2023 Ford Ranger evaluation: Is the brand new Ranger pickup the most effective ute you should buy?

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After greater than half a decade in growth, what might properly be the final-ever Australian designed and engineered quantity car is lastly on sale.

We have been behind the scenes with Ford for almost a 12 months to get us so far, the place we will drive and evaluation the fruits of their arduous toil.

Changing the favored PX III collection, the T6.2 Ranger will not be solely a bestseller in Australia, but additionally probably the most broadly accessible Ford globally, reaching extra markets than some other mannequin.

Learn extra concerning the Ford Ranger

Whether or not you name it a ute, truck or pick-up, the 2023 Ranger thus has the world of expectation on its one-tonne cargo mattress, because it rises up towards challenges as fierce because the Toyota HiLux, Isuzu D-Max, Mitsubishi Triton and Nissan Navara. Rather a lot’s at stake right here.

We already know what the 2023 Ranger seems to be like. We all know what’s modified beneath. We all know how totally different the inside is. And we all know how a lot it prices and what you get in your cash.

Now, for the primary time, we’re about to seek out out what this 12 months’s most vital new-model drives like, out of captivity, away from nervous Ford executives, and out on Australian roads, in Rangers you’ll have the ability to order as you see them right here proper now.

Does it symbolize good worth for the worth? What options does it include?   9/10

Predictably, with the 2023 Ranger, you get extra however you pay greater than earlier than, so pay attention up.

Dangerous information first. 

The most cost effective will now set you again almost $7000 extra, at round $36,000 earlier than on-road prices. That’s partly as a result of Ford has dropped the handbook gearbox for Australia. It’s auto or it’s nothing.

With the 2023 Ranger, you get more but you pay more than before. With the 2023 Ranger, you get extra however you pay greater than earlier than.

However if you happen to evaluate previous versus new, at this time’s Ranger is – on common – solely round $1100 dearer like-for-like (not together with the Raptor), and that’s acceptable, given how far more equipment you now get, in a palpably improved car. Moreover, the favored XLT truly nonetheless prices the identical. Go determine! 

The Ranger comes in three body styles. (XLT, Wildtrak and Sport pictured) The Ranger is available in three physique types. (XLT, Wildtrak and Sport pictured)

As earlier than, the Ranger is available in three physique types – two-seater Cab chassis, four-seater Tremendous Cab chassis or pick-up for $2500 extra, and five-seater Double Cab chassis or pick-up for $4500 additional.

Equally, they’re accessible in both 4×2 rear-drive or four-wheel drive (4WD), and all supply a 2.0-litre four-cylinder diesel engine, in both single-turbo (Si-T) six-speed auto or Bi-Turbo (Bi-T) 10-speed auto guises, in addition to the long-awaited 3.0-litre V6 turbo-diesel additionally with a 10-speed auto.

The grade stroll begins with the bottom XL from $35,930 earlier than on-road prices, then strikes as much as XLS, XLT, Sport and Wildtrak, with the latter topping out from $70,190. We’ll cowl off Raptor in a separate evaluation.

The always-in-demand Wildtrak gets its own grille, bumper, sports bar and wheel treatments. (Ford Ranger Wildtrak pictured) The always-in-demand Wildtrak will get its personal grille, bumper, sports activities bar and wheel remedies. (Ford Ranger Wildtrak pictured)

Commonplace XL options embrace the surprisingly old school halogen headlights, a entrance tow hook, a ten.1-inch touchscreen with Ford’s newest Sync4 multimedia system, a digital instrument cluster, handbook air-conditioning, USB-A and -C ports, fabric seats and fairly smart-looking 16-inch metal wheels.

Notice, too, that each one Rangers rating 9 airbags, AEB autonomous emergency braking, adaptive cruise management, lane departure alert and lane hold help, whereas all pick-ups have blind spot warning and cross-traffic alert tech.

Subsequent up is XLS, including fog lights, alloy wheels, facet steps and carpet.

Now, the Ranger is definitely a narrative about two forms of truck. Imagining a Venn diagram, the left circle is the XL and XLS for fleet and authorities orders and the precise circle incorporates Sport, Wildtrak and Raptor for personal and small-business consumers. And, proper within the overlap in between, lives the XLT.

