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2019 Ford Ranger 3.2 load and tow test review

By Fraser Stronach | Photos: Ellen Dewar, 20 Apr 2019 Reviews

2019 Ford Ranger 3.2 load and tow test review: Tow Test 2019

Despite the presence of the two European V6 utes, the Ranger 3.2 still has the largest capacity engine here.

THE 2019 FORD RANGER 3.2 we have here is a 2019 model and, while the 147kW/470Nm five-cylinder diesel and six-speed automatic remains largely unchanged, there are a host of updates including keyless entry and start, a new feature for Ranger. Being a Wildtrak, our test vehicle has autonomous braking (including pedestrian detection); although, this feature is now also optional on the volume-selling XLT.

All MY19 Rangers come with a revised suspension package that offers a more comfortable ride, something we previously noticed when driving various MY19 models including a 3.2. Interestingly, the MY19 suspension changes are claimed to bring improved towing and load carrying performance.

In previous heavy duty tow and load testing the Ranger 3.2’s powertrain and chassis both proved to be top performers.

Ford Ranger 3.2 General Load & Tow

LOADING the 450kg of sand bags into the back of the 3.2 and then hooking up the loaded trailer saw the 3.2’s rear suspension drop by 70mm, the same as the Ranger 2.0 and Amarok, but a little more than the Colorado and D-Max, both of which have less overall suspension travel at the rear via their shared platforms.

Once underway the Ranger’s nicely tuned electric power steering (EPS), which is very light for slow-speed manoeuvring, offers a positive and connected feel once up to highway speeds. The general chassis stability with the carried and towed loads is good, too, as it has always been with the Ranger. 

Whether it’s better than it was before the MY19 suspension revision is hard to say without towing the same load behind a MY18 and an MY19 back-to-back. Either way, there’s little to complain about.

As expected, the ‘big’ 3.2-litre engine puts in a strong towing performance, thanks in part to its maximum power being on tap at just 3000rpm, that’s lower than any of the other utes here. Outside of the two V6s, the 3.2 proved to be the most effortless engine when carrying and towing the test load, and it never felt to be working all that hard. The fact the gearing isn’t overly tall helps the engine hold the taller gears on undulating and winding roads. Good shift quality and timing, too, from the six-speed ZF automatic.

The MY19 3.2 is a little quieter than before, though still not a notably quiet engine. And while its five-cylinder design sounds odd and potentially unbalanced, it’s very smooth in general running.

4x4 of the Year 2019: Ranger XLT review

Ford Ranger 3.2 Steep Gradient Load & Tow

THE 3.2 continued to shine up and down our steep test incline. On the way up it covered the climb more quickly than all but the two V6s, and it wasn’t as far behind the Mercedes-Benz as you’d expect from the notable difference in the on-paper power and torque outputs.

All the way up the hill it happily slogged away between 2500 and 3000rpm without any unnecessary shuffling between gears, just decisive changes when needed. It arguably had the best engine braking, too, on the way down, no doubt due in part to having the largest capacity engine.

Pulling the numbers on 2019 Tow Test

Ford Ranger 3.2 Tow Test Results

Towing Capacity: 3500kg
Towball Download (max): 350kg
Payload: 922kg

2019 FORD RANGER 3.2 WILDTRAK SPECS:
Engine:
 3.2-litre 5-cyl turbo diesel
Max power: 147kW @ 3000rpm
Max torque: 470Nm @ 1750-2500rpm
Transmission: 6-speed auto
4x4 system: Dual-range part-time
Kerb weight: 2278kg
Fuel tank capacity: 80 litres
ADR fuel consumption: 8.9L/100km

2019 FORD RANGER 4x4 3.2 PRICES*
XL 4x4 DC/PU (auto) $50,090 
XLS 4x4 DC/PU (auto) $51,391 
XLT 4x4 DC/PU (auto) $58,290 
WILDTRAK (auto) $62,990 
*Not including on-road costs