First bakkie blood of the year goes to the new 2019 Ford Ranger Wildtrak headed to South Africa in the coming months. We imagine Ford’s suffering from severe FOMO with Toyota scooping all the recent headlines with its Dakar-winning Hilux so in a sharpened response they’ve uprated the flagship Ranger Wildtrak to resume the skirmish against Hilux at the top of the monthly sales.
If you’re not waiting intently for the Ranger Raptor (also due this year), Ford’s upcoming Ranger Wildtrak offers a fairly close basis for comparison with some of the same technical components shared between the two. Again Wildtrak debuts in that vibrant burnt orange and while the few exterior changes are the result of getting the styling right first time (we’re looking at you Hilux), there is a raft of very car-like refinements form drivetrains to increased online connectivity.
Straight to the big discussion point is Ford’s 10-speed automatic gearbox first used in the Mustang but completely groundbreaking for the bakkie genre with claims that it can reduce fuel consumption by 10 per cent. Yet we’re interested to see how effortlessly it’ll manage around town since the Amarok’s 8-speed was always too busy for our liking.
Replacing the 2.2-litre TDCi engines are three new downsized diesels. The EcoBlue 2.0-litres 4-cylinders are available in either 97kW, 340Nm or 127kW, 420Nm and follow a path first blazed by the Amarok, but curiously with less power. Ford will be hoping that the 10-speed gearbox will close that small gap and give them the edge.
The most powerful of the three new engines in the Ranger Wildtrak being the 157kW, 500Nm lump which is unlikely to receive the same roaring disapproval from the internet as it did in the Ranger Raptor. Although unconfirmed, this could spell the end for the 3.2-litre engine.
With production of the New Ford Ranger occupying the Silverton plant in Pretoria, South Africa is likely to be one of the first markets to welcome the new Wildtrak. More info to follow soon.