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April 9, 2019

Review: 2019 Ford Ranger XLT A/T

The popularity of high-trim variants like the Wildtrak and Raptor says a lot about how Filipinos treat pickup trucks. Instead of being something like a workhorse, they fulfill the role of status symbol. True enough, if one were to look at the number of spruced-up, decked-out Wildtraks out there, it can be surmised that the cargo bed won’t be seeing action anytime soon. So where does that leave lesser trim models?

It must be remembered that at the height of Ranger mania, Ford Philippines offered 10 variants, bookended by a low-rider base model and the Wildtrak 4x4. Today, that list is down to 9 and that already includes the Ranger Raptor. The low-rider? Gone. The XL? Gone. Today, the lowest-end model is the XLS and right on top of it is this, the XLT. Between them is a P 144,000 price spread, which sounds like a lot, but after looking through the differences, the XLT is definitely the right variant if one is seeking a good balance between work and play. It’s the daily workhorse that can also fit the bill as a weekend family car, or perhaps, it’s the daily family car that turns into a weekend hobby companion. Either way, it wins.

For 2019, Ford has refreshed the Ranger for a third time and while the differences between this update and the 2016 one are subtle, the overall effect is a pleasant one. It’s funny how a change of grille and bumper could spell a difference, but in this case, swapping the large chrome maw for a chrome/body-colored combo actually makes its appearance feel more premium. It may be a personal allergy to excessive bling, but chrome feels like a fashion trend long past.

Just as Ford has left the exterior largely untouched this year, the interior soldiers on with just minimal changes. Because this is a cost-conscious variant, it doesn’t receive the same amount of love as the Wildtrak. With that, don’t expect things like a soft-touch upper dash or contrast color stitching on the seats. Instead, it’s a solid, well-executed design that values ergonomics. The cornucopia of buttons is daunting, but because they’re all clustered by function, they’re easy to master, eventually. The driver is treated to a full-colored LCD screen nestled between the round tach and speedo, which is, oddly enough, shared with the Ranger Raptor save for the sporty embellishments.

For 2019, Ford has rolled out smaller but highly boosted engines in the Wildtrak and Ranger Raptor. Sadly, the XLT doesn’t benefit from any of this. Instead, it still relies on its tried-and-tested 2.2-liter CRDi putting out 160 horsepower and 385 Nm of torque—the same figures it had in 2016. Compared to the Bi-Turbo unit in the Wildtrak and Ranger Raptor, the XLT actually has better initial throttle response to the point that it’s quite jumpy. Normally, applying the right amount of foot pressure should be enough to settle the jumpiness, but in this case, the throttle engagement feels like an on/off affair. Surprisingly, this 2.2-liter / 6-speed auto combination performs better in terms of fuel economy. It does 9.009 km/L compared to the (spoiler alert) Wildtrak’s dismal 7.35 km/L and that’s with the XLT doing a slower average speed (12 km/h versus 18 km/h). Admittedly, the only time the 2.2-liter loses out to the Bi-Turbo is in-gear acceleration and overtaking.

In terms of on-road behavior, the Ranger’s underpinnings are largely unchanged; and because it rides on a very traditional pickup set-up—front Double Wishbones and rear Leaf Springs, the ride is dependent on the quality of the road surface. On smoother pavement, it’s very sorted, but give it a bit of undulation, and it turns choppy. It doesn’t toss occupants as badly as other pickup trucks, but there’s no mistaking this for an SUV. What’s more, the rear end has the propensity to break traction easily, taking just a tap of the throttle to do so.

In addition, the feather-light electric power steering creates a disconnect between what the driver is doing at the wheel and what the truck is actually doing on the road. More than once, it makes you believe you can negotiate a tight turn only for the steering to hit the end of the rack.  Thankfully, maneuvering it around to do a quick reverse is easy because of the excellent visibility afforded by the large, bond paper-sized mirrors and standard backup sensors.

In terms of market positioning, if the Ranger Raptor is 80 percent lifestyle and 20 percent workhorse and the Ranger Wildtrak is 60 percent lifestyle and 40 percent workhorse, the Ranger XLT does it at a perfect 50/50. Some truck-like qualities still linger, but those are the ones sought after by buyers who’ll actually use it on the job; buyers who won’t mind having a scratch or two, because what they want is a tool that they can use on the farm or construction site. Yet, it’ll blend in very well at a five-star hotel parking lot. All in all, the 2019 Ranger XLT is adept at doing blue-collared jobs, while still having the panache to be in a white-collared neighborhood.

2019 Ford Ranger XLT A/T
Ownership 2019 Ford Ranger XLT 2.2L 4x2 A/T
Year Introduced 2012 (Refreshed: 2016, 2018)
Vehicle Classification Pick-up Truck
Warranty 3 years / 100,000 kilometers
The Basics
Body Type 4-door pick-up truck
Seating 5
Engine / Drive F/R
Under the Hood
Displacement (liters) 2.2
Aspiration Turbocharged
Fuel Delivery Common Rail Direct Injection
Layout / # of Cylinders I4
BHP @ rpm 160 @ 3,200
Nm @ rpm 385 @ 1,600-2,500
Fuel / Min. Octane Diesel
Transmission 6 AT
Cruise Control Yes
Fuel Economy @ Ave. Speed 9.01 km/L @ 12 km/h
Dimensions and Weights
Length (mm) 5,354
Width (mm) 1,860
Height (mm) 1,821
Wheelbase (mm) 3,220
Curb Weight (kg) 2,080
Suspension and Tires
Front Suspension Independent, Double Wishbone
Rear Suspension Leaf Spring
Front Brakes Vented Disc
Rear Brakes Drum
Tires Bridgestone Dueler H/T 684 II 265/65 R 17 T (f & r)
Wheels Alloy
Safety Features
Airbags 2
Anti-Lock Brakes (ABS) Yes, with EBD
Traction / Stability Control No
Parking Sensors Yes, Rear
Front Seatbelts 3-pt ELR with pre-tensioner x 2
Rear Seatbelts 3-pt ELR x 3
ISOFIX Child Seat Anchor Yes
Other Safety Features No
Exterior Features
Headlights Halogen
Fog Lamps Yes, Front
Auto Lights Yes
Rain-sensing Wipers Yes
Interior Features
Steering Wheel Adjust Tilt
Steering Wheel Material Leather
Seating Adjustment (driver) Manual, 6-way
Seating Adjustment (front passenger) Manual, 4-way
Seating Surface Fabric
Folding Rear Seat Yes
On-Board Computer Yes
Convenience Features
Power Steering Yes
Power Door Locks Yes
Power Windows Yes
Power Mirrors Yes, with Fold
Proximity Key No
Climate Control Manual
Audio System Stereo
# of Speakers 6
Steering Controls Yes

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