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Ford Ranger


Nissan Navara

Summary

Ford Ranger

The Ford Ranger Wildtrak has been a runaway success for the brand. Plenty of people have bought them, modified them, taken them off-road and put them to task in the PX generation of Ranger.

Now, to see out the 2019 model range, Ford has added a new version above the standard Wildtrak. It’s the Ford Ranger Wildtrak X, and the ‘X’ stands for ‘extra’, because you get a bit more gear for a touch more money.

We’ll get to all the detail soon, and for this test we didn’t head off the beaten track - our aim here was to see how the Wildtrak X copes in daily driving, as well as how it handles hard work.

Safety rating
Engine Type2.0L turbo
Fuel TypeDiesel
Fuel Efficiency7.4L/100km
Seating5 seats

Nissan Navara

Whereas passenger cars and SUVs are refreshed every four or five years with a new-generation model, utes often have a much longer shelf life. This doesn’t mean customer expectations are changed, though, as new pick-ups should still have the latest and greatest in safety and specification.

So, what is a brand meant to do when their all-new pick-up model is still years away?

In Nissan’s case, it means the 2021 Navara workhorse has received a light reworking with new looks, reshuffled pricing and more standard safety.

Despite being on the market in its current-generation form since mid-2015, do these new changes make the Navara a worthy contender against market favourites Toyota HiLux and Ford Ranger?

Safety rating
Engine Type2.3L turbo
Fuel TypeDiesel
Fuel Efficiency7.6L/100km
Seating5 seats

Verdict

Ford Ranger9/10

The Ford Ranger Wildtrak X is up to the task when it comes to hard work, but it’s more comfortable showing off at the worksite than actually getting the job done. We all know someone like that.

And that’s no bad thing - if you’re after a competent and impressively specified (if a little expensive) dual-cab ute, you could do a lot worse than the Wildtrak X. 

Thanks again to our mates at Crown Forklifts in Sydney for helping out with this load test.

 


Nissan Navara7.6/10

Nissan’s new Navara might not move the ute game forward as much as some recent entrants, but those that want to stand out from the usual Toyota HiLux and Ford Ranger crowd would do well to check out Nissan’s workhorse.

The added standard safety across the board is nice for those looking for a dependable workhorse, but the small quality-of-life updates such as a new steering wheel keep the Navara from feeling stale.

Would be even better if the interior was given a bigger overhaul, like the exterior, but the 2021 Nissan Navara remains a strong option in a competitive segment.

Design

Ford Ranger

You might be considering the Wildtrak X purely on aesthetic appeal - and that’s understanding. It has a few new design highlights compared with the non-X model, and most of them add function as well.

It scores an array of blacked out components, such as new 18-inch wheels (still wrapped in the same Bridgestone Dueler H/T rubber), wheel-arch flares (allowing for a more aggressive wheel/tyre setup), plus there’s a black nudge bar with LED light bar, and there’s a genuine Ford snorkel, too.

Combined, it makes the Wildtrak X look like a lot of those non-X models you’ve seen, where owners have spent thousands on extras. The rest of the destine is unchanged for the 19.75 model year variant we had, but there are subtle updates coming for the 2020 model range.


Nissan Navara7/10

Nissan’s updated 2021 Navara wears a new exterior design featuring a revised front grille, bulkier bonnet, fresh bumper design and tailgate stamped with its name.

By borrowing the look from the US market-Titan, there is no doubt this makes the new Navara butcher and more muscular than before, but I actually prefer the sleeker look of the outgoing car.

Maybe it’s the swathes of chrome surrounding the front grille? Either way, I think the Pro-4X is the best interpretation of the new Navara, mainly thanks to its blacked-out bits that make it look even tougher.

The rest of the exterior hasn’t changed much, though the tray in dual-cab variants is now 45mm deeper, making the tub slightly larger.

The tray now measures 1509mm long (floor), 1490mm wide (top), 1134m between the wheelarches, and 519mm deep, though it still won’t fit a full-sized pallet.

The 2021 Navara’s off-road chops remain intact with approach, departure and breakover angles at 32.7, 20.3 and 23.2 degrees respectively for our ST-X dual-cab, while ground clearance when unladen is measured at 224mm.

Stepping inside the 2021 Navara, and the cabin looks much the same as it did before.

The steering wheel is new however, and borrows its design from the Qashqai and Leaf to make the interior feel a little less utilitarian and a just a little more chic, while the driver’s display is also a fresh addition to the 2021 model.

However, these small changes don’t do much to detract from the ageing interior, which has remained largely the same since 2015.

Practicality

Ford Ranger

Like every dual-cab Ranger, the Wildtrak X is a good size inside. There’s enough space to fit three adults across the back and therefore five adults in the cabin. No rear air vents, though, which can result in a stuffy back seat on hot days.

