2021 Ranger Wildtrak: Work, play, and everything in-betweenFriday, March 19, 2021
WITH the introduction of the 2021 Ford Ranger Raptor, the Ranger Wildtrak has moved a rung down on the ladder that it once topped. Even though its younger sibling now heads the model line-up, the Wildtrak has pivoted to being that pickup for those wanting impressive on and off-road capability, but nothing as hardcore as the Ranger Raptor.
The Ranger Wildtrak does its best within the confines of the design constraints of the double cab pickup format. The styling makes it out to be one of the better looking in the segment, having crisp muscular lines. The Wildtrak gets a black grille, chrome accents on the side mirrors and 18-inch wheels. Standard items, which are extras on other trims, like a rollover bar for the pickup bed, adding to the visual toughness of the Wildtrak.
Entry is just a matter of having the keys in one's pockets when grabbing the door handles and stepping up on the side runners. At night, massive puddle lamps light the way. The interior is spacious, practical and luxurious enough for both work and play. There is ample use of leather across the cabin with inlaid stitching using the Wildtrak trim colour, Sabre. This continues across all the key contact points. The necessary tougher plastics are at the area expected to see the most work.
On the passenger side of the dashboard is a glossy inlay proudly proclaiming the fact that the vehicle is a Wildtrak. Not that it needs any help as the name is stitched into the front seats and are on the lower door sills. Colour adjustable ambient lighting, normally found on luxury sedans, graces occupants for relaxing twilight hour operation. The large buttons are ergonomic and easy to use with or without a gloved hand. USB ports light up to be found quickly. Storage solutions are abound, from the deep cooled centre console, to the door cubbies, to the flip up rear seats. The ultimate space is the rear bed as the standard lockable roll-top tonneau cover and bedliner offer 1.18 cubic meters of payload up to 1,043 kilograms.
The Ranger has never shied away from technology and boasts features that wouldn't be out of place on a premium sedan. Many elements are powered or automated with the aim of making driving easier and safer. Headlights and wipers can be set to function automatically. Dual climate control intelligently regulates temperatures between passengers. There is Assisted Parallel Parking, the Wildtrak then pushes these features to the extreme for a pickup. Front seats are heated, as is the front windshield. Even neat touches like the ambient lighting in the door handles switching to red to warn that the door is open, marks it above competitors. The Ford SYNC 3 infotainment is one of the best, already with functioning satellite navigation through its 8-inch touchscreen.
The Wildtrak drives retains the same quality driving experience it always has. On-road Adaptive Speed Control with distance control makes cruising a breeze, while Forward Collision Warning with Automatic Emergency Braking, and Lane Departure Warning keeps everyone safe. It's smooth, comfortable and can be hustled at speed in the hands of an experienced driver. Off-road, the Wildtrak makes full use of its electronic shift-on-the-fly four-wheel drive system and impressive approach, breakover and departure angles to traverse the most serious of trails. The key to all this is its 3.2-litre inline five-cylinder turbo diesel motor. Having 197bhp on tap and a massive 347lb/ft of torque means the Wildtrak never struggles for acceleration, laden or unladen, especially with the six-speed automatic transmission.
The Wildtrak may not be as wild as it used to be in the current scheme of things, that honour goes to the Ranger Raptor. What the Ranger Wildtrak now represents is a sort of greatest hits of the model, making optional items on the various other Ranger models standard for this trim level for an overall capable experience.
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