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BORN TO BE WILD: Wildtrak brings out a different side of the Ford Ranger

BORN TO BE WILD: Wildtrak brings out a different side of the Ford Ranger

It’s not often that a bakkie, or should that be truck, causes such a stir as the Ford Ranger has done. Even though this mini Ford F150 has been on the market for two years now, it still remains the most talked about vehicle in the bakkie segment with models leaving showroom floors quicker than the factory in Pretoria can build them.

Having driven the 2.2 TDCi XL in workhorse single cab guise last year and having come away impressed, it was only a matter time before a more leisure-orientated version came along. As it turned out, that model was to be the top range 4x2model, the Ranger 3.2 TDCi Double Cab Wildtrak.

Based on the normal XLT Double Cab, the Wildtrak adds a list of cosmetic upgrades such as 18 inch rims, blacked out grille, mirrors and bumper strip, satin silver running boards and roof rails, and a unique silver roll bar. Upgrades in place, the already smart and imposing Ranger, has now been transformed into a smart truck with absolute attitude.

The interior also got the Wildtrak treatment with orange stitching on the seats, steering wheel and glovebox, orange seat inserts and Wildtrak embroidered headrests, floor mats and metal door sills. Material quality feels more car-like than bakkie while rear legroom borders on excellent. With the driver’s seat in my driving position, I had more than enough space when sitting ‘behind myself’.

As to be expected, the Wildtrak is packed with standard kit such as Bluetooth, a four-speaker radio/CD/MP3 compatible radio with USB and aux jack, parking sensors with reversing camera, dual-zone climate control, rain sensing wipers, heated front seats, electric windows all around, cruise control, ABS with EBD, BAS and ESP, seven airbags and a class leadingfive-star Euro NCAP crash rating.

The Ranger’s trump card however, lies under the bonnet. Built at Ford’s Straundale plant, the 3.2 L five cylinder turbodiesel engine is an absolute gem. It produces 147 kW and a mammoth 470 N.m of torque, all of which make- cruising and towing an absolute breeze. Paired with a mechanical feeling six speed manual gearbox, the combo is a match made in heaven. A six speed automatic box is also available.

As a general rule, cosmetic upgrades can either break or make a vehicle. In standard form, little could already touch the Ford Ranger in any department, but in Wildtrak form, it has made the double cab market its own.

To book a test drive, visit Eastern Cape Motors in North End, Port Elizabeth, or contact them on 041 484 4326.