Review: Ford Ranger XLT Double Cab Bi-Turbo

By: Cameron Officer, Photography by: Cameron Officer

It's a familiar brand on farms around New Zealand, so Farm Trader test drives the latest generation Ford Ranger option

There is no ‘David’ in this story. This is no apocryphal tale of the meek slaying the mighty. The best and brightest toy in the box has come out on top yet again, with the latest generation Ford Ranger showing the rest of the light commercial pack how it’s done.

The next-generation Ford Ranger doubles down on the F-150 aesthetic. And it works.

How much has already been written about the Ford Ranger? The ubiquitous ute has been a best-seller on the Kiwi market (and elsewhere) since its America-by-way-of-Australia redesign in 2011 when the T6 platform became the underpinnings for a truck that has been around in one guise or another for 40 years.

A brief overview of the Ranger’s market domination is quite possibly a redundant exercise since you’d have to have been living under the shearing shed for the past decade to not notice its impact on the light commercial ute scene. But still, dominant it is.

The new Ranger is wider than its predecessor and has a longer wheelbase too

The Ranger famously knocked perennial go-to truck, the Toyota Hilux, off the top spot in the market after the latter enjoyed a 30-year unbroken run as a best-seller. But here’s the clincher: for the last seven years, the Ranger hasn’t only been the country’s best-selling ute; it is also the country’s best-selling vehicle, bar none.

In a world dominated by the Christchurch rebuild, tax benefits for light commercial vehicle ownership, and the increasing market demand for passenger vehicles that cover roles as both a weekday workhorse and weekend lifestyle weapon, the revised Ranger arrived at the perfect moment.

And so it goes for the next-generation 2022 model. I’m lucky enough to be chucked the keys for evaluation drives of all manner of wheeled things, from entry-level hatchbacks to supercars. Driving the updated Ranger for a week as the first units began to arrive in the country, I don’t think I’ve been stopped at petrol stations, car parks, and by colleagues and acquaintances to deliver my thoughts on a new vehicle so often, since I drove something low-slung, mid-engined, and thoroughly exotic. Everyone wants to know what the next-gen Ranger is like.

Straight outta Detroit

In a move that Ford hardly invented but has become the norm for manufacturers of utes, the new Ranger line-up features a revamped ‘tough truck’ look that doubles down on its parent company’s American heritage. The Ranger now looks like a baby F-150, and that’s no bad thing.

Already a big ute, the new Ranger is now 50mm wider than its predecessor, with a wider wheel track width underneath the redesigned sheet metal, too. The wheels have also been pushed further apart, giving the 2022 iteration an increased wheelbase to help with stability. The shorter overhangs at each end also add to the solidly planted, aggressive aesthetic.

Integrated steps now feature in the rear bumper to help with fetching and placing of items in the tray

Back up top, the more athletic-looking exterior skin includes redesigned fenders and wheel arches, with perhaps the most obvious updates at extreme front and rear.

The F-150 comparison is most obvious when looking at the new Ranger front-on, with its big, bluff grille framed by those new ‘C-Clamp’ daytime running lights taking multiple styling cues from its Stateside cousin. There’s a similar theme on display at the back, with LED rear lights framing an all-new tailgate embossed with the model name. The new tailgate feels lighter to lift as well.

Because the bodywork offers more width, Ford says the revised ute’s tray will now happily accommodate a standard ‘Euro’ pallet (1200mm x 800mm) between the wheel arches irrespective of which wellside grade you’re loading. Tray lengths morph depending upon variant but run between 1544mm and 2305mm.

Nothing comes for fee

The 2022 line-up remains as deep as ever, offering something for every use. Starting with the Ranger XL 4x2 cab chassis at $46,990 (plus on-road costs and clean car fee) and topping out with the halo $90,000 (plus on-road costs and clean car fee) Raptor, there are 15 different Ranger models to choose from. Popular Wildtrak and new Sport iterations also feature.

The model mix includes four two-wheel drive options and 11 4x4s, and single-, super-, and double-cab body styles. There are also three engines to choose from (more on that to come), with single and twin turbo diesel and an EcoBoost twin-turbo petrol.

The XLT grade sits at the centre of a model line-up where the Wildtrak dominates

Prices have risen by around a grand over the previous generation Ranger spread as a baseline cost, but the clean car fee arriving next year will add to that price. In the middle ground where the two-litre Bi-Turbo powers the pack, Ford New Zealand has estimated the clean car fee will add approximately $1840 to the sticker price. But the lower-end models running the single turbo diesel will be stung with an extra $2473, which means that entry-level cab chassis ute is now a shade under $50k (ex-registration). It’s up at the top end of the Ranger line-up where the clean car fee really bites, adding an estimated $5000 to the base Raptor price. Mind you, anyone forking out the thick end of $100,000 for a ute isn’t probably going to blink at the extra fee.

