Entry to the Ranger line-up is with the XL single cab. It’s basic motoring, with only vinyl floor coverings. Wheels are 16-inches in diameter, made of steel.
From there it’s a leap to the XL Hi-Rider, which is a cleverly marketed two-wheel drive model that gets a taller four-wheel drive stance but without the expense and weight of 4x4 hardware. Hi-Rider variants are also legally cleared to tow more: up from 2500kg to 3500kg. And they come with lockable rear differentials, which give them extra drive on slippery off-road surfaces.
The XL Hi-Rider is also the least costly Ranger to offer an automatic gearbox option.
A Ranger XL Plus gets you the bigger diesel as standard and comes only as a 4x4 automatic. Uniquely among Rangers it has a second battery, so that you can run lighting and other equipment without fear of flattening your main battery, and an extended wiring harness and switch panel. It has wheels an inch bigger at 17 inches, shod with all-terrain tyres, and a towbar.
If you want carpet on the floor and fancier looking aluminium alloy wheels, your least costly option is a Ranger XLS. It is available only in 4x4, but you can have either engine and gearbox.
The volume selling Ranger XLT adds satellite-navigation, controlled from an 8.0-inch colour touchscreen incorporating Ford’s SYNC3 infotainment interface. SYNC3 brings support for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, which allows you to display some apps from compatible smartphones on the touchscreen and control them from there. You get front parking sensors as well as the standard rear sensors. Dual-zone air-conditioning allows the driver and front passenger independent control of air temperature, and there is a cooler in the centre console.
The XLT also has windscreen wipers that operate automatically when it rains, a sports/rollover bar, and sensors that alert you if a tyre has lost pressure. A 12V power outlet in the tray is ideal for a small fridge or camping light. And you get a towbar for up to 3500kg.
Top of the Ranger tree is the adventurously named Wildtrak, which adds a roller shutter for the load area, heated front seats with leather accents, and a power-adjustable driver’s seat. It also has bigger and fancier 18-inch wheels, and other styling tweaks that make it stand out visually.
The Wildtrak also brings you a suite of active safety aids. This comprises adaptive cruise control, Forward collision alert, Lane keeping assistance, Driver impairment monitor, and Automatic high beam control. (For more on these systems, please open the Safety section below.)
The Wildtrak’s active safety suite is also available on the XLT as an extra-cost option.
From time to time Ford offers limited-run variations on the above themes. For example, the Ranger FX4 Special Edition is a Ranger XLT with leather on the seats, 18-inch wheels, roof rails, and cosmetic adjustments.