Wild about big workhorse
It is easy to see why this vehicle is now leading sales in the one-tonne ute segment, PETER BARNWELL writes
WE turn the spotlight on the car world’s newest and brightest stars as we ask the questions to which you want the answers. But there’s only one question that needs answering — would you buy one? WHAT IS IT?
This is Ford’s top-of-therange one-tonne ute, the Ranger Wildtrak.
Ranger took over top sales position in the one-tonne ute segment from Toyota Hilux last year. Little wonder, it is a good looking ute with plenty of go from the strong five-pot engine. HOW MUCH?
This is the ultimate Ranger and goes for $57,390. But there are numerous other choices in the Ranger line-up, priced from $19,740 for the petrol 2.5manual single cab. COMPETITORS?
You’re looking at Hilux, Triton, Navara, Amarok, Colorado, D-Max, BT50 and peripheral dwellers such as SsangYong, Great Wall, Tata. UNDER THE BONNET?
This one gets a strong 3.2litre turbo diesel five-cylinder with 147kW/470Nm — a lazy output for such an engine that will probably be relatively long lived. HOW DOES IT GO?
Great performance apart from an annoying rattle from the transmission on the throttle overrun at highway speeds.
Plenty of kick across a wide engine speed range, makes a snarly, gnarly growl off idle. Smooth, relatively quiet. A good thing to drive in manual or auto (both six speeders). IS IT ECONOMICAL?
Not particularly — rated at 9.6-litres/100km but it does have an 80-litre fuel tank, and you can always opt for the 2.2litre four-cylinder turbodiesel — just not in Wildtrak spec. IS IT COMFORTABLE?
Yes, the ride is good for a workhorse and it handles pretty well given the design constraints. Decent shaped and padded seats, light steering. OK turning circle and the Wildtrak scores plenty of kit.
It’s the only Ranger to get a rear view camera. Big cross. ON THE ROAD?
We like the Ranger. One of the best if not the best-looking ute in the one-tonner brigade, which is reflected in the sales graph.
The roller shutter is a waste of space because it seriously restricts load space. We’d go for the basic tonneau with elastic pull downs — much more practical and, after all, it is a ute.
The info screen is handy but difficult to see in monochrome blue, faces the wrong way and is too small. Satnav is handy and the Bluetooth functions are relatively easy to access. WOULD WE BUY ONE?
We’d go for something down the Ranger tree a bit, slap on some (non-factory) accessories and walk away smiling. But a Ranger . . . definitely.