaru are all suffering the same difficulty with loading to the excessive tow ratings they claim. They may pull the load however 3000Kg is too heavy for the brake systems braked trailer or not! Heavy tow ball weights can fracture chassis rails at spring mount area.

    Roscoe of Australia Posted on 26 July 2012 10:57pm
  • Am very happy with PJ 4x2 t/d but as many have found it has a disappointing fuel consumption which I did not realise when purchased = 9.2 ks lt to me is very poor. 4ks per lt when towing 3 tonne caravan with head wind and side winds, slowed down to 80 ks to get 7 ks per lt, very disappointed, but with tail wind, 9 ks per lt doing 120 ks per hr, reading comments that was good.

    mozzman of gawler sa Posted on 03 January 2012 12:40pm
  • Geeeeees Jim Pianta, 8.6l/100 is nothing to complain about, after all it's rated at 9.9 combined.

    Li Chung Wen Posted on 16 August 2011 10:00am
  • Mr. Graham, I see you have lost your insight on reviewing the 2009 Ford Ranger. This vehicle is very dangerous to drive. The brakes are dangerous, it?s an accident waiting to happen.

    shah pags of Trinidad and Tobago Posted on 30 July 2011 5:52am
  • Just bought a 2007 Ranger sport. Found rust under the door seals, bumber was rusted out, and having some trouble shifting when at a stand still, 5 speed manual. No problems when driving. Had the tranny serviced and no improvement. Still on manuf and extended warranty they say 600 bucks to look at it further?

    Anita Moon of Campbell River Posted on 16 July 2011 5:15am
  • Is there a quickfix to make the suspension more compliant in the old Couriers? i use mine for traveling long distances on country roads, and my kidneys nearly fail every trip. i thought of taking a leaf out of the back shocks, is this possible?

    mannix Posted on 22 June 2011 4:29pm
  • Where is the automatic transmission dipstick ?

    darren hockey of 4465 Posted on 05 June 2011 9:04am
  • To jim pianta regards petrol consumption I think you type in 23 mpg instead of 32 mpg Regards Steve

    Steve Penfold of Stockton NSW Posted on 19 May 2011 9:42pm
  • Yes, it's a 2007 model.

    jim a pianta of ch .towers Posted on 07 March 2011 10:07pm
  • What about the miserable little fuel tank? What about the miserable fuel consumption? 3-ltr turbo diesel auto ... 8.6 km per litre 23 mpg in the old scale.

    jim pianta of ch towers Posted on 07 March 2011 10:05pm
  • Hi guys just a comment on the 5 Speed Automatic Transmissions. I am not sure that what i am about to say refers to all models but it defiantly happens with my ranger (2010 XL 3.0LT Auto). If you?re cruising down the highway at 100 K/hr and say you start going down a hill and touch the brakes the toque converter disengages and the car now free wheel down the highway picking up speed. The engine is no longer holding the car back. Again if you have the overdrive off and the revs reach 1500 rpm?s falling them the toque converter disengages and again there is no engine (common to diesels) to hold you back. I fined that I am using the brakes at least 50 to 60 % of the time to slow the car down. I don?t think this is right its an accident waiting to happen especially when you are towing. could you help me understand why this is the way it is.

    Barney Mate of Wollongong, NSW Posted on 28 January 2011 1:27pm
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