17-inch alloys. (Ford Ranger XLT pictured) 17-inch alloys. (Ford Ranger XLT pictured)

That’s why the XLT has such broad attraction. It’s the least-expensive model with the now Ranger-signature C-clamp LED headlights, and will also be recognized through its chrome grille bar, pick-up tub bed-liner with illumination, a sports activities bar and 17-inch alloys. Little luxuries inside embrace keyless entry and begin, dual-zone local weather management, sat-nav, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, fancier inside trimmings, clever adaptive cruise management with full cease/go performance and traffic-sign recognition tech. 

Features pick-up tub bed-liner with illumination. (Ford Ranger XLT pictured) Options pick-up tub bed-liner with illumination. (Ford Ranger XLT pictured)

Above that, the Sport ushers in contrasting blacked-out themes inside and outside, two entrance tow hooks, 18-inch alloys, wi-fi charging, an Off-Highway display screen displaying 4WD activation and different associated settings, leather-based upholstery and a powered driver’s seat.

Lastly, the always-in-demand Wildtrak will get its personal grille, bumper, sports activities bar and wheel remedies, a trailer brake controller, facet rails and a powered curler shutter for the bathtub and zone lighting throughout the car, whereas the cabin upgrades to a 12-inch touchscreen, ambient lighting, pull-out cupholders, a powered entrance passenger seat, entrance seat heaters, a 360-degree digital camera and energetic park help.   

Sophisticated Matrix LEDs. (Ford Ranger Wildtrak pictured) Refined Matrix LEDs. (Ford Ranger Wildtrak pictured)

Refined Matrix LEDs and premium 10-speaker audio sound system could be had within the Wildtrak Premium Pack, whereas another higher-grade Ranger options could be bundled up into choice packs in decrease grades as properly. 

There are additionally varied off-road and towing packs, relying on grade.

Ford, it appears, has considered all the things to maintain the Ranger the each individuals’ midsized truck.

Given how far more equipment is customary, in a comprehensively improved package deal, we should say the 2023 Ranger represents very robust worth for cash.

Is there something fascinating about its design?   9/10

How sensible is the house inside?   9/10

Weirdly, the brand new Ranger is as contemporary and fashionable because the previous one was trying previous and drained – but there’s a familiarity we’ve seen earlier than in different Fords, reminiscent of the newest Escape, Fiesta and Focus.

In comparison with earlier than, the overall structure stays the identical – the windscreen place, the door apertures, the glasshouse. This isn’t an all-new truck, however a radical overhaul of the earlier design, with new sheet metallic and different modifications. For some individuals, that’s reassuring.  

But there are actual big-ticket modifications, kicking off with an all-new dashboard, door playing cards, seats and trim. Now you will lastly discover a reach-adjustable steering column, so extra individuals can get extra snug extra of the time behind the wheel. And that’s an enormous bonus. 

The touchscreen selections actually dominate the cabin – measuring in at 10.1 inches in all however the Wildtrak, which jumps as much as a 12-inch merchandise. It additionally operates the newest SYNC 4A system, and that is a primary for an Aussie Ford. 

The brand new Ranger additionally beneficial properties USB-A and USB-C ports, in addition to a wi-fi charger from sure grades upwards.

Moreover, there’s been a concerted effort to spice up usability. As an illustration, grades by way of to the Sport now characteristic a shelf above the glovebox. Ford’s analysis confirmed that front-seat passengers are inclined to wrestle to seek out appropriate storage for telephones, wallets and different unfastened gadgets when using up entrance, and so they find yourself both forgetting them in gloveboxes or cluttering up cupholders. We have all skilled it. The uncovered shelf is for simply such gadgets, and a tangibly practical bonus.

  • 2023 Ford Ranger Sport interior 2023 Ford Ranger Sport inside
  • 2023 Ford Ranger Sport interior 2023 Ford Ranger Sport inside
  • 2023 Ford Ranger Sport interior 2023 Ford Ranger Sport inside
  • 2023 Ford Ranger Sport interior 2023 Ford Ranger Sport inside

Equally, the Sixties Ford Falcon-style inside door handles are a single-action squeeze-and-push out to open – nice when you will have your arms full exiting the car.

