Ranger Wildtrak – Ford's Popular Pick-up On Test
Andy Harris, Motoring and Property Editor
I have a soft spot for pick-up trucks. I admire their workaday honesty and their ability to stray off the beaten track in relative comfort.
The downside is the open load space which rapidly fills with water and leaves any load being carried on display and at the mercy of the light-fingered. Of course a selection of load covers and hard tops can be had, but these seem to spoil the purity of the concept.
Ford’s Ranger has proved to be popular with users who need a pick-up as a work tool, but on test here is a top-spec Wildtrak model, the near £35,000 price making it more likely to find a home with a leisure buyer. Chuck a bike or surf board in the back and go and play.... you get the idea.
Under the bonnet sits a tried and tested 200PS 3194cc 5-cylinder diesel engine. Performance is leisurely with the sprint to 62mph taking just under eleven seconds. This is not helped by a very low first gear and a rather notchy gearbox.
Once underway things improve and with 470Nm of torque available, the Ranger is able to keep up with the cut and thrust of everyday driving.
Should you be so inclined, the Ranger will also pull a braked trailer weighing up to 3500kg with ease.
Ford quotes a combined economy figure of 33.6mpg. I recorded just less than 27mpg, though this did include a fair amount of time at low speeds exploring a few local byways.
Emissions are a rather high 221g/km CO2, which won’t keep the company accountant happy.
On the road, the Ranger drives in a similar manner to most of its ilk; jiggly ride when unladen, slow steering and body lean in corners.
Off road things improve, with plenty of traction to cater for the very worst of conditions and the ability to iron out all but the very deepest craters. That slightly irritating low first gear suddenly makes sense as the Wildtrak can now be trickled along at low speed without having to constantly dip the clutch.
In the interest of good copy I pushed the Ranger harder than most would-be owners are likely to and it was more than up to the challenge.
Equipment count is high. Leather upholstery, dual-zone climate control and heated front seats are there to pamper, whilst cruise control and satellite navigation will no doubt be appreciated.
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There is no doubting the appeal of a luxury pick-up and in many ways the Ranger Wildtrak meets the brief. However, new entrants to the market from the likes of Mercedes-Benz offer a more car-like driving experience alongside a more desirable badge.
It would therefore seem more prudent to lower the spend and buy a Ranger in more modest spec (from £23,274). At this level it competes with its rival on a more equal footing and may well make sense.
Ford Ranger Wildtrak
200PS five-cylinder 3194cc diesel engine
6-speed manual gearbox
470Nm of torque at 1,500rpm
Combined economy 33.6mpg
Emissions 221g/km CO2
Towing capacity 3500kg (braked)
Ranger Wildtrak – Ford's Popular Pick-up On Test, 10th September 2018, 7:00 AM