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  • Distinctive appearance; strong engine; capable off-road
  • Vague steering; rear centre lap seatbelt; non-lockable tailgate

6 / 10

Ford Ranger Wildtrak Review & Road Test
by Matt Brogan

2009 Ford Ranger Wildtrak Review & Road Test

Make traks for a dirty weekend

Model Tested:

  • 2009 Ford PK Ranger ‘Wildtrak’ 4×4; 3.0-litre TDCi, four-cylinder, turbo-diesel; five-speed automatic; crew-cab: $50,990*


  • Metallic Paint $400 (Fitted – Winning Blue)

CarAdvice Rating:

By Matt Brogan

It seems more and more people are wanting more and more from their vehicles, and fair enough too, for in this age of high-technology engineering wizardry cross purpose vehicles make just as much sense as cameras in mobile phones.

Ford Ranger Wildtrak Review & Road Test
Ford Ranger Wildtrak Review & Road Test
Ford Ranger Wildtrak Review & Road Test
Ford Ranger Wildtrak Review & Road Test

So, what of the ever increasing number of commercial vehicles that double as family transport on the weekend? Is the line between the two now so far blurred that it doesn’t matter? Or has the humble work ute grown to a point where it’s now accepted into the family fold?

To find out, I decided to spend a dirty weekend with the new Ford Ranger Wildtrak and see if it could be the answer to all my questions.

Visually the added enhancements of the Wildtrak pack have certainly made for a more interesting, masculine and rugged looking vehicle than the standard Ranger.

Included in the $3000 premium above the Ranger XLT, on which the Wildtrak is based, are ‘Wildtrak’ decals, 18-inch alloy wheels, side steps, roof and tub rails, polyurethane tub liner and lockable retractable hard tonneau, all of which give this special edition model a more unique and tougher appearance.

The cab is suitably attired for a vehicle of such utilitarian purposes and provides passengers with ample space and storage throughout. Of note is the comfort of the front seats, which make a pleasant change from those found in most commercial vehicles in this class.

Interior features include binnacle gauges featuring pitch and roll, internal and external temperature and compass; alcantara ‘Wildtrak’ seats; ‘Wildtrak’ floor mats; leather clad steering wheel and gear knob; six-disc CD tuner with auxiliary input; power windows; power wing mirrors with puddle lights; cruise control; and remote central locking.

Ford Ranger Wildtrak Review & Road Test
Ford Ranger Wildtrak Review & Road Test
Ford Ranger Wildtrak Review & Road Test
Ford Ranger Wildtrak Review & Road Test

Rear seat accommodation is also more than adequate in terms of space but is less than ideal in terms of a relaxing ride with reduced cushioning and a more upright recline angle making longer trips a little hard going.

On a positive note the sail across the rear window proves handy in keeping sun from the rear seat passengers necks, even if it does make reversing from a 45-degree angle rather tricky.

Under the bonnet Wildtrak features a diesel-only offering in the form of Ford’s 3.0-litre, common-rail, turbocharged four-cylinder engine that offers 115kW at 3200rpm and a suitably strong 380Nm from just 1800 revs. It’s a little noisy under idle and heavy acceleration but is otherwise acceptable given the vehicle’s commercial orientation.

Our test vehicle was coupled to a five-speed automatic transmission (with switchable overdrive) which is a little uncouth in application and slow in decision. A five-speed manual box is also offered for those who prefer a clutch and would easily be my pick.

Fuel economy returns were a little above ADR claims but not dramatically so with our week of city, highway and off-road use returning 11.6L/100km (ADR Combined claim is 10.4L/100km).

Ford Ranger Wildtrak Review & Road Test

The four-wheel-drive system offers a proper low-range ratio, auto-locking hubs plus on-the-fly switching, and despite the 18-inch alloys wheels (with road bias tyres), Wildtrak is certainly very capable off-road availing 214mm of ground clearance and enough guts in the rear springs to ensure adequate laden suspension travel.

Unfortunately from a driver’s perspective the power steering is dramatically over assisted meaning feel is somewhat … err, lacking, and although light steering may prove handy when parking or tackling a bush track, it can see this utility tending to follow camber, like flies to a barbecue, once you’re back on the black stuff.

