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Ford Ranger XLT V6 2024 review

Dylan Campbell

The cheapest ticket to V6 dual-cab ute ownership, the muscular Ford Ranger XLT mixes workhorse with everyday niceties in just the right way

Good points

  • Cheapest ticket to turbodiesel V6 grunt
  • Ranger still our market’s best ute
  • Hard-wearing, comfortable interior
  • Good balance between tech and price
  • Excellent advanced driver assist systems
  • Reasonable rear-seat room for adults

Needs work

  • Price has crept up a lot
  • Not the most efficient of vehicles
  • Dynamically inferior to any car
  • Slow, heavy, cumbersome steering
  • Slightly unsettled unladen ride
  • Unrefined all-terrain tyres

The twin-turbo, four-cylinder Ford Ranger has plenty of grunt – enough to tow 3.5 tonnes – but the popularity of the V6 model goes to show that Australians love a bit of power and torque. It’s much the same reason we bought generations of big-cube V8s.

And if you want a V6 Ford Ranger – or any V6 dual-cab ute, for that matter – the XLT model we’re testing today is as cheap as it gets, offering all the capability of the Ranger with proper six-pot grunt, with just the right amount of bells and whistles.

Ford Ranger XLT V6 2024 front 3/4 4

That makes it one of the standout grades in the T6.2 Ranger line-up, the best-selling new passenger vehicle in Australia last year, and whose most popular variants “tend to skew toward the higher model grades, with the exception of the Ranger XL which is among the top selling nameplates,” Ford told Chasing Cars.

While both the twin-turbo diesel four-cylinder and the V6 claim 3.5-tonne braked towing capacities, the Lion PSA 3.0-litre turbodiesel V6 – whose origins date back to 2004 – increases outputs from 154kW/500Nm to 184kW/600Nm. Crucially, the additional 100Nm is available from the same 1750rpm, equating to 20 percent more pulling power right where you want it.

Few other dual-cab rivals can offer this. There are plenty of alternatives out there – from the Mazda BT-50 to the (new) Mitsubishi Triton, Nissan Navara to the strong-selling Toyota Hilux – and most of them offer 3.5-tonne braked towing capability.

Ford Ranger XLT V6 2024 rear

But there’s only one that matches the same turbodiesel V6 grunt as the Ranger, and that’s the Volkswagen Amarok – a vehicle that’s effectively based on the Ranger.

Volkswagen doesn’t offer an Amarok equivalent to the Ranger XLT V6 we’re testing today. The cheapest V6 Amarok is the $73,740 Style, which prices it closer to the $74,840 Ranger Wildtrak V6.

If you are shopping richer Ranger grades, while that’s not our review today, here’s some analysis to consider.

Ford Ranger XLT V6 2024 driving side

For $1100 less than the Wildtrak V6, the Amarok Style V6 adds matrix LED headlights, a larger digital instrument cluster and some other minor goodies, but that advantage shrinks to $500 if you opt for any colour than white. Premium paint is $990 on Amarok and $700 on Ranger. The Wildtrak comes standard with pricier all-terrain tyres.

For those who will be towing, the Ranger also comes standard with an integrated trailer brake controller, but that’s since been made standard on new Amaroks for 2024.

Ford Ranger XLT V6 2024 engine

While the 2024.5MY Ranger release is imminent, today’s XLT test vehicle is the 2024MY. The only changes to the XLT for 2024.5MY are the deletion of automatic high beam, and the offering of Pro Trailer Backup Assist as an option.

Ford also told Chasing Cars there is plenty of stock available, unlike not that long ago where there was a queue around the corner for a V6 Ranger of any sort. (There was still a bit of a wait for Ranger Platinum V6 as we closed for press.)

What are the Ranger XLT’s features and options for the price?

The XLT is intended to be neither spartan workhorse nor too posh, but it’s still orientated more towards the practical buyer. That said, its $68,840 MSRP is still a lot for a ute – and not even the most you can pay for a Ranger, by a long way.

There are seven grades in the Ranger line-up – XL, XLS, XLT, Sport, Wildtrak, Platinum and Raptor. The XLT can be had with either the twin-turbo 2.0-litre inline-four diesel, or the turbodiesel 3.0-litre V6. Both come with a 10-speed torque converter automatic.

Ford Ranger XLT V6 2024 interior 2

The double-cab XLT V6 we’re testing today has an MSRP of $68,840, although our test vehicle came with $3230 of options. (Hardly more than 12 months ago, a Ranger XLT V6 started from $64,190.)

