The Ford Ranger Wildtrak is first and foremost designed to be an out and out workhorse. A rugged five-seat double cab pickup ready to carry or pull heavy payloads over whatever terrain lies before it. Competition in the pickup market has never been tougher and with the Mercedes X-Class joining the market in the coming months; it’s only set to get stronger.
On the outside, the new facelift has given the Wildtrak a tougher and an even more solid looking appearance. The headlights seem to have been squashed and as a result the Wildtrak now bares a seriously menacing glare. The titanium effect three-bar grille front grille is inspired by its bigger American sibling the F150 pickup and it undoubted looks far more robust than the chrome alternatives found adorning the competition. This range topping variant of the Ford Ranger is an imposing presence on the road too. It’s over 5.3m long and is 2.16m wide – the rear tray alone accounting for 1.56m of its length. The Wildtrak’s sits on 18″ machined alloy wheels. Its mirrors are coloured to match the grille and steel rear step bumper, whilst the bumpers and door handles are painted to match the rest of the body work. Aluminium roof rails complete the package.
It’s often the case with the double cab pickups that the driver and front seat passenger enjoy plenty of room whilst the rear passengers are left to tolerate a cramped environment. However, the Wildtrak’s rear passengers have 975mm of effective headroom more than enough to comfortably take my six-foot frame and yet still leave plenty to spare. Legroom is quite plentiful too. The seats are upholstered in half leather with the unique “Wildtrak” logo stitched in. The same burnt orange stitching is used throughout the cabin including on the leather steering wheel. But wait it gets even fancier, because the Wildtrak comes with ambient interior lighting from which you can select a choice of 7 colours and there is also dimming function. Not something you’d not normally expect in ‘work’ vehicle. It comes equipped with a DAB Radio equipped with a CD player and Sat Nav with Ford’s SYNC 3 system with all of which being displayed through an impressive 8″ Touchscreen. Thankfully considering the overall imposing mass of the Wildtrak, there is also a rear-view camera.
The Wildtrak version is powered by Ford’s 3.2 TDCi diesel engine which is mated to a six-speed manual gearbox. It produces 200bhp and 470Nm of torque, and is capable of sprinting to 100kmph in just over 10 seconds. It also has a top speed of 175kmph. Not bad for a machine that weighs 3200kg. That extra 1000cc does needless to say have an impact on the Wildtraks fuel economy returns. Ford quote an official combine usage return of 8.4L per 100km or roughly 33mpg in old money terms. However, I rarely managed better than 11.8L per 100km (24mpg) and that was while I wasn’t carrying any load. The Wildtraks Co2 emissions are 221g per km, putting it into tax band F and that’s going to set you back €1000 per annum on motor tax.
The five-cylinder engine might be big a powerful but it is quite a noisy beast and you cannot help feel that the likes of the Nissan Navara, VW Amarok and even the lower powered Ford alternatives deliver a far more refined drive.The Ford Ranger has the full package as far as off-road equipment is concerned, and it all adds up to make for good all-terrain performance. The electronically-controlled 4×4 transmission fitted to most models allows you to shift between two and four-wheel-drive modes on the move via a small dial on the centre console. There’s also a low range 4×4 mode that’ll be useful if you plan on testing the Ranger’s 28-degree approach angle or class-leading 800mm wading depth. It’s agile too and boasts a turning circle of just 12.4m, I know it’s hardly ‘London Black Cab’ stuff but put in context; it’s little more than double its own length.
With almost 30cm of ground clearance, Hill Descent Control and Hill-Start Assist the Ranger is always going to be a capable in the rough stuff. Over the course of the week-long test, I decided to put it through its paces by taking the Wildtrak up and down numerous steep muddy banks and never once did it falter. When it comes to the Wildtrak’s towing abilities, the extra grunt of the big 3.2 litre engine becomes obvious. It’s capable of towing a load of up to 3500kg on a braked trailer; while if the rear tray is factored into account as well, then the overall load (gross train mass) can be stretched right up to 6000kg.
The Ford Ranger Wildtrak is a really capable machine. On top of that it looks fantastic, drives well and offer acres of space and comfort. The extra touches really do set it apart from the even the top of the range Nissan Navara’s or Mitsubishi L200’s. On the downside however, the Wildtrak won’t be the cheapest of machines to run on a daily basis byt then again there are many double cab pickups which are. Entry price for Ford Ranger is from €29,150. Price for the Wildtrak model starts from €45,125. The model tested which had the addition of a tow bar and a roll top lockable cover was priced at €47,185.