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Ford Courier GL 2005 review

Plucking the V6 engine from the Explorer is the key to a plan that Ford hopes will power the latest Courier to the head of the pack.

Coming off the back of record Courier sales, which climbed 15 per cent last year, Ford is aiming to win a greater share of the dual-use ute market with the repowered PH.

At the heart of the upgrade is the short-stroke 4.0-litre single-overhead camshaft V6 engine lifted out of the Explorer, and which now pumps out 154kW of power and 323Nm of torque.

In combination with new five-speed auto or five-speed manual transmissions, the V6 delivers steady performance, but appears better suited to the auto transmission than to the manual.

Ford has increased the Courier's fuel tank to 80 litres, up 10 litres from the models fitted with the smaller engines.

Ford engineers also retuned the front shock absorbers for improved ride quality and body control over rough roads, and appear to have achieved their objective.

Inside, it's a little easier to pick which model you're driving because the switch on the centre console enables you to switch from two-wheel-drive to high or low-ratio four-wheel-drive on the run.

Electronically activated automatic front hubs means four-wheel-drive can be selected without getting out of the vehicle.

The V6 Courier is available in eight models – four with rear-wheel-drive and another four with four-wheel-drive – and from the outside it's hard to pick them because of their similar ride height.

Ford's view is appearances matter and a high-rider truck looks tougher than one of a more normal height, so the two-wheel-drive version has been jacked up to the same ride height as its all-wheel-drive brother.

The high-ride suspension is a development of the old Courier's four-cylinder four-wheel-drive set-up, which has been raised 20mm in the V6 models for a more aggressive look and increased clearance.

Ford is offering two cab styles, Super Cab and Crew Cab, and two specification levels, GL and XLT.

Included in the features are airconditioning, CD player, carpets, remote central locking and a cooler box in the centre console with an aircon vent to keep its contents cool.

To have the power of Ford's new V6, you'll have to hand over at least $30,990, which will see you driving either a manual or auto two-wheel-drive GL Crew Cab pickup. But if you're prepared to spend $43,190, you can have all that comes with the range-topping four-wheel-drive XLT Crew Cab auto.

Add another $2400 for the safety of anti-skid brakes and dual airbags, which come as a pack.

On the road

THE days of tedious imported one-tonners are over. The 154kW Courier does the job, and the V6 engine delivers power and torque without any obvious peaks.

The ute powers away from rest with impressive zip in automatic form, and shifts smoothly as the speed rises.

Progress isn't as smooth or as quick in the five-speed manual V6.

The gearing seems a little too tall, and the engine seems to labour.

The shift, which is awkward and clunky, is set a little too far back for comfort.

The retuned front shocks appear to do the trick because the ride is comfortable and controlled on rough roads, though the ride felt "soggy" on smoother sealed roads.

Overall, the handling was benign, predictable and safe, but not terribly responsive.

When turned into a corner at normal highway speeds, it seemed determined to run wide and required a correction to bring it back on track.

There's ample room for a full crew of adults in comfortable seats, and the aircon, which is standard, ensures comfort once unimaginable in one of these vehicles.

Pricing Guides

$6,995
Based on 31 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months
Lowest Price
$2,990
Highest Price
$9,990

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
GL 4.0L, ULP, 5 SP AUTO $6,995 – 8,990 2005 Ford Courier 2005 GL Pricing and Specs
GL (4x4) 4.0L, ULP, 5 SP MAN $6,950 – 9,990 2005 Ford Courier 2005 GL (4x4) Pricing and Specs
XL 2.6L, ULP, 5 SP MAN $3,300 – 5,170 2005 Ford Courier 2005 XL Pricing and Specs
XL (4x4) 2.5L, Diesel, 5 SP MAN $5,500 – 7,700 2005 Ford Courier 2005 XL (4x4) Pricing and Specs
Pricing Guide

$2,990

Lowest price, based on 16 car listings in the last 6 months

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