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On test: Ford Ranger Wildtrak Double Cab 3.0

Insights
Geoff Ashcroft and James Lane took the Ford Ranger Wildtrak out for a full test.
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Overall score

61/80 (76%)

In shocking Lagoon Blue paint, orange graphics and orange piping for the interior, Ford’s Ranger Wildtrak will get you noticed.

 

There are more stealthy versions available, including the lower-spec Thunder and XLT models, though muscle drops away from the Wildtrak’s beefy three-litre to the smaller capacity 2.5-litre Duratorq TDCi with 143hp and 330Nm of torque.

 

In three-litre guise, Ford’s big Duratorq engine develops 156bhp at 3,200rpm, with a torque level of 380Nm at 1,800rpm. It is one of two three-litre engines in this group, and compared to the Isuzu’s big motor, the Ford loses on power but wins on torque.

 

Around our towing route, the Ranger was an excellent performer, with engine revs sat at 1,650-1,700rpm in fifth gear at 50mph, just about nudging its peak torque level.

 

On the hills, there is decent punch available from the Ford, but with a narrow working range between peak torque and full power, it relies heavily on the larger capacity engine to get up to speed.

 

It pulled the loaded trailer with ease, though braking was a little unsettled and was a reminder that there is a good load behind. Unladen though, the Wildtrak remains pleasant and free of surprises.

 

The gearbox has a nice clean action, with the stick finished in leather, which is a feature of the Wildtrak’s cab. The seats are a soft, comfortable mix of leather and alcantara, and would probably need covers fitting - to protect from muck and grime.

 

However, rear seat passengers might find space is at a premium.

 

The dashboard is what you would expect from Ford - familiar, clean, simple and easy to read. The radio is standard Ford fare, too, but above it sits an Off-road Information Centre - a cluster of gimmicky dials on top of the dash so you can double-check what your backside is telling you when negotiating side slopes and steep descents.

 

The Wildtrak is the king of bling, though it still lacks useful specification. Missing from the list of ideals are cruise control, sat-nav and even a trip computer.

 

There is limited space around the cab, but a handy tray does slide out from above the glove box, and is ideal for pens and a pad.

 

Only one power socket could be found in the cab, which limits your options for charging electronic devices.

 

Styling on the Wildtrak includes elaborate load box sports rail extensions to match its roof bars, though you would probably not use them to tie anything down other than a surfboard or barbecue.

 

Inside the load bay, there are just two lashing eyes at the rear, though the tailgate can be secured using two integral tie straps. Our test truck came with an optional, lockable Armadillo roll top cover, which does add £1,000 to the price.

 

In Wildtrak specification, the Ranger is perhaps a bit too showy as a work truck, despite its class-leading towing performance, which is shared with the Isuzu.

 

We would be tempted to save the £2,250 price premium the Wildtrak commands in favour of the 2.5-litre Thunder - and with an all-new Ranger due out at the end of 2011, we would soon be looking for a stonking deal on an outgoing model.

What it is

  • Engine: 2,953cc, Duratorq TDCi 16v, four-cylinder turbo diesel
  • Power: 156hp @ 3,200rpm
  • Torque: 380Nm @ 1,800rpm
  • Transmission: Five-speed manual, rear-wheel drive with selectable four-wheel drive, and low range
  • Performance: 11.3 sec 0-60mph, 105mph, 260g/km
  • Wheels & tyres: 255/60 R18 on 18in rims
  • Towing capacity: 3,000kg
  • Payload capacity: 1,072kg
  • Load bed dimensions (wxl): 1,456mm x 1,530mm
  • Turning circle (wall-to-wall): 12.6m

What it does

  • Fuel tank capacity: 70 litres
  • Test fuel economy: Towing - 21.46mpg
  • Test fuel economy: Unladen - 25.14mpg
  • Maker’s combined figure: 29.7mpg

What it costs

  • Service intervals: 12,500 miles or 12 months
  • Service cost: 12.5k @ £135+vat, 25k @ £234+vat, 37.5k @ £285+vat, 50k @ £234+vat (John Grose Ipswich)
  • Warranty: 3 years or 60,000 miles
  • Insurance group: 11A
  • Price: £22,350+vat (£23,350+vat as tested)

What we think

  • Towing ability: 9/10
  • Load space & security: 7/10
  • Cab comfort: 7/10
  • Behind the wheel (unladen): 8/10
  • Behind the wheel (towing): 9/10
  • Performance: 8/10
  • Fuel efficiency: 6/10
  • Equipment levels: 7/10

Overall score: 61/80 (76%)

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