IF YOU want proof of what a great all-rounder a pick-up truck can be these days, check out the Ford Ranger Wildtrak.
Beneath the rugged, handsome exterior, you’ll find an interior that’s both sporty and sophisticated. And, in the case of the test vehicle, all of that is matched by a powertrain that ensures off-road capability to match the looks and surprising on-road refinement.
Under the bonnet of the blue oval badged machine is an impressive bi-turbo 2.0-litre diesel engine mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission that produces a healthy 213PS and 500Nm of torque.
This enables the Ranger to power to 62mph in just nine seconds and go on to a top speed of 112mph, despite a kerb weight approaching 2.25 tonnes. The grunt available means it can carry a payload north of a tonne and has a towing capacity of 750kg unbraked and 3.5 tonnes braked.
Official fuel economy is given as 36.2 to 36.7mpg, with CO2 emissions of 201g/km. Added to the mix is the selectable 4×4 dial next to the gear lever.
The 4×2 is all you will need for regular driving on roads, while you can switch to 4×4 High on the move if you head off-road. There is also a 4×4 Low setting, electronic locking rear differential and hill descent control for heavy-duty work.
I found the engine to be very responsive, particularly with the transmission in sport mode on country roads, and quiet when cruising at speed. The steering was nicely weighted, with good feedback, and there was a good degree of agility given the size of the Ranger.
The softish suspension soaked up lumps and bumps superbly, yet there wasn’t any sign of the alarming body roll when cornering that some rival pick-ups display, while the view of the road ahead is truly commanding and inspires confidence.
And the interior of the fairly high-end Wildtrak model is as impressive as the ride. Cosseting leather seats featuring sporty orange stitching and logos are matched by an orange-stitched chunky leather steering wheel.
An ebony headliner, gloss detailing around the cabin and ambient LED lighting all add to the upmarket feel. There is plenty of room for four adults or a family of five on board and options to make the loadbed suitable for family belongings.
Taking pride of place on the centre console is Ford’s first-class SYNC 3 infotainment eight-inch touchscreen, with three-way split functionality so you can see navigation, music and phone options simultaneously.
The set-up also features voice control, Bluetooth, USB, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto for smartphone connectivity, DAB radio and CD player, and a noise control system that dampens unwanted engine sounds.
A FordPass Connect modem provides wi-fi for up to 10 devices, real-time traffic updates and the ability to use your smartphone for some vehicle checks and functions.
Then there are auto lights and rain-sensitive wipers, front and rear parking sensors with a rear view camera, dual-zone air con, heated front seats (the driver’s is power adjusted, too) and a centre console cool box.
Other convenience features include keyless entry and start, cruise control with intelligent speed assistance to avoid unwanted attention from the traffic cops and a 240-volt power converter.
Safety and driver aids also run to an emergency assistance system, lane keeping aid, traffic sign recognition, automatic emergency braking and roll stability control.
Finally, this version of the Ranger has an imposing, no-nonsense presence, with big 18in Boulder Grey alloy wheels and matching detailing for the grille, mirrors, door handles and side vents.
Noticeable underbody protection, side steps with brushed inserts, bold roof rails and a large sports hoop with side rails all play a part, too. Priced from about £40,240, including VAT, on the road, the Wildtrak will appeal to active families who want a workhorse with plenty of thoroughbred refinement.
- Model: Ford Ranger Wildtrak 2.0L EcoBlue 10 Speed Automatic
- Engine: 2.0-litre diesel
- Power: 213PS
- Top speed: 112mph
- 0-62mph: 9.0 seconds
- Average mpg: 36.2-36.7
- CO2 emissions: 201g/km
- Warranty: Three years/60,000 miles
- Price: £40,240
Credit: Source link