9 June 2021

Ford Ranger Wildtrak X 2021 Car Review

The Ford Ranger has been a bit of a staple in NZ over the last few years, and has been the bestselling new commercial in 10 of the last 13 months. We recently got our hands on the Ranger Wildtrak X to see what all the fuss is about.


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Ford Ranger Wildtrak X 2021
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Ford Ranger Wildtrak X 2021
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Ford Ranger Wildtrak X 2021
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Ford Ranger Wildtrak X 2021
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Ford Ranger Wildtrak X 2021
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Ford Ranger Wildtrak X 2021
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Ford Ranger Wildtrak X 2021

If Ford NZ’s advertising is to be believed, the Ranger line-up is all about the adventure and living life to the fullest. The Ranger is a truck that’s always ready for work or play, and possesses both the power and capability for the toughest jobs. It also has the comfort and smart safety features you want if you have your family on board.

What’s in the Range?

All up, there are a total of five options in the Ford Ranger range of vehicles. Aside from the radical Raptor, the Ranger comes in an additional four variants. The XL and XLT (both of which offer 2WD and 4WD options), the FX4 (which offers 2WD only) and our test vehicle - the Wildtrak X - (which is available exclusively in 4WD).

The base XL in 2WD receives a 2.2-litre turbodiesel engine, while the XLT and Wildtrak are available in the choice of the good old 3.2-litre five-cylinder diesel or the newer 2.0-litre Bi-turbo diesel combined with a new 10-speed automatic (as opposed to the six-speed used with the other engines). The FX4 comes standard with the 3.2-litre petrol engine.

While there are many body style configurations available for the XL model, the popular choice is the Double Cab Pick-Up, which is also the only choice available from the XLT grade upwards.

Raising the standard

All Ranger models are equipped with a very impressive range of standard equipment like the assisted tailgate (which works brilliantly), an eight-inch colour touchscreen and auto high beam lights. A suite of safety features including systems like Auto Emergency Braking (AEB), Driver Impairment Monitor, Hill Descent Control, Hill Launch Assist and Lane Keeping Aid and Departure Warning is also included.

For those that love to tow something large and heavy, the models also offer an outstanding 3,500kg braked towing capacity and a whopping 6,000kg gross combination mass (vehicle and trailer combined). Due to Trailer Sway Control, towing is also safer than ever – this works by reducing any detected trailer sway by slowing down the vehicle or adjusting engine power until the sway is no longer detected.

It has the X-Factor

Our test Ranger Wildtrak is the Bi-Turbo X upgrade model, which boasts an extra $2,000 in features over the standard Bi-Turbo Wildtrak. This adds a host of black trim, like on the wheel arch flares, roof rails, mirrors, handles, front bumper inserts and rear bumper. Unique black 18-inch alloy wheels, a genuine nudge bar with LED light bar, black running boards with lights and a unique front grille really adds to the rugged look.

The Wildtrak interior feels premium, with comfortable leather-accented seats with contrasting colour trim and stitching that extends to the dashboard and steering wheel.

The drive is nothing short of excellent. Simply put, it is one of the most comfortable non-loaded utes to ride in. The Bi-Turbo engine packs more punch than the larger five-cylinder on offer by 10kW, and it also adds 30Nm of additional torque.

A minor gripe we had on testing was that we found the child seat fitment trickier than usual to get the top tether fastened behind the seat back.

Fuel economy for the Ranger Wildtrak sits at 7.4L/100km, with a CO2 emissions rating of 195g/km.

Things you should know

A feature that you don’t see too often - a three-pin power socket – is located behind the centre console, and is perfect for those who might need to charge a device like a laptop on the road.

We were surprised to find out that the Ranger lacks Blind Spot Monitoring (BSM), which we are getting more and more used to seeing in new vehicles of late. Active Park Assist, however, takes the hassle of trying to manually squeeze the large Ranger into the parking space.

A power-operated roller shutter offers improved security and protection from the elements, and comes as standard on the Ranger Wildtrak. This can be operated easily via either the key fob, dash or inside the tray. We did wonder though why we’d sometimes find the blind open, and we suspect this is where we may have unwittingly pushed the remote button.

Other players in the market is Toyota with the Hilux SR5 Cruiser priced from $59,990 (+ORC), Mazda BT-50 Limited from $60,000 (+ORC), Isuzu D-Max X-Terrain from $75,490 (+ORC) and the Volkswagen Amarok Adventura from $90,000 (+ORC).

Verdict

For a Ute that can tick a lot of boxes and take you where ordinary cars cannot, we can see why the Ranger is so popular with NZ drivers as a vehicle suited to both work and play.

At a glance

Models

Ford Ranger Wildtrak X

Engine

2.0-litre Bi-Turbo Four-Cylinder Diesel

Price

From $75,490 (+ORC)

ANCAP safety rating

5 Star

Power and Torque

157kW, 500Nm

Transmission

10-speed auto

Fuel economy/CO2

7.4L/100km, 195g/km

Towing capacity

3,500kg (Braked), 750kg (Unbraked)

2WD/4WD/AWD

4WD

Seating capacity

5

Payload

961kg

Safety systems

  • Electronic Locking Rear Differential (eRD)
  • Driver Impairment Monitor
  • Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) w/Pedestrian Detection
  • Lane Keeping Aid & Departure Warning
  • Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) incorporating ABS, Load Adaptive Control
  • Six Airbags - Front & Side (Driver & Passenger), Full Length Curtain
  • Roll Over Mitigation, Traction Control & Trailer Sway Control
  • Adaptive Cruise Control
  • Traffic Sign Recognition
  • Parking Sensors

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