Shifting on to the rear seats, one can find face-level air vents for the primary time in Ranger in XLT up, the seats have been redesigned for added consolation and assist, in addition to the same old facilities like overhead seize handles, map pockets and centre armrest with cupholders in increased grades.

The final match and end within the Ranger is as per expectations in these launch automobiles, with hardly any squeaks and rattles, apart from a multimedia glitch in a single take a look at automobile that would not sync with our telephones.

The driving place is now second-to-none; the seats are amongst the most effective skilled in any truck, even after a whole lot of kilometres, driving from the town out to rural areas, offering ample consolation and assist with minimal fatigue; and imaginative and prescient stays stable. with massive mirrors and the choice of helpful 360-degree digital camera.

  • 2023 Ford Ranger XLT interior 2023 Ford Ranger XLT inside
  • 2023 Ford Ranger XLT interior 2023 Ford Ranger XLT inside
  • 2023 Ford Ranger XLT interior 2023 Ford Ranger XLT inside
  • 2023 Ford Ranger XLT interior 2023 Ford Ranger XLT inside

Downsides? For some individuals, utilizing touchscreens for performance could be complicated; no less than Ford has has made necessities like quantity and local weather controls as arduous buttons and knobs, so that you’re not so distracted utilizing these. The 12-inch display screen’s additional depth makes accessing the USB ports immediately beneath awkward. The pull-out cupholders wrestle with broader cup bases as their clamps are too slender. And we skilled a glitch with connecting the telephone and local weather management system in separate automobiles. Ford, please make certain the standard is as much as the excessive costs you are charging.

Breaking down the mannequin stroll, there are key variations between every mannequin that can assist you make up your thoughts.

The XL, as an example, is a workhorse. Minimal frills, hard-wearing fabric, vinyl flooring, a handbook handbrake, easy-access sprint storage – that type of factor. However, bear in mind: you additionally get air-con, a digital sprint, digital camera and touchscreen, in addition to all of the important security, together with a entrance centre airbag.

The XLS is extra of the identical, however with facet steps, carpet and livelier trim. Nonetheless fairly fundamental although

If it’s your personal cash shopping for a brand new Ranger, then begin at XLT, due to the keyless entry/push-button begin, leather-based wheel, dual-zone local weather management, sat-nav and electrical park brake, whereas your loved ones or pals will admire the rear-seat air vents and centre armrest with cupholders.

The newly-permanent Sport grade, in the meantime, ushers in leather-based, a powered driver’s seat, ‘off-road display screen’ and wi-fi charging, whereas the Wildtrak ups the ante with the bigger touchscreen, 360º view digital camera, ambient lighting, pull-out cupholders, a powered entrance passenger seat and entrance seat heaters. 

And let’s not overlook the pick-up a part of this Aussie-engineered truck. 

Ranger now comes with a field step for smaller-statured individuals attain issues extra simply within the tub.

Shifting to the again, the tailgate retains its carry help, and opens as much as reveal a cargo space able to taking a Euro palette for the primary time. And there at the moment are new field caps to assist shield the contemporary metalwork.

Ford’s engineers have additionally made issues simpler for individuals who have to work out of the again of their pick-ups.

  • 2022 Ford Ranger Wildtrack I Tailgate 2022 Ford Ranger Wildtrack I Tailgate
  • 2022 Ford Ranger Wildtrack I Tailgate 2022 Ford Ranger Wildtrack I Tailgate
  • 2022 Ford Ranger Wildtrack I Tailgate 2022 Ford Ranger Wildtrack I Tailgate
  • 2022 Ford Ranger Wildtrack I Tailgate 2022 Ford Ranger Wildtrack I Tailgate

For instance, and relying on grade, you’ll discover a bedliner with moulded slots to assist hold gadgets in place, a 12V outlet, illumination below the field caps, load bearing aluminium facet bars to safe gadgets to, latching factors on the field caps for equipment like canopies and cross bars, and exterior tie-down rails with sliding cleats for odd-shaped gadgets.

Plus, there’s zone lighting accessible on higher-grade fashions, utilizing the numerous LEDs across the car for helpful nighttime illumination operable remotely through the FordPass app.

