Ford has made sure that its XL line-up of the Ranger-bakkie is everything but just an entry-level model.
To improve the appeal of the XL model, Ford has added a Sport Pack option that gives a customer the choice of upgrading from the entry-level SYNC 1 system to an eight-inch touchscreen infotainment system.
Although it makes do without embedded voice recognition and navigation, it offers Apple CarPlay and Android Auto when paired with compatible smartphones. This allows users to access the respective phone’s navigation functions. Two USB slots provide additional multimedia connection options.
Visually, Ranger XL models equipped with the Sport Pack are distinguished by a gloss black grille that replaces the plain black version and the normal 16-inch silver alloy wheels are upgraded to 17-inch Panther gloss black cast alloy rims with larger diameter 265/65 R17 tyres.
The Sport Pack also adds a tubular sports bar in the rear load compartment, as well as a black rear bumper. Customers can also opt for the dealer-fitted black side steps.
The Ranger XL standard features include, amongst others, ABS brakes with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD), Electronic Stability Programme (ESP) with Traction Control, Hill Launch Assist (HLA), Roll-over Mitigation, Adaptive Load Control and Trailer Sway Control. The four-wheel drive models gain Hill Descent Control (HDC), with a rear diff-lock fitted as standard on all 4x2 and 4x4 derivatives. All Ranger XL models are fitted with a tow bar as standard equipment.
The Ranger XL is powered by Ford’s 2.2-litre four-cylinder Duratorq TDCi engine with a power delivery of 118 kW and torque of 385 Nm. The Single Cab and SuperCab models are available in two- and four-wheel drive specifications mated to a six-speed manual transmission, or a six-speed automatic in the 4x2 derivative. The Ranger XL Double Cab can be specified in 4x2 or 4x4 versions, with both available in manual and automatic.
The XL Sport Pack adds R16 500 to the base price of the Ranger XL series (November 2020), while the optional eight-inch touchscreen infotainment system and dealer-fitted side steps are available for R6 080 and R5 050, respectively.
Competitors include the Toyota Hilux SR range, Mahindra Pik Up, Isuzu D-Max LE and some Hi Rider-models, offerings from Nissan’s Hardbody line-up as well as various Chinese bakkies.
Kia’s Picanto underwent a mid-life refreshment and in the process added a new range topper, called the Picanto X-Line, with distinct new crossover styling.
Audi launched its V8 diesel versions in sporty disguise called the SQ7 and the SQ8 in the in the high-performance SUV segment.
The Hyundai Motor Company started the year on a winning streak, announcing its win of four accolades at the 2020 Good Design awards late last year.