2024 Ford Ranger Sport V6 review - SUV VEHICLE

2024 Ford Ranger Sport V6 review


Ford’s Ranger has proven popular with Australians, but is it worth stretching the budget to a Sport V6? Tung Nguyen finds out.

2024 Ford Ranger Sport V6

Ford’s Ranger was Australia’s most popular nameplate in 2023, with more Aussies snapping up the Blue Oval-badged workhorse than the evergreen Toyota HiLux and value-packed Isuzu D-Max.

But with four powertrain options available across 25 variants, it can be hard to pick exactly what the right engine is for your needs.

On paper, the mid-spec Sport promises the best balance between equipment and price, but does engine size really matter, and is it worth shelling out more for the V6 over the 2.0-litre diesel?

How much is a Ford Ranger?

Ford’s Ranger line-up kicks off from as little as $36,880 before on-road costs for the 4×2 XL Single Cab Chassis, and extends all the way up to the $89,190 Raptor flagship.

On test this week, however, is the mid-spec Sport fitted with a turbo-diesel V6 power plant, exclusively available in dual-cab, 4×4 form with a 10-speed automatic.

This sits above the XL, XLS, and XLT, but below the Wildtrak, Platinum, and Raptor.

Pricing for the test car starts at $70,090, but the Sport can also be had with a 2.0-litre twin-turbo-diesel for $65,890, both before on-road costs.

And it’s a lot of money to spend on a mid-spec ute.

Consider that the top-spec Isuzu D-Max X-Terrain is more affordable at $67,500 (with a $64,990 drive-away offer currently), while the off-road-enhanced, automatic Nissan Navara Pro-4X Warrior is close at $70,765 plus on-road costs.

However, the Ranger Sport V6’s nearest competitor is likely the Toyota HiLux Rogue Double Cab, now offered with a 48-volt system priced at $71,530 plus on-road costs.

Still, the Ranger Sport V6 has a unique selling point in the crowded dual-cab ute market, and that is two extra cylinders compared with rivals from Toyota, Nissan, Mitsubishi, Mazda, Isuzu, SsangYong, and LDV.

The only other dual-cab ute to offer V6 grunt is the related Volkswagen Amarok priced from $70,990 plus on-road costs for the Style grade with the same engine (or a current $72,990 drive-away deal).

For the money, buyers of the Ford Ranger Sport V6 score a bevy of unique equipment to stand it apart from the rest of the ute line-up, including a matte-silver bumper accent, blacked-out front grille, unique 18-inch alloy wheels with machined-faces, and an Ebony-coloured interior.

This is on top of the standard gear available on lower grade, which extends to LED headlights, a sports bar, wireless smartphone charger, dual-zone climate control, and 10.1-inch infotainment touchscreen.

Our test car also came fitted with the $700 Meteor Grey prestige paint, and the $1650 Touring Pack that bundles a surround-view monitor, zone lighting, integrated brake controller, cargo management system, and six overhead auxiliary switches.

No matter how you slice it, a $70,000 ute is expensive, especially when considering you can get full-on flagship utes at this price point, but at least this Ranger offers a big point of difference with its V6 power plant.

Key details 2024 Ford Ranger Sport
Price $70,090 plus on-road costs
Colour of test car Meteor Grey
Options Touring Pack – $1650
– Surround-view monitor
– Puddle lamps on exterior mirrors
– Four zone lighting
– Auxiliary switch pack
– Cargo management system
– Pro Trailer Backup Assist
Prestige paint – $700
Price as tested $72,440 plus on-road costs
Drive-away price $79,730 (Melbourne)
Rivals Isuzu D-Max | Toyota HiLux | Nissan Navara

How big is a Ford Ranger?

Ford’s Ranger affords a lot of space for passengers on the inside, both in the front seats and second row.

With wide and plush seats up front, the Ranger is well suited for long-distance driving without fatiguing occupants, while the 8.0-inch digital instrument cluster is clear and concise with information.

I’d like to see more customisation options available for the driver’s display, though, which is only able to cycle through basic readouts like fuel consumption, audio output, and the like.

