Ford Ranger XLT – Making sure there are no regrets

Remember when we were in school? I don’t know about you but I roll my eyes when “fill in the blanks” show up in quizzes. The same eyes light up whenever it’s a multiple choice type exam. I’m bad with memorization so having choices helps me narrow down the correct answer. Now that I’m older, the same still holds true in my decision making, such as for cars.

Variants exist to give us choices depending on different criteria – wants, needs, and budget. Too little and the consumer might feel restricted and doubtful if he’s getting the best deal out of the car. Have too much and it becomes complicated, like with the Ford Ranger that has 14 variants to choose from. Imagine if the iPhone has 14 variants. Yes, it could be complicated.

Lucky for you, the Ford Ranger XLT is here to make things easier. It’s not the cheapest of the bunch at P1,330,000 but it is a pretty well-rounded truck.

There’s no qualms with the exterior of this pickup. The design leans toward the casual end of the meter. It doesn’t have as much flair or swag that its more expensive brothers or competitors have but simplicity was utilized well in that it has more than enough. There are projector headlights and fog lights, power folding side mirrors, 17-inch blacked out rims, a step board, and a bedliner at the back. Ford made sure that function complemented the simplicity.

I like how Ford retained the play of textures inside the XLT despite being on the entry-level side of the lineup. There’s the feel of the fabric upholstery, the textured plastic on the center console, armrest, and door panels, then there are the smooth bits of silver on the dashboard, door handles, and steering wheel. They’re not truly premium but it’s nice that they’ve considered a mix and match with these areas to break the monotony of the black pieces.

The Ranger XLT has just enough amenities for the daily drive. There’s a small trip computer between the gauges, 8-inch touchscreen with Apple and Android, Cruise Control, and Rear Parking Sensors among others. Some will look for a rear camera but hey, we’ll take what we can. Besides, they’re enough for the everyday drive in and out of the city.

What it lacks in interior amenities, the Ranger makes up for once you’re out on the road. It’s very obedient to the driver in terms of handling. The brakes bite only as eager as your pressure, while the throttle is easy to control despite the torque of the engine. Steering isn’t heavy at all and makes 2- and 3-point turns very easy. If anything, I’d say only the suspension needs a bit of improvement. It takes road imperfections at the expense of bouncing. Even the small bumps of EDSA are felt but not jarring. Where it is advantageous is in uneven terrain like the deep road ruts of North Caloocan. With the proper approach and speed, you won’t feel any harshness and you won’t be swaying from side to side harshly.

The cabin isolation of this pickup is also noteworthy. It helps elevate the driving experience of the Ranger since you won’t hear much noise from the traffic, trucks, and motorcycles. You can hear the engine for sure, but just enough to appreciate its grunt, and not really disturb the conversation.

But what I like best about it is the ergonomics of the front seats. My girlfriend and I had a whole day of driving with it, from one place to another for a total of around 300km and there wasn’t much fatigue on our bodies. It’s especially outstanding for me because after bringing her home to Bulacan, I had to go back to QC and that 50km drive home is one of the smoothest I had. I was even able to do some writing jobs afterwards.

During my time with it, the Ranger XLT yielded 9km/l in the city while out on the highway, it returned 14 km/l. It’s not as efficient on the highways but I like that it’s not chugging its fuel when inside the city.

At P1,330,000, the Ford Ranger XLT AT is the no-brainer choice for the confused and doubtful. It’s not as bare, but still very affordable without compromising on modern basics. There’s not much to brag about when compared to its more expensive brothers like the FX4, Wildtrak, and Raptor, but it has its own hints of excellence. On paper, it’s just on par with the competition that is until you get on the driver’s seat and out on the road. Its value isn’t apparent at first but it will make sure there are no regrets once it’s in your garage. Besides, with the incoming next-generation Ranger having a higher price tag, a package like this won’t be in this price point again.

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