First impressions: Ford Ranger 4x2 XLT AT

What does the midrange Ranger have to offer?
by Jason Tulio | Nov 9, 2018
PHOTO: Jason Tulio

There’s been a lot of buzz lately surrounding pickups—in particular, the much-awaited Ford Ranger Raptor and its engine-mate, the new Ranger 4x4 Wildtrak. But for most buyers, the twin-turbos and off-road capability aren’t exactly must-haves. For everyday driving and hauling, something a little less powerful, and not to mention cheaper, is ideal.

During a recent media drive of the new Ranger, we got to spend some wheel time with one of the midrange variants: the 4x2 XLT AT. Having already driven both the Raptor and the 4x4 Wildtrak, we thought it’d be interesting to compare how the XLT stacks up.

First up, what’s missing? For one, this variant has smaller wheels than the Wildtrak, at 17 inches. The result is a look that’s slightly less appealing than the what the top-of-the-line variant offers. It’s worth noting, though, that both the XLT and the Wildtrak have double-wishbones with coil springs up front and leaf springs in the rear. We won’t compare the ride of these variants with that of the Raptor right now—that’s a story on its own. But on the subject of rollers, the XLT’s plain alloys give the pickup a utilitarian vibe. 

On the outside, things like the front grille, the rear bumper, and the door handles are chrome instead of London Gray, which actually makes the pickup look just a bit old-school. Inside, you get a 4.2-inch TFT display equipped with SYNC 1.1. It’s not exactly a flashy setup, but it does come with Bluetooth. The air-conditioning system, meanwhile, is a single-zone manual. Features like hill-start assist, lane-departure warning, and adaptive cruise control have been removed, though you do get standard cruise control. The tiller operates on electric power steering like in the more expensive 4x4 Wildtrak, though the XLT feels heavier to steer.

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As for performance, the XLT runs on an updated 2.2-liter TDCi turbodiesel with 158hp and 385Nm, mated to a six-speed automatic. Yes, six. While the Wildtrak and the Raptor get the new 10-speed, here you’re left with only six gears to work with. In my review of the 4x4 Wildtrak, I noted there’s about a half-second of lag before power kicks in when you put your foot down on the go-pedal. In the XLT, the delay is much more pronounced. It takes the engine a bit of time to hit its optimum range, while the six-speed tranny doesn’t downshift as quickly as you’d hope. The difference is noticeable particularly when overtaking.

Priced at P1,233,000, the XLT AT is over P400,000 cheaper than the 4x4 Wildtrak. While its amenities and performance aren’t on the same level (nor should we expect them to be), its offerings are enough for the average pickup user. After all, it still boasts the same listed payload capacity (1,120kg) as the 4x4, and the same towing capacity (2,500kg) as the other 4x2 variants. 

We’ll have a more comprehensive review of the XLT once a test unit becomes available. What do you think of this midrange Ranger so far? 

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PHOTO: Jason Tulio
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