Everything in the front row is also laid out in an easy-to-reach, ergonomic fashion, ranging from the placement of the cupholders next to the shifter to the large door pockets that can easily accommodate large bottles.

One tricky thing that new owners might need to become accustomed to are the door handles, which aren’t the traditional pull-to-open type, but require gripping and squeezing the handle embedded in the armrest. It’s not a big change, but does make it hard to exit the vehicle if you have your hands full.

Storage options are also aplenty in the front seats of a Ranger, with a deep underarm storage cubby, a wireless smartphone tray, and a smaller shelf for things like wallets and keys.

Sadly, the Sport misses out on the pop-out cupholders found in the Wildtrak and Raptor variants, but the Sport does feature a small stowage space in the dashboard that will fit small items.

In the rear seats, space is also generous, and I can easily fit my six-foot-tall (183cm) frame behind my driving position.

There are plenty of places to empty your pockets thanks to back-seat map pockets, door pockets, and a fold-down centre armrest.

However, keep in mind that putting child seats into this dual-cab ute is still far from painless.

The fabric loop top-tether point is, luckily, a thing of the past, but it is still very annoying to fold forward the rear backrest enough with a car seat in place to access the solid metal anchorage points.

This is true of all dual-cab utes at present, but it is certainly something to consider for families that might gravitate towards a Ranger Sport V6 as their do-it-all vehicle of choice.

And if you aren’t fitting child seats in the second row, the base can also fold up to reveal a hidden storage area to keep valuable items away from prying eyes.

Moving to the tray, Ford’s clever rear side step is a genius addition to make it easier to clamber in and out of the Ranger.

However, the open tray means no protection for prams, groceries, tools, and anything else you might lug around, so a cover would be essential for those that would use a Ranger Sport V6 for daily duties.

Still, for tradies or adventure-seeking buyers, there are a number of handy features in the tray such as a 12-volt socket, tie-down points, cupholders on the tailgate, and load-box lighting to make things a little easier.

It also measures 1468mm long with a 1393mm wide rear opening, making it big enough to fit a full-sized pallet, though keep in mind that sports bar will mean you won’t be able to push tall items all the way to the front of the tray.

2024 Ford Ranger Sport
Seats Five
Tub volume 1464mm long
1520mm wide
525mm high
Length 5370mm
Width 1918mm
Height 1886mm
Wheelbase 3270mm

Does the Ford Ranger have Apple CarPlay and Android Auto?

Equipped with a 10.1-inch infotainment touchscreen, the Ford Ranger Sport is able to output both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto wirelessly.

Pairing nicely with this is the wireless smartphone charger tucked just under the infotainment screen.

However, for those that don’t want to use their mobile data, the system features built-in satellite navigation, as well as digital radio.

For the most part, the software feels fast and snappy, able to move between different functions without much fuss, but on occasion there is a bit of lag or slow-down as the system tries to catch up with what you want to do.

The Ranger can also be paired with the FordPass Connect smartphone app, which allows remote vehicle monitoring and location data to be seen from your mobile.

Is the Ford Ranger a safe car?

The Ford Ranger boasts a maximum five-star ANCAP safety score from testing in 2022, with the rating set to expire at the end of 2028.

Though the 84 per cent result in the adult occupant protection test puts the Ranger behind the Toyota HiLux, Isuzu D-Max and Mazda BT-50 twins, GWM Ute, and even its platform-sharing Volkswagen Amarok Cousin, it and the Amarok are the highest-scoring models for child occupant protection (93 per cent) in the ute class.

Rounding out the Ranger’s crash-test results is a 74 per cent for the vulnerable road user protection test, and 83 per cent for the safety assist category.

2024 Ford Ranger Sport
ANCAP rating Five stars (tested 2022)
Safety report Link to ANCAP report

What safety technology does the Ford Ranger have?

The current-generation Ranger comes with a long list of standard safety equipment, headlined by the range-wide inclusion of a pre-collision warning system with autonomous emergency braking (AEB).

Also available on every new Ranger is lane-keep assist, a reverse-view camera, lane-departure warning, and adaptive cruise control, keeping the ute’s safety equipment more in line with passenger cars than other light-commercial vehicles.