Up front the Ranger features disc brakes but makes do with drums on the rear. ABS is standard and features Electronic Brake Force Distribution though I can’t help but notice the pedal is soft of feel with a great deal of travel before any real ‘bite’ is felt. On the plus side, ABS calibration is suitably delayed in threshold for off-road use.

Wildtrak offers 1016kg of payload though unfortunately the load area is slightly diminished due to the sails and retractable tonneau cover. I should point out though that even though the tonneau is lockable the tailgate isn’t, so bear that in mind if carrying trade tools or valuables.

Safety includes dual-front airbags and anti-lock brakes with electronic brake force distribution but misses out on three-point inertia belt for the centre rear seat passenger. The Ford Ranger also only manages a three-star ANCAP rating (from a possible five-stars) which may lead a re-think on using the car as the primary family hauler.

As a tough, no-nonsense crew-cab Ranger is one of the better vehicles in this market sector, and with the individuality the Wildtrak pack offers above the XLT, it is bound to appeal to buyers wanting to combine work and play in the one trusty, and very distinct, vehicle.

*Pricing is a guide as recommended to us by the manufacturer


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  • Toxic_Horse

    For that price give me a SS Ute

  • Andrew

    Or a TMR Triton, but either way I think this is a good looking truck.

    I would like to see a review on the Great Wall though, after Graham Smith’s (flattering) attempt in CarsGuide the other weekend.

  • Jimbo

    Does “Vague steering” mean: Drives like a shopping trolley with a bung wheel? Because that’s how it felt to me when I had a drive of the work Ranger. I would have a Navarra over this any day. The Nissan is a joy to drive, miles better than this heap.

    • Neel

      Nissan navaras are of no good..FORD ALL THE WAY

  • Jake02

    Antispam word – Ford, coincidence lol
    I was looking at utes last year, chose a Triton for the business. Navara was good, but forgot that people may want to sit in the back as the back seat was literally the most awful place I’ve ever sat in. Ranger/BT-50 (same car remember) also forgot about the rear seat but in the way of getting in there. Door was waaaaay too small! Colorado/D-Max were awful on the inside with grey plastic everywhere! Hilux was too exxy for stuff that was on the others for thousands less. Didn’t look at a Mahindra because I had no idea where a dealer was (didn’t want to either by the sound..)

    I chose the Triton GLX-R Di-D manual with optional side/curtain airbags and a rear-difff lock which I got for $38,990 drive away, which I thought was a pretty good deal! It’s the facelifted model with the nice 17″ wheels too….The back seat has acres of room (more than the whole of ute market), it’s very well equipped, the Diesel engine is a very good one and it’s actually resonably sporty too!

  • 4:20 All Day

    Not bad but the tray/load area on almost all dual cabs is just too small. If i can’t fit my downhill bike in the back, no deal.

  • Tony

    no mention of stability control?

    no mention of the fact the Triton has a full time 4wd system which is good in the rain

    i think every other 4wd has a ‘4-High’ mode which cuts off at high speed

    i assume this doesn’t have a full time 4wd option?

  • http://Caradvice.com.au Baddass

    I would never buy this car, but I’m glad that Ford made the styling a standout. It may not be pretty, but it is bold.

  • truckload

    Your star rating is not displayed properly in some browser.
    Looks like 2 stars????
    Or 4 stars????

  • RWD

    Toxic Horse……..an SS Ute? ROFL They should call it a mobile glovebox!! Coil springs and IRS in a ute is useless.
    And useless for towing as they drag their arse on the ground. Holden utes are useless and not very versatile. Holden never have been able to build a descent ute.

  • Tom

    Anyone who thinks this truck looks good needs glasses, what a butt ugly contraption
    The LT-R Colorado looks the best pick-up truck on the market.

  • Harley Stone

    Dont agree. The steering is not over-assisted but just right. The only thing to complain about is the problem how to get out of the car if u sat in the rear bench. You’ll need to turn your feet left or rite at 90 degrees angle.. :-) . o’wise a nice smal pick-up, but still i hope for the all new one next year – more space, permanent 4×4, better crash result for the actual, pretty weak, cabin…..