Even the tailgate is a workbench, with two clamp pockets to safe undertaking supplies and a built-in ruler for handy measuring.

Moreover, there’s that powered curler shutter for added safety.

Lastly, all Rangers supply a most towing functionality of 3500kg. Payloads differ from 934kg to 1441kg, relying on mannequin and grade.

Total, this can be a acquainted and but contemporary inside utility, in addition to a palpably improved workhorse. For many people who find themselves pondering whether or not they need to improve to this newest model, even just some minutes ought to persuade them of the progress that Ranger has made. 

What are the important thing stats for the engine and transmission?   9/10

The Ranger is obtainable with three engine selections – two of that are new to collection. All of them are mated to an computerized transmission. You’ll be able to’t purchase a Ranger in Australia with a handbook gearbox any extra.

Right here is the line-up.

Let’s begin with the XL workhorse. Powered by the two.0-litre four-cylinder single turbo-diesel, it replaces the previous 2.2. Regardless of being smaller, it pumps out extra energy and torque at 125kW at 3500rpm and 405Nm between 1750-2500rpm respectively, and is simply supplied with a six-speed auto.

Powered by the 2.0-litre four-cylinder single turbo-diesel, it replaces the old 2.2. (Ford Ranger XLT pictured) Powered by the two.0-litre four-cylinder single turbo-diesel, it replaces the previous 2.2. (Ford Ranger XLT pictured)

Controversially maybe, the thrashy previous 3.2-litre five-cylinder turbo-diesel has been binned, for a revised model of the two.0-litre twin-turbo diesel (dubbed BiTurbo in Ford-speak). Mated to a very overhauled 10-speed computerized, it delivers 3kW much less energy at 154kW at 3750rpm, however the 500Nm torque most (between simply 1750-2000rpm) stays, whereas shift high quality is smoother and calmer. 

After all, all eyes can be on the large new 3.0-litre V6 turbo-diesel that is distantly associated to that present in Australia’s Ford Territory.

Accessible within the XLT, Sport and Wildtrak just for now, it has few friends with outputs of 184kW at 3250rpm and 600Nm at 1750-2250rpm. 

Available in the XLT, Sport and Wildtrak only for now, it has few peers with outputs of 184kW at 3250rpm and 600Nm at 1750-2250rpm. (Ford Ranger Wildtrak pictured) Accessible within the XLT, Sport and Wildtrak just for now, it has few friends with outputs of 184kW at 3250rpm and 600Nm at 1750-2250rpm. (Ford Ranger Wildtrak pictured)

The V6 sends drive by way of to a brand new digital on-demand four-wheel-drive system, with full-time 4WD that varies drive to the entrance or rear wheels as required. It consists of six driving modes: Regular, Eco, Tow/Haul and Slippery for on-road driving, and Mud/Ruts and Sand to be used off-road. Every alter engine throttle, transmission, braking, traction and stability controls.

There’s additionally an digital rear differential lock which could be activated through the SYNC 4A multimedia display screen, for improved off-road traction.

Ranger 4x4s with both 2.0-litre engine keep on with the usual part-time 4×4 set-up that gives 4×2 (rear-drive), 4×4 Low vary and 4×4 Excessive vary.

How a lot gas does it devour?   9/10

The excellent news is that – model-for-model – the brand new Ranger formally drinks much less diesel than earlier than.

This even applies to the V6 turbo-diesel, which is a complete half-a-litre per 100km extra economical than the previous 3.2. 

Equally, in keeping with the official mixed common figures, each 2.0-litre engine varieties use barely much less diesel than their earlier mannequin equivalents, demonstrating the effectivity beneficial properties new Ranger has remodeled the previous mannequin.

Ford says the decrease numbers are primarily on account of engine tech upgrades, revised transmissions, considerably higher cooling properties and detailed aerodynamic enhancements throughout and below the car.

Listed here are the mixed common gas consumption figures for the 2023 Ranger in Twin Cab guise: 2.0-litre single turbo-diesel 4×2: 7.6L/100km, for a corresponding 199 grams per kilometre of carbon dioxide emissions and a median distance vary of 1053km; 2.0-litre twin turbo-diesel 4×4: 7.2L/100km, for 189g/km of CO2 emissions and common distance vary of 1111km; and three.0-litre V6 turbo-diesel 4WD: 8.4L/100km, for 222g/km of CO2 emissions and a median distance vary of 952km.