Stepping up to the pick-up version of the base XL adds rear parking sensors, blind-spot monitoring, and rear cross-traffic alert, while the-next-grade-up XLS scores front parking sensors.

As for the XLT, lane-centring assist and traffic sign recognition are added to the list of safety equipment, while the adaptive cruise control is upgraded to include stop-and-go functionality.

Our Sport-grade test car fitted with the Touring Pack adds a surround-view monitor and integrated brake controller to its safety equipment list, but both are added as standard from the Wildtrak variants and up.

I found the surround-view monitor a handy addition in my time with the car, helping squeeze the hulking Ranger into the tighter carpark spaces of Melbourne’s inner city, and didn’t experience any annoying hiccups with the AEB or lane-keep assist systems.

Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) Yes Includes cyclist, junction and pedestrian detection
Adaptive Cruise Control Yes Includes traffic jam assist
Blind Spot Alert Yes Alert only
Rear Cross-Traffic Alert Yes Alert and assist functions
Lane Assistance Yes Lane-departure warning, lane-keep assist, lane-centring assist
Road Sign Recognition Yes Includes speed limit assist
Driver Attention Warning Yes Includes fatigue monitor
Cameras & Sensors Yes Front and rear sensors, surround-view monitor

How much does the Ford Ranger cost to run?

The Ford Ranger, like all new Ford models, comes with a five-year/unlimited-kilometre warranty, with roadside assist over that period of time when servicing occurs through a participating dealer.

The scheduled service intervals for a turbo-diesel V6-powered Ford Ranger are every 15,000km or 12 months, whichever occurs first.

The first four services, or four years, are capped at $379 each, while the fifth maintenance interval is $420, meaning the first five years or 75,000km of ownership will set buyers back $1936.

This makes the Ranger more expensive to maintain than a Toyota HiLux Rogue ($1450), but more affordable than a Mitsubishi Triton ($2445) over five years.

Of note, Ford Australia also offers a loan car when yours is in for a service, meaning you should always have, in theory, a means of transportation.

A comprehensive insurance premium for the Ranger Sport V6 is about $2132 based on a comparative quote for a 35-year-old male driver living in Chatswood, NSW. Insurance estimates may vary based on your location, driving history, and personal circumstances.

This compares against $1969 for the Mitsubishi Triton and $2023 for the Toyota HiLux Rogue.

At a glance 2024 Ford Ranger Sport
Warranty Five years, unlimited km
Service intervals 12 months or 15,000km
Servicing costs $1137 (3 years)
$1936 (5 years)

Is the Ford Ranger fuel-efficient?

Officially, the Ford Ranger Sport V6 returns a fuel economy figure of 8.4 litres per 100 kilometres, but in my week with the car I averaged 11.3L/100km.

To be fair, the majority of my driving was during peak-hour commutes and short runs to childcare to drop off the kids and back.

The city consumption figure for the Ranger V6 is 10.0L/100km, putting it closer to our number, but still far from the expected efficiency.

Fuel efficiency 2024 Ford Ranger Sport
Fuel cons. (claimed) 8.4L/100km
Fuel cons. (on test) 11.3L/100km
Fuel type Diesel
Fuel tank size 80L

What is the Ford Ranger like to drive?

If you’ve driven any ute in the last 20 years, you may expect all of them to feel dated, slow, and rough around the edges. But the Ford Ranger throws those expectations out the window.

The big piece of this puzzle lies with the 3.0-litre turbo-diesel V6, which offers a level of tractability and performance that is rare to see in a workhorse.

With a sizeable 184kW/600Nm at its disposal, the Ranger Sport V6 isn’t supercar quick – it does weigh 2258kg (tare) after all – but the step up in grunt is appreciated.

For reference, the V6 has a higher output than even the much-lauded previous-generation Ranger Raptor, which made 157kW/500Nm from a 2.0-litre twin-turbo-diesel that is now in service (albeit detuned to 154kW/500Nm) across most of the new Ranger line-up.

As a whole, acceleration feels much more effortless than the often laboured, growly diesels found in other utes (and lower-spec grades), and the sizeable 600Nm of torque on tap from 1750–2250rpm also makes towing and hauling much easier – at least according to previous tests.

