Ford Ranger biturbo long term test: it's a Wildtrak life

David Linklater
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Photos / David Linklater


Base price
Fuel Consumption (l/100km)
Maximum torque Nm
Towing (Tonnes)
  • Stunning design all-round
  • Comprehensive active safety equipment
  • Class-leading ride comfort 
  • Vague e-shifter
  • Cluttered infotainment OS
  • Unreliable wireless phone projection

We’d like to think we know the new Ford Ranger pretty well here at DRIVEN. We sampled the entire lineup at launch, have skidded the Raptor around, and fully reviewed the mainstream XLT, grunty V6 Sport and the kitted-up Wildtrak in both four and six-pot versions. We’ve even tow-tested those Sport and Raptor models.

And of course we awarded the Ranger the AA DRIVEN Car of the Year supreme award for 2022. Yes, we do think it’s a car: the design, refinement, active safety, “lifestyle” specification options and sheer sales volume of one-tonne utes like Ranger (which remains the most popular new vehicle of any type in New Zealand) are proof-positive of that.

With all of the above considered, the next logical step is a long-term test. So that’s what we’re doing. Being in a somewhat privileged position as a publication rather than a real person, we did have a choice of model and engine courtesy of Ford’s press fleet. And so the inner-office arguments began.

We eventually steered towards the Wildtrak, which has become an iconic and aspirational model for Kiwis – arguably a variant that has played a major part in utes become pseudo-SUV family cars in general.

But which engine? Wildtrak is now available with the choice of the familiar biturbo 2.0-litre (BiT) or new F-150-derived 3.0-litre turbo-diesel V6.

We’ve made no secret of the fact that we reckon the V6 is worth the extra over the still-brilliant BiT (or you can have it for the same price as the Wildtrak BiT in the Sport V6). But “worth it” is a different thing to “can afford it” for many buyers, and the big motor pushes the Wildtrak over $80k. The $6.5k premium over the BiT is just the start, of course: there’s also a slightly higher Clean Car fine to pay ($3910 versus $2857), because the V6 gulps 1.3 litres more diesel per 100km than the BiT. So there’s extra fuel cost to consider as well.

So after treating ourselves to the specced-up Wildtrak, let’s just say we’ve tried to keep things a bit real by capping the costs and opting for the BiT. We are planning to do a few kays in this thing, including some more towing, so it just makes sense.

It’s still a $75,990 machine of course, so we’re approaching it from the point of view of a private buyer expecting a fair bit of luxury to go with their heavy-duty off-road and tow vehicle.

We’re off to a good start. Our Ranger looks stunning in Meteor Grey and its all-round abilities are well-proven in our test archives (did we mention that COTY award as well?).

So we won’t bore you with that same stuff in this introductory piece, except to say it’s interesting coming back to a model we’ve reviewed previously, with a different mindset, and wondering whether the things that impressed us so much (eager engine, game-changing ride/handling, overall design) will continue to impress us as much in the months to come. And whether the things that annoyed us initially (fiddly “e-shifter” motorised gearlever, unreliable wireless phone projection) will seem less or more important as time goes on.

We’re especially keen to see what fuel consumption the BiT can deliver in the real world. DRIVEN staff are split between city dwellers and motorway super-commuters, so there’s plenty of opportunity to assess running costs in different driving environments.

It’s very early days as Ranger Wildtrak owners, but we’re still hugely impressed with the vehicle’s abilities as a day-to-day machine and features like the great adaptive cruise and 360-dgree camera system go a long way towards mitigating the Ranger’s size. It is really big for a family vehicle, no mistake.

But it’s cool to have a daily driver that has much character and near-cult appeal. Plus the most serious set of heavy-duty fitted floor mats we’ve ever seen.

ENGINE: 2.0-litre twin-turbo diesel four-cylinder
POWER: 154kW/500Nm
GEARBOX: 10-speed automatic, part-time 4WD
CONSUMPTION: 8.3l/100km (3P-WLTP)
PRICE: $75,990


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