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Ford Ranger Wildtrak: Rugged charisma and sophistication

By Ghaith Madadha - Nov 23,2020 - Last updated at Nov 23,2020

Photo courtesy of Ford

Refreshed last year and arriving in the Middle East for the 2020 model year, the Ford Ranger receives a host of new and improved tech features including driver assistance and infotainment systems, as well as a subtle face-lift. Still the range-topping model regionally — despite the introduction of a performance-oriented Ranger Raptor specialty version for some global markets — the Ranger Wildtrak remains one of the most accomplished, impressive and desirable trucks in its mid-size segment that perfectly reconciles its rugged work truck origins with daily drive comfort, convenience and accessibility.

An up-market lifestyle, daily use and off-road oriented model, the Ranger Wildtrak brings plenty of mod cons, tech, refinement and exceptional sense of rugged charisma and style to the tough and utilitarian work truck line it is derived from. A capable hauler and off-roader with robust performance, the Ranger Wildtrak looks the part with its upright stance, well-proportioned dimensions and sculpted double cab body. With two-tone alloy wheels, prominent running boards, roof rails, front skid plate and sporty integrated roll-over cargo bed bar extending aft of the cabin.

 

Robust re-design

 

While the wider Ranger line receives a re-styled and more toned-down and clearly delineated horizontally-oriented front bumper design, the sportier Wildtrak instead gets a yet more assertive treatment. Placing more emphasis on grille prominence, the Wildtrak receives new full length slats, and is still integrated with the bumper’s mid-section for more vertically-extended and more aggressive aesthetic, further enhanced by more body-integrated bumper edges, bigger side light housings and a bigger, broader brushed metal skid plate. Meanwhile, the Wildttrak’s high-set, heavily browed and moody headlights receive slightly re-styled internal elements.

Assertive with its big muscular wheel-arches, short front overhang and jutting upright fascia, the Wildtrak is powered by Ford’s tried, tested and robust turbocharged direct injection 3.2-litre 5-cylinder diesel engine mounted longitudinally under its clamshell bonnet. Carrying over, rather than being replaced by a derivative of the Raptor’s new 2-litre diesel, the Wildtrak’s powerful five-pot diesel produces 197BHP at 3000rpm and churns out a massive 347lb/ft torque throughout 1500-2750rpm. Driven in 6-speed automatic gearbox guise, this provides the 2,260kg Wildtrak with brisk 10.6-second in-class acceleration and a 175km/h maximum.

 

Versatile workhorse

 

Quick-spooling with little low-end lag and plenty of displacement making it responsive from standstill, the Wildtrak’s big engine and slick shifting gearbox deliver a more consistent, versatile and fluent experience than smaller diesels with narrow output sweet spots. Muscular from standstill and with plenty of power towards its low-revving top-end, the Wildtrack is, however, characterised by its easily accessible and indefatigable torque avalanche, carrying it with effortless flexibility, whether ploughing through sand dunes, driving steep inclines, cruising in town, overtaking on highway or pushing through air resistance at speed.

Driving its rear wheels for regular on-road use, the Wildtrak’s four-wheel-drive can be engaged on-the-move at up to 120km/h. With four-wheel-drive engaged, it easily powers through most low traction conditions, but a 2.48:1 low gear reduction ratio and locking rear differential provide yet more low-traction, incline, crawling and towing capabilities. A utilitarian workhorse with 1180-litres cargo bay, 922kg payload and 3500kg towing capacity, the comparatively compact Wildtrak also delivers extensive off-road ability, including generous high 230mm ground clearance, 800mm water wading and 29° approach, 21° departure, 25° ramp and 35° tilt angles.

 

A cut above

 

Thoroughly accomplished off-road and composed, refined and comfortable on-road and through corners, the Wildtrak’s rigidity serves well whether on heavily rutted highways or dirt roads. Its rigidity yields safety benefits, and aids comfort and handling quality, as it allows its double wishbone front and live axle, leaf spring rear suspension to operate with precision. Refined and settled given its’ rugged rear suspension, the Wildtrak is well controlled through corners for a tall pick-up, while its suspension settings are well-judged for settled on-road refinement and off-road ability and articulation.

A stable and reassuring highway cruiser with excellent cabin refinement from road imperfections, noise, vibrations and diesel clatter, the Wildtrak is a clear cut above most mid-size pick-ups, and feels notably more settled at the rear. As agile as such trucks can be through switchbacks, the Wildtrak is easy to place on the road with its good front visibility and restrained dimensions. Steering is precise, intuitive and direct, if not with a particularly quick ratio. Meanwhile, near ideal weight distribution and sophisticated front suspension allow for tidy turn-in, and good rear grip.

 

Well-equipped and ergonomic

 

Manoeuvrable and easy to place whether through narrow lanes, trails or city streets, the Wildtrak benefits from a slew of driver assistance and safety systems including hill descent control, trailer sway control, lane departure warning, adaptive cruise control and much more. An ideal and refined daily drive truck with plenty of power, low fuel consumption and tight 12.7-metre turning circle, the Wildtrak now even features a 360° reversing camera and semi-auto active parking assistance functionality, which fully negates the low rear manoeuvring visibility inherent to all pick-up trucks. 

Easily accessible and spacious every which way, the Ranger Wildtrak’s cabin is a comfortable, well-equipped environment with sporty styling and rugged material. Ergonomic inside, it features two-tone fabric upholstery with contrasting stitching, and alert, upright driving position with easy reach of controls. Its front seats are exceptionally good for adjustability, comfort and support. Equipped with Ford’s more sophisticated and user-friendly Sync 3 infotainment system, the Wildtrak’s equipment includes numerous other features including off-road instrumentation. It cargo bed meanwhile features a secure roll-back metal cover, 230V AC socket and liftgate assistance.

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS

 

Engine: 3.2-litre, common-rail turbo-diesel, in-line 5-cylinders

Bore x stroke: 89.9 x 100.8mm

Compression ratio: 15.7:1

Valve-train: 20-valve, DOHC

Gearbox: 6-speed automatic

Driveline: Four-wheel-drive, low gear transfer case, locking rear differential

Gear ratios: 1st 4.171:1; 2nd 2.342:1; 3rd 1.521:1; 4th 1.143:1; 5th 0.867:1; 6th 0.691:1

Reverse/final drive: 3.4:1/3.73:1

High/low range: 1:1/2.48:1

Power, BHP (PS) [kW]: 197 (200) [147] @3,000rpm

Specific power: 61.6BHP/litre

Torque, lb/ft (Nm): 347 (470) @1,750-2,500rpm

Specific torque: 147Nm/litre

0-100km/h: approximately 10.6-seconds

Top speed: 175km/h

Fuel consumption, urban/extra-urban/combined; 11.4-/7.4-/8.9-litres/100km

CO2 emissions, combined: 234g/km

Fuel capacity: 80-litres

Length: 5,446mm

Width: 1,867mm

Height: 1,848mm

Wheelbase: 3,220mm

Track: 1,560mm

Overhang, F/R: 928/1,226mm

Ground clearance: 237mm

Water fording: 800mm

Cargo volume: 1,180-litres

Payload, Net: 922kg

Towing capacity, braked/un-braked: 3,500/750kg

Gross vehicle mass: 3,200kg

Gross train mass: 6,000kg

Suspension, F/R: Double wishbones, coilovers/leaf springs, live axle

Steering: Electric-assisted rack & pinion

Lock-to-lock: 3.5-turns

Turning circle: 12.7-metres

Brakes, F/R: Ventilated discs 302x32mm/drums, 295x55mm

Tyres: 265/60R18

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