Ford Philippines now has Ranger variants with the 2.0-liter Turbo and Biturbo diesel engines under the hood. Those were the Wildtrak 4x2 and 4x4, as well as the Ranger Raptor. Those are serious trucks for committed off-road drivers who also want to go beyond the city streets. So, what about those who just want an urban workhorse that may not be as powerful as the aforementioned trims but can it still do the job?
Enter the 2019 Ford Ranger XLT 4x2 AT, Ranger’s mid-range variant. I know it does not have that 2.0-liter turbo nor the biturbo engine. And I also know that if I’m going to buy this specific variant, I will not look forward to doing the same stuff a Wildtrak or Ranger Raptor owner would do with their truck. Now, here’s my honest opinion about the 2019 Ranger XLT 4x2 AT.
Before I even begin, let me disclose by saying the exterior design of the XLT AT isn’t that exciting. Maybe it was eye-catching back in 2015 but it's the 2019 variant we're talking about here. On that note, the XLT AT doesn’t have the new look to it; it still adopts the look of the previous model – though there’s minimal tweaking on the grille. It even has chrome accents scattered around the exterior, which is one of my pet peeves when it comes to cars.
The front fascia features standard projector headlamps and fog lamps, expected downgrades from the higher variants’ HID headlamps and LED fog lamps. Sorry, no daytime running lights (DRL) on either the automatic and manual variants. Unfortunately, you also don’t get a few more good stuff like the hood sports bar, roof rails, bed rails, dual front, and rear tow hooks, which are all present on the higher-end models.
Also, the wheels are smaller on the XLT compared to the higher variants; 17-inch alloys to be exact – not the smallest ones, however, as the XLS has a set of 16 inches. Anything else is pretty much the same if you’re to compare it with the 4x2 Wildtrak; the dimensions, towing and payload capacity, as well as ground clearance.
When I first got inside the Ranger XLT, I was expecting to find lower-spec features, which is only a logical thing to assume. There is, at least, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and gear knob. The seats, unfortunately for some, are wrapped in fabric, which I already expected to see. The driver seat can be manually adjusted six ways, while the passenger seat can be adjusted forward, backward, left, and right.
In case your rear passengers need to charge their phones, there’s a 12-volt socket on the back of the center storage. The bench-type rear seat also features a rear center armrest that comes with two cup holders. I just kind of miss things like push-start button, 230-volt socket, and illuminated door handles found inside the cabin of the Wildtrak 4x2 AT.
Entertainment is far from the 8-inch TFT touchscreen display on its bigger brothers. The XLT AT only has 4.2-inch TFT display, which takes away much of the good stuff. That’s not all. While the higher variants feature the SYNC 3 system, this particular variant only has the SYNC 1.1. The good thing is that the entire Ranger lineup comes with Bluetooth and steering controls. Oh, get this, the truck has rain-sensing wipers so you don’t have to switch it on manually when it pours.
Driving and Handling
Honestly, the pulling power is obviously less than what I’ve experienced with the Wildtrak. Though you may really feel the difference if you’ve driven the higher trims, the power on the XLT is still sufficient enough. Unlike the top-range variant, which has a locking rear differential, the XLT comes with a standard rear differential, although it has the same double wishbone with coil front suspension and leaf spring rear suspension system as with the Wildtrak.
Knowing that there are no differences in the suspension, as well as the weight and dimensions of the Wildtrak and the XLT, bounciness is minimal to the point where you can’t tell if there’s a difference. Handling was pretty much the same, too; light and on-point. The only difference is that the engine under the hood of the XLT is a 2.2-liter TDCI diesel engine, which is capable of 158 hp and 385 Nm of torque. That explains the outright difference in pulling power, especially when overtaking from low speed.
I was able to put its power and suspension to test when I was asked to load an actual hospital bed. The hospital bed was transported to a patient close to the family of my girlfriend less than a kilometer from the community hospital. The pickup bed was able to fit the unfolded hospital bed perfectly, which was secured by two hospital workers and the mechanical locks it had. It was an overwhelming experience as I got to help, at the same time witness the Ranger XLT’s capability.
There are only two airbags in the cabin, which are the dual front airbags. There is a standard cruise control which has an adjustable speed limiter – of course, if you’re into safety, observing your speed is one of the things you should do. The odd thing, however, is it doesn’t have driver and passenger seatbelt reminder. Among the other basic features the XLT lacks are hill-start assist and electronic stability control.
For parents with infants, there are ISOFIX anchorages on the rear seat, perfect for baby car seats now that it’s an active law in the Philippines. It also comes standard with a volumetric burglar alarm system, anti-lock braking system (ABS), and childproof door locks.
An average 80 to 90 km/h run on the expressway on Valentine’s Day clocked in 17.8 km/L on the fuel economy meter. That’s a combination of aggressive and calm driving, as I was carrying a bouquet of bacon that needed to be delivered in its best form. A snail-paced drive around the provincial city and our village gave me a reading of 11.9 km/L, which I can say is still decent. It’s only a few numbers behind the 4x2 Wildtrak, isn’t that a good thing?
The 2019 Ford Ranger XLT 4x2 AT retails at P1,233,000. That’s P222,000 less than the price tag of the Wildtrak 4x2 AT. You may check out the spec battle on AutoDeal’s comparison page to see the significant differences at the cost of a P222,000 price difference. I can say it’s fairly priced based on the features. People may find the low-spec features a big deal but if we compare it to some of its rivals in the market, it does have advantages that makeup to its price, such as rear parking sensors, cruise control, and that rain-sensing wiper.