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2024 ford ranger wildtrak x review feature

2024 Ford Ranger Wildtrak X Review: Factory-Optioned Offroad Weapon?

The Ford Ranger was Australia’s top-selling vehicle last year, selling 63,356 units across the model line-up and beating the perennial favourite Toyota HiLux by 2,245 sales. It makes sense then, that I’d learn about this while I’m halfway up Australia’s most famous 4WD track in the brand’s new off-road-focused Wildtrak X model.

It’s called Blue Rag Range Track and you’ll find it in the Victorian High Country. It’s the kind of place buyers will happily take their Wildtrak X, but not a standard vehicle without modifications. Priced from $75,990 plus on-road costs, the X sits below the mental Ranger Raptor and above the fan-favourite Ranger Wildtrak. You’ll be able to pick one out from the crowd with its exclusive Cyber Orange paint job, integrated lights in the front grille, and tough black 17-inch alloy wheels with General Grabber AT3 all-terrain tyres.

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2024 ford ranger wildtrak x cresting blue rag range track
Reaching the top of Blue Rag Range track in the Victorian High Country | Image: Ben McKimm / Man of Many

Suspension is New, Ride and Handling Improved

Under the skin, however, is the jewel in the crown. Bilstein Position-Sensitive Dampers that improve the vehicle’s capabilities on- and off-road. If you’ve spent much time in the Next-Gen Ranger, you’ll notice the difference immediately. The Wildtrak X is surprisingly eager through bends, it handles better than most on the highway but softens up along fire roads and rough terrain. Driving around town, you’ll notice additional stiffness, especially in the rear, but once you’re out on the highway or in the forest, it’s exceptional.

There could be further improvements in ride quality if the engineers weren’t focused on that headline 3,500kg braked towing capacity which the Wildtrak X retains. It was a bug-bear of mine in the plush Ford Everest Platinum and it rears its head again here. There has to be a trade-off, and such towing capacities result in average ride quality around town on a day-to-day basis. Give me 3-tonne towing and a comfier ride.

Impressively, the standard-fit General Grabber AT3 all-terrain tyres are great on-road, quiet for their size, and vastly improve capability off-road. They’re one of the best all-terrain tyres on the market and shadow the BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A KO2s on the Ranger Raptor. They contribute to the 30mm increase in track width front and rear, and an additional 26mm of ground clearance when compared to the existing Wildtrak.

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2024 ford ranger wildtrak x review driving from behind
Ford’s 2.0-litre Bi-Turbo inline four-cylinder diesel is a proven workhorse | Image: Ford

There’s One Engine Choice, It’s Fine

There’s nothing wrong with Ford’s well-known 2.0-litre Bi-Turbo inline four-cylinder diesel… unless you drive the Sport or Wildtrak V6. Nevertheless, it produces healthy power and torque figures of 150kW and 500Nm respectively and the 10-speed automatic transmission is a peach. Unfortunately, the brand was forced to add AdBlue to the Wildtrak X to meet the Light Duty Truck EU Stage 6 emissions level requirements.

What that means for you is that you’ll have to fill up your AdBlue tank every 10,000km on average. If you’re confused, I made a full video about my experience with AdBlue and the Ford Ranger Wiltrak X.

I originally chose the Wildtrak X for this journey because the bi-turbo engine has proven to be a frugal workhorse on the open road and it proved such. The addition of AdBlue hasn’t affected fuel economy and I averaged as low as 8.9 litres/100km on the highway and around 10.8 litres/100km around town.

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2024 ford ranger wildtrak x review off road
The Wildtrak X debuts the full-time 4WD system borrowed from the Ranger Raptor | Image: Ben McKimm / Man of Many

New Off-Road Tech, Borrowed from Ranger Raptor

The hardware improvements only tell half the story with the Wildtrak X because, alongside the full-time 4WD system borrowed from the Ranger Raptor, you’ll find Trail Turn Assist, and Trail Control which helps the driver maintain a constant low-speed off-road. I call it ‘off-road cruise control’.

Truth be told, I hardly ever use these features off-road, but what I did find useful was the new Rock Crawl drive mode. It’s also borrowed from the Raptor and puts the car into low range, automatically engages the rear differential lock, and implements a unique throttle and transmission calibration for smoothness. This helps you modulate the throttle when your body is being thrown around the cabin.

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Interior is Still Class-Leading, With Further Improvements

All the tech remains from the standard Ford Ranger Wildtrak, including the 12-inch infotainment screen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, wireless charging pad, auxiliary switches on the roof for aftermarket accessories, and more cupholders than you can poke a stick at.

However, there are further improvements in tech with a larger 12.4-inch digital instrument cluster now found in front of the driver and a B&O Sound premium audio system shared with the Ranger Raptor and Platinum.

Materials are also new and improved with leather-accented seats with Miko suede and Wildtrak X embroidered into the seat backs, upper glovebox and all-weather front and rear floor mats. Terra suede wraps the glovebox, instrument cluster hood, door trim and centre console. It’s class-leading stuff.

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2024 ford ranger wildtrak x next to standard wildtrak
We parked next to a friend at the top of Australia’s most famous 4WD track | Image: Ben McKimm / Man of Many

Man of Many’s Verdict, Should You Buy the Wildtrak X?

The Wildtrak X sits in the sweet spot between the Ford Ranger Raptor ($87,990 plus on-road costs) and the Ford Ranger Wildtrak ($68,490 plus on-road costs). However, its platform-shared brother the Volkswagen Amarok PanAmericana ($75,990 plus on-road costs) presents an interesting proposition with an off-road focus, punchy V6 engine, premium leather interior, and softer ride quality that you might prefer on a day-to-day basis.

Ultimately, none of these vehicles besides the Raptor can offer the raft of technical hardware and software features that the Ranger Wildtrak X offers. I haven’t even mentioned the Flexible Rack System over the rear tub, powered roller shutter, steel bash plate, or cast aluminium side steps.

The engine is a significant downside in comparison, but I firmly believe Wildtrak X is the best option if you’re looking for an out-of-the-box dual-cab ute with off-road credentials to drive every day.