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.
The Wildtrak X: The ‘X’ stands for ‘extra’, because you get a bit more gear for a touch more money.
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.
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.
Raise the seat base for extra storage space.
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.
The Wildtrak X comes with the hard top roller cover and a tub liner.
That makes it a $2000 jump over the standard Wildtrak, but according to Ford, you’re getting $6000 worth of extra value.
This is the 3.2-litre turbo-diesel five-cylinder model.
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.
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).
There is a 12-volt charger in the back seat and a 230-volt powerpoint.
What are the key stats for the engine and transmission?
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.
This Wildtrak X had a 3.2-litre five-cylinder turbo-diesel engine with a six-speed automatic transmission.
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.
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.
It’s easy to see why so many people buy Ford Ranger dual-cab four-wheel drives.
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.
The payload of the Wildtrak X is 913kg, which is 9kg worse off than the standard Wildtrak - that’s down to the additional weight of the accessories fitted.
The payload of the Wildtrak X is 913kg.
We didn’t quite hit the payload limit with our test at Crown Forklifts in Sydney, but we would have been pretty close. In the tub we placed 750kg of ballast, plus there was myself as the driver (82kg), meaning the ute had 81kg of payload remaining.
The Ranger didn’t feel as though it was struggling with the weight, though the softness of the suspension was shown up over speedhumps and the like, where it required three rebounds to control itself. It’s something you need to be aware of if you’re carrying this much weight in the tub. In general it picks up more lumps and bumps in the road surface, too.
The Ranger didn’t feel as though it was struggling with the weight.
As is always the case with the Ranger, the steering was a highlight. It is light and easy to twirl, and while it may lack some feel to the driver’s hands, it is really pleasant to drive at all speeds. At parking pace the turning circle is large (12.7m) but it’s easy to park, and has a good reversing camera and parking sensors, and in this spec there’s even a semi-autonomous parking system for tight spots.
The 3.2-litre engine was eager enough to keep things moving, and it revved pretty freely, too. There’s notable low-speed lag from a standing start, and the engine can be vocal at lower speeds, too. But the six-speed automatic transmission is smart and smooth, and proved hard to catch out, too.
As we’ve found in the past, the 2.0-litre engine would be a better option in most situations because it suffers less lag down low in the rev range, and that engine’s 10-speed auto transmission is even smarter, even smoother, and has more ratios to play with.
What safety equipment is fitted? What safety rating?
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.
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.
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 backs all of its models with a five-year/unlimited kilometre warranty plan.
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.