You get cup holders up front and in the rear, and bottle holders in all four doors. You can raise the seat base for extra storage space, if there’s not enough room in the tub. 

Up front there’s a good amount of space and storage, and the media system is simple to use. And while we haven’t raised this in the past, the number of warning gongs and danger dings might annoy you. Like, I know the door is open, I just opened it. Sheesh!

Now, the tub.

It’s 1549mm long, 1560mm wide and 1139mm between the wheel-arches, which means it’s too narrow for an Aussie pallet to fit (1165mm minimum). The depth of the tub is 511mm, but not in the the Wildtrak models, because the roller cover housing at the far end of the tub just about halves that, eating into usable space.

It’s great that you get the hard top roller cover, and that there’s a tub liner, too: however, the four tie-down hooks in the corners of the tub makes it difficult to strap down a load.


Nissan Navara8/10

Much of the 2021 Navara is carried over from last year, which means familiar switchgear, seats and trims.

Up front there is plenty of room for occupants, and storage options extend to generous door bins that accommodate large bottles, a deep centre console bin, two cupholders and a small tray just ahead of the shifter for wallets/phones.

All options offer usable storage space, but the wallet/phone tray could be a little deeper with higher sides to stop things sliding around when cornering.

In the back – at least in dual-cab versions – the seating situation is, again, familiar to anyone who has been in the current-generation Navara.

Outboard passengers are afforded decent head-, leg- and shoulder-room, but middle passengers might find it a bit of a squeeze.

Unfortunately, it’s a little no frills back there, with the only amenities being a fold-down armrest with cupholders, door bins, map pockets and air vents.

Price and features

Ford Ranger

The Ford Ranger Wildtrak X starts at $65,290 plus on-road costs for the 3.2-litre turbo-diesel five-cylinder model we drove, while the more powerful and more refined 2.0-litre Bi-turbo four-cylinder engine is $1500 more ($66,790).

That makes it a $2000 jump over the standard Wildtrak, but according to Ford, you’re getting $6000 worth of extra value. 

The Wildtrak X’s additional styling gear builds upon the already impressive list of included equipment on the regular Wildtrak. 

Included on this grade are 18-inch alloy wheels, LED daytime running lights, HID headlights, an LED light bar as well as all the Wildtrak X body additions (see the Design section for more detail), an integrated tow bar and wiring harness, a tub liner, 12-volt outlet in the tub, roller hard top and the model-specific interior with part-leather trim and a dark headlining.

There’s also an 8.0-inch touchscreen media system with sat nav, DAB digital radio, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Bluetooth phone and audio streaming and a six-speaker sound system with a CD player. There are two USB ports, a 12-volt charger in the back seat and a 230-volt powerpoint, too. 

The front seats are heated and the driver’s seat has electric adjustment, there are digital displays in front of the driver showing navigation and driving data (including a digital speedometer, which many utes still miss out on). 


Nissan Navara6/10

The price of Nissan’s Navara has increased across the board this year, but more equipment is added as compensation. 

There are four grades of Navara available for now – SL, ST, ST-X and Pro-4X – mixed up with 4x2, 4x4, manual, automatic and three different body style options for a total of 22 possible permutations.

Kicking off the range is the SL, which comes in single-, king- and dual-cab chassis, and king- and dual-cab pick-up forms, with 4x2, 4x4, manual and automatic options available throughout.

Prices for the SL kick off at $32,300, before on-road costs, making the point-of-entry to the Navara range $5150 more expensive than before.

However, Nissan has justified this, somewhat, with the inclusion of more standard equipment and safety.

The SL is fitted with 17-inch steel wheels, a 7.0-inch driver display, cloth interior, keyless entry, and powered windows and door mirrors, as well as more safety equipment, which we will detail further below.

The next-step-up ST is available exclusively in dual-cab pick-up form and starts from $47,780, but adds digital radio, 17-inch alloy wheels, leather-accented steering wheel and shifter, a chrome sports bar and LED headlights.

The ST-X meanwhile, is offered in king- and dual-cab pick-up bodies, priced from $51,270, and is fitted with 18-inch wheels, dual-zone climate control, leather-accented interior, push-button start and auto-folding side mirrors.

Our test car, the 4x4 ST-X dual-cab automatic rings the till up at $58,270 ($1870 pricier than before).

Sitting atop the range for now is the Pro-4X, which is available exclusively in 4x4 dual-cab pick-up form, priced at $58,130 for the manual ,and $60,630 for the automatic.

It differs from the rest of the Navara range with bespoke styling, leather interior and all-terrain rubber as standard.

