Driving Expressions: Ford Ranger 2.0Bi-T DC Wildtrak
The newest derivative of the Ford Ranger Wildtrak has been introduced with changes to both the interior and exterior. From a technological perspective the Ranger Wildtrak was vastly superior to its predecessor. In terms of power, the model’s new twin turbo makes the vehicle outperform in terms of power as well. The proven 2.2 and 3.2 TDCi engines, however, remain an integral part of the line-up.
The Ranger Wildtrack features the new-generation 2.0-litre 4-cylinder diesel engine. This gives drivers 157 kW of power and an impressive 500 Nm from the bi-turbo engine. Admittedly, while all the specs are superior, the drive is not the same particularly on certain surfaces. On the road, the drive is superb and an absolute pleasure to drive. This is an improvement to the sluggish performance that some Wildtrak drivers reported before.
The two turbochargers work in series at lower engine speeds for enhanced torque and responsiveness. At higher engine speeds, the smaller turbo is bypassed and the larger turbo provides boost to deliver high power. Consequently, it delivers more performance at lower engine speeds than the 2.2 litre TDCi engine.
In particular, the 10-speed gearbox was a pleasure to drive and a step up from the previous derivative. In a bakkie this is a first ever. It revs in all the right places, never struggling to find the correct ratio, and makes for one of the more enjoyable drives in a bakkie on the road as well as off-road. Its performance and durability was proven in applications as diverse as the Ford F-150 pick-up and the new Ford Mustang. The improvements produce a remarkably quiet and sophisticated bakkie.
For drivers and passengers who have no love for the jiggling that comes with a laden bakkie, Ford has made an attempt to reduce this. The suspension has been tweaked to make ride quality more composed. The front anti-roll bar is repositioned to decrease front spring rates. Damper rates and lowered standard tyre pressures also assist.
A complaint of the previous model was that its diesel consumption was quite pricey. The new model sets its consumption at 8.1L/100km. The improved fuel efficiency is due to the 10-speed transmission. Ford claims that there is an improvement in fuel consumption by as much as 9%.
From the inside out
Various changes to the Ranger Wildtrak’s design have been made with the intention of creating the impression of a powerful bakkie that is in line with Ford’s ‘Built tough’ mantra. The new design is more aggressive in its appearance but remains true to the Wildtrak DNA. The interior has been updated to have a sportier look and feel.
There is little that the driver could need for an excellent experience inside the cab. It features the intuitive SYNC3 infotainment system which is one of the best systems available. It also offers drivers more tech than what most of the other bakkies on the market do, including a semi-digital dashboard, voice control, illuminated USB ports, a charging port for rear passengers, crisp graphics, satellite navigation and connectivity to Apple CarPlay and Android Auto (that even projects Waze onto the screen). The best part? Most of this spec is included as standard with the bakkie.
The Ford Ranger has borrowed a feature from Everest that many drivers will appreciate. It now has noise cancelling technology that envelops the cabin with sound waves to block out road noise. Some drivers may enjoy the noise of their ‘bakkie’ but others will likely enjoy this feature, especially on longer trips.
Ultimately, the Ford Ranger Wildtrak drives just as well as a sedan but with the perks of a bakkie.
Good to know
Engine: 2.0-litre i4 bi-turbo diesel
Transmission: 10-speed, automatic transmission
Power: 157 kW
Torque: 500 Nm
Fuel consumption: 8.1L/100km
Price: starting from R678 200
Warranties and service plan: standard 4-year/120 000 km warranty, 3-year/unlimited distance roadside assistance, 5-year/unlimited km corrosion warranty, 6-year/90 000 km service plan with 15 000 km service intervals.
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