  • Harley Stone

    nb – the TRITON is just an ugly piece of used soap…….means i dont like its looks

  • thenameless

    LT-R Colorado looks the biz???? Each their own. Wildtrack looks outstanding IMO.

  • Ben

    Can you get a petrol 6 with these? Needs a way better interior for 50 grand to. Why couldnt it have gotten XR spec front buckets?


    when your pricing up your next ford(madza bt),factor in the 20k service(a few bad stories there)…

    • DE

      Yeah you need to be careful, you should hear the tails of woe from the Nissan owners here at work. Poor B#astards!

    • Safety Frist

      For the Record…. 20K Service of Ranger is $560>650 depending on dealer, however this is a 3+ hour service where they reset the tappets, this is then done again at 120,000kms I openly tell my customers this and they don’t have a problem. When you factor in that the others have expensive service at different intervals and more often, it isn’t such a big deal…

  • Aaron

    The comments made are to everyones own opinion my father owns a wildtrack and honestly is the best vehicle on the market the new look is excellect way better then the nissan navara trition colorado dmax and hilux for wot u pay yoyu get your moneys worth and feel economy is unbelaivable smooth quite engine i must say make a few minor mods and u have a nice looking truck we fitted a arb deluxe bull bar, winch lifted the front and was runnin the 255/18inch tyre and now running the 285/18inch tyres and has improved everythin ford have made a very nice truck

    • DE

      Don’t think I dissagree with anything you said, but I’m not sure.
      Haven’t you heard of punctuation? If you want your posts to have any credibility you have to try just a bit. At least you didn’t use the txting cr#p.

  • MW

    I bought a PK 4BY one year ago today. Just hit 20000km. I bought the XL twin cab 4WD with options: tray liner, cruise, BT and steps and HD Tow pack. It came factory with a snorkle! They threw it in along with tinting. I just fitted a TJM alloy bar and 9500lb premier winch. The cons: Tray not as big as my XH longreach. Pros: 1 tonner (same as my old XH), 4WD, strong economical engine. It goes up Mount Ousley in 5th with 4 people in it. Comfy. Nice interior with tray on dash top. I’m going to finish it off with a nice set of MT Classic II alloys. Hilux is too dear, Triton has odd curves, Colorado is a Holden, D-Max was a Holden, Navara is boxy, and that’s just for starters. I’m pretty happy with the Ranger. I do feel that the Woldtrak has stuff that tunrs a good ute into a soccer mum car, but it’s pretty.

  • wayne

    My son just brought the Ford,Ranger Wildtrack brand new and found the retractable tonneau cover leaks. The car dealer tried to fix the problem but to no avail.Just going through the carwash or using the garden hose it allowed water in.When we first looked at buying it we told them we wanted it for camping and we were told how great it was for that purpose,at no time were we told that the vehicle cover would leak and you wouldnt think so for $50,000 worth.At this stage Ford doesn’t want to know about us we were told there’s nothing they can do and they won’t look at compensation neither .There are legal avenues that we can explore but the cost for lawyers are very expensive.And we think thats what Ford are relying on and again they will get away with it

    • http://caradvice Nev

      Yes the cover does leak,it tells you this in the manual that comes with it,and it is not a ford product.

  • S.A

    i have recently brought the PK wildtrak because i live out of town i need a 4×4 but i wanted something with a bit of style aswell, sadly with only 5 thousand km it already has problems’ cruise control not working, door lights not working, four wheel drive light on the dash not working. nothing to major but annoying after spend close to 60k for this car, and having to go back into town getting these things fixed.

  • http://caradvice Nev

    I have a wildtrack,and i have had no problems with it,i have done 70,000 kms in it so far,it does hard work,towing,constant dirt road driving,and 4wd on sand recovering bog 4wds,so far it is unstoppable great vehicle.

  • Wiltrak-fan

    I took a manual Wiltrak for a test drive yesterday and was very impressed. I was concerned that after reading the brochure and seeing how good it looks on paper that i would be dissapointed when i took it for a drive. I could not have been more impressed if i tried. I love the look of it, it has plenty of torque and a 1 tonne pay load which is more than could be said for some of the other utes on the market.

