We took delivery of our Ranger over a month ago now and we have only just racked up a 1,000Klm's, a combination of pre-Christmas chaos and the fact that the vehicle isn't used on a day to day basis meant that putting mileage on the vehicle has alluded us, but what have we found so far?
Well to start with the Ford Ranger XLT is a bloody nice car to drive, the steering is positive with just the right amount of pressure needed on the wheel to let you know you're in control, the brakes are good, plenty of stopping power and good feel not like the spongy set up on the old Prado. The adaptive cruise control is something that takes us one step closer to autonomous vehicles and it took me a little bit of a mindset adjustment to let the car take charge. There are four settings for the distance between you and the car in front and this moves further apart as the vehicle speed increases. Setting the cruise control takes a couple of button presses longer than a normal cruise control in that, first you turn it on and set the speed, like normal but then you have to set the distance between you and the car in front, although I suspect that once you have found a setting you're happy with you wouldn't need to touch this button again. A short drive down the Hume highway was a great chance to test the system and it seems to work very well, I've never really been a fan of 'Cruise' as I do enjoy driving but for sections of road like the Hume highway on double demerit points weekends it will be invaluable. The lane assist function, when set on the mildest of settings, appears to not do much, when you let go of the wheel it will allow the car to drift into the next lane by a fairly significant margin before gently steering the car back to where it should be, in my mind this is a fail but I will test on the stronger setting when I get the chance to do a longer drive.
I haven't done any fuel consumption figures as the car is so new and it's only been running around town, we picked it up with a quarter of a tank in it from the dealership and have put about $150 in it since. Once it's loosened up a bit and we can do some longer trips I'll report on some mileage figures although it would appear at this stage that the standard tank is good for about 750Klm's according to the cars fuel indicator.
One thing that gets a special mention is the Bluetooth handsfree kit, it works so well. My wife was out in the car and I rang her to inform her of the beer emergency at home and could she get more supplies when she informed me that she had already left the shops, I didn't believe her as there was zero sign of the usual background road-noise, well done Ford.
We have fitted some accessories for the vehicle, most of which are very minor. So the first thing we did was install our Hema HN7 navigation system. We've had it for about four years and it works well and one day I'll get around to writing a detailed review on the unit and post it here. One of the annoying things with the unit is the power cable so we used cable ties to tidy it up and attach to certain points on the dash. We also added a dash mat from Super Cheap Autos, it is a super neat fit and cost us $45. Whilst I don't particularly like the look of them they are worth every cent to protect the dash I reckon and as a bonus, they reduce reflections in the windscreen as well as stopping the things that seem to accumulate on the dash on longer trips from sliding around.
The big spend for us so far has been the addition of the ARB Ascent canopy and Rhino Pioneer platform. The Ascent canopy is an extremely well-constructed piece of kit and looks like it was part of the car from the factory, impressive. The Rhino platform is rated to 100kgs in this configuration and it's lower than the vehicles radio antenna so it's no problem fitting inside our garage at home. We have only done about 200 kilometres with canopy and haven't loaded anything on the platform so I can't give much of a review only to repeat myself and say that the build quality is very, very impressive. We can't wait to fit it out and hit the road and I'll be sure to add more about the canopy as it travels with us. Total cost was $6,239.00 which isn't cheap but we didn't want it to look like an add-on. If we had the money we would have gone for a Norweld canopy and tray combo but we just didn't have $30K to drop on it.
We've put our 75 litre Dometic Dual Zone fridge in the back with dual battery chores taken care of by an ArkPak with a 110Ah AGM battery, the ArkPak is powered by the 12-volt outlet that's standard in the tray of the Ranger. We can fit one of our Rhino space cases alongside the fridge which we'll put all of our loose camping items and then can pile our chairs and tables on top.
So far we're very happy with the Ranger and minimal mods that we've done to it, I'll do another review at the 10,000klm mark.