What is it?
The pick-up segment is pretty compact these days. Volkswagen’s Amarok is due a replacement, while the Mercedes X-Class bit the dust a little while back too. The Ford Ranger – which we’re looking at today – is also set to be replaced shortly too, but while it’s still here, is it still a good rival to the likes of the Toyota Hilux and Isuzu D-Max?
Well, to find out we’ve tested it in beefed-up Wolftrak form, which brings a meaner look compared to the standard Ranger.
The Wolftrak has been designed to offer the kind of robust, rough-and-tumble design that people expect from a pick-up truck. So it comes with a standard-fit load bed protector, which means that you’re able to transport all manner of items back there without worrying that you’re going to damage the paintwork.
Plus, it’s got a range of standout features including a variety of matt black parts in areas such as the grille, skid plates and wheel lip mouldings. It also comes with 17-inch alloy wheels shod in chunky, off-road-ready tyres. Inside, there’s plenty of high-end equipment fitted as standard – but more on that later.
What’s under the bonnet?
You might think that the Wolftrak would be kitted out with the 2.0-litre biturbo engine from the range-topping Raptor, but we’ve got a slightly less powerful – but no less robust – motor fitted here instead. It’s a 2.0-litre single turbo diesel, with 168bhp and 420Nm of torque, which on our test car was managed by a six-speed manual gearbox – though an automatic is also available.
Acceleration is adequate enough at 11.1 seconds from 0-60mph, while a top speed of 112mph is more than enough for a truck like this. There’s also selectable four-wheel-drive, while Ford says the Wolftrak is capable of carrying a 1,000kg payload and also has a 3,500kg towing capacity.
What’s it like to drive?
The Wolftrak is remarkably pleasant to drive, considering its upright positioning and reasonable rudimentary chassis. Of course, like most pick-up trucks it feels a little jittery when without a load in the bed, but on a cruise it’s reasonably quiet and refined. There’s a good deal of wind noise generated when travelling on the motorway, but this is to be expected by a vehicle of this type.
The engine might not look all that powerful on paper, either, but it’s got a decent enough amount of shove while those deep torque reserves mean that there’s always power on hand should you require it. The engine noise piped into the cabin even has a good sound to it.
Though the six-speed manual is a little vague in its operation, it’s quite light and simple to use. The only real issue is the Ranger’s size, which does come into play when trying to navigate a busy parking area – though you’ll be aware of this when you sign up for a pick-up truck.
How does it look?
The Wolftrak takes the Ranger’s already commanding looks and takes them one step further. With its variety of matte black elements, it definitely has an undercover, almost menacing appeal while the large wheels and tyres give some indication of the kind of terrain it can tackle.
You do get some Wolftrak badging but it’s reasonably subtle and doesn’t scream quite as hard as the Raptor, which is emblazoned with badges and logos across its entire body. If you’re after a truck with plenty of presence but without too many extras, then the Wolftrak will no doubt prove appealing.
What’s it like inside?
This isn’t some agricultural pick-up truck. With its variety of leather-wrapped elements and eight-inch touchscreen, the cabin of the Wildtrak feels decidedly upmarket. You can only specify it as a double cab, too, which does mean that it’s the best option if you’re looking to take passengers with you. Our truck didn’t come with a cover over the top of the load bay, so this meant that we had to transport belongings and items in the back of the truck, which doesn’t feel the most secure. A cover for the load bed would easily remedy this, mind you.
You get a nice elevated view of the road ahead too, of course, while the seats themselves have four-way adjustment so you can get into a pretty good position. They’re comfortable and well-padded, too.
What’s the spec like?
As we’ve already highlighted, there’s an eight-inch infotainment system included as standard on the Wolftrak and it’s running Ford’s Sync 2.5 system which, though not the very latest that the firm offers, is decent enough in its operation and includes Apple CarPlay, so it’s easy to integrate your phone via a USB cable.
Elsewhere, we’ve got a six-speaker sound system and Ford’s clever Pass Connect technology, which allows you to remotely connect to the Ranger via a smartphone app. Through this, you can check to see if it’s locked and even be alerted if an intruder tries to gain access to the vehicle.
The Wolftrak feels like a fittingly rounded version to celebrate the ending of this generation of Ranger. With its extensive standard equipment and robust build quality, it feels like a showcase of why this truck has proved so immensely popular – and leaves us with a high level of expectation of the new one.
Should you consider it anyway? Absolutely. If you’re after a pick-up that tows, carries and goes off-road without any real fuss, then the Ranger Wolftrak is still a great choice.