Ford Ranger 2.2 TDCi Automatic – First Drive

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We joined Ford South Africa at a Ride-and-Drive event last week to evaluate its recently introduced Ford Ranger 2.2 TDCi automatic derivatives. Is the Ranger 2.2 TDCi automatic any good? Let’s find out!

Last week we published specs and pricing for the newly introduced Ford Ranger 2.2 TDCi automatic derivatives and we had the chance to drive the newcomers near Mossel Bay in the Western Cape.

Ford South Africa hosted the event at the scenic Pinnacle Point Estate, flanking the Indian Ocean with green hills and mountains painting a lush scene. The popularity of automatic vehicles is on the rise in South Africa as consumers seek the benefits of comfort and convenience for the commute and long-haul journeys. Ford has responded to this trend by adding 9 new automatic derivatives to its 2.2 TDCi Ranger line-up across single cab, super cab and double cab body styles. Interestingly, the Ranger 2.2 TDCi single cab automatic is currently the only automatic single cab offering available in South Africa...

Sand, sand and more sand


The Ford Ranger 2.2 TDCi 4x4 XLS automatic had no problem negotiating soft sand and steep dunes.

Our launch route started in the mid-spec Ranger 2.2 TDCi 4x4 XLS and we made our way to a scenic 4x4 track tucked away in rolling sand dunes near Boggoms Bay. We found that the Ranger 2.2 TDCi double cab drove very well on tar (by virtue of its pliant ride quality) and the automatic transmission operates unobtrusively to make the best of the 118 kW and 385 Nm of torque. Although not as powerful as the 3.2-litre 5-cylinder turbodiesel (147 kW and 470 Nm of torque), the 2.2 TDCi performs admirably with good power delivery and overtaking ability.

It was on the undulating sand dunes where the Ranger 2.2 TDCi automatic would face its toughest test. With the tyres suitably deflated to tackle the soft sand, we traversed the 4x4 track. All 4x4 models feature an electronic transfer case that allows the driver to easily select between 2H, 4H and 4L as required. If more traction is required, the differential lock can be engaged at the press of a button, but we didn’t need it, as low-range was sufficient.


Tough conditions were no match for the Ranger 2.2 TDCi 4x4 XLS automatic as it glided over the sand dunes with ease.

The Ranger 2.2 TDCi 4x4 XLS glided over the sand with utter confidence and despite the presence of some steep sand dunes, the Ranger felt completely at home in this terrain.

This particular Ranger 2.2 TDCi 4x4 XLS is reasonably specced with features such as  4 airbags, electronic stability programme (ESP), traction control, hill launch assist, hill descent control, cruise control, towbar, electronic transfer case and 16-inch alloy wheels. The interior includes electric windows, multifunction steering wheel, manual air conditioning, Ford SYNC with 6 speakers, CD player, a 4.2-inch colour TFT screen and USB and auxiliary ports.

Dirt road domination


The Ford Ranger 2.2 TDCi 4x2 XLT automatic displayed superb road manners and ride quality on dirt roads was good.

After playing in the sand, we travelled some 70 km to our lunch destination at Jakkalsvlei Winery near Herbertsdale. The afternoon drive took place in the high-spec Ranger 2.2 TDCi 4x2 XLT double cab, which offered higher levels of comfort thanks to leather seats, dual climate control, SYNC2 connectivity and (the larger) 8.2-inch TFT infotainment display. A pair of USB ports are included as standard and this model rides on 17-inch wheels.

This part of the launch route comprised a dirt road course that winded endlessly through the farmlands surrounding George. We were impressed by how composed the Ranger felt on the unsealed surface. It soaked up bumps and ruts with aplomb and delivered a ride quality that was so comfortable that it was difficult to believe that a bakkie could feel as refined. The 6-speed automatic transmission further added to the stress-free nature of the drive. Eventually, dirt roads gave way to tar and the Ranger muscled through the breathtakingly beautiful Outeniqua Pass and delivered us safely to George Airport.


The Ford Ranger 2.2 TDCi double cab offers good performance and returns acceptable fuel consumption figures.

Summary

After driving the Ranger 2.2 TDCi 4x4 XLS and 4x2 XLT automatic, we declare the Ranger 2.2 TDCi automatic well worth considering. The engine performs well on the open road and particularly on the dirt – it didn’t feel sluggish, nor underpowered. It would seem that this 2.2-litre turbodiesel is well matched to the 6-speed automatic transmission, making it a solid proposition if you are looking for a capable automatic double cab. Moreover, the ride quality in the Ranger 2.2 TDCi is to be admired, it's easy to understand why the Ranger sells so well in South Africa. 

Fuel efficiency is another reason to choose the 2.2-litre turbodiesel over the 3.2-litre turbodiesel offering. On our launch route, we were averaging around 9.2 L/100km, which could have been improved with more diligence. Ford claims 8.1 L/100 km for the Ranger 2.2 4x4 XLS automatic and 7.5 L/100 km for the Ranger 2.2 4x2 XLT automatic. Comparatively, in our recent test of the Ford Ranger 3.2 Wildtrak 4x4 automatic, we achieved no better than 11.0 L/100 km.

If you don’t need the extra power and torque offered by the 3.2-litre Ranger derivatives, then the 2.2 TDCi automatic derivatives strike a better balance between performance and economy. We should have the Ford Ranger 2.2 TDCI automatic double cab on test soon, so look out for a thorough evaluation. 

Ford Ranger 2.2 TDCi Automatic – Price in South Africa

Single Cab

Ford Ranger 2.2 TDCi Single Cab 4x2 XL Auto – R311 900
Ford Ranger 2.2 TDCi Single Cab 4x4 XLS Auto – R426 900

Super Cab

Ford Ranger 2.2 TDCi Super Cab 4x2 XL Auto – R357 900
Ford Ranger 2.2 TDCi Super Cab 4x2 XLS Auto – R411 900
Ford Ranger 2.2 TDCi Super Cab 4x4 XLS – R472 900

Double Cab

Ford Ranger 2.2 TDCi Double Cab 4x2 XL – R384 900
Ford Ranger 2.2 TDCi Double Cab 4x4 XL – R426 900
Ford Ranger 2.2 TDCi Double Cab 4x2 XLT – R482 900
Ford Ranger 2.2 TDCi Double Cab 4x4 XLS – R517 900

All derivatives come with a 4-year/120 000 km comprehensive warranty, a 5-year/100 000 km service plan (all but base models, on which it is optional), a 5-year/unlimited km corrosion warranty, as well as 3-year/unlimited km roadside assistance plan. 

Related Ford Ranger content:

Ford Ranger 3.2 4x4 Wildtrak (2016) Review
Ford Ranger 3.2 XLT (2016) Review
2016 Ford Ranger-5-Things You Need To Know (Video)
In-Depth Comparison: New Hilux vs Ranger vs KB vs Amarok (video)
Toyota Hilux vs Ford Ranger vs Isuzu KB vs Volkswagen Amarok (2016) Comparative Review
Drag Race: Hilux vs Ranger vs Amarok vs KB
2016 Toyota Hilux vs Ford Ranger – Offroad & Review

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