Standard equipment highlights for the Ranger XLT V6 include:

  • Turbodiesel 3.0-litre V6 with 184kW at 3250rpm, and 600Nm at 1750-2250rpm
  • 10-speed automatic transmission
  • Full-time four-wheel-drive with 4WD Auto, 4WD High, 2WD High and 4WD Low modes
  • Locking rear differential
  • 17-inch wheels
  • Mid-tier LED headlights  
  • LED front fog lamps and tail-lights
  • Electrically adjustable and folding side mirrors
  • Side steps and sports bar
  • Mid-tier “premium” cloth upholstery
  • Leather-wrapped steering wheel and gear knob
  • 8.0-inch digital instrument cluster  
  • 10.1-inch portrait infotainment touchscreen  
  • Six-speaker stereo
  • DAB+ digital radio
  • Wireless Apple Carplay
  • Wireless Android Auto
  • Built-in satellite navigation (subscription-based)
  • Dual-zone climate control
  • Rain-sensing wipers
  • Advanced adaptive cruise control with semi-autonomous capability including stop-and-go  
  • Towbar with integrated trailer brake controller
  • Keyless entry and start

Ford Ranger XLT V6 2024 front close 2Ford Ranger XLT V6 2024 360 camera

As well as $700 for the Shadow Black paint and $700 for all-terrain tyres, our test vehicle came with the optional $1650 Touring Pack, which adds:

  • 360-degree parking camera
  • Puddle lamps on the side mirrors
  • Ceiling-mounted auxiliary switches 
  • Cargo management system (includes rails on the inside of the tray with sliding cargo hooks)
  • Pro Trailer Backup Assist (auto steering while reversing with a trailer)

How does the Ranger XLT drive?

This is a tall vehicle and one you don’t get into, much as you climb into, like a small truck. The side steps are standard for a reason, and you’re grateful for the A-pillar grab handle.

Once behind the steering wheel, the first thing you notice about the Ranger XLT is that you’re perched very high above the road, looking down on even most SUVs. If you love a high, commanding driving position, a dual-cab ute sits you up like a tennis umpire.

Ford Ranger XLT V6 2024 driving front

In the urban sprawl, there’s something satisfying about the way the Ranger XLT V6 drives, and a lot of it has surely to do with what’s under the bonnet. The word muscular comes to mind, and for good reason.

In our own testing, the V6 Ranger XLT recorded 7.7sec in the sprint from 0-100km/h, while a twin-turbo four-cylinder Sport took 8.53sec.

There’s plenty of torque no matter the rpm, the V6 never having to labour particularly hard to shift 2332kg of dual-cab ute. It’s not hard to see how this would make a great towing vehicle – not least because the transmission is calibrated to always keep the engine right in its torque sweet spot.

Having 10 gears helps very much in that sense, and the powertrain as a whole is delightfully smooth and refined. The Ranger is also surprisingly well-insulated from outside noise, including that of the engine.

Ford Ranger XLT V6 2024 driving rear

While there’s a diesel engine note to be heard and some satisfying turbo whistle under load, it doesn’t sound like the engine is physically in the interior with you – like it can with some other, cruder dual-cabs.

This one feels a bit more grown-up, the engineering running deeper.

While the ride quality can be a bit jiggly – owing, presumably, to the stiffer rear leaf springs needed to support a potential 1047kg maximum payload – it’s never uncomfortable. All-season tyres would make the Ranger XLT an even nicer drive, as there’s some low-level vibration and noise from the all-terrain tyres at highway speeds.

At 5.4 metres long, 2.2 metres wide and 1.8 metres high – with a 3270mm wheelbase – you’re always conscious that you’re in a larger vehicle. Especially when parking as the long Ranger can easily fill a spot.

Ford Ranger XLT V6 2024 driving side 3

One of the most noticeable differences between a dual-cab ute and, say, an SUV, reveals itself when parking, too: the steering.

The Ranger’s 3.3 turns lock-to-lock means it feels like you’re going hard-to-starboard and back again when doing three-point turns, or getting around car parks, a feeling exacerbated by the long wheelbase. We’d love to see a Ranger, or any dual-cab ute, with a faster steering rack.

The slower steering has an effect dynamically, too, but at least the Ranger XLT V6 makes no claim at being a sports car. While this is the same ladder-frame chassis that underpins the performance-focused, twin-turbo V6 Raptor, the XLT V6 has a lot less to offer the hard-core driving enthusiast.

Ford Ranger XLT V6 2024 driving interior

While the Ranger’s chassis feels to have a bit more engineering depth and chops than most other dual-cab utes – which feel like light trucks in the corners – the Ranger is still inherently a tall, heavy dual-cab ute. This means its handling is going to be inferior to even the most average SUV, let alone passenger sedan or hatchback.

