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Ford Ranger embraces its wild side

2011-03-01 07:38

WILD OFF THE BEATEN TRACK: The Ford Ranger’s signature Wildtrak adventure pack will be carried over from current fourth to coming fifth generation line of bakkies.

Ford’s adventurous Wildtrak package will be on display at the Geneva auto show, despite Europe's general abhorrence to bakkies, as the company aims to prime public interest in its new compact bakkie.

The Wildtrak moniker will denote headline Ranger models and will be available with Ford’s new range of sophisticated common-rail turbodiesel engines.

WILD LOOKS...

To distinguish them from their lesser Ranger siblings, Wildtrak models will have 18" alloy rims and a contrasting colour front fascia split - repeated in the side mirrors and door releases.

Staying true to its adventure-bakkie billing, the Wildtrak Ranger trucks will have a roof rack and rollover bar to secure all manner of mountain bikes, kayaks and the like; garish Wildtrak themed graphics will never leave an owner in any doubt as to which Ranger derivate he (or she) has bought.

The cabin will feature class-leading infotainment capability and digitisation.

Phone synchronisation is voice-controlled and there's a rear-view camera and satellite satnav, the latter two previously only offered by Nissan on its Navara in the compact bakkie market.

The purposeful interior of the Wildtrak echoes the ornate exterior finishes. A special hydrographic finish on the centre console around the audio is reminiscent of strong but lightweight materials like carbon fibre.

BABY F150: With all the added Wildtrak pack paraphernalia, Ford’s T6-series Ranger compact bakkie becomes very much a baby F150…

PROPER HEAVY-DUTY

In terms of pure utility, the Ranger Wildtrak should be an impressively capable bakkie. It is tow-rated for 3350kg and features a sophisticated six-speed transmission along with the option of either 2.2 four-cylinder or 3.2 five-cylinder turbodiesel power.

The 2.2-litre Duratorq TDCi engine produces 110kW/375Nm, outputs very near (in absolute terms) the outgoing 3.0 TDCi Ranger.

Ford's new five-cylinder turbodiesel produces 147kW at 3000rpm and 470Nm at 2750rpm; although these numbers are not class-leading they are wholly competitive and second only to the Navara's V9X engine.

For those potential Ranger Wildtrak owners who are keen watersport enthusiasts, even the slipperiest of slipways will be of no consequence as Ford’s new compact bakkie has class-leading water-wading capability of up to 800mm.

More 2011 Geneva auto show reports.
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