Ford Ranger Wildtrak vs VW Amarok Highline

14 February 2013

Ford Ranger Wildtrak vs VW Amarok Highline

Ford Ranger Wildtrak and VW Amarok Highline go head-to-head in this comparative review.

Value

Ford Ranger Wildtrak

$59,390

Package includes 5-inch satnav screen, a six-speaker sound with Bluetooth and USB connectivity, heated and power-adjustable front seats, 18in wheels, rear camera and parking sensors, voice control, towbar, three 12V outlets, cruise, capped servicing and dual range.

VW Amarok Highline

$53,990

The big Volksy has plenty of gear -- 17in alloys and stainless steel rollbar (with cargo light), low-slung side steps (which reduce the average ground clearance), mud flaps, Bluetooth (but no USB) phone and audio link, dual-zone climate control, heated wing mirrors, cruise control and leather-wrapped steering wheel.

Technology

Ford Ranger Wildtrak

The 3.2-litre five-cylinder engine uses common-rail direct fuel injection and a variable geometry turbocharger to generate 147kW/470Nm. The 6-speed auto makes most of twisting force and there's clever sound insulation, though VW's engine noise is quieter.

VW Amarok Highline

The 2.0-litre twin-turbo four is quieter than the Ranger's, employing two turbos, as well as common-rail direct-injection to produce 132kW/420Nm. The drivetrain has no low range but gets permanent 4WD, smart 8-speed auto and off-road electronic aids.

Design

Ford Ranger Wildtrak

A little heavier, the Thai-built Ranger is a big, square-jawed tradie-machine that doesn't try to hide its muscle. It's a truck, but that's not to say it isn't a quiet and comfortable (once a load is in the tray) conveyance to the work-site or the sports ground.

VW Amarok Highline

From the same plain-wrapping design school of thought as the Ranger, the Amarok (built in Argentina) is all straight lines and blunt corners. The cabin has less flair but good storage and comfortable seating with built-in childseat anchor points on the rear seats.

Safety

Ford Ranger Wildtrak

Five-star safety is not common in this segment, but both vehicles have it. The Ranger has six airbags, rear sensors and camera, stability and traction control, hill start and descent control, an auto-dimming centre mirror and trailer sway control.

VW Amarok Highline

First in this segment to wear five stars from NCAP, due to the safety gear list that includes dual front and front-side airbags, stability control, anti-lock brakes with emergency brake assist. There's front and rear parking sensors but no camera.

Driving

Ford Ranger Wildtrak

Meatier through the helm than the VW, the Ford Ranger is a tough truck able to be used daily. Comfortable seating, a reasonable ride (but it likes weight in the tray) and decent fuel figures help, it also scores well for off-road, towing and back-seat useability.

VW Amarok Highline

More car-like to drive than the Ranger, the Amarok's ZF transmission makes smooth use of the torque. Off-roaders will bemoan lack of low range and paltry 200mm clearance. Doesn't match Ranger's impressive towing capacity or off-road ability.

Verdict

Ford Ranger Wildtrak

19.5/25

Better luck
next time :(

VW Amarok Highline

18.5/25

Winner winner
chicken dinner!

An auto transmission gives the Amarok ammunition, But the brawny Ford matches it in most areas and beats it when the going gets rough. It comes out on top for breadth of capability.

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Written by

Stuart Martin

Published 14 February 2013

Published In

Head to Head

We compare, head to head, two similar models of competing manufacturer cars. Which do we prefer? Why? Find out in CarsGuide's Head To Head showdowns.