2023 Ford Ranger Wildtrak – The 2017 Ford Ranger boasts upgrades all the way down its model series, making it not only the greatest pickup truck that money can buy in Australia but also posing a threat to the “one car fits all” crown that sport utility vehicles (SUVs) have held for the last many years. In the following assessment, we put the top-of-the-line Wildtrak model through its paces on both paved and unpaved surfaces to see whether or not it lives up to its billing as an ultra-luxurious all-terrain vehicle.
2023 Ford Ranger Wildtrak Review
Ford has successfully thrown down the gauntlet in the Dual-Cab ute market in Australia. When taking into consideration that the Ranger was one of the best and highest selling marks in the category, the addition of all-new technology to the cabin and engine bay in the form of Sync 4 and the potent new V6 Turbo diesel means that the Ranger is as close to an SUV as we have encountered in the market for dual-cab utes. If there is going to be a lot of traveling, we think it would be worth it to spend the additional $6000 AUD on the Wildtrak rather than the Sport for the increased level of comfort it provides.
Our test launch began with a journey of about 200 kilometers (km), beginning at Melbourne Airport and ending at the Australia Automotive Research Centre (AARC). Here, we took turns driving the vast majority of the cars in the range, including Wildtraks with both a V6 and a Bi-Turbo engine combination. Because of this, we had the fantastic chance to compare the performance of the Ford Ranger equipped with either of its two engine combinations on winding roads, motorways, and back roads in the countryside that were riddled with potholes as a result of the previous weather.
We spent the first part of our trip driving the V6 Turbo diesel, and from the moment we pulled onto the on-ramp for the motorway until we reached our destination, we couldn’t stop beaming from ear to ear. It’s not every day that you get to get in a V6 Turbo diesel car (there are very few on the market), but as soon as we did, we were swiftly brought back to the time we spent in the Toyota Landcruiser 300 Series Sahara ZX around the end of last year. The gearbox has been tweaked to find a mix between peak torque (which comes very low down) and fuel efficiency (although we’d argue that it’s better suited to the Bi-Turbo), and the power delivery is seamless. The engine never feels like it’s hauling more weight than it’s pleased with. If you press your foot to the floor and drop two gears, you will have no issue passing slower automobiles on rural B-roads at speeds of 80 kilometers per hour or more.
The second part of the on-road trip was completed while we were behind the wheel of the Wildtrak Bi-Turbo (2.0-liter 4-cylinder), and given that this is an engine that we have previously tested, we were prepared for the power disparity. This engine has a good torque figure of 500 Nm, which peaks at 1750 rpm, but even more so the power output, which tapers down in the upper RPMs under load. The 10-speed gearbox is better suited to this engine in many respects since it is more suited to this engine. Redlining each gear, you’ll observe speeds of 40 kilometers per hour in the first, 60 kilometers per hour in the second, and 80 kilometers per hour in the third. It swiftly rows through the first three gears on the way to 80 kilometers per hour. It looks like a vehicle.
Due to the leaf spring rear end that has been set up to tow 3.5 tons, the ride comfort itself is still not particularly comparable to that of the best SUVs currently available on the market; however, if you opt for the V6 Turbo Diesel engine, you will have power delivery and smoothness that are comparable to those found in the majority of family SUVs.
There is a subtle difference in the way the steering feels and the feedback it provides, independent of the power. Both have electric racks, but the weight felt through the wheel in the V6 changes from a tightly connected experience to something that feels like it’s trying to figure out why it’s lost 58 kilograms of weight over the front axle. Both cars have the same amount of weight distributed over the rear axle. It took us a second to figure it out as well, and when we did, our first thought was, “They’re the same model, same tires, same suspension, same setup, same wheel, and pretty much the same everything else, except there’s a smaller donk.”
After putting the new Ford Ranger through its paces in on-road driving earlier in the morning, we proceeded onto the proving grounds at the AARC to evaluate its performance off-road. To be fair, we could have driven through some of the obstacles in 2WD; however, the Wildtrak performed about as well as you could hope for across basic obstacles such as water crossings, mud, erosion mounds, and rocks. Experienced offroaders would turn their nose up at the majority of these obstacles.