That’s especially if the all-terrain Bridgestone Dueller 255/70 R17 tyres are fitted, which seriously reduce the amount of sealed surface grip on offer.

On a dirt road, the all-terrain tyres can be expected to grant a lot more purchase over all-season items, dramatically improving cornering ability and braking performance. If you do most of your driving on unsealed roads, they’re a must.

Ford Ranger XLT V6 2024 centre console

While the transmission offers a true manual mode that won’t change up gears unless you ask, it does ask that you use two little buttons on the side of the transmission shifter. On the whole, find yourself on a winding road and you’ll be hustling along a heavy, under-tyred vehicle that would probably prefer you calmed down a bit.

On the towing front, the XLT’s 6400kg gross combined mass means that with a fully optioned vehicle, with a full tank of fuel, you’ve got 4068kg to play with. If you’re towing the maximum 3.5 tonnes, that leaves 568kg you can put in the ute between passengers, luggage and gear in the tray.

The XLT V6’s payload is a maximum of 1047kg, which decreases as you fit more accessories and add weight to the vehicle.

A tow bar with integrated trailer brake controller is fitted as standard, as is the clever trailer light check (which will cycle through the indicators and brake lights remotely, so you can check the trailer connection solo) and a selectable towing drive mode. The reversing camera also offers a handy top-down trailer hitch view.

Ford Ranger XLT V6 2024 digital screen 2

Our test vehicle’s optional Touring Pack included the Pro Trailer Back-Up Assist, in which you can steer the ute using the a dial on the infotainment screen (as the vehicle takes over the steering wheel) while watching the reversing camera.

If you have a long caravan, regularly have to back it into new places, and aren’t the most confident reverser, it might be worth a look.

For those who do a lot of highway driving, the XLT’s advanced driver assistance system is excellent. You can pop on the adaptive cruise and simply rest a hand on the steering wheel as the Ranger confidently tracks in the centre of its lane down a motorway, reducing the exertion required. This means you’re that little bit less fatigued at the other end.

What is the Ranger XLT’s interior and tech like?

The XLT’s interior has a tough, comfortable, if slightly no-frills vibe, something reinforced by the old school “Built Ford Tough” graphic that comes up on the dash when you start it up.

There’s cloth upholstery, manual front seats and a robust-feeling, vinyl-like upholstery on the doors and other places like the centre console lid. Ford says the steering wheel is a leather item, but based on how it feels, poor Daisy must not have had much of a moisturising routine. Instead, it just feels like vinyl.

Ford Ranger XLT V6 2024 interior
Ford Ranger XLT V6 2024 interior front seat

The XLT has a more basic tech offering than richer Ranger grades, with its smaller 8.0-inch digital instrument cluster and 10.1-inch portrait-orientated infotainment touchscreen, although if you were upgrading from an older Ranger and never sat in something like a Wildtrak, you’d still wonder who got carried away with all the screens.

They’re still plenty big enough to see all the information you want nice and clearly, even if it is a pity that the Apple CarPlay display is unattractively squeezed into a smaller window relative to the rest of the screen.

Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are both wireless, but the XLT does without a wireless phone charger, something that arrives standard on the next Ranger grade up, the Sport.

Ford Ranger XLT V6 2024 360 storage
Ford Ranger XLT V6 2024 interior mirror

Front row stowage is great, with a large centre console bin and big bottle holders on the doors. The XLT misses out on the clever folding, dashboard-integrated drink holders of other Rangers. It also forgoes lights for the vanity mirrors.

While the back seat is slightly compromised – this is a dual-cab ute, not an SUV, after all – with a more thinly padded backrest and reduced under-thigh support, it still has satisfactory space and comfort for two adults (it can seat three).

There’s a centre armrest and some under-seat stowage and the backrest folds flat, something to note if you’re shopping against Amarok, with its more thickly padded backrest can’t.

Ford Ranger XLT V6 2024 interior back seat
Ford Ranger XLT V6 2024 interior back seat 2

For child seats, there are two sets of Isofix points on the outboard rear seats and two top tether anchorages. Most SUVs have three top tether anchorages.

While there are two rear air-vents, for parents who love to distract their kids with iPads on long journeys, the XLT has no USB outlets for the back seats at all, but rather just a single 12-volt outlet.

With its 1464mm length and 1217mm minimum width between the wheelhouses, the tray is nice and large, enough to fit a Euro pallet as intended by Ford. The sprung tailgate is easy to drop and raise though it’s no damped like you’ve find in an Isuzu D-Max.

Ford Ranger XLT V6 2024 tray
Ford Ranger XLT V6 2024 tray detail

There’s also a 12-volt outlet and some other clever additions such as trapdoor openings for securing C-clamps. The standard sports bar helps differentiate the XLT from the lower grade XLS, although a manual roller shutter is a $3000 option.

