2019 Ford Ranger Wildtrak Bi-Turbo Review
Dean Mellor’s 2019 Ford Ranger Wildtrak Bi-Turbo Review With Pricing, Specs, Performance, Ride And Handling, Safety, Verdict And Score.
In A Nutshell The 2019 Ford Ranger Wildtrak Bi-Turbo features the latest engine, transmission and safety tech, and is a refined on-road tourer and a competent off-road performer that also comes loaded with comfort and convenience features.
2019 Ford Ranger Wildtrak Bi-Turbo Specifications
Pricing $63,990+ORC Warranty 5-years/unlimited kilometres Service Intervals 12 months/15,000km Safety 5 star ANCAP (2015) Engine 2.0-litre four-cylinder bi-turbo-diesel Power 157kW at 3750rpm Torque 500Nm at 1750-2000rpm Transmission 10-speed automatic Drive part-time 4WD Dimensions 5426mm (L); 2163mm (W); 1848mm (H) Turning Circle 12.7m Ground Clearance 232mm Wading depth 800mm Kerb Weight 2246kg GVM 3200kg Payload 954kg Tub space 1549mm (L); 1560mm (W); 840mm (H) Towing Capacity 750kg/3500kg Tyres 265/60R18 Spare Full-size Fuel Tank 80L Thirst 7.4L/100km (combined)
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The Ford Ranger is Australia’s second-best selling 4×4 ute and in Wildtrak trim it comes loaded with comfort, convenience and safety features.
What is the 2019 Ford Ranger Wildtrak Bi-Turbo?
For the MY19 model Wildtrak buyers have the choice of two drivetrains: the existing 3.2-litre five-cylinder turbo-diesel engine at $62,790 or, for $1200 more, a more potent 2.0-litre four-cylinder bi-turbo-diesel engine. Not only does the new high-tech 2.0-litre engine produce more power and torque than the 3.2, but it’s also more economical, more refined and is mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission instead of a six-speeder.
The model we’re testing here is the new 2.0-litre bi-turbo-diesel variant, and the engine makes a claimed 157kW of power at 3750rpm and 500Nm of torque at 1750-2000rpm, which is up from the 3.2-litre engine’s claimed peaks of 147kW at 3000rpm and 470Nm at 1750-2500rpm.
Other new features on the Ranger Wildtrak for 2019 include a restyled grille and fascia, a unique front bumper design, the inclusion of LED front fog lamps and power-lock tailgate. Standard equipment includes: 18-inch alloy wheels with 265/60R18 rubber; Monument Grey grille, rear bumper, mirrors and Sailplane (sports bar); HID headlights; privacy glass; sidesteps; load box lighting; roller shutter; leather trim; heated front seats; 230V inverter; cooled centre console; dual-zone climate control; rain-sensing wipers; 4.2-inch colour TFT display, 8-inch colour touchscreen, satnav, DAB+ digital radio, Sync 3 with voice activated controls and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto; and remote keyless entry and start.
The Ranger Wildtrak also comes with advanced active safety tech (see ‘What safety features does it get?’)
What’s the interior like?
The overall interior design of the MY19 Wildtrak is pretty much the same the previous model but there have been some trim changes including new black leather seats with contrast stitching and embroidered ‘Wildtrak’ logo. There’s matching leather on the dash, steering wheel and gear lever.
While there are a few grey trim pieces, most of the interior is either black or very dark grey, including the roof lining, window pillars, door trim and dash. Rather than giving the Wildtrak’s cabin a closed-in feeling, it actually works quite well and results in a classy/sporty feel. Sure, there’s some hard-plastic bits around the centre console bin and elsewhere, but most of the trim is a combination of good quality plastics and soft-touch materials.
The driver’s seat offers 8-way power adjustment, manual lumbar adjustment, a generous base and good lateral support. There’s plenty of fore/aft adjustment too, and the steering wheel is adjustable for rake, but not reach.
The front passenger is not as well catered to with a seat featuring manual fore/aft and backrest adjustment only. Both front seats, however, offer heating.
The colour 8-inch touchscreen is well positioned and easy to read, and features Ford’s intuitive Sync3 set-up. It also has Apple CarPlay/Android Auto when a compatible phone is connected via USB. The instrument cluster has a central analogue speedo with two colour cluster screens on either side that display a wealth of info that can be accessed via the steering wheel controls.
The HVAC controls are down low on the dash and the buttons can be a bit hard to read while driving, especially when wearing sunglasses, but they’re logically positioned so operation becomes easier with some familiarisation.
The sound system is impressive and despite steering wheel and touchscreen controls Ford has thankfully retained big dials for volume and tuning functions.
The glovebox is voluminous, the cooled centre-console bin is a decent size and there are a couple of cupholders in the centre console as well as generous bottle holders and map pockets in both the front and rear doors. There are two USB ports up front and a 12V power outlet.
The back seat offers reasonable width and leg room for a dual-cab ute. There are three-point belts and head rests for all positions, and ISOFIX and traditional tether-style child-seat anchor points for the outer positions. There’s a pull-down armrest in the centre with a couple of cupholders and 12V DC and 230V AC power outlets, but no air vents in the back. Lift up the back-seat base and you’ll find a couple of plastic bins ideally suited to storing wet items like swimmers or towels.
There’s a sunglasses holder up front and a couple of coat hooks out the back, as well as plenty of grab handles throughout the cabin.
What’s the tub like?
The Ranger’s tub is long, wide and high, and it offers generous dimensions for a dual-cab. A sturdy tubliner is standard on the Wildtrak and the tub also has a 12V power outlet, four cargo tie-down points and illumination. The Wildtrak also scores a standard lockable roller shutter, tailgate-lift assist and tailgate locking via the remote key fob. In addition, there’s an effective rubber dust-sealing strip around the tailgate opening.