When it comes to driver assistance, the Sport and Wildtrak have an advantage over the XLT since they include offroad-specific driving modes, such as Mud/Ruts and Sand, instead of Normal, Eco, Slippery, and Tow/Haul. During our testing, we were never able to discover the boundaries of any of the settings; nevertheless, we were glad to learn that a rear diff lock was included as standard.
In addition to this, we are going to award full scores to Ford Australia since they come standard with a set of all-terrain tires. The Goodyear Wranglers are an excellent tire for ninety percent of consumers, and they were able to manage the muddy terrain, the river crossings, and the rough routes without any problems at all. In a nutshell, it does not need any further setup before use.
Off-road, we discovered that one of the things that we like using the most was the front camera system. It is something that we absolutely loved in the new Land Rover Defender, and it is something that really helps you see what is in front of you when you are looking at the sky at extremely upward angles. The camera turns on as soon as you flick the ute into Mud/Ruts mode, and it assists you in pointing the front wheels in the right direction. We also really like how the gauges are presented on the driver’s display in front of you rather than on the tablet’s screen for infotainment, and the following are some of the gauges that are displayed there:
- Steering angle
- The angles of the vehicle’s pitch and roll
- There are buttons on the off-road vehicle.
Hill Descent Control is also handled by the cruise control button on the steering wheel, and its speed may be adjusted up or down based on the slope that you are driving on. We were counseled to have it engaged at all times; but, in light of the fact that the first gear was very low and the inclines weren’t much higher than the usual driveway, we decided to store it for the more difficult courses.
We were just as startled to see the 2.0-liter Bi-Turbo engine return to the model range as you may be to see it in the higher-end ‘Wildtrak’ edition. Ford has assuaged our concerns by assuring us that they have rectified the fuel injector problems that afflicted the version of this engine that was made in India.
“We’ve made some adjustments to the injectors in the twin-turbo 2.0-liter diesel. A long time ago, we had some problems with the provider, and since then, there has also been an improvement made to the injector in parallel. We have a great deal of faith (in the dependability of the new injectors), since we put these engines through a rigorous test that involves operating them at full power for more than seven hundred consecutive hours. There have also been modifications made to the V6 engine that was transferred from the F-150. These modifications include enhanced turbo-lubrication that has been developed for severe angles off-road.
The 10R80 10-speed automatic gearbox is standard on both versions of the 2023 Ford Ranger Wildtrak. Even though it is frequently overshadowed by the ZF 8HP 8-speed units that are found in the Volkswagen Amarok, we discovered that the revised shift points improved the experience of driving in the city while also adding a touch of overall refinement to the gearbox when downshifting for highway overtakes. This was discovered despite the fact that the ZF 8HP 8-speed units are found in the Volkswagen Amarok.
You may anticipate a comprehensive feature piece on the subject at the end of this year. The actual test for the V6 Ford Ranger will come when we attach a caravan weighing three tons to its rear, and you can look forward to that. On this trip, we weren’t able to put the new Ranger’s towing capacity to the test; however, the vehicle’s features are practically endless, including 10 predefined towing profiles that can be customized based on the size and weight of your load, a light checking routine (so you won’t have to yell out the window anymore), and a brake controller with variable gain control. On paper, the 2023 Ford Ranger appears to be the front-runner for the title of the best dual-cab ute for towing.
The Sync 4 infotainment system with a bigger 12-inch display is one of the standard features of the 2023 Ford Ranger Wildtrak. We were thrilled to put this to the test in Australia for the very first time since it has already established itself as a fan favorite in vehicles sold in other countries, such as the Ford Mustang Mach-E, the Ford F-150 Lightning, and the 2023 Ford Expedition.
It’s a stunning device all around, and the display is very bright, extremely crisp, and extremely speedy; it makes the competition in this class appear like they’re driving tractors. Both Carplay and Android Auto integrations are presented in a half and/or three-quarters panel just above the bottom panel of the screen. This panel may be shortened or enlarged according to the user’s preferences. Again, one of the greatest systems that could possibly be installed in a ute, much alone any other vehicle on the road today.