We we unable to carry out our personal pump-to-pump consumption take a look at on the launch, however the journey computer systems instructed an fascinating story: between 9.2 and 9.5L/100km for the V6 and 9.4 and 9.7L/100km for the two.0-litre twin-turbo. All have been Twin Cab 4×4, bear in mind.

Gasoline tank measurement stays the identical as earlier than, at 80 litres.

What security gear is fitted? What security ranking?   9/10

Ford has but to disclose new Ranger’s ANCAP crash-test ranking, however the firm expects one other five-star outcome.

There’s no denying that there’s been a big advance in security throughout the vary.

Key modifications embrace the introduction of 9 airbags, that includes two knee airbags up entrance in addition to a front-centre (or far-side) airbag to scale back entrance occupant head collision in a lateral influence. There are additionally facet and full-length curtain airbags fitted.

On the energetic security entrance, each Ranger additionally consists of AEB (operation vary as but undisclosed), lane-keep help, lane-departure warning with road-edge detection and rear-parking sensors, whereas pick-up variations add cross-traffic warning and blind-spot warning.  

Notice that, fitted with a manufacturing facility Tow Pack, the blind-spot warning additionally extends to the segment-first Trailer Protection, that means the motive force can dial within the size of the car towed for additional blind-spot safety, particularly when altering lanes on the motorway.

A 360º digital camera is customary on the Wildtrak.

Two ISOFIX latches and a trio of anchor factors are fitted to the rear seat in Twin Cab fashions.

Guarantee & Security Score

Fundamental Guarantee

5 years / limitless km
guarantee

What does it price to personal? What guarantee is obtainable?   9/10

Nothing too fascinating or ground-breaking right here. 

Ford presents a five-year/limitless kilometre guarantee, with five-years roadside help. 

Ford offers a five-year/unlimited kilometre warranty, with five-years roadside assistance.  Ford presents a five-year/limitless kilometre guarantee, with five-years roadside help. 

That is common these days, and behind different manufacturers like GWM, Isuzu and Mitsubishi.

Ford says that house owners can pay $329 for the primary 4 common providers for as much as 4 years or 60,000km, whichever happens first. That is $30 increased than within the previous PX III Ranger equivalents, by the best way.

What’s it prefer to drive?   9/10

If there’s only one phrase to explain the distinction between previous and new Ranger, it’s ‘smoother’’.

Since 2011, the Aussie designed and engineered midsized Ford pick-up has remained proper up there for driving enjoyment and total consolation, seeing off many more recent rivals.

Now, lots of the previous tough edges have now been ironed out.

Manufacturing hiccups and delays means we’re solely driving 4×4 pick-ups, and from XLS up, so meaning both the 154kW/500Nm 2.0L BiT diesel or intriguing new 184kW/600Nm 3.0-litre V6 turbo-diesel. Each are mated solely to a 10-speed auto.

Acceleration is strong, you put your foot down and the thing really does thrust forward, and it maintains that level of muscle as you drive along. (Ford Ranger XLT pictured) Acceleration is powerful, you set your foot down and the factor actually does thrust ahead, and it maintains that stage of muscle as you drive alongside. (Ford Ranger XLT pictured)

Let’s begin with the two.0 Bi-T first.

With the all of the modifications that Ford has made, it’s now smoother, much less jerky and extra responsive than earlier than. It produces extra energy than the three.2L five-cylinder turbo diesel it replaces, it’s method quieter, and it doesn’t have that thrashy, noisy and droney really feel when floored at increased revs.

It’s much more civilised. Acceleration is powerful, you set your foot down and the factor actually does thrust ahead, and it maintains that stage of muscle as you drive alongside.

