Ford: 2014 Ranger Wildtrak Review

September 26th, 2014 by Darren Cottingham

The Ranger Wildtrak is the top-of-the-range ute for when you have to look like you need a ute, but you’re not going to be doing hard-core driving that will damage its many accessories and prominent livery.

We first drove the Ranger back in 2012 (read review here). It was the XLT which is the model down from the Wildtrak and we said it set a new benchmark in utes as it was a huge leap forward from what the likes of Mitsubishi and Nissan were offering. Continue reading “Ford: 2014 Ranger Wildtrak Review” »

Ford Ranger XLT 4WD Double Cab 2012 Review

December 8th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Utes are a fantastic invention. Serving duty for all manner of tradespeople, farmers, hardcore dudes with motocross bikes, and more, they’ve made life convenient for those that need to transport filthy stuff without hitching up a trailer, and without getting grubbiness in the driving compartment. They (mostly) drive better than a van, and with the right tyres can deal with some really rough terrain.

However, they have a dark side. Leaf spring suspension is less than ideal on the road, they’re often noisy and rough, you don’t have the luxury of a boot to hide valuables in, and for all the convenience they give you, the manufacturers are acutely aware that price is a huge factor when you’re buying a work vehicle. They’re less of an emotive purchase therefore they’ve often been lacking in features that car drivers take for granted just to keep the price down.

The new Ranger challenges this, though. It’s an improved model that’s making some of the other utes look decidedly 1999. Four things set this ute apart from the others:

Gearbox: The gearbox is a six-speed manual which has (in ute standards) a very short throw. Whereas many ute gear changes feel like you’re rowing a boat, this reminds me of my old WRX STI – notchy, needs a bit of a firm hand, but very satisfying.

Looks: Channeling the brawn of its bigger American brother, the F150, the Ranger makes many other trucks look, well, puny. Check it out next to the Mitsubishi Triton in the photo gallery and you’ll see that the Triton looks like it was starved as a child. I caught other ute drivers giving it the eye on numerous occasions.

Ride and handling: the previous model was reasonably accomplished, but this seems better. We drove the top spec Wildtrak last time, and in this new model, which is the model down, at times I was under the illusion that I was driving a car. It’s never going to slalom like a Focus Sport, but for general cruising on the motorway and reasonable quality roads, you’re going to make smooth progress. My significant other even fell asleep in the passenger seat on the trip back fromThames where some of these photos were taken. We didn’t have any mud tyres and it was raining, therefore no off-road excursions were taken. However, it has some serious off-road specs comparing it to other utes available, so it appears that it could handle what’s thrown at it. Continue reading “Ford Ranger XLT 4WD Double Cab 2012 Review” »

New Ford Ranger is first ute to earn 5-Star safety

October 28th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

The latest round of Euro NCAP safety testing has revealed that Ford’s new Ranger is the first pickup to achieve the organisation’s highest five-star rating. The 2012 Ranger finished with an overall score of 89%, which is the best ever recorded by a pickup truck in the European testing.

To break it down, the Ranger scored 96 percent for adult occupant safety, 86 percent for child occupant safety and 81 percent for pedestrian safety. The pickup’s “safety assist” systems also achieved a 71 percent score. The most impressive figure here is the 81 percent for pedestrian safety, this is the best rating ever for pedestrian protection among the cars tested by the Euro NCAP since it was established in 1997. A surprising result for a high-riding ute.

Euro NCAP secretary general Michiel van Ratingen, said: “With such good pedestrian protection, the Ford Ranger is undoubtedly raising the bar of safety in the category of pickup trucks, which had until now not proven to be the safest.” Continue reading “New Ford Ranger is first ute to earn 5-Star safety” »

Ford NZ announces range and pricing for new 2012 Ford Ranger ute

October 5th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Ford New Zealand has just announced the available range and pricing for the all-new 2012 Ford Ranger ute.

Using a more powerful diesel engine the new Ranger features fresh brawny styling and a broad range of equipment. It will be available in 2WD and 4WD forms with three cab variants – Single Cab, Super Cab and Double Cab. There are three trim levels on offer, the entry spec XL, mid-range XLT and top-dog Wildtrack model. The Ranger is available in a wide range of configurations and pricing varies from $34,690 for the base model manual 2WD model all the way to $66,290 for the Wildtrack 4WD double cab with 6-speed automatic transmission.

