2019 Ford Ranger Wildtrak Review
Isaac Bober’s 2019 Ford Ranger Wildtrak Review with Price, Specs, Performance, Ride and Handling, Towing, Ownership, Safety, Verdict and Score.
In a nutshell: The Ford Ranger was updated towards the end of last year with tweaks to the suspension and active safety added.
2019 Ford Ranger Wildtrak Specifications
Price $63,990+ORC Warranty five-years, unlimited km Safety 5 stars Engine 2.0-litre twin-turbo diesel four-cylinder Power 157kW at 3750rpm Torque 500Nm at 1750-2000rpm Transmission 10-speed automatic Drive part-time 4×4 Dimensions 5426mm long, 1860mm wide 1848mm high, 3220mm wheelbase Ground Clearance 225mm confirmed Angles 29-degrees approach, 25-degrees departure, 21-degrees rampover Wading 800mm Weight 2246kg GVM 2900kg GCM 6000kg Towing 3500kg (braked) Fuel Tank 80 litres Thirst 7.4L/100km combined-cycle claimed / 8.0L/100km tested
Watch our 2019 Ford Ranger Wildtrak Review
The Ford Ranger Wildtrak sits at the top of the tree in the Ranger line-up and gets the choice of either a 3.2L five-cylinder turbo-diesel or the new 2.0-litre bi-turbo four-cylinder and this is the one we’ve tested.
WHAT’S THE PRICE AND WHAT DO YOU GET? The Ranger Wildtrak is available with both the 3.2-litre five-cylinder turbo-diesel and the brand-new 2.0-litre bi-turbo four-cylinder diesel engine and that’s the one we’ve tested here. The Ranger Wildtrak lists from $63,9990+ORC.
For the money, you get a tweaked front bumper and grille, LED fog lamps and power-lock tailgate, you get 18-inch alloy wheels with 265/60R18 rubber; Monument Grey grille, rear bumper, mirrors and Sailplane (sports bar); HID headlights; privacy glass; sidesteps; tray 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, 8.0-inch colour touchscreen, sat-nav, DAB+ digital radio, Sync 3 with voice activated controls and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto; and remote keyless entry and start.
UNDER THE BONNET: The Ranger Wildtrak is available with two engines, the old 3.2-litre five-cylinder turbo-diesel or this new 2.0-litre bi-turbo four-cylinder diesel. This one makes 157kW and 500Nm of torque and is mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission and gets it power to the ground via a part-time 4×4 system, meaning it operates in two-wheel drive on sealed surfaces and four-wheel drive on unsealed roads.
WHAT’S THE CABIN LIKE? The interior of the 2019 Ranger Wildtrak is largely the same as the previous model with the key changes being new black leather seats with contrast stitching and the Wildtrak logo. While there’s plenty of hard scratchy plastics but some of it is nicely textured, and there’s enough soft-touch stuff that the interior feels more play than work and, at this price that’s what you want.
For infotainment, you get an 8.0-inch touchscreen with Ford’s clever SYNC3 system that offers native sat-nav with live-traffic updates. It also offers Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity. You can control the climate and audio from the screen but there are also physical buttons lower down which is great.
WHAT’S THE FRONT SEAT LIKE? There’s eight-way power adjust on the front seat and good side support but the seat is quite narrow and short in the base.
WHAT’S THE BACK-SEAT LIKE? You’ll fit two adults comfortably across the back here with decent head and leg room. In fact, the Ranger offers some of the best rear seat legroom in the class thanks to its long wheelbase. There are no rear air vents but you do get a fold down centre armrest. And the seat bases flip up to reveal some plastic bins for extra in-cabin storage.
WHAT’S THE TRAY LIKE? The Ranger Wildtrak gets a standard rollaway tray cover which is great for weather sealing but can be a pain to use and it robs some storage space when opened. You don’t get a tailgate left assist but the tailgate can be raised and lowered with just one hand, the sports bar is for looks only and called a Wind Sail by Ford, whatever that means. The tray, for those counting, measures 1549mm long and 1139mm between the wheel arches. The rear opening when you drop the tailgate is 1330mm, and the load height is 835mm.
WHAT’S IT LIKE ON THE ROAD? Weighing less than its Raptor sibling (around 100kg less) means the Wildtrak feels a lot spritelier whether you’re moving away from a standing start or accelerating in-gear when overtaking. That’s not to say it feels like a rocketship, but progress is generally quick and effortless.
The 10-speed automatic does a good job of picking the right gear when you’re up and moving; it can be a little slurry at around town speeds. But, in all, the engine and transmission are ahead of the 3.2L five-cylinder and six-speed automatic for refinement and are second only, in the segment, to the engine and transmission in the Amarok.
Ford made some tweaks to the 2019 Ranger’s suspension for improved on-road comfort and body control through corners whether loaded or unloaded. This is exactly what Mitsubishi did with the Triton, but where it’s impossible to notice the ride improvements on the Triton, the Ford’s is evident from even just a short drive around the block.
