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Ford Ranger 2.0 load and tow test review

By Fraser Stronach | Photos: Ellen Dewar, 21 Apr 2019 Reviews

2019 Ford Ranger 2.0 load and tow test review feature

A 2.0-litre bi-turbo-diesel with more power and torque than the Ranger’s 3.2 is now offered with the XLT and Wildtrak.

OF ALL THE changes to the 2019 Ford Ranger, the introduction of the new 157kW 500Nm 2.0-litre bi-turbo diesel and its 10-speed auto is by far the most significant.

This new ‘little’ engine brings cutting-edge diesel engine technology and a little more power and torque to a ute that, ironically, is much loved for having a ‘big’ 3.2-litre old-school diesel. How the new engine is received in the marketplace will be interesting.

Currently the bi-turbo engine and 10-speed auto (there’s no manual with this engine) is an option for XLT and Wildtrak 4x4s (and XLT 4x2) but will no doubt become more common throughout the line-up as time goes on.

When the next-gen Ranger arrives in a couple of years’ time, it could well be the standard ‘default’ engine. Those holding out hope a VW 3.0-litre V6 will be in the next-gen Ranger, given it will be a partnership development with VW, might be disappointed.

Certainly we like what we’ve seen with this new engine so far: it powered Ford’s Ranger Raptor to a 4X4 Of The Year win, with the Ranger XLT finishing second. It was also more responsive, quieter and more refined when driven back-to-back with the 3.2 when not towing or load hauling, thanks in part to its 10-speed ’box.

Ford Ranger 2.0 General Load & Tow

LOADING sand bags into the 2.0-litre Ranger and hooking up the trailer saw rear suspension drop about the same as the 3.2; as you’d expect with the same leaf springs, even if damper tune is variant-specific.

Once underway there’s also the same good steering, ride and chassis stability of the 3.2 when hauling the test load. There may be some subtle changes in the dampers and the front springs to cover for the slightly lighter weight of the 2.0-litre powertrain, but chassis-wise the two feel much the same, namely very good, with the 3144kg GCM load and tow increase.

The two powertrains, though, have a completely different feel and perform quite differently when lugging the extra load. The 2.0-litre is more refined but constantly needs more revs to do the same job, and it shuffles up and down the gears more frequently.

It does this partly because there are more gears, but also because of the 2.0-litre’s tall final drive gearing, taller in fact (3.31 v 3.73) than what’s behind the 3.2. That means the engine didn’t pick up the two top gears very often on undulating country roads, which contributes to the shuffling when it does change up but soon needs to shift back down again.

Ford Ranger 2.0 Steep Gradient Load & Tow

THE 2.0-litre bi-turbo’s 157kW and 500Nm should give it the edge over all but the two V6s, but once faced with hauling the additional 3144kg GCM up the steep climb the on-paper advantage evaporated.

In fact, the 2.0-litre recorded the slowest times up the hill, even if it wasn’t far behind the Colorado, and it never really felt happy. Up the steep incline it struggled to gain any sort of decent momentum and shuffled back and forth between the gears, the gear ratios seemingly wider than what you’d imagine. Not much joy coming down either, as the engine provides far less engine braking than the others.

Heavy testing done on 2019 Tow Test

Ford Ranger 2.0 Tow Test Results

Towing Capacity: 3500kg
Towball Download (max): 350kg
Payload: 954kg

2019 FORD RANGER 2.0 WILDTRAK SPECS:
Engine:
 2.0-litre 4-cyl bi-turbo diesel
Max power: 157kW @ 3750rpm
Max torque: 500Nm @ 1750-2000rpm
Transmission: 10-speed auto
4x4 system: Dual-range part-time
Kerb weight: 2246kg
Fuel tank capacity: 80 litres
ADR fuel consumption: 7.4L/100km

2019 FORD RANGER 4x4 2.0 PRICES*
XLT 4x4 $59,790 
WILDTRAK (auto) $64,490 
*Not including on-road costs