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Ford Ranger 2020 review: XLS dual cab


Daily driver score

4/5

Tradies score

4.5/5

There’s a lot of fanfare around the high-grade Ford Ranger models, but for those who don’t need as many bells and whistles, models like this one - the XLS - make a helluva lot of sense.

They mightn’t have as many trinkets or special bits, but they’re better when it comes to what utes are made for - hard work.

I took the 2020 Ford Ranger XLS dual cab ute for a week and put it through its paces, including a load test. Because it’s designed for work, right?

Let’s find out.

Does it represent good value for the price? What features does it come with?

The Ranger XLS is only available as a dual-cab 4x4 model, with the choice of a six-speed manual transmission ($49,440 plus on-road costs) or six-speed automatic as tested here ($51,640). That said, there are deals being done on this spec at the time of writing: $43,790 drive-away for the manual, and autos will be discounted, too. Shop around.

The list price is hardly cheap compared with some rivals, but it does make it up by offering a solid list of standard equipment.

It has 16-inch alloy wheels, manual air-conditioning, cloth seat trim, carpet flooring, and as standard you get a 4.2-inch media screen with Bluetooth phone and audio streaming and USB connectivity.

16-inch alloys come standard with the XLS 16-inch alloys come standard with the XLS

Our XLS had an optional Sync3 Pack fitted - it costs $1950 more, and adds the brand’s impressive 8.0-inch media screen with in-built sat nav, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, dual 4.2-inch colour instrument screens, dual zone climate control, smart key with push-button start, chrome grille and chrome door handles. Money well spent.

Things still missing compared to higher grade models include side steps and more usable rear step bumper (the XLS’s one is flat, requiring a bit more lunge!).

That aside, it’s the safety gear that really raises this spec of Ranger up.

Add the Sync3 Pack for $1950 and you'll nab an 8.0-inch media screen and Apple Play. Add the Sync3 Pack for $1950 and you'll nab an 8.0-inch media screen and Apple Play.

Is there anything interesting about its design?

There is no denying that the XLS looks a lot more work-focused than the dearer, more desirable variants in the Ranger line-up. 

The Ranger looks pretty robust no matter the spec, but there are not sporty elements at all here. The Ranger looks pretty robust no matter the spec, but there are not sporty elements at all here.

That comes down to its plain looking smaller alloy wheels, the lack of side steps, the more streamlined bumper at the rear, and the back window protector which could also double as a ladder or roof rack. There are flip-up supports on the sides to help you hold ladders or planks in place, too. 

The Ranger looks pretty robust no matter the spec, but there are not sporty elements at all here. This spec also continues on with halogen headlights and it doesn’t get LED daytime running lights, either. It’s basic, but that might be perfectly fine for you. Or you might want to include the optional pack with the chrome bits like this vehicle has.

How practical is the space inside?

Dual-cab utes are pretty close to one another when it comes to interior practicality.

In the Ranger there are big cup holders, loose item storage in front of the gear shifter as well as a decent centre console bin, door pockets with bottle holders in all four doors, and one rear map pocket. However, no Ranger has the little extras you might appreciate such as dash-mount cup holders or a dash-top storage caddy.

Dual-cab utes are pretty close to one another when it comes to interior practicality. Dual-cab utes are pretty close to one another when it comes to interior practicality.

The rear seat base can be folded up to allow for additional secure (and dry) storage if you need it, and there are dual ISOFIX child seat anchor points for the outboard seats, and two top-tether points there, too - no middle seat baby point, though.

What about the tray, then?

There are two top-tether points in the backseat - no middle seat baby point, though. There are two top-tether points in the backseat - no middle seat baby point, though.

The tub floor has a length of 1549mm, and it’s 1560mm wide with 1139mm between the wheel-arches - too narrow for an Aussie pallet to fit (1165mm square). The tub depth is 511mm to the rail, and this grade doesn’t have a tub liner.

The positioning of the four tie-down hooks in the corners of the tub can make it difficult to strap down a larger load. We’ll cover off more load specs in the tradie use section below.

The tub depth is 511mm to the rail, and this grade doesn’t have a tub liner. The tub depth is 511mm to the rail, and this grade doesn’t have a tub liner.

What are the key stats for the engine and transmission?

The Ranger XLS is sold exclusively with the 3.2-litre five-cylinder turbo diesel engine, which remains a thumper.

It has 147kW of power (at 3000rpm) and 470Nm of torque (from 1750-2500rpm) and, as mentioned above, there’s the choice of either a six-speed manual or automatic.

The Ranger XLS is sold exclusively with the 3.2-litre five-cylinder turbo diesel engine. The Ranger XLS is sold exclusively with the 3.2-litre five-cylinder turbo diesel engine.

