Ford Ranger Wildtrak X is Coming To SA
The Ford Ranger Wildtrak has always occupied a niche section, consistently setting the bar high as a more premium bakkie that offers exceptional driving manners, functionality and comfort.
While we believe the Ranger Wildtrak is good enough for most off-roading scenarios, Ford is introducing the Wildtrak X, which slots just below the Raptor and above the regular Wildtrak. Raptor lite? Maybe.
Disguised Old Raptor?
Look past the Wildtrak X nameplate; underneath, it's been engineered to take over the duties of the outgoing Raptor that has been a victim of massive ridicule regarding its underpowered powerplant despite its brilliant prowess off the beaten track.
Though, according to a Ford SA representative, it shares nearly nothing with the outgoing Raptor. Compared to the standard Wildtrak, it features wider tracks, increased ground clearance (Ford didn't mention specifics), new standard 17" General Grabber AT3 all-terrain rubbers of the same inches as those fitted in the outgoing Raptor, power steering that has been tweaked as well as a new steel bash plate to protect the underbody from knocks and scrapes.
Also built at the same Silverton facility in Pretoria as the rest of the range, the Wildtrak X also employs specially-tuned Bilstein Position-Sensitive Dampers and, for the first time in the Ranger, a Trail Turn Assist feature, which reduces the bakkie's turning radius by up to 25%.
The Wildtrak X can be optionally fitted with the brand's Flexible Rack System, which constitutes two main components; a sliding load rack and folding roof racks. Look past the darkened badges; you will notice a unique front grille with auxiliary LED lights and cast aluminium side steps. In terms of towing abilities, it retains the same 3,500 kg capacity.
It inherits its 2.0-litre Bi-Turbocharged powerplant from the outgoing Raptor that puts down power to the tarmac via a remapped 10-speed automatic transmission. Unlike the Raptor, it has been detuned to deliver 154 kW and 500 Nm. While these seem a tad less on paper, the same setup performs remarkably well underneath the standard 2.0-litre Wildtrak variants with adequate shoving power on and off the road.
The 10-speed auto that was prone to gear-hunting has also been remapped.
In this application, the X makes a strong case for itself, considering the enhancements Ford introduced to it. Furthermore, it's also the first Ranger in 2.0-litre Bi-Turbo spec to receive Ford's on-demand four-wheel-drive system with four modes; 4A, 2H, 4H and 4L.
While the new Raptor has been stealing the spotlight as a no-nonsense bakkie that can go almost anywhere, the Wildtrak X will occupy a sub-segment in Ford's line-up we never outright thought should exist. Wildtrak too tame? Ranger Raptor too OTT? There you have it...
Ford plans to launch the Wildtrak X in SA in Q3 of 2023, with pricing and more specifics to be confirmed closer to the time.