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2023 Ford Ranger V6 v 4-cylinder: Dragparison

So you want a new 2023 Ford Ranger. Join the club!

One big question buyers are asking themselves is, should they go for the hyped new V6 diesel engine or save themselves $3000 and go for the bi-turbo four instead?

Sure, the V6 offers more oomph, full-time 4×4, and bragging rights, but high demand means you’ll likely be waiting longer for yours than if you opt for the four-cylinder, which also happens to drink a bit less fuel.

We’ve managed to get a Ranger V6 in mid-range XLT guise (priced at $64,190 before on-road costs), alongside a four-cylinder Ranger Wildtrak ($67,190).

While the XLT’s V6 engine is about 30kg heavier, the Wildtrak four-cylinder comes with more equipment, so the actual weight difference turns out to be about 10kg. Bugger all…

One other point to note: it was seriously wet at our test facility, so while the comparative times are still useful, dry tarmac would naturally bring about quicker efforts for both.

Here, Paul Maric presents a detailed video putting two Ford Rangers head-to-head. Be sure to watch the embed above, or click through to our YouTube channel.

Ford Ranger V6 v 4-cylinder tests

Paul and the crew put this pair against several test procedures:

  • A basic sound comparison, seeing which has the best exhaust note
  • Multiple 0-100km/h times for both
  • Head-to-head drag race over 1/8 mile
  • Earlier 1/4 mile comparative sprints

We made sure to play with different drive ‘modes’ and various setups for the 4×4 systems where suitable, as well as turning off the traction controls. Both Rangers were running on all-terrain tyres, but from different brands.

Ranger XLT V6 Ranger Wildtrak 4-cyl
Engine 3.0 V6 diesel 2.0 four-cylinder diesel
Power 184kW 154kW
Torque 600Nm 500Nm
Transmission 10-speed AT 10-speed AT
4×4 system Full-time Part-time
Kerb weight 2331kg 2341kg

Ford Ranger V6 engine specifications

The 3.0-litre V6 ‘Lion’ single-turbo diesel is offered in the Ranger XLT and above, making 184kW of power at 3250rpm and 600Nm torque from 1750rpm, mated to a 10-speed automatic.

It runs a permanent 4×4 system with road-oriented ‘4A’ AWD as well as traditional 2H (rear-drive for fuel saving), 4H (high-range) and 4L (low-range) modes as well.

Fun fact: This engine derives from the one used in the Ford F-150, but naturally the smaller Ranger presented some packaging challenges.

Ford Australia changed out the oil pan, made it ready for greater tilt angles, changed out the turbo and intakes, and tested it all over again.

Ford Ranger 4-cylinder specifications

Offered across the range is a revised version of the familiar 2.0-litre bi-turbo (with bypass) diesel four-cylinder, offering one smaller and one larger turbo to smooth out power delivery.

It makes 154kW of power at 3750rpm (down 3kW from the old model) and 500Nm torque between 1750 and 2000rpm, mated to a 10-speed auto with new torque-converter.

Base models offer 4×2 but here we have the 4×4 which, unlike in the V6, is part-time. This means it defaults to rear-wheel drive on tarmac but can be switched into 4H or 4L.

Since this engine launched during a mid-life update for the old PX Ranger, Ford has changed out the diesel injectors, added quieter electric cooling fans and a new polyurethane cover to help NVH suppression, changed the seals, and re-calibrated the whole setup.

Ford Ranger V6 v 4-cylinder performance figures

Best times listed

Ranger XLT V6 Ranger Wildtrak 4-cyl
0-100km/h 8.2 seconds 9.6 seconds
1/8 mile 10.3s @ 112.9km/h 10.9s @ 106.7km/h
1/4 mile 16.3s @ 136.6km/h 16.9s @ 130.9km/h

Verdict

So, the V6 proved 1.4 seconds quicker to 100km/h in their respective 0-100km/h sprints. But in the head-to-head drag races over 200m and 400m, there was only a 0.6 second gap.

It seems likely that Ford has capped the V6’s overall outputs here, but for those who need the extra grunt – particularly those who tow – it still seems like the better bet.

Next step? Maybe Ranger V6 versus outgoing Amarok V6 in another drag?

MORE REVIEWS: 2023 Ford Ranger review
MORE REVIEWS: 2023 Ford Ranger Sport V6 review
MORE REVIEWS: 2023 Ford Ranger XLT V6 review

Keen on more drag races? Click below!

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