Unlike many passenger cars these days, there’s a full-size 17-inch spare wheel – slung under the tray – increasing peace-of-mind for country owners.

For the most part, it’s a tough, honest, practical interior with a bit of tech and comfort, the kind of place that could handle dogs, kids and whatever else you wanted to throw at it.

Is the Ranger XLT a safe vehicle?

The Ranger is a very safe vehicle, and particularly safe by dual-cab ute standards. That’s owing to the fact it’s a later-generation model, benefitting from the newest engineering knowhow, having only entered production in 2022.

Compared to regular hatchbacks, sedans and SUVs, the Ranger’s inherent, heavy dual-cab basis would not provide the same braking performance in an emergency. And that’s even with the XLT getting disc rear brakes, unlike cheaper grades that fit drums.

Ford Ranger ancap

That’s just because it weighs a lot more than the average passenger car. In our own testing, we’ve recorded a Ranger XLT V6 braking from 100km/h to a stop in 43.76 metres, which is nothing special at all. And that was on more bitumen-friendly all-season tyres.

The effect would doubtlessly be amplified on all-terrain tyres, which offer compromised bitumen performance compared to standard road tyres. Just things to keep in mind.

That all said, the Ranger scored the maximum five stars in crash-testing by the local Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) in 2022. It also comes with advanced safety features of the latest vehicles, such as a front-centre airbag.

Ford Ranger XLT V6 2024 driving side 4

The following safety features are standard on the Ranger XLT V6:

  • Nine airbags (including a front centre airbag)
  • Advanced adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go
  • Lane-keep assist
  • Lane departure warning with steering assist
  • Blind-spot monitoring
  • Autonomous emergency braking (forward and reverse)
  • Rear-cross traffic alert including when a trailer is hitched
  • Automatic speed limiter with traffic sign recognition
  • Reversing camera
  • Parking sensors (front and rear)
  • Trailer sway control
  • Rain-sensing wipers

We found the Ranger’s active safety systems such as lane-keeping to work well – and its advanced driver assist system, which engages lane-centring with the adaptive cruise control, is one of the best we’ve tried of any new model. It’s easy to trust, tracking to the centre of the lane confidently.

What are the Ranger XLT’s ownership costs?

The Ranger obviously uses more fuel than your typical SUV.

For the V6, Ford claims combined fuel use of 8.4L/100km using the ADR81/02 measurement standard. The four-cylinder is claimed to use 7.2L/100km.

In our own real-world testing, we recorded approximately 6.3L/100km on the motorway, 20L/100km during ‘sporty’ driving and you can expect to get around 10.3L/100km overall. The large, 80-litre fuel tank means fewer petrol station visits.

Ford Ranger XLT V6 2024 badge

We would estimate the V6 would use less fuel than the four-cylinder when towing.

The Ranger XLT V6 will cost you $1936 to service over five years, with service intervals of 15,000km or 12 months.

Given the continued red-hot demand for the V6 Ranger models, it’s probable your XLT will hold its value better than a four-cylinder model, helping the overall lifetime-cost proposition.

The honest verdict on the Ranger XLT

For those who want the oomph and don’t need all the frills of the pricier grades, the XLT does a stand-up job. It mixes mod-cons with workhorse in just the right way for a great many people, feeling neither too posh nor too spartan. It’s a very well-judged effort specification-wise.

Given that the cheapest Amarok V6 is positioned closer to Ranger Wildtrak V6, the cut-price XLT V6 is also effectively without peer in the Australian dual-cab ute market. And getting the V6 over the four-cylinder for towing is a no-brainer.

Ford Ranger XLT V6 2024 driving front 3

Even if you don’t have anything to tow, there is something satisfying and effortless about the V6’s power and torque, in much the same way that, once upon a time, you might have got the V8 over the six simply for the grunt alone.

In a greater sense, the Ranger is still the benchmark dual-cab ute as well. It’s as close to a car as a dual-cab ute has come, and makes the Hilux – which can’t be had with a V6 – feel a bit like a tarted-up truck.

Overall rating
Overall rating
Running costs
Overall rating
Running costs
Approximate on‑road price Including registration and government charges

Key specs (as tested)

2990 cc
Diesel Turbo
184kW at 3250rpm
600Nm at 1750rpm
Power to weight ratio
Fuel type
Fuel capacity
80 litres
8.4L/100km (claimed)
Average Range
952km (claimed)
Four Wheel Drive
5370 mm
1918 mm
1886 mm
Unoccupied weight
2306 kg

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