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Tough and smart

FORD is combining brawn with brains in its Ranger fleet, a combination of power and safety seen particularly in the 4WD XL double cab.

You could call this the entry-level Ranger but that would be doing it a disservice. While it might not have some of the finer touches of its fellow Rangers it has all the goods where it really matters.

A no-frills approach means the XL double cab has things like vinyl flooring, much more practical than carpet.

There are steel wheels, much more practical than alloys because you don’t have to fear rubbing them against a kerb.

The vehicle has tie-downs on both the inside and outside of the tray plus a ladder for high loads, which can be easily removed if necessary.

It also has the key attributes that have carried the Ranger to the top of ute sales for the past two years and sees them leading again this year.

That all starts with the 3.2 litre diesel engine with 147kW of power at 3000 rpm and 470 Nm of torque available between 1500 and 2750 rpm, all delivered through a six-speed manual transmission.

That gives the capacity to tow a 3500kg braked trailer, perfect for getting the gear to the work site. Incidentally, there is trailer-sway mitigation to prevent the trailer swinging around.

This is a vehicle that is meant to be the perfect companion for the working man and the four-wheel-drive system is perfectly aligned for that.

Four-wheel-drive high range can be engaged on the fly and the low 4WD can tackle any ground conditions. The Ranger also has a differential lock.

It offers comfort to the driver as we go through that time of year when roads can get frosty or icy, not to mention covered in surface water.

It is backed up by useful features such as downhill assist, and hill start assist which gives the driver a valuable four or five seconds before the vehicle begins to roll downhill.

Braking assist and an electronic stability programme have carried the Ford Ranger to Euro and ANCAP five-star ratings.

A high ride allows the Ranger to plough through 800mm of water — useful if you take your boat somewhere where there is no ramp.

The big double cab will comfortably seat three full-size adults in the rear, thanks to things like an elevated roof line.

A six-footer’s knees can be comfortably kept off the back of the seat in front. It is perfect for getting the working team and all their gear to where they are needed.

That cab is a comfortable place to be, with the full Sync1 programme, air conditioning, Bluetooth and MP3 connectivity and a six-speaker audio system.

You could call this a workman’s special, the ultimate and practical hard worker that exemplifies the Ranger’s motto of tough done smarter.