  • raysheehan@yahoo.com

    I purchased a new Wiltrak it my 2nd Ranger and I am not impressed!!
    We live in Queensland Australia and when it rains the car constantly looses control.
    Car has been back to ford and the head mechanic drove it and the service manager they agree there is a problem. Ford Motor Co just dont care!!!!!!
    I have found another person in our small country town with the same issue. DOES ANY ONE ELSE HAVE THIS ISSUE? lets get together.
    All Ford say is replace the tyres at my exspenceQ they are kidding right? Had issue from day 1 and now have 7000km on clock and getting worse. WAKE UP FORD DOES SOMEONE HAVE TO DIE BEFORE SOMETHING IS DONE?

  • http://ben_mcculloch@hotmail.com ryan

    well my dad has one of these in white, just done over 25,000 km! tows anything goes anywhere great to drive a bit truckie thorugh. No complaints from him!

    Just remember guys this is a ute and not a car!

  • Angela

    My tonneau leaks cos it doesn’t shut flush. Also it would rattle open after being locked shut :( dealership “fixed” it by adding a screw to the locking mechanism, now I have a dent in the top of the cover from what they did. Dealership said I was the only one with a problem so I should talk to Ford Customer Service. It’s now being replaced under warranty…..hope the new one will stay shut. It has been a pain, but everything else is good. I use it to work on my property and tow horses. You can get a remote tail gate lock from “Pop n Lock” a US website. In short car is good but dealership sux.

  • Clint

    Hi Guys, just purchased 2011 pk ranger manual transmission and am concerned that gear shift feels pretty notchy and and sometimes does not engage gear smoothly, kind of clunks. Any advice would be good or if any others are experiencing the same issue it would be good to hear. Thanks

  • maurice thompson

    i have ranger dont take on dirt roads as the dust pours in ,side doors rattle as thoug will drop of ,dealer told me should not not go over 40 kl/hr on dirt the speed advisory sign says 80? no use as a4wd if it cant handle what about real of road.

  • Des

    AFter umming and ahhing we bought one of the last ones last October and it is the best thing we have done so far! Realiable, cheap to run, goes any anywhere and goes hard! 700km to a takm 600 in town; great value for money! Ford Forever!

  • topcat

    how far dose the ranger go for after the fuel light comes on

Ford Ranger Specs

Car Details
Body Type
New Price
Private Sale
$22,330 - $25,380
Dealer Retail
$23,220 - $27,610
Dealer Trade
$17,600 - $20,300
Engine Specifications
Engine Type
Engine Size
Max. Torque
380Nm @  1800rpm
Max. Power
115kW @  3200rpm
Pwr:Wgt Ratio
Bore & Stroke
Compression Ratio
Valve Gear
Drivetrain Specifications
Drive Type
Final Drive Ratio
Fuel Specifications
Fuel Type
Fuel Tank Capacity
Fuel Consumption (Combined)
9.3L / 100km
Weight & Measurement
Kerb Weight
Gross Vehicle Weight
Ground Clearance
Towing Capacity
Brake:3000  Unbrake:750
Steering & Suspension
Steering Type
Turning Circle
Front Rim Size
Rear Rim Size
Front Tyres
255/60 R18
Rear Tyres
255/60 R18
Wheel Base
Front Track
Rear Track
Front Brakes
Rear Brakes
Front Suspension
Double wishbone, Torsion bar, Hydraulic double acting shock absorber
Rear Suspension
Leaf spring, Hydraulic double acting shock absorber
Standard Features
Air Conditioning
Control & Handling
18 Inch Alloy Wheels, Electronic Brake Force Distribution
Power Steering
Engine & Transmission
Limited Slip Differential
Radio CD with 2 Speakers
Power Mirrors
Cloth Trim
Dual Airbag Package, Anti-lock Braking, Side Airbags
Alarm System/Remote Anti Theft, Central Locking Remote Control, Engine Immobiliser
Optional Features
Metallic Paint
Service Interval
6 months /  10,000 kms
36 months /  100,000 kms
VIN Plate Location
Driver Side Front Chassis
Country of Origin