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by Tim Beissmann

The Ford Ranger Wildtrak has finally landed in Australia nine months after the first examples of the Australian-designed and -engineered ute hit the market.

Originally scheduled to arrive no later than March, supply shortages caused by last year’s Thailand floods forced Ford Australia to delay the introduction of the flagship model.

Ford Australia general marketing manager David Katic confirmed supply of all variants is freeing up as the Ranger’s production plant in Rayong returns to full production.

“We’ve experienced unprecedented demand for the Wildtrak with the vehicles arriving now filling orders well into [the fourth quarter of] this year,” Katic said.

“The number of other Ranger variants arriving has nearly doubled since the beginning of the year so dealers are starting to get good stocks of all models.”

The launch of the well-equipped, sports-themed Wildtrak brings the number of variants in Ford’s Ranger line-up to 21.

At $57,390 for the six-speed manual and $59,390 for the six-speed automatic, the Ranger Wildtrak is $4000 more than the Ranger XLT.

The Wildtrak is distinguished by its unique front grille, sports bar and roof rails, exterior mirrors with puddle lamps, black tailgate handle, accented steel rear bumper, 18-inch alloy wheels and Wildtrak badging and graphics. The Wildtrak is also available in the exclusive Chilli Orange hero colour.

Inside, the Wildtrak gains a five-inch multi-function colour screen with satellite navigation and rear-view camera display, eight-way power driver’s seat, heated front seats and rear floor mats. The centre console gets a carbonfibre-look finish while the seat upholstery combines leather and cloth with contrasting orange stitching.

The Ranger Wildtrak is available exclusively with Ford’s 3.2-litre five-cylinder diesel engine, which produces 147kW of power (at 3000rpm) and 470Nm of torque (1500-2750rpm). The manual variant uses 9.4 litres of fuel per 100km while the auto is marginally thirstier at 9.6L/100km. Both have a braked towing capacity of 3350kg.

Supply shortages have meant the Ranger has made a slow start to sales in 2012. Sales of 4×2 variants are down 4.5 per cent compared with the same period in 2011, while the 4×4 is 26.8 per cent off last year’s pace.

With combined sales of 5245 between January and May, the Ranger sits fourth overall in the ute segment, trailing the Toyota HiLux (15,104), Nissan Navara (10,146) and the Mitsubishi Triton (7500), but remains clear of its sister car, the Mazda BT-50 (4734).

Read CarAdvice’s review of the Ford Ranger.




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