The Ranger Sport V6 is especially at home cruising down the freeway, pottering along in a high gear with the revs kept down, but also holds its own around town.

This is largely thanks to a smart-shifting 10-speed automatic, which never gets in the way of the driving experience and is rarely caught out with the wrong ratio.

Don’t get me wrong, it is possible if you are unpredictable with the throttle – for example, in quick acceleration and sudden braking scenarios – but if you drive smoothly, the transmission will be equally trouble-free.

Another key element to the Ranger’s driving appeal is the direct steering and well-calibrated suspension. Often times, a ute’s steering can feel vague and disconnected, while the suspension bounces around without a load in the rear.

However, the Ranger Sport V6 feels connected and communicative – akin more to an SUV than a leaf-sprung tradie tool.

Of course, it’s not perfect.

The cabin, and occupants inside, will encounter bumps and jolts when driving over uneven surfaces at speed, but for a vehicle of this class, on-road manners are excellent.

Another quiver to the Ranger’s bow is its off-road capabilities, made all the more easier thanks to selectable four-wheel-drive modes including an increasingly common but still rare four-wheel-auto setting.

This means drivers can just set and forget, and can go from the blacktop to an unsealed road without missing a beat, whereas utes without this feature will have to switch from the two-wheel mode into the four-wheel option.

Finally, the levels of road and engine noise in the cabin are also strong points of the Ranger Sport V6.

There are, of course, intrusive sounds from the diesel engine and wind noise as the Ranger has an aerodynamic profile more akin to a brick, but for a vehicle in this class, noise, vibration and harshness are at more than acceptable levels thanks to in-cabin refinements.

Key details 2024 Ford Ranger Sport
Engine 3.0-litre V6 turbo diesel
Power 184kW @ 3250rpm
Torque 600Nm @ 1750–2250rpm
Drive type Four-wheel drive
Transmission 10-speed torque converter automatic
Power-to-weight ratio 81.5kW/t
Weight (tare) 2258kg
Spare tyre type Full-size
Payload 1022kg
Tow rating 3500kg braked
750kg unbraked
Turning circle 12.9m

How much weight can a Ford Ranger tow?

The Ford Ranger Sport V6 can tow a braked capacity of 3500kg and an unbraked 750kg load.

Though the 3500kg braked towing capacity figure matches that of other Ranger models, barring the top-spec Raptor flagship, the 600Nm of torque afforded by the 3.0-litre turbo-diesel V6 makes this particular model exceptional at hauling.

Peak torque is available from 1750rpm, meaning grunt is available early on so caravans, trailers, dirt bikes, boats, and jetskis won’t be a problem for the Ranger Sport V6.

Payload capacity is also generous at 1022kg, meaning four adults and work gear shouldn’t be a problem.

However, landscapers and tradies that require toolboxes or a canopy should keep this figure in mind as not to overload the Ranger and be driving illegally.

Should I buy a Ford Ranger?

There’s a reason why the Ford Ranger attracts a long wait list and was the most popular new model in Australia last year, because it is very good.

In fact, I’d go so far as to say the Ranger is the best at balancing the needs of a tradie with the comforts of an SUV.

But that does come at a price, especially if you want to splash the cash and go for the nice-to-have-but-not-essential V6 engine.

Are you better off going for a Nissan Navara Warrior or Isuzu D-Max X-Terrain at this price? Well, that depends on how much weight you would put on off-road equipment and cosmetics, versus the superior grunt on offer with the bigger engine.

How do I buy a Ford Ranger? The next steps.

The next step in buying a Ranger is to contact your nearest dealer, as Ford has been battling supply issues since the new model launched back in mid-2022.

Some grades have a 12-month-long wait list attached, but late last year Ford took the extreme measure of leasing its own ship to try and bring in Rangers and Everests faster to Australia to meet the overwhelming demand.

However, the best way to ascertain how long you will be waiting for a Ranger is – once again – to contact your nearest Ford dealer, which you can find here.

You can also browse all Ford models for sale here, and to stay on top of all the latest Blue Oval news, click here.

The post 2024 Ford Ranger Sport V6 review appeared first on Drive.


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