FORD’S range-topping Ranger Wildtrak has finally landed in Australian showrooms, nine months after the rest of the locally designed and engineered ute range was launched Down Under.
The launch brings the total number of Ranger variants to 21, and comes as local stock levels recover from last year’s damaging floods in Thailand, where the Ranger is produced alongside its Mazda BT-50 mechanical twin.
Priced from $57,390 plus on-road costs (or an extra $2000 with a six-speed automatic), the Wildtrak supplants the $55,390 XLT at the top of the Ranger line-up, and lines up squarely against the Nissan Navara ST-X 550 and Volkswagen Amarok Ultimate the premium of the dual-cab ute market.
Ford claims the flagship Ranger – which was a regular member of the previous-generation range – brings “premium car” levels of luxury, including a rear-view camera with a screen in the electro-chromatic rear-view mirror, satellite-navigation with five-inch screen, Bluetooth with voice control, imitation carbon-fibre cabin inserts and partial leather seats.
The Wildtrak is set apart from lower Ranger variants by special 18-inch alloy wheels, roof racks, a chunky sports bar, bolder grille and the availability of exclusive Chilli Orange hero paint finish.
As with the rest of the 4x4 range, the Wildtrak gets the maximum five-star safety rating from ANCAP and includes standard features like ESC, hill-start assist, Trailer Sway Control for safer towing, emergency brake assist and rollover mitigation technology.
Other standard features in the Wildtrak include dual zone climate control with voice control, rear parking sensors, heated electric front seats, USB and iPod integration, rain sensing wipers and a 12-volt auxiliary outlet in the tray.
The engine is unchanged from lesser Ranger variants, meaning a 3.2-litre Duratorq five-cylinder turbo-diesel that produces 147kW at 3000rpm and 470Nm of torque between 1500 and 2750rpm, giving a towing capacity of 3350kg.
Claimed fuel economy with the standard manual gearbox is 9.4 litres per 100km on the combined cycle.
Ford Australia general marketing manager David Katic said initial orders for the Wildtrak were strong, so prospective buyers can expect to face a waiting list extending towards the end of this year.
“We’ve experienced unprecedented demand for the Wildtrak, with the vehicles arriving now filling orders well into Q4 (fourth quarter) this year,” he said.
Mr Katic said supply of other Ranger variants was now back on track after the Thai disaster badly interrupted parts supplies, with current arrival rates almost double what they were in January.
Ranger sales last month were the highest since the new model was launched in September 2011, with 1611 sales for 4x4 and 2WD variants combined, placing it second only to the Focus small-car (1667) in the Ford family.
Ford Ranger Wildtrak pricing (plus on-road costs):