All versions of the Navara are also fitted with an 8.0-inch multimedia touchscreen with Apple CarPlay/Android Auto support, Bluetooth connectivity and six-speaker sound, but ST grades and up also score satellite navigation and digital radio.

In terms of pricing, the Navara line-up is now more expensive than equivalent diesel HiLuxes and Rangers, but is line-ball with newer offerings like the Isuzu D-Max and Mazda BT-50.

However, this is somewhat offset a little by promotional drive-away pricing available to both private and business customers.

Engine & trans

Ford Ranger

Under the bonnet of the Wildtrak X we drove is a 3.2-litre five-cylinder turbo-diesel engine producing 147kW of power (at 3000rpm) and 470Nm of torque (from 1750-2000rpm). It has a six-speed automatic transmission in this spec, and there is no manual option for the Wildtrak X. It has selectable four-wheel drive with a low-range transfer case (2H, 4H and 4L gearing), and an electronic locking rear diff.

The other engine option for the Wildtrak X is the 2.0-litre Bi-turbo four-cylinder engine producing 157kW of power (at 3750rpm) and 500Nm of torque (1750-2000rpm). That’s class-leading levels of grunt from a four-cylinder engine. It runs a 10-speed automatic transmission and four-wheel drive.

The Ranger Wildtrak X has a towing capacity of 750kg for an un-braked trailer, and 3500kg for a braked trailer.

The kerb weight of the Ranger Wildtrak X 3.2L is 2287kg. It has a gross vehicle mass (GVM) of 3200kg, and a gross combination mass (GCM) of 6000kg. 


Nissan Navara8/10

The engine line-up for the 2021 Nissan Navara carries over unchanged from before, which means all but the base grade are fitted with a 2.3-litre twin-turbo-diesel four-cylinder that produces 140kW/450Nm.

The entry-level 4x2 SL manual versions meanwhile, are powered by a single-turbo 2.3-litre diesel engine, outputting 120kW/403Nm.

Manual Navara’s are fitted with a six-speed gearbox, while automatic versions are paired with a seven-speed torque convertor unit.

4x4 grades also score selectable high- and low-range models, as well as a rear-wheel drive option.

Despite the carryover powertrains, the higher-output engine remains competitive against the ute segment, even when stacked up against newer rivals like the Isuzu D-Max and Mazda BT-50 that need a 3.0-litre engine to produce the same figures. 

The engine also affords a payload rating of between 1004-1146kg, depending on spec, as well as a braked towing capacity of 3.5 tonnes.

Fuel consumption

Ford Ranger

Fuel consumption for the Ranger Wildtrak X 3.2L model is claimed at 8.9 litres per 100 kilometres, and it has an 80-litre fuel tank capacity. There is no long range fuel tank.

Our test drive saw a real-world return of 11.1L/100km across a mix of driving including urban, highway and back-road, as well as laden and unladen.


Nissan Navara9/10

Official fuel consumption figures for the Nissan Navara range from 7.2-8.1 litres per 100km, depending on engine, transmission, spec and body style.

The ST-X automatic we drove for review is rated at 7.9L/100km, making it about as thirsty as its competitors.

After a day of mixed driving conditions, including road and gravel with and without a load (as well as with a trailer), we averaged 9.0L/100km.

Driving

Ford Ranger

We like the Ford Ranger as a daily driver. It’s easy to see why so many people buy Ford Ranger dual-cab four-wheel drives, even if they don’t need the payload, or the towing capacity. It’s the utility that appeals with this utility.

Without weight in the back it rides smoothly enough, and around town you won’t complain about back pain or sore kidneys when you crunch over speed humps. It’s composed and refined, so much so that it’s a better ute to drive without a load than with weight in the back, and there aren’t many that can claim that accolade.

The steering makes it easy to park, and it’s nice to steer in all sorts of situations. If you happen to be on the tools all day, you’ll be happy not to have to wrestle the wheel on your way home.

Acceleration is good, if not blindingly quite, and the transmission does what it should. 


Nissan Navara8/10

Without much changing under the skin, the 2021 Nissan Navara drives much as it did before; and that is to say it handles itself admirably on the black top.

With a unique multi-link rear suspension set-up, the Navara feels composed on the road, even without a load in the rear.

And when driving with some weight in the tray – in our case a 325kg box – the Navara remains as calm and collected as you would want in a dual-cab ute.

Even with a trailer attached, the added weight and change in handling geometry is not enough to perturb Nissan’s ute on some of Melbourne’s tight and twisty roads.

Likewise, the carryover engine offers enough grunt to haul cargo about without much fuss, though the 2.3-litre twin-turbo-diesel unit in our ST-X test car proved a bit loud and grunty under load.

