Ford’s new Ranger Wildtrak has broken cover, bringing a fresh look and more gear – including an optional technology pack of advanced safety features that could see the price bust $60k.
As with the upcoming facelift for the rest of the Ranger range, the Wildtrak – expected to be priced from close to the current car’s $57,390 ask - gets revised front and rear styling, including new headlights, bumpers and bonnet.
The Ranger continues with 4x2 and 4x4 models, a turbo diesel-only engine lineup (2.2-litre four-cylinder for basic models and 3.2-litre five-cylinder for others), cab-chassis or ute configurations and three body styles – Single Cab, Super Cab and Double Cab.
There will also be four model grades; XL, XLS, XLT and the Wildtrak flagship.
The Wildtrak – which makes up almost one in 10 Ranger sales - will be exclusively a 4x4 Double Cab with the 3.2-litre engine.
The trademark Wildtrak styling add-ons remain, albeit revised for the upcoming PX MkII that arrives in September. That includes 18-inch alloy wheels, blacked out bumper inserts, side steps and a sports bar.
The orange Ranger hero colour has also been changed slightly to Pride Orange (replacing Chilli Orange); it’s one of five available for the Wildtrak.
Inside, too, the Wildtrak benefits from the new Ranger’s redesigned instrument cluster that includes dual 4.2-inch customisable colour screens on either side of the analogue speedo. There’s also a new dash design with an 8.0-inch colour touchscreen and Ford’s latest Sync2 operating system.
As with the rest of the Ranger line-up the Wildtrak will get a speed limiter, an LED light to illuminate the tray, tyre pressure monitors and a 230V powerpoint for camp gear or charging on the run. Other Wildtrak features remain, such as the reversing camera, 12V outlet in the bedliner, satellite-navigation, heated front seats and roller shutter over the tray.
Ford will also offer a “Tech Pack Option” on the Wildtrak and its lesser equipped sibling, the Ranger XLT. It brings a suite of active safety features, including lane departure warning, lane keep assist (to provide mild self-steering back into the lane), active cruise control (to maintain a distance to the car in front) and collision alert, which uses the forward radar to monitor traffic and alert the driver if they are at risk of a crash.
There’s also electric steering replacing the hydraulic setup, something that brings incremental fuel savings of about 3-per cent (overall fuel savings are yet to be confirmed).
Speaking of which, the 147kW/470Nm outputs of the 3.2-litre five-cylinder turbo diesel are unchanged, but work has been done to improve refinement and reduce noise.
The Wildtrak’s six-speed auto, too, has been recalibrated for slight improvements to performance, efficiency and refinement.
And those choosing the six-speed manual – previously clunky in its operation - can look forward to a smoother shift action thanks to a new cable shift system.
The basic mechanical package of the updated Ranger hasn’t changed, with a shift-on-the-fly dual-range transfer case and rugged ladder frame chassis.
The suspension tune will get minor revisions, but the basic architecture remains, with independent coils at the front and a live axle leaf spring setup at the rear.
Off-road credentials are also unchanged. There’s 230mm of ground, 800mm claimed wading depth and an electronic locking rear differential. The 3500kg towing capacity – equal class leading - is unchanged and the Wildtrak still gets a towbar standard.
The Wildtrak has been a huge success for Ford as it chases the sales-dominating Toyota Hilux.
Toyota is expected to add a high grade version of the all-new Hilux, which arrives in September. The yet-to-be-named newcomer is expected to target the Wildtrak but won’t be on sale until 2016 at the earliest.
Mazda offers various add-on packs – the Boss Adventure and Boss Sports – for its BT-50, each of which adds side steps, a bullbar and sports bar.
And Volkswagen’s Amarok Highline – the most expensive dual-cab ute on the market, at $62,990 – is one of the brand’s most popular utes.
Ford Ranger Wildtrak PX MkII
Price: $60,000 (estimated)
On sale: September, 2015
Body: Dual-cab ute
Engine: 3.2-litre five-cylinder turbo diesel
Power: 147kW at 3000rpm
Torque: 470Nm at 1500-2750rpm
Transmission: 6-speed manual or 6-speed auto
Ground clearance: 230mm
Approach/departure/rampover angles: TBA
Wading depth: 800mm
Click here to read the full range review of the Ford Ranger
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