“Designed from the ground up, the highly anticipated all-new Ranger, available in both two-wheel drive and four-wheel drive, has been comprehensively developed to meet the needs of New Zealand ute and light truck customers,” said Neale Hill, Managing Director of Ford New Zealand. “The creation and design of the all new Ranger involved an Australian-based, four-year development programme, involving almost 500 engineers from around the Ford world. Continue reading “Ford NZ announces range and pricing for new 2012 Ford Ranger ute” »

New Ford Ranger Wildtrack to make NZ debut at Fieldays event

June 10th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Ford NZ is going big at this year’s Fieldays show with the much-anticipated New Zealand debut of the new Ranger Wildtrak ute.

Designed and developed in Australia the Wildtrak sits on 18-inch wheels and comes with a roof rack and sports hoop to beef up its profile. There is also special badging and graphics to set it apart from lesser models. Inside, there are leather/cloth sports seats and 23 different storage spaces including a glovebox which can fit a laptop computer and a deep centre bin which can keep six cans of drink cool.

Apparently, the Wildtrak can wade through water up to 31.5-inches deep and has just over nine inches of ground clearance. It also has a towing capability of up to 3350kg.

In terms of powerplants the Wildtrak has an option of two engines. A new 2.2-litre four-cylinder diesel that delivers peak torque output of 375 Nm and power output of 110kW, or a new 3.2-litre 5-cylinder diesel that produces a powerful 470 Nm of torque and is power rated at 147kW. The Wildtrak is fitted with an 80-litre fuel tank so expect one of the longest ranges in the segment. Continue reading “New Ford Ranger Wildtrack to make NZ debut at Fieldays event” »

New 2012 Ford Ranger Wildtrack stars in promo video

March 21st, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

With Volkswagen recently releasing its new Amarok (read news) and the Mitsubishi Triton constantly chasing higher torque figures the NZ ute market has become more competitive than ever. Ford aren’t just going to stand around and watch while it waits for its new 2012 Ranger to reach showrooms so the blue oval has released a new promo clip for its upcoming high-spec Wildtrack model.

At its debut at last month’s Geneva Motor Show (read news) it was announced that the Wildtrack will be offered in Europe with a choice of two engines. There’s a 2.2 litre four-cylinder diesel producing 110kW and 375Nm of torque, or a 3.2 litre five-cylinder diesel making 147kW and 470Nm of torque.

Details for the NZ-spec Wildtrack utes are yet to be announced but expect more info closer to the vehicle’s launch later this year. Check out the promotional video below and images in the gallery. Continue reading “New 2012 Ford Ranger Wildtrack stars in promo video” »

Ford unveils new top-spec 2012 Ranger Wildtrak

March 2nd, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Ford has taken the new-generation of it’s weekend warrior Ranger Wildtrak to the 2011 Geneva Motor Show for its global debut.

The range-topping ute comes packed with premium features, including goodies like voice recognition, rear-view camera, satellite navigation and Bluetooth connectivity.

Designed and developed in Australia the Wildtrak sits on 18-inch wheels and comes with a roof rack and sports hoop to beef up its profile. There is also special badging and graphics to set it apart from lesser models.

Inside, there are leather/cloth sports seats and 23 different storage spaces including a glovebox which can fit a laptop computer and a deep centre bin which can keep six cans of drink cool.

It’s not all show and no go either, the Wildtrak can wade through water up to 31.5-inches deep and has just over nine inches of ground clearance. It also has a towing capability of up to 3350kg.

In terms of powerplants the Wildtrak has an option of two engines. A new 2.2-litre four-cylinder diesel that delivers peak torque output of 375 Nm and power output of 110kW, or a new 3.2-litre 5-cylinder diesel that produces a powerful 470 Nm of torque and is power rated at 147kW. The Wildtrak is fitted with an 80-litre fuel tank so expect one of the longest ranges in the segment. Continue reading “Ford unveils new top-spec 2012 Ranger Wildtrak” »

Next-gen 2011 Ford Ranger shows locomotive force (+video)

January 13th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

The new global Ford Ranger (read news) hasn’t been released but its already powered its way into the consciousness of many ute enthusiasts.

Now, to work up even more hype for Ford’s latest utility machine, the guys and gals at the Blue Oval have put on a little demo of its abilities. The company’s engineers decided to show off exactly how powerful the truck is, so they strapped it to a 160-ton locomotive and pulled the engine out of its brick-covered berth. The new top-spec Ranger will come packing Ford’s TDCi diesel 3.2-litre inline five-cylinder engine with 147kW of power and a whopping 470Nm of torque. Bolted to a six-speed automatic transmission and equipped with a low-range transfer case, the pickup truck appears to have no issues lugging the T-class diesel-electric locomotive out of storage.

Check back for more details on the upcoming Ford Ranger and view the video below. Continue reading “Next-gen 2011 Ford Ranger shows locomotive force (+video)” »

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