Where it would buck on a hard-edged hit (in a straight line) it now cushions the impact getting a lot closer to the way the Amarok smothers bumps. Whether it’s carrying the family or not, or some load in the tray, or not, the Ranger Wildtrak is comfortable with none of the body jiggle and jolting off bumps in the road it used to have and that most of its competitors suffer from. But it’s not perfect. Unfortunately, as improved as the ride and handling is unladen, there’s still that trademark ute skip off mid-corner bumps in the road. It’s certainly less pronounced than it was and, even on wet road and unladen, the skip won’t pitch you sideways even when travelling swiftly but it’s there to remind you that as good as it is to drive it’s still a ute with very little weight over the back axle.
In all, the Ranger Wildtrak is fun to drive with good steering, body control and grip, even on wet roads. Sure, it’s a 2WD on sealed surfaces but the traction and stability controls now react a lot more quickly and cleanly than before and, so, you’d have to be driving with fists of ham to get the back completely out of shape. Is it as good as driving the Triton in 4WD on a wet road? Not quite, but it’s close.
WHAT’S IT LIKE OFF THE ROAD? The Ranger has always been good when the going gets rough and that’s still the case now. The suspension tweaks have improved the on-road ride and handling but they’ve also made the Ranger more comfortable across rough terrain.
Sure, it’ll still buck and bump across broken and deeply rutted tracks but there’s now a moment of shock absorption on the impact, to cushion the blow, so to speak, that wasn’t that there before.
Ground clearance (225mm) is normal for a dual-cab ute and about the minimum you want for off-roading. While we didn’t push the Ranger across the roughest of the tracks we could have (mainly because the tyres were road-oriented) we still drove it across rough ground and through mud ruts and we only rubbed the belly once.
As is the case with these standard utes, there’s not a huge amount of wheel travel at the front although it’s better at the rear and for a standard set-up flex is good too (as you can see in the image above). It’s the traction control tune that helps the most, though. On the old Ranger it used to take a moment to cut in and when it did it was a little too harsh…but it’s been made more sensitive and better at keeping you moving forward to the point where, from the driver’s seat, you’ll hardly notice when once of the wheels has run out of travel and been braked. Seamless seems like a cliché but it’s appropriate.
The part-time four-wheel drive system offers low-range with a good crawl ratio and the hill descent control is good too. Although you still get an initial moment of lurch but then everything is controlled nice and smoothly.
There’s also a factory-fit rear differential lock for when going gets gnarly. But, so good is the engine and brake traction controls on the Ranger that in many situations you’re best trying without the rear locker engaged.
The Ranger can travel a lot further off-road than we drove it but while we all want to see wheels in the air, when we’re testing vehicles we also need to be mindful that they’re not ours. Or that the wheel and tyre package might not be best suited to off-roading and could cause the vehicle to prematurely fail on an obstacle that with the right rubber it wouldn’t have. So, just keep that in the back of your mind. And, to be honest, if I was buying the Ranger Wildtrak I’d be looking at swapping out the on-road rubber it comes with for a decent set of all-terrain tyres. This one change would improve its performance off-road no end.
DOES IT HAVE A SPARE? Yes, the Ranger Wildtrak has a full-size spare underslung.
CAN YOU TOW WITH IT? The ranger Wildtrak can tow up tow up to 3500kg but only with a genuine Ford towpack and with a 350kg towball download. The vehicle’s kerb weight is 2246kg while the GVM is 3200kg and the GCM is 6000kg. The maximum payload is 954kg. And it’s out of this number you have to subtract things like towball download, so, say you’re towing at the maximum 3500kg with a 350kg (10% towball load) that leaves you with a payload of 604kg which is healthier than the Triton at its maximum braked capacity. But that 604kg is all you’ve got left for passengers or a bulbar, and so on. It quickly goes.
WHAT ABOUT OWNERSHIP? The Ford Ranger offers a five-year warranty but there’s no limit on mileage. Cost of ownership is also covered by Ford’s Service Price Promise, a free loan car arrangement and even a Low Price Tyre guarantee. Servicing is every 12 months or 15,000km with service prices capped, starting from $360 for the first service.
Plenty of people make comments about the Ranger’s reliability. Well, this is something that can’t be commented on in a week of testing. But, what I can say is that the vehicle I drove had been used for the local launch, had covered thousands of journo kilometres and was in back-to-back bookings. It was literally being washed and refueled with another journo waiting to borrow it on return. Our car had nothing broken, and no squeaks or rattles. But, with any car you’re thinking about buying it pays to check out forums to see what owners are saying.
WHAT SAFETY FEATURES DOES IT GET? In top-spec Wildtrak trim, the Ranger gets plenty of active safety, including AEB with pedestrian detection, traffic sign recognition, adaptive cruise control, lane-keep assistance and automatic up/down high-beam. It also gets six airbags with curtain bags reaching into the backseat as well as ISOFIX mounts and more. It carries on with its five-star ANCAP rating.