It’s certainly punchy enough without any weight or a trailer in the back, though, and its 140kW/450Nm outputs keep it very competitive against other utes in the segment.

The seven-speed automatic transmission paired with the engine is also smooth and fast shifting, never hunting for a gear when needed. 

For those that like to shift themselves, there is manual ratio selection available on the shifter, though there are no wheel-mounted paddles.

Road noise is also quite prevalent in the ST-X, due to the 18-inch wheels, while wind noise is also noticeable at freeway speeds thanks to the Navara sporting the aerodynamic profile of a large brick.

These cabin intrusions are still noticeable despite Nissan’s claims of bulking up sound deadening to improve noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) levels, but we’d have to drive both new and old cars back-to-back to determine if the tweaks are successful.

The big question mark here though is how the new Navara handles itself off-road, and with our driving limited to just paved roads, we’ll have to wait and see if Nissan’s new ute is still as adventurous as its rivals.

Safety

Ford Ranger

The Ford Ranger Wildtrak - as with the rest of the Ranger line-up - is in the mix for the best in the business for ute safety specs.

Standard gear on all Ranger models is auto emergency braking (AEB) with pedestrian detection as well as lane keeping assist, driver attention alert, traffic sign recognition and automated high-beam lights. The AEB system works at city and highway speeds, and adaptive cruise control is included, too. There is no blind-spot monitoring or rear cross-traffic alert, however.

The Ranger retains its five-star ANCAP crash test rating from 2015, when the standards were considerably more lax. It does, however, have six airbags (dual front, front side and full-length curtain), a reversing camera, front and rear parking sensors and a semi-autonomous parking system. 

It comes with dual ISOFIX child seat anchor points and two top-tether restraints for baby seats.


Nissan Navara7/10

The 2021 Nissan Navara wears a maximum five-star ANCAP safety rating, though its examination was conducted in 2015 when the current-generation model was introduced to Australia.

While the Navara from six years ago didn’t feature any form of autonomous emergency braking (AEB) or lane support systems, it still managed to score 14.01 out of 16 for the frontal offset test, and full marks in the side impact (16 points) and pole (two points) tests.

The overall score awarded to the Navara in 2015 was 35.01 out of 37 points.

Standard safety features in the 2021 model now include AEB, hill-start assist, cruise control, seven airbags, automatic headlights and trailer-sway control.

A reversing camera is standard on all grades barring the single cab, SL king-cab chassis and SL dual-cab chassis variants.

Stepping up to the ST adds rear cross-traffic alert, a surround-view monitor, automatic wipers, blind-spot monitoring, lane departure warning and high-beam assist, while the ST-X scores rear parking sensors and a tyre pressure monitor.

There’s no doubt the 2021 Navara is the safest iteration yet, but when competitors offer features like blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert as standard throughout the range, it’s hard to ignore the shortcomings on the Nissan ute’s spec list.

Ownership

Ford Ranger

Ford backs all of its models with a five-year/unlimited kilometre warranty plan, which is on par with the rest of the mainstream ute market but behind the likes of the Triton (promotional seven-year warranty), SsangYong Musso (permanent seven-year/unlimited kilometre warranty), and Isuzu D-Max (six-year/150,000km).

Capped price servicing intervals are set every 12 months/15,000km. The duration of the service plan is for the life of the vehicle, too, which is good for peace of mind if you plan to hang on to your car for a long time.

Ford is currently running a promotion whereby the first four years/60,000km of maintenance is capped at $299 per visit. That’s competitive, but costs rise as you get beyond the promo period.

Concerned about Ford Ranger problems? Check out our Ford Ranger problems page for issues, complaints, recalls or anything else regarding reliability. We had an issue of our own, with the car convinced it was towing a trailer the whole time we had it, which disabled the self-parking system and the rear parking sensors, too.


Nissan Navara8/10

Like all new Nissan Australia models, the 2021 Navara comes with a five-year/unlimited kilometre warranty with five years roadside assist.

This matches the assurance period offered by the likes of Toyota, Ford and Mazda, while falling short of Isuzu’s six-year/150,000km warranty.

However, the benchmark for warranty remains Mitsubishi and its Triton, which is offered with a 10-year/200,000km assurance period.

Scheduled servicing intervals in the Nissan Navara are set for every 12 months/20,000km, whichever occurs first.

Service costs are different for manual and automatic vehicles though, with five years/60 months maintenance on the manual adding up to $2883, and $2847 for the auto.

This means the Navara is more expensive to maintain than some rivals, which hover around the $2500 mark for five years’ worth of servicing.

However, the service intervals of the Navara are slightly longer at 20,000km, instead of competitor’s 15,000km range.