It has a selectable four-wheel drive system (2H, 4H and 4L). If the off road specs matter to you, here goes: ground clearance mm - 232mm; wading depth mm - 800mm; approach angle - 28 degrees; departure angle - 27 degrees; break-over/ramp-over angle - 24 degrees.

Towing capacity is rated at 750kg for an unbraked trailer and 3500kg for a braked trailer. That’s as good as you can get.

How much fuel does it consume?

Fuel consumption for the XLS automatic is claimed at 8.9 litres per 100 kilometres. On test, we saw 11.4L/100km. 

Fuel tank capacity is 80 litres.

What safety equipment is fitted? What safety rating?

In 2019 Ford Australia rolled out some vital safety gear to the Ranger line-up, including auto emergency braking (AEB) with pedestrian detection, lane keeping assist, driver attention alert, traffic sign recognition and auto high-beam lights.

This grade still misses out on adaptive cruise control, and no Ranger has blind spot monitoring or rear cross-traffic alert.

But this update does give Ford a theoretical maximum ANCAP rating. It already has a five star ANCAP score based on 2015 criteria, but the update meets 2019 standard.

Also, if you’re using it as a family truckster, it has dual ISOFIX child seat anchor points and outboard top-tether points, but no centre top-tether.

What does it cost to own? What warranty is offered?

Ford backs its vehicles with a five-year/unlimited kilometre warranty - as good as most of the utes out there, but not setting any benchmarks. 

Capped price servicing has intervals set every 12 months/15,000km, and that plan covers the life of the vehicle. We did the numbers for the first five years/75,000km and figured out the average cost, which is $494 before additional consumables. Not cheap, but not as exxy as a Euro ute.

Ford backs its vehicles with a five-year/unlimited kilometre warranty. Ford backs its vehicles with a five-year/unlimited kilometre warranty.

What's it like as a daily driver?

Surprisingly good.

Well, is it a surprise? Not really - we’ve known the Ranger is the benchmark for everyday driving for a while now, with its supple suspension, light and accurate steering, and a strong powertrain making for a great ute to drive.

If you’re considering a Ranger as a car for dual purposes, then you’re heading in the right direction. If you’re considering a Ranger as a car for dual purposes, then you’re heading in the right direction.

The engine and transmission mostly work well, though the engine can be noisy at times. There’s a bit of turbo lag to contend with at times, especially from a standstill, but the rolling response on offer is great when you push the pedal at speeds from 20km/h to 110km/h.

If you’re considering a Ranger as a car for dual purposes, then take this review as nothing other than a gentle nudge to tell you you’re heading in the right direction.

What's it like for tradie use?

We put in 750kg using a Crown forklift - well, we didn’t do it; the friendly team at Crown did it for us! - and the Ranger dealt with the mass without issue.

The suspension drooped at the rear by about six per cent, and rose at the front by about 1 per cent, but there was actually not a lot to complain about.

The steering is marginally affected by the addition of that much weight, though it is still light, accurate and direct, if lacking a bit of feel.

The suspension drooped at the rear by about six per cent, and rose at the front by about 1 per cent. The suspension drooped at the rear by about six per cent, and rose at the front by about 1 per cent.

The ride is mostly very good with so much weight in the back, though it can take two rebounds at the rear to settle after a sharp-edge bump - a speed hump, for example, will see the back dip down twice before eventually levelling itself out.

And the powertrain? There’s only a slightly noticeable affect on the grunt - up a steep hill near our testing site we noticed that the engine seemed a little more eager to hold on to a gear and rev out, where when it wasn’t loaded it, the transmission upshifted earlier. That’s good for usability, but can have an affect on fuel use.

Now, some of the specs you want to know: the gross vehicle mass (GVM) s 3200kg, and the payload of this variant is 991kg, meaning a kerb weight of 2209kg. Keep in mind that the gross combination mass (GCM) is 6000kg, so if you plan to tow at maximum, you can’t also have the maximum payload.

The ride is mostly very good with so much weight in the back. The ride is mostly very good with so much weight in the back.

The Ford Ranger continues to set the standard in the ute segment, and even in the lower grade versions there’s a lot to like.

The fact you can option some of the good stuff on the XLS - or leave it, if you don’t want it - is a plus for tradies. It proves a commendable work vehicle, and it just happens to be adept at play, too.

 

Thanks to our mates at Crown Lift Trucks in Sydney for their help with this load test.

$49,440

Based on new car retail price

Daily driver score

4/5

Tradies score

4.5/5
Price Guide

$49,440

Based on new car retail price

This price is subject to change closer to release data