The roller shutter is easy to use and comes with a pull-strap to open and close, but it eats into cargo space at the front of the tub. Nevertheless, it’s a good solution for those who prefer cargo security and weather protection over the ability to haul big items like dirtbikes. On the downside, it can’t be easily removed like a more traditional lift-up sport lid. And instead of the usual polished alloy sport bar, the Wildtrak is equipped with a ‘sailplane’, which is more about aesthetics than practicality.
The rear-step bar doesn’t stick out too far like some others utes and it still offers a decent step, although the factory standard tow bar hangs low and significantly reduces departure angle.
What’s it like on the road?
There’s no doubt the new 2.0-litre bi-turbo-diesel engine feels stronger than the 3.2-litre turbo-diesel, but it’s lost some of the latter’s distinctive five-cylinder character that separated it from the throng of four-cylinder competitors. Nevertheless, the new engine produces good bottom-end and midrange torque and, while the Ranger doesn’t feel particularly quick on the road, it delivers more than adequate performance.
The 10-speed auto offers a ratio for all occasions and it shifts almost imperceptibly at partial throttle and quite smoothly under load. It can occasionally get a little confused around town if you suddenly apply full throttle, taking a moment to find the right ratio, but slip it into Sport mode and it shifts more eagerly. Sport also sees the transmission hold onto gears for longer, making use of the engine’s free-revving nature and top-end power output rather than its midrange torque. Manual shifting by way of a button on the side of the gearshift lever is the third option, and this brings up one of two gear-position indicators on the instrument binnacle.
Overall gearing is tall, and the transmission won’t shift into 10th at anything below 110km/h on the freeway, but this aids fuel economy which Ford says is 7.4L/100km for the combined cycle compared with 8.9L/100km for the five-cylinder Wildtrak. On test we averaged 10.6L/100km, but this included a relatively high percentage of off-road driving. With an 80-litre fuel tank you can expect a pretty good touring range between refills. The new driveline results in relaxed highway touring and the bi-turbo-diesel engine is quiet and refined when cruising, with engine revs sitting on around 1600rpm at 110km/h in 10th.
Ford has tweaked the Ranger’s suspension by relocating and stiffening the front anti-roll bar, which it says minimises body roll when cornering, and this allows for fitment of a softer spring rate for improved ride comfort. Cornering with enthusiasm on twisty back roads certainly highlights the well-controlled body roll, and the nicely weighted steering offers good feel and feedback. The rear-end can still skip around a bit over bumpy surfaces but it feels well matched to the front, even when there’s only a light load in the tub.
There’s no denying that at 5426mm long and 2163mm wide, the Ranger Wildtrak is a big beast, and it can be a tight squeeze in many urban environments such as shopping centre carparks. Overbonnet visibility and the view to the rear aren’t great either, but the inclusion of standard front and rear parking sensors and a reversing camera are of great benefit when manoeuvring around town. The Wildtrak also features Ford’s Semi Auto Active Park Assist, which can help find a suitable parallel parking spot and then steer the vehicle into it, with the driver just having to select reverse and operate the throttle and brake.
On the open road the Traffic Sign Recognition system is of great benefit, especially when driving on unfamiliar roads where there are lots of different speed zones. And on the freeway the Adaptive Cruise Control works well, maintaining a set distance to the vehicle in front that can be adjusted via a button on the steering-wheel. The inclusion of Lane Keep Assist /Lane Departure Warning will also be of benefit to many drivers, as will the Driver Impairment Monitor.
What’s it like off the road?
The Ranger Wildtrak is an effective off-roader straight out of the box thanks to good low-range reduction, plenty of low-rpm torque, an effective electronic traction control system and a standard-fitment rear diff lock. It also has Hill Descent Control and Hill Launch Assist.
The part-time four-wheel drive selector is conveniently positioned on the centre console near buttons for the rear diff lock and hill descent control. The parking-sensor button is also in this cluster of switches and will be one of the first things you look for when you head off-road, probably followed by the off button for the auto stop-start.
Most underbody components like the sump, gearbox, transfer case, fuel tank and even the spare wheel are tucked up and out of the way, and there’s a reasonably robust steel bash plate up front. The side steps are probably the most vulnerable components when driving off-road as they hang quite low, but despite copping several scrapes on our test drive they showed no signs of damage. There’s also a plastic lip below the front bumper that cops a bit of a pounding off-road, but it’s flexible and again showed no signs of damage after off-road driving.
The Ranger’s big bonnet has gas-assisted struts to take the effort out of opening it. There’s not much space in the engine bay for an auxiliary battery, but there are dual-battery kits on the market that allow the fitment of one, either under the vehicle or in the tub. The alternator is up high in the engine bay, as are other electrical components, and the engine sources air high up above the driver’s side headlight, and Ford claims an impressive 800mm wading depth for the Ranger. If water crossings are on the agenda, however, you’ll still want to fit a quality snorkel.
What safety features does it get?
When it comes to safety features the 2019 Ford Ranger Wildtrak is at the front of the 4×4 ute pack. In addition to the usual raft of safety features such as ABS, traction control, stability control, trailer sway control, front and rear parking sensors, reversing camera and a full suite of SRS airbags, the Wildtrak is packed with advanced crash avoidance technologies including Inter-Urban Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) with Vehicle Detection and Pedestrian Detection, Adaptive Cruise Control with Forward Collision Alert and Lane Keep Assist/Lane Departure Warning.
Other safety features on the Wildtrak include Driver Impairment Monitor, Auto High Beam, Tyre Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS), Adjustable Speed Limiter, Beltminder and Emergency Brake Light.
The Ranger was awarded a five-star ANCAP score in 2015, and many of the above safety features have been added to the Wildtrak since then.