However, the brand is aware that customers prefer physical controls for the heating and cooling, transmission settings, and drive mode selection that remains on the center console as a dial and button unit in spite of the fact that many of the Ranger’s physical controls have been replaced with on-screen sliders. In practice, we discovered that the mix between on-screen and physical controls was just about perfect. However, some of the off-road features, such as Downhill Assist and activating the diff lock, maybe a bit difficult to press with your finger while driving off-road. It’s not always easy to find the option to bring up the front camera when you want to use it.
Turning our attention to the physical drive mode unit, we saw that there is a significant amount of time that passes between turning the physical dial and the driver’s display popping up, making it just as difficult to operate as the digital device. Since the two don’t communicate with one another very effectively, we don’t understand why the actual device doesn’t include a little LED indication for the different driving modes. Other features that we really liked include the voice recognition system, the wireless Sync AppLink that can be accessed through the Ford App to control exterior zone lighting (which is great for setting up a campsite), and the customizable touchscreen options.
When compared to the other models in the range, it is clear where the money has been spent, with an emphasis on the luxuriousness of the inside. This is the Wildtrak. The color-matched stitching, additional storage (including a little mini glove box on the dash for the passenger), pop-up cupholders, and leather-trimmed dashboards are some of the features that make long-haul journeys that much nicer. This model is our top pick for grey nomads looking to tour the country. On models with lesser trim levels, the majority of these functions are just concealed by plastic panels, which is not very desirable.
There is a row of auxiliary switches that were factory installed on the overhead console for spotlights and other accessories. In addition, the front seats are electrically adjustable, heated, and eight-way adjustable, making them exceptionally comfortable and supportive through corners and rough terrain. Is it a comfy spot to sit for extended periods of time in the car? Without a doubt, the driver’s compartment is our favorite part of every dual-cab truck that we’ve evaluated.
2023 Ford Ranger Wildtrak Release Date & Price
The most expensive model of the Ford Ranger, the Wildtrak, has a starting price of $67,190 AUD before on-road fees. This is a price increase of $1100 over the previous model. The V6 version of the Ford Ranger costs an additional $3,000 AUD across the board and is an obvious choice in our opinion, particularly for those who want to pull trailers. Before adding in any on-road fees, the base price of a Ford Ranger Wildtrak V6 is set at $70,190 AUD.
This Ford Ranger with a V6 engine is the best option available to you if you’re seeking to get behind the wheel of one. The Sport variant, which has a starting price of $64,190 AUD before on-road fees, is the “cheapest” option to get behind the wheel of a V6 Dual-Cab Pickup. Spending the additional $6,000 AUD will buy you a far better cabin that seems and feels as expensive as the price tag says. It stands out well in comparison to its rivals, the Toyota Hilux Rogue and the Rugged X, both of which begin their pricing at over $70,000 AUD and have a cabin that is around fifty percent as luxurious as this one.
The first four service visits are limited at a price of $329 each visit, and the service intervals are every 15,000 kilometers or once a year, whichever comes first. According to our own first-hand knowledge and observations, those who often engage in towing should discuss suggested service intervals with the dealership directly.
The following items of safety equipment are included as standard on the 2023 Ford Ranger:
- Nine airbags
- Automatic braking in an emergency situation
- Lane-keep assist
- Lane-departure warning
- Detection of the road’s edge
- Support for the blind spot
- Alert for vehicles approaching from behind (pickup only)
- Coverage for the Trailer (when factory Tow Pack is fitted)
- Rearview mirror camera (pickup only)
- Rear parking sensors (pickup only)
Due to the fact that it is the highest trim level, the Ford Ranger Wildtrak comes standard with additional safety features such as front parking sensors, adaptive cruise control with stop/go functionality, a surround-view camera, and fully-autonomous parking assist, but you shouldn’t expect to find these features on the models with lower trim levels. It is important to point out that the brand-new Ford Ranger series is equipped with 9 standard airbags as standard equipment. It would have to be on the waitlist if we were to point the finger at anything. Nevertheless, when you take a look at the other vehicles on the market, you can’t help but believe that the extended wait for the Ford Ranger was well worth every second of it. It is recommended that “The All New Ford Ranger, it was worth the wait” be used as the slogan for the Ford Ranger.