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, and 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.
The XL’s entertainment system is pretty basic, with no central touchscreen. Audio options include AM/FM radio, MP3 compatible CD player, and you can connect to your phone with Bluetooth or AUX/USB sockets.
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. The XL Plus will be deleted from the Ranger line-up when the updated model arrives in September 2018.
If you want carpet on the floor and fancier looking 16-inch aluminium alloy wheels, your least costly option is a Ranger XLS. It is available only in 4x4, and with the bigger 3.2-litre diesel.
From September 2018, the XLS comes with the option to upgrade to Ford’s SYNC3 infotainment
interface, which includes satellite-navigation, controlled from an 8.0-inch colour touchscreen. SYNC3 brings digital radio (DAB+), support for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
. You also get front fog-lamps, and 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 volume selling Ranger XLT gets the SYNC3 infotainment and other XLS options as standard. It also has smart keyless entry with push-button start, LED daytime running lights (DRLs), 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.
From September 2018, optional extras for the XLT include the 2.0-litre bi-turbo engine with 10-speed automatic transmission for about $1200, and a Tech Pack ($1700) which, from September 2018 will add active safety features
including autonomous emergency braking
, semi-automatic park assist, traffic sign recognition, adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist and auto-high beam.
Other XLT options include part-leather seats for Double Cab versions, and the bigger 18-inch alloy wheels.
Sitting at the top of the range, the adventurously named Wildtrak gains the Tech Pack’s active safety features as standard, LED front fog-lamps and a power-lock tailgate.
You also get 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, puddle lamps, and other styling tweaks that make it stand out visually.
The 2.0-litre bi-turbo/10-speed auto powertrain will also optional with the Wildtrak from September 2018.
From time to time Ford offers limited-run variations on the above themes. For example, the Ranger FX4 Special Edition, which was a Ranger XLT with leather on the seats, 18-inch wheels, roof rails, and cosmetic adjustments.