Available in the XLT, Sport and Wildtrak only for now, it has few peers with outputs of 184kW at 3250rpm and 600Nm at 1750-2250rpm. (Ford Ranger Wildtrak pictured) Accessible within the XLT, Sport and Wildtrak just for now, it has few friends with outputs of 184kW at 3250rpm and 600Nm at 1750-2250rpm. (Ford Ranger Wildtrak pictured)

Moreover, as a result of the engine is lighter than the previous 3.2, or possibly it is because of the fully redesigned entrance finish with the pushed out entrance tracks and lengthy wheelbase, however one way or the other the brand new Ranger appears to steer with extra agility than earlier than, with increased ranges of really feel and suggestions coming by way of. There’s a higher sense of confidence and management that you simply don’t fairly get in some other midsized pick-up. Once more, typical Ranger traits, however additional refined for this utility.

The two.0 BiTurbo can be actually tractable. You wouldn’t assume it’s fitted with such a small-capacity engine, due to its big-hearted really feel.

Nevertheless, talking of huge hearts, the three.0 V6 turbo-diesel is the principle occasion within the new Ranger.

Paying homage to the basic Ford Territory TDCi turbo-diesel of the 2010s, it’s slick and complex, but presents extra punch than Australia’s solely locally-built SUV ever managed.

In a nutshell, the V6 amplifies the acceleration and efficiency of the two.0 BiTurbo, thrusting ahead with willpower, accompanied by a extra stirring V6 soundtrack.

Additionally, the 10-speed auto is even more relaxed, and with greater torque levels to draw upon, it’s both more responsive to throttle inputs and less likely to hunt through the gears. (Ford Ranger XLT pictured) Moreover, the 10-speed auto is much more relaxed, and with higher torque ranges to attract upon, it’s each extra aware of throttle inputs and fewer prone to hunt by way of the gears. (Ford Ranger XLT pictured)

Moreover, the 10-speed auto is much more relaxed, and with higher torque ranges to attract upon, it’s each extra aware of throttle inputs and fewer prone to hunt by way of the gears. Higher round city, stronger out on the open highway and extra reassuring when you want to overtake, particularly at pace or blasting up a hill.

For this and different causes, the $3000 premium paid for going the V6 is unquestionably worthwhile, and backed up by higher gas consumption figures than achieved by the traditional 3.2 five-pot turbo-diesel.

Shifting on, no matter engine alternative in these higher-spec collection, the brand new Ranger’s (electrical) energy steering is gentle but direct, with a straightforward, pure and progressive motion that does a lot to bridge the hole between truck and automobile. It’s so good, the truth is, that we’d want a sports activities setting that gives the selection of a bit extra weight, however given we’re in an XLT or Wildtrak, workhorse functionality and off-road prowess respectively are the secret right here.

That stated, the brand new Ranger’s journey high quality is kind of exceptional. Even with wheel sizes growing by an inch throughout the vary, that suppleness that has lengthy been distinctive to the Ford  – even within the tough stuff over demanding Australian situations – has been enhanced. You’re feeling remoted but in management, with out lateral or bouncy motion that comes with some longer-travel options.

Mixed with that newfound refinement, strong efficiency, slick steering and supple journey high quality, the newest Ranger cements its hard-won repute as the most effective car dynamically of its kind accessible in Australia and probably wherever on this planet. Definitely, out on the Victorian rural roads, and no matter powertrain, the Ford 4x4s barely put a foot incorrect.

Verdict

The time of reckoning is really right here for the new-gen Ford Ranger.

For over a decade, the earlier mannequin was close to or on the high of its class. After all, it wasn’t with out fault, however few individuals would argue that it nailed areas like packaging, driver enjoyment, consolation and styling.

From at this time, the Ranger improves on all of those attributes. Regardless of the place you look, it’s extremely clear that quite a lot of effort has gone into making this truck higher than most.

And that is earlier than you drive the now-smoother, quieter and extra responsive 2.0L BiTurbo, not to mention the punchy new 3.0L V6, that lastly brings the muscle to match its civilised highway manners. That is what we would have – an XLT or Sport with the larger engine and 4×4.

Now all Ford has to do is guarantee it achieves the precise stage of high quality and reliability. Solely time will inform.

However one factor appears sure: the Ranger seems to have pulled clear forward of the midsized truck pack. What could also be historical past’s final-ever Australian designed and engineered car exhibits the world the way it’s performed.

Notice: CarsGuide attended this occasion as a visitor of the producer, with journey, lodging and meals supplied.

 

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