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

Geelong Advertiser - Motoring - - CARSGUIDE -

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.

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