Mazda BT-50 XTR Freestyle Cab 2014 review
Malcolm Flynn road tests and reviews the Mazda BT-50 XTR Freestyle Cab auto, with specs, fuel consumption and verdict.
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Watch out HiLux. Ford’s Ranger is coming through. The good looking, blokey-looking ute is taking the fight up to the Toyota HiLux which has traditionally ruled the roost. Sorry, did we call it a “ute” – somewhere along the line it turned into an American “pick-up” which is the way Ford refers to it now.
Year-to-date sales figures show the Ranger utility sitting in second position, snapping at the heels of HiLux and ahead of the Mazda BT-50, Holden Colorado, Mitsubishi Triton, Nissan Navara, Isuzu D-Max and Volkswagen Amarok.
Prices for the 4x2 Ranger start at $23,490 which gets you the 2.2-litre four cylinder XL Single Cab Chassis, while prices for the 4x4 kick off at $38,390 for the same model. The 26 different versions from which you can choose are topped by the 4x4 Wildtrak Double Cab Pick-up with a larger 3.2-litre five cylinder diesel at $57,390.
In the past couple of weeks Ford has also introduced a value added 4x4 XL Plus model, targeted at winning a larger chunk of the lucrative mining industry business. With an all-new HiLux at least a year away, Toyota has every reason to start worrying.
Ranger is offered in three bodystyles: Single Cab, Super Cab and Double Cab - in either 4x2 or 4x4 form. We particularly like the black chrome option for the front grille with smoked tail lights to match.
The Plus model priced from $46,280 is a purpose built vehicle, designed to be rugged but safe at the same time, with steel wheels, vinyl upholstery and the ability to wash it out when it gets too dirty. An optional $1800 steel bullbar does not compromise the vehicle’s safety rating.
At the other end of the scale, the Wildtrak features the creature comforts of a luxury car, with faux-leather, dual-zone air, heated front seats, satellite navigation, a reverse camera, rear parking sensors and a voice control system that allows you to control: Bluetooth, radio, CD player, external media device as well as the air con.
There are three engines: a 2.5-litre four cylinder petrol (122kW/225Nm), 2.2-litre four cylinder diesel (110kW/375Nm) and 3.2-litre five cylinder diesel (147kW/470Nm).
The petrol four is teamed with a five-speed manual only while the two direct injection diesels are available with either a six-speed manual or automatic depending on the model.
Fuel consumption for petrol models ranges from 9.8 to 10.6L/100km, while the smaller diesel delivers 7.6 to 9.4 litres/100m and the bigger engine promises 8.4 to 9.6 litres/100km.
Recent changes see the addition of side airbags in the entry model and that earns Ranger a full five-star safety rating across the board.
With the growing popularity of these vehicles, it is good to see that safety is getting the priority it deserves, both in the work place and as a fun family wagon. In fact, Ford has pictures of one vehicle that rolled over an incredible seven times in an accident – but all three occupants walked away.
We spent the day putting the Ranger through its paces at Melbourne’s 4x4 training and proving ground at Mt Cottrell. The big ute is a very competent offroader with plenty of technology to take make the job easier, at least in the hi-spec XLT that we drove, including downhill descent control that keeps the vehicle’s forward momentum in check even in arduous off road conditions. No need to touch the brakes - even during steep descents.
Ground clearance varies from 201 to 237mm and it has a wading depth of between 600 and 800mm out of the box, with a cleverly designed system to jettison any water that manages to enter the engine. Some models are fitted with a locking rear differential while others feature an open rear differential with traction control. Maximum payload varies from 1000 to 1528kg while it can tow between 2200 and 3500kg, both dependent on model.
It’s a better looker than the Mazda BT-50 on which it is based, that’s for sure. But we wouldn’t go writing off the HiLux just yet - after all it has reigned supreme for so many years, even eclipsing top selling passenger cars on occasion to become Australia’s biggest selling vehicle.
|3.2 XL Plus (4x4)||3.2L, Diesel, 6 SP AUTO||$23,949 – 29,500||2014 Ford Ranger 2014 3.2 XL Plus (4x4) Pricing and Specs|
|Wildtrak 3.2 (4x4)||3.2L, Diesel, 6 SP MAN||$29,990 – 41,300||2014 Ford Ranger 2014 Wildtrak 3.2 (4x4) Pricing and Specs|
|XL 2.2 (4x2)||2.2L, Diesel, 6 SP MAN||$12,990 – 22,990||2014 Ford Ranger 2014 XL 2.2 (4x2) Pricing and Specs|
|XL 2.2 (4x4)||2.2L, Diesel, 6 SP MAN||$21,950 – 27,000||2014 Ford Ranger 2014 XL 2.2 (4x4) Pricing and Specs|