• The Ranger XL is the entry-level to Ford's bakkie line-up.
• Prospective buyers can opt for the optional Sport Pack on Ranger XL models.
• The Sport Pack costs an additional R16 500 on top of Ranger XL prices.
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The Ford Ranger has proven itself as one of the best vehicles in South Africa. Not only just as a workhorse or leisure vehicle, but as something that can see to the multiple needs of the local consumer. As such, the Ranger holds a special place in the hearts of South Africans, which is why the local automaker opted to release several special edition bakkies to the market in 2020.
Among these was the Ranger XL double cab that was on the receiving end of such a treatment. Kitted with the optional Sport Pack, Ford's entry-level double cab bakkie looks a lot meaner and purposeful than ever before. The Sport Pack option adds R16 500 to the Ranger XL's base price.
Features on the Sport Pack includes 17-inch black alloy wheels, a black gloss grille, and a tubular sports bar over the loading bay. According to Ford South Africa, an optional eight-inch touchscreen infotainment system (R6080) and dealer-fitted side steps (R5050) can be specified, as well. The infotainment system is Ford's SYNC1 system, but it is Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatible.
Engine and drive
As of late, all the news regarding the Ford Ranger's engine line-up has been about the single- and bi-turbo 2.0-litre diesel engines. And why not? These machines are about as modern as they come, showing good fuel returns and strong performance levels. But the Ranger XL models are powered by another of Ford's engines: the 2.2-litre turbodiesel mill.
This engine produces 118kW and 385Nm of torque. And while it's slightly underpowered compared to its more illustrious siblings, power delivery feels linear and constant. The six-speed automatic transmission mated to the engine is somewhat tardy cogging over from first to second gear, but it switches between gears without trouble once on the move.
The 4x4 modes (4x4 High and 4x4 Low) can be activated via a dial next to the gear lever, with 4x4H activated on the go up to a speed of 100km/h. To engage 4x4L, the bakkie must be at a complete standstill. On gravel, the bakkie has good grip levels and performs strongly without putting a wheel wrong.
The Sport Pack is available on all Ranger XL models - Single Cab, SuperCab, Double Cab - comprising 4x4 and 4x2 drivetrains, mated to either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission. In all, the Ranger XL may act as an entry to the Ranger lifestyle, but it is specified good enough to warrant a second or third look.
In the Ranger family, this bakkie might not be a first-choice for many, but the addition of the Sport Pack, and the optional infotainment system, add a fair amount of value to the bakkie. Aesthetically, it looks every bit the part of a no-nonsense Ranger while continuing the strong tradition of the Ranger name in South Africa.
The XL rides on the same platform as its Ranger siblings, which makes considering it as a purchasing option far less complicated than it ought to be.