For our purposes, we’re in the go-anywhere sweet spot with the mid-level Ranger XLT double cab bi-turbo, which costs $66,990, plus on-road costs and an estimated clean car fee of $1840.

New power

In addition to the work-ready XL 4x2 with the single turbo two-litre diesel engine, the XL 4x4, XLT, and Wildtrak are fitted with Ford’s Bi-Turbo two-litre, while three-litre V6 turbo diesel are available on Sport and Wildtrak grades. Both feature 10-speed automatic transmissions.

Deep cargo bed for both weekday and weekend tasks

This generation Ranger sees the addition of a three-litre V6 turbo-diesel engine, resulting in 184kW of power at 3250rpm and 600Nm of torque from 1750 to 2250rpm. Ford’s two-litre Bi-Turbo diesel makes 154kW at 3750 rpm and 500Nm from 1750 to 2000rpm, while the single-turbo diesel offers up 125kW at 3500 rpm and 405Nm from 1750 to 2500rpm.

When the top-shelf Raptor arrives at the end of the year, it’ll feature a petrol engine for the first time, with a three-litre V6 Twin-Turbo EcoBoost under its broad bonnet producing 292kW and 583Nm of torque.

Transmissions include the aforementioned 10-speed auto available on both V6 engines, as well as the two-litre Bi-Turbo, with the current six-speed automatic transmission behind the two-litre single-turbo.

Enormous portrait format touchscreen inside the cab is an impressive piece of kit, backed by Ford’s very good SYNC voice control system

Ford reckons the new Ranger is a towing champ. With a 3500kg maximum braked towing capacity paired with some good tech inside the cab to improve towing comfort and safety, I’d wager they won’t be proven wrong on that score.

The smarts

Hopping into the Ranger reveals a bevvy of new technology and convenience features. The interior is dominated by that massive portrait format touchscreen, which is the nerve centre of the entire truck.

All the usual connectivity you’d expect is present and correct, with Ford’s SYNC system providing seamless phone pairing and voice control abilities if you prefer to work that way. But in a nice touch, Ford has left the heating and air conditioning functions as analogue controls. There’s nothing worse than stabbing away at a touchscreen while you’re on the move, simply because you want to increase the fan speed a notch. With good old-fashioned rotary controls in play, Ford has struck a nice mix of leading-edge tech immersion and functional practicality.

New digital instrument panel is fantastic to use on the go and can be configured to show data that the driver requires most

There’s a new digital instrument cluster ahead of the driver, as well as wireless charging for your phone, as well as (on our XLT grade truck and above) selectable drive modes, which finesse the Ranger’s four-wheel drive system further with adaptable settings depending on the surface being tackled, whether it be muddy, slippery, or sandy. There’s also a tow/haul mode, which optimises gear shift timing to maintain the best mix of power delivery and engine braking when you have something on the towball.

Not tech-based as such, but other clever features include integrated steps in the rear corners of the truck to enable fetching and placing of items in the tray (and not needing to rely upon standing on the rear tyres to do so), and power sockets in the tray liner itself for powering or charging tools or camping equipment.

The refinement levels inside the cab have been lifted noticeably. It’s a great place to be.

The Ranger boasts a five-star ANCAP safety rating and features plenty of driver assistance systems designed to make your journey – whether down the highway or along a gnarly access road – all the safer. In addition to nine airbags and a 360-degree camera system, selected models also feature Intelligent Adaptive Cruise Control, Traffic Sign Recognition so you’re always aware of what speed you’re legally required to do, and Lane Centering, which automatically positions you in the correct spot on your side of the road.

The days of the ute being the passenger car’s poorer cousin in terms of kit on-board have long gone.


Well, the new Ranger is a great truck. It has power, good looks, a comfortable interior, gutsy underpinnings, and plenty of next-level tech on-board. Of course, it’s going to be well received. Just look at its history in the Kiwi market.

But these numbers speak louder than my ultimate verdict. Year-to-date, the Ranger remains in the top spot with (at the time of writing) 8939 units sold. That’s a 22% market share. And I really can’t see that ebbing away to nothing anytime soon.

You’ll spot the new Ranger coming a mile away, thanks to its distinctive new ‘C-Clamp’ daytime running lights

Ford Ranger XLT Double Cab Bi-Turbo Specifications

Engine 2L 4-cylinder twin-turbo diesel
Transmission 10-Speed automatic
Power 154kw
Torque 500Nm
Unladen weight 2230kg
Tow rating 3500kg (braked)
Fuel economy 8.9L/100km
Price $66,990 plus on-road